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Cold water swimmer beats Capaldi to be named most influential Scot on TikTok

A Gaelic language activist has beaten off competition from the likes of chart-topping singer Lewis Capaldi to be crowned Scotland’s most influential TikToker, according to rankings compiled by a communications agency.

Calum Maclean will have appeared on the For You pages of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe on TikTok in the past week as his search to find the real centre of Scotland clocked up more than 800,000 views, and his most watched video of him swimming in Loch Morar, the nation’s deepest, has seen more than 25 million views.

On Wednesday communications agency Spey named the keen cold water swimmer top in its list of Scottish influencers on the video app, beating ex-Love Island star Paige Turley, who came second, creator Lewis Buchan, who came third, and Forget Me singer Capaldi, who was ranked sixth on the list.

Lewis Capaldi singing
Lewis Capaldi came sixth on the list of most influential Scottish TikTokers (Ian West/PA)

The communications agency said it ranked the list according to how often other users interacted with them, rather than just the number of followers they had amassed.

Jennifer Robertson, founder of Spey, said it was a “diverse list” this year and demonstrated the “impact of posting about issues that really matter to you”.

“Our top influencer, Calum Maclean, has led renewed interest in the Gaelic language amongst young Scots in particular, which just goes to show the passion we have for our Gaelic heritage,” she said.

Woman stood in red suit with crop top
Paige Turley was named second most influential Scot on TikTok, according to a communications agency rating (Matt Alexander/PA)

“His posts about our breathtaking landscape and waters have also performed really well – in particular, his post where he filmed in the depths of Loch Ness went viral and helped him reach an audience of over four million.

“Ultimately, the results show the power of innovative content and how quality can trump celebrity.”

Mr Maclean, who goes by the username caldamac on the platform, had an engagement rate of more than 56% among his 257,500 followers, meaning his posts are liked and shared more often by those who see them than any of his fellow Scots on TikTok.

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Meanwhile Turley, who was crowned the winner of the dating show in 2020, had an engagement rate of 29% among her 420 000 followers.

Capaldi came sixth with an engagement rate of 7% among his 4.7 million followers.

To compile the list Spey worked with influencer marketing platform Upfluence, and its co-founder Vivien Garnes said creators on the popular video-sharing app were “becoming a key driver of online engagement and we can expect this trend to grow in 2023”.

Also making it into the top 10 list were newsagent and comedian Yasser Inayat, make-up artist Jamie Genevieve, and activist Eddie Walker.