Jun 232017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

From left to right: Pat Ramsay, Myles Edwards, Phil Anderson, and Louise Dingwall.

A North-east financial services company has helped to provide Kenyan children with opportunities for a better future through a charitable donation.

Phil Anderson Financial Services, which has offices in Ellon, Aberdeen and Caithness, recently donated £500 to the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, a charity that supports disadvantaged kids in the east African country of Kenya.

Through its sponsorship of the Charity Open at Oldmeldrum Golf Club, the firm selected the Gathimba Edwards Foundation as a beneficiary, due to the charity’s dedication towards improving the lives of almost 250 poverty-stricken Kenyan children.

To date, the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, founded by Aberdonian Myles Edwards and Kenyan international Gideon Gathimba, has built 17 homes for over 70 children and provided education opportunities, shelter, clothing and food to 243 kids across Kenya.

Phil Anderson Financial Services regularly supports numerous charities and community initiatives across the North-east. Last year, the business was recognised for its charitable efforts and was awarded with the Small Business Big Heart Award for its support of the Aberdeen Cyrenians.

Since the firm was launched in 2011, its staff has raised over £10,000 for a large number of local charities and causes, including Diabetes Scotland, Aspire and Aberdeen Cyrenians.

Phil Anderson, managing director of Phil Anderson Financial Services, said:

“After hearing about the Gathimba Edwards Foundation and all the fantastic work they’ve managed to achieve in such a short space of time, I thought it was only right to get behind this truly worthwhile cause.

“Supporting those that are less fortunate is something that both myself and my staff are all very passionate about. We are all looking forward to hearing about the charity’s next project and how the donation will help make a difference to the lives of many disadvantaged children across Kenya.”

Founder of the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, Myles Edwards, said:

“We are hugely grateful for the incredibly generous support from Phil and his team, as it is going to be life-changing for our children.

“There are a number of families who desperately need houses built for them, as they are currently living in iron sheet structures with no walls. We are able to build two-bedroom houses with furniture and electricity for under £3,000, so £500 is absolutely huge for us.

“Phil does so much for numerous charities and causes in both the North-east and abroad, so it really is a big honour that he has chosen to support our kids.”

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Jun 232017
 

A leading north-east cancer charity is launching a new event in the heart of Royal Deeside. With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

CLAN at the Castle will take place in the grounds of Crathes Castle on Sunday, September 10, to raise funds for north-east cancer support charity CLAN Cancer Support.
On the day, the historic castle will provide the backdrop for three sponsored walk routes and a fun day with inflatables, entertainment and refreshments.

The sponsored walks will cover one mile, 5.7 miles and 13 miles taking in woodland tracks around the castle grounds and local area.

The fun day will be open to all, with members of the public encouraged to come along, enjoy the day and support those taking part in the three walks.

CLAN Cancer Support Fundraising Team Manager, Steph Dowling, is looking forward to the new look event, which she hopes will become a firm favourite.

She said:

“For CLAN’s 30th birthday we celebrated with the first CLAN Landmark Walk, taking in various landmarks throughout Aberdeen city. Since then the event continued to grow in popularity but we felt it was time to open a new chapter and build on its success.

“CLAN provides support and wellbeing services throughout many communities in Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland and we felt it was important to mirror this in the location of what is one of our main fundraising events. After looking throughout the area Crathes Castle stood out as such a popular landmark in Aberdeenshire and one which was ideal for our revamped event.

“We really wanted to create a day which had something for everyone, whether you are taking part as an individual, families and groups or corporate teams. As part of taking on one of these challenges, walkers will get a free wristband for the fun day, with additional bands available for anyone coming along to support them.”

CLAN Cancer Support Chief Executive, Dr Colette Backwell, said:

“I am delighted that we are able to take such a fantastic event to the heart of Deeside, which is one of the areas supported by CLAN’s wellbeing and support services through our bases in Banchory and Ballater.

“Thanks to the dedication of individuals, groups of friends and corporate teams who raise crucial funds for CLAN at events like these, we are able to continue to develop the wellbeing and support services needed for people affected by cancer right in the heart of local communities.

“We are already looking forward to CLAN at the Castle and I look forward to welcoming many old and new faces to the event.”

For full event details, to register for the walk or purchase wristbands for the fun day, please visit www.clanhouse.org. The event also requires a number of volunteers, full details of how you can help can be found on the website.

The fun day will run between 10am and 4pm with wristbands available at the venue for £5 or in advance from www.clanhouse.org

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness.

Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Buckie, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For more information about CLAN Cancer Support, please call (01224) 647 000 or visit www.clanhouse.org

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Jun 162017
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Following the soaraway success of a festival launched last year to celebrate one of Scotland’s most fruitful food and drink regions, Spirt of Speyside: Distilled is to return – with an even greater range of home-grown flavours.

World leading drinks brands will join small artisan producers for the weekend festival at Elgin Town Hall on September 1 and 2 in a showcase of Speyside’s finest whisky, gin, beer and food.

Classic drams will be served up alongside contemporary cocktails with speciality coffee to try alongside grown-up fudge.

This year’s event has been extended to cover two floors of the venue with even more opportunities to sample food and drink and meet the producers passionate about Speyside and its produce.

It’s not just about the tastes that makes the Speyside region  – home to more than half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries – renowned across the world for its food and drink. Distilled gives opportunities to experience and learn more about the flavours, through a range of tutorials or ‘masterclasses’ staged by experts.

Tickets for Distilled go on sale on at 9am on Friday, June 16 and with limited places available, food and drink lovers are urged to get in quick to ensure they don’t miss out.

Distilled is delivered by the same team behind the world-famous Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and the inaugural mini-festival went down a treat with audiences last year.

Festival manager Pery Zakeri says,

“Distilled is a melting pot of fantastic flavours and wonderful personalities sharing their enthusiasm for fine food and drink. It offers the chance to enjoy so many different tastes, as well as broadening knowledge of food and drink through our menu of masterclasses.

“We were delighted with the feedback from our inaugural event last year, which introduced a much younger audience to Speyside’s food and drink offering, and we are building on that with this year’s offering.

“We are proud to be playing a lead role in championing the region’s booming food and drink industry by bringing producers and the public together under one roof in celebration of the Speyside larder.”

Distilled drew gastronomes from all over Scotland as well as  visitors from overseas who wanted to be part of first festival of this kind to be held in Speyside. The big global players of the drinks industry stood shoulder to shoulder with small, up-and-coming producers in a mix that went down well with audiences.

Masterclasses ranged from the chance to sample rare and cask strength drams, to cocktail making and food pairing. A range of masterclasses are being offered again this year, costing an additional £15 per person, with full details of the range and times to be announced on the event website.

This celebration of Speyside’s food and drink features four different sessions and these take place from 1-5pm and 6-10pm each day. Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.

All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. There will also be festival merchandise available to buy.

For more information and to book tickets  visit www.distilled.scot

Distilled is active on social media at www.facebook.com/distilledscot on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot. Follow the festival at #distilled17

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Jun 082017
 

With thanks to Aberdeenshire SNP.

Fergus Ewing MSP at Braemar Castle with local councillor Geva Blackett and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine SNP candidate Stuart Donaldson.

Braemar villagers have been hailed as local heroes by leading politicians as examples of how community empowerment works as they celebrate ten successful years of community management of Braemar Castle.

Braemar Community Limited have seen visitor numbers to the 17th century castle soar by over 277% since they took on a 50-year lease on from Invercauld Estate in 2007.

Raising over £500,000 to renovate the building in the past ten years and – as well as repairing the roof – they now have 12 fully-furnished rooms.

And this weekend the community celebrates a decade of delivery for the iconic tourist attraction with a dinner and hog roast ceilidh.

Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP visited the castle on the eve of the party, with local councillor Geva Blackett and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine SNP candidate Stuart Donaldson.

Mr Ewing said:

“This fantastic community initiative plays such a huge role in the economy of one of Scotland’s most rural communities and draws visitors from around the world. I am delighted to have been able to pay a short visit and will certainly be back with my wife and daughter in the summer to have a proper tour.”

Stuart Donaldson said:

“It’s always a great pleasure to visit Braemar as there is so much going on.

“It’s a truly vibrant community and the work they have done in restoring and improving the castle typifies that.

“Braemar is a small but historic village and there has been terrific buy-in from a huge section of the community to bring visitors back to the castle.

“They are true local heroes who can be immensely proud of the work they have done to restore, improve and promote Braemar Castle.

“I’m delighted they have brought the community together to celebrate the first ten years of community management and I wish them well for the next ten years.”

Councillor Geva Blackett, whose husband Simon is chair of Braemar Community Ltd the community company who run the castle and other projects, is thrilled at the progress they have made since 2007.

Geva said:

“Braemar Castle plays an important role in the life of the village and Stuart Donaldson is very aware of this. But I also wanted the Cabinet Secretary to see for himself how hard everyone here works to ensure Braemar is a sustainable community working together for an exciting future.”

The Earl of Mar initially used the castle as his Highland hunting lodge but after it was partially burnt down in 1689 after becoming the first casualty of the first Jacobite uprising.

The castle has changed several times over the years with a long-list of high profile owners – including a Russian princess and an MP.

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Jun 022017
 

Portsoy’s Sail Loft Bunkhouse. Review and photographs by Duncan Harley.

When newspaper columnist Cuthbert Graham wrote about Portsoy, way back in 1963, he commented that the town was one of the most progressive communities on the Moray Firth.
In his travel column, This is My Country, he wrote about the “triumphant success” of the town’s efforts to encourage tourism.

He was quite correct and the town, nowadays a bustling coastal resort and popular stopover on the 6200km-long North Sea Cycle Route, has steadfastly continued to pursue a policy of encouraging community run tourist orientated enterprise.

Alongside attending the hugely successful Portsoy Boat Festival visitors can take part in traditional music and dance workshops at the Salmon Bothy and boatbuilding courses at the Boatshed. Tourism in the town received a welcome extra boost when film makers chose Portsoy as a location for the recent remake of the Ealing comedy Whisky Galore.

Alongside leads Eddie Izzard and Gregor Fisher, many locals appear as extras in the film and at the recent Portsoy Premiere, held in the loft-space of the Salmon Bothy, film-goers were encouraged to get into the spirit of the performance and dip into some whisky-flavoured ice cream. Publicists had, after all, promoted Portsoy’s Whisky Galore connection by nicknaming the town The Village of the Drammed!

Visitor accommodation in the town received a boost this year with the opening of the newly renovated Sail Loft Bunkhouse. Situated on the Back Green near the caravan park, the Sail Loft has had a long and varied history.

Formerly a sail making factory, the Category B listed building dates from the 18th Century and sits within a former industrial site used for the processing of flax and the manufacture of rope. When the demand for sails declined and the rope-works closed the Sail Loft buildings gradually fell into ruin.

In 2006 the North East Scotland Preservation Trust acquired the property from the Seafield Estate and work began to bring the derelict structure into productive use as bunkhouse accommodation for visitors to Portsoy. After 11 years of planning and renovation, the keys to the building were formally handed over to Portsoy Community Enterprise in January 2017. Additional loan funding came via the Architectural Heritage Fund.

Offering high quality self-catering accommodation at reasonable rates, the new 25 bed facility offers visitors to Portsoy a unique hub from which to explore the Moray coastline.  Facilities Assistant Susan Rayne explains:

“Users so far have included cyclists, walkers and families. This weekend we even have a group of divers staying with us.”

Susan is one of a team of three involved in the day to day management of the Sail Loft and is by all accounts fully integrated into the local community.

Alongside her bunkhouse duties she serves as a volunteer fire-fighter and is a keen member of the local women’s rowing group, the Portsoy Skiffettes. Another claim to fame is her role as official chauffeur to Whisky Galore star Eddie Izzard during the location shooting of the movie in Portsoy.

“The buzz in the town was just amazing” she recalls

“Eddie Izzard was very open with the locals and was really interested in finding out about the area.”

It emerged that Eddie was due to perform at Versailles after the Whisky Galore shoot and  Susan recalls that he was amazed to discover that fireplaces in the Palace of Versailles are rumoured to be faced with Portsoy Marble.

Although the Sail Loft is clearly bunkhouse in nature, the new facility offers up-market self-catering accommodation. Guest rooms are simply but pleasantly furnished with white décor throughout. Named after local landmarks, the room plan reads like a who’s who of the Portsoy coastline. Red Rock, The Pointie and The Breeks are just a few. On our visit we stayed in The Dounie.

The design of the building does not allow for panoramic views of the sea but the slanted Velux windows do let in both the sound and the smells of the ocean and provide a welcome change to the typical hotel room hum of the air-conditioning unit. Those wanting to check out the view should either nip outside or, heaven forbid if you are female, check out cubicle three in the downstairs men’s showers where you can view the bay in all of its glory.

Catering-wise, the open-plan kitchen and dining area is more than adequate. Two 4 ring hobs are complimented by micro-waves, kettles and an ample supply of toasters. Pots and pans, dishes and cutlery are all provided and the only onus on residents is to leave the kitchen as you might wish to find it. I was pleasantly surprised to come across an orphaned cafetiere abandoned by a previous guest and made full use of it.

The Sail Loft lounge boasts a wood burning stove and is perfect for family get-togethers or business seminars.  Alongside a video-projector there are lots of local books, toys and games to keep everyone entertained in the evenings. A drying room, secure cycle storage, a fully equipped laundrette and an outside wash down area for boots or bicycle cleaning complete the line-up and this VisitScotland 4 star hostel even boasts a wood fired hot-tub.

On the night of our stay a group of divers were firmly ensconced in front of the roaring wood-stove planning the next days dive while a group of teachers enjoyed the warmth of the outdoor hot-tub.

All in all this new facility ticks the boxes although it would have been nice to have the option of sitting behind glass while taking in the sea view. But, as I said previously, there’s always cubicle three in the men’s showers!

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May 252017
 

With thanks to Clare Scott, Communications Consultant, CJS Communication & Marketing.

A long trip south proved more than worthwhile for a group of north-east wrestlers, with several among their number ascending all the way to the medallists’ podium.

Wrestlers from Oldmeldrum-based V Wrestling Academy won a number of medals at the recent English Junior Wrestling Championships at Thames Valley Athletic Centre in Eton.

11-year-old Colby Taylor struck gold in the 41k category. His fellow club members Leon Etko and Erin Mortimer added to V Wrestling’s medal haul taking silver and bronze in the 37k and 67k categories respectively.

There was further success for V Wrestling Academy in the Veterans’ Championships, which took place over the same weekend. Club member Keith Mortimer returned to Aberdeenshire with a silver medal in the 90k category.

Head coach Vio Etko accompanied the team along with his fellow coach Nicolae Cojocaru.

He said:

“This was a long trip to make for some of our younger wrestlers but they certainly rose to the occasion.

“As well as showing commitment and focus while competing, they all demonstrated great team spirit and camaraderie. The medals are the icing on the cake of a really great developmental experience.”

Leon Etko (12) repeated his silver medal success with a second placing in the 35k category of the recent International Tournament Calarasi Cup in Moldova.

Leon’s achievement in Moldova replicates that of his father and coach Vio Etko, who won the silver medal 25 years prior in the same event.

V Wrestling Academy is based at ETKO Sports Academy in Oldmeldrum. Head coach Vio Etko is a seven-time British wrestling champion and the current Commonwealth Games bronze medal holder. He is also a former winner of Aberdeenshire Sport Council’s Coach of the Year award.

Further information on V Wrestling Academy’s coaching programmes is available by calling ETKO Sports Academy on 01651 873876.

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Martin Ford.

Long-serving councillor Martin Ford was re-elected last Thursday (4 May) for a fifth term as a member of Aberdeenshire Council.

With 18 years on Aberdeenshire Council, Martin Ford is now the longest serving councillor in the Garioch Area.

Cllr Ford represented the Newmachar and Fintray ward from 1999 to 2007.

With the introduction of the single transferable vote system and multi-member wards in 2007, Martin Ford became one of the three councillors representing the East Garioch ward.

Further changes to electoral arrangements this time were down to a revision of council ward boundaries undertaken since the 2012 election by The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland. As of 4 May, the East Garioch ward (which includes Newmachar, Fintray, Blackburn and Kintore) is now larger than it was before.

The ward has been extended to the west by moving its boundary much closer to Kemnay and Inverurie. Reflecting the increase in population, the number of councillors representing the East Garioch ward has also been increased – from three to four.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“I would like to thank all 4,559 residents of East Garioch who voted in the election last Thursday.

“I am tremendously pleased to be starting my fifth term on Aberdeenshire Council. It’s a great privilege to have been re-elected again after 18 years as a councillor. So I would like to express my special thanks to those who put their confidence in me to continue as one of their local representatives.

“Locally, there are a range of priorities within the East Garioch ward. The Council has a key role to play in the delivery of the planned rail station in Kintore. Decisions are required about additional school capacity in Newmachar. The new school in Blackburn is due to open in August 2018.

“With the election last week, there has been a considerable change in the membership of the Council. Moving forward, I hope the Council as a whole will have effective working relationships between councillors of different colours, so there is a preparedness to accept suggestions and good ideas from all sides. There are undoubtedly going to be some tough choices during the next five years, so we need a Council that takes its decisions on the basis of evidence and in the public interest.”

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Massed pipe bands at Aboyne Highland Games

One of Aberdeenshire’s leading traditional events is seeking the public’s input as it prepares to shine a spotlight on a century and a half of its history.

The organisers of Aboyne Highland Games are calling on the public to share their memories and photographs of the iconic Royal Deeside event as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary later this year.

All of the contributions will be included in a special commemorative memory book that will be on display at this summer’s event. For visitors who wish to share their games memories on the day itself, boards will be set up to allow written reminiscences.

An extensive written and pictorial archive documenting the event’s history is held by the Aboyne Highland Games. However, the organising committee is keen to hear personal memories and see still or moving images of the games from those who have attended over the decades.

Aboyne Highland Games has become a highlight of the Deeside events calendar since its founding in 1867. It has been held annually on the town’s green for the past 150 years, with the only exception being during both world wars. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, 05 August and is once again expected to welcome up to 10,000 visitors.

The inaugural Aboyne Highland Games was held on Saturday, 31 August 1867 following just a month of planning and was well attended. The Aberdeen Journal of Wednesday, 04 September 1867 noted that:

“When the time arrived for beginning the competition, several thousands of spectators, of all classes, and all out for a holiday, surrounded the large enclosure on the muir.”

Today, the games is held on the first Saturday in August and features a packed programme of 95 traditional highland events, including solo and massed piping, highland dancing, light and heavy athletics and fiddle competitions. A popular feature is the 6.8-mile hill race that follows part of the Fungle Road and circles the base of Craigendinnie. With total combined prize fund of over £13,000 on offer, Aboyne Highland Games attracts some of the country’s leading pipers, dancers and athletes. 

After a near 40-year absence, one of the events that featured in the programme of the first games is being staged to mark the event’s milestone anniversary. Pole vaulting will be included in the Saturday afternoon programme for the first time since 1978. Once a staple of highland games events throughout Scotland, the discipline is now only contested at a handful of games each year.

Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Highland Games, said:

“Aboyne Highland Games has been an important and much loved fixture of the Deeside calendar for a century and a half. We know it has played an important part of many people’s lives and are keen to hear from those with memories of the event, either as spectators, participants or involved in its organisation.

“Our minute books contain extensive written records of the evolution of the games, from the initial meeting on Saturday, 27 July 1867 where the idea of holding a highland games in Aboyne was first discussed, through to the present time. Although factual, these do not capture the people’s story of Aboyne Highland Games, which is vital for our memory book.

“Reaching our 150th anniversary is an important milestone in the history of the games. As we look back with great fondness and celebrate the history, heritage and culture of the local area, we also look to the future. To welcoming new faces annually on the first Saturday in August who can join us in making history and helping shape the future of this important Deeside event.”

The deadline for submitting photographs and memories is Thursday, 01 June and these can be e-mailed to secretary@aboynegames.com. Further information regarding sending photographs by post is available on the Aboyne Highland Games Facebook page.

Founded in 1867, Aboyne Highland Games is a traditional Scottish highland games held annually on the first Saturday in August.

The Aberdeenshire event, held under the patronage of Granville Gordon, the 13th Marquis of Huntly, attracts crowds of up to 10,000 people each year. Featuring a programme of traditional highland games events, including highland dancing, tossing the caber, piping and fiddle competitions, the event on the town’s green attracts visitors from around the world and makes an important contribution to the local Deeside economy.

Further information on Aboyne Highland Games can be found at www.aboynegames.com.

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Graeme Johnson and June Jones from ITCA, alongside four of the pupils and Turriff Academy depute rector, Jane Bisset.

A leading apprenticeship-training provider is calling on North-east schools to prepare youngsters for the workplace through an industry initiative aimed at plugging the engineering skills gap.

For the second year running, Aberdeen-based ITCA Training offered pupils from Turriff Academy the opportunity to gain an industry standard accredited qualification.

Six pupils, aged 16-18, successfully completed units in health and safety, machining, lathe work, fabrication, welding and general engineering hand skills at ITCA.

ITCA is now calling on other secondary schools to follow in the footsteps of the school by providing additional skill development opportunities for pupils.

Managing director of ITCA Training, June Jones, said:

“It is extremely promising to see a secondary school so focused on the development of its pupils. I can only hope that other schools follow suit by providing even more young people with the opportunity to gain useful skills and additional qualifications that add to their SCQF points.

“At a time when recruitment in the North-east is low, it is now more important than ever to provide promising young engineers with the skilled training and support they need to pursue a career in this field.”

Jane Bisset, deputy rector at Turriff Academy, said:

“We are very appreciative of the partnership between ITCA, Turriff Academy and Aberdeenshire Council. The initiative is very beneficial for our pupils, as they are able to gain an industry standard qualification whilst still in secondary school.

“This qualification stands alongside their academic achievements and will instantly give them an advantage over other jobseekers in a very competitive market.”    

ITCA Training, which is one of the largest engineering apprenticeship-training firms in Scotland, is situated at Howe Moss Drive in the  Kirkhill  Industrial Estate, Dyce. The base, which spans almost 22,000sq feet, includes offices, classrooms, a storage yard, and workshop space. The company has been in operation in the   North-east  since 1989, and provides training for young employees in various sectors including welding, fabrication, mechanical engineering, business administration and logistics.      

To find out more about ITCA visit www.itca-training.com  

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May 122017
 

With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.

Aberdeenshire’s Lonach Highlanders are set to make a mark as they debut at this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Seventy-five of Strathdon’s kilted clansmen will travel to the capital in August to be part of the iconic annual spectacle as it celebrates Scotland’s clans.

The men have been invited to be part of the performance on Monday, 14 August by Lord Forbes, chief of the Forbes clan.

In front of an audience of around 8,500 people, including many international visitors, the highlanders will parade onto Edinburgh Castle’s Esplanade to herald the start of the evening’s performance. Dressed in full highland regalia and armed with their traditional eight-foot long pikes, the men will create an imposing sight for the gathered crowd.

With a history stretching back to 1823 when the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society was formed, the Lonach Highlanders are believed to be the largest body of non-military men to carry ceremonial weapons in Britain. Membership is drawn from residents of the local area who descend from the Forbes, Wallace and Gordon clans. Society membership currently stands at 227 men, under the patronage of Sir James Forbes, 8th Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie.

The theme of this year’s Tattoo is a Splash of Tartan, something that the Lonach Highlanders will admirably provide. To mark Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, Tattoo organisers have teamed up with The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs to celebrate the country’s clan heritage and national fabric, and their influence around the world.

Two or three clans will be represented at each performance during the Tattoo’s three-week run. On the night of the Lonach Highlander’s attendance, both the Forbes and Wallace clans will muster on the castle esplanade and their Scottish ancestry celebrated.

This is a fantastic opportunity for the society and the highlanders to help promote our history and heritage

The highlanders’ trip to Edinburgh comes just 12 days before their own annual gathering takes place in Bellabeg, Aberdeenshire.

Attracting crowds of up to 10,000 people, the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games is one of north-east Scotland’s leading traditional highland games.

This year’s event on Saturday, 26 August marks the 176th time the gathering has been held. It will once again commence with the Lonach Highlanders embarking on six-mile march round the local area, following in the footsteps of their forefathers and continuing a near two-hundred year-old tradition.

Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said:

“The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is honoured to have been invited to participate in this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. This is the first time that the Lonach Highlanders have been present at the event and there is huge excitement amongst those taking part.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the society and the highlanders to help promote our history and heritage, the Lonach Gathering, Aberdeenshire and highland games in general. Television recording will be taking place on the night that we are parading. If we make the director’s cut then there is potential for millions of people around the world to learn about Lonach.

“Attending the Tattoo will be a great warm up for the 176th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games just 12 days later on Saturday, 26 August. If you think the sight of 75 Lonach Highlanders marching is special, the sight and sound of 200 of them, pikes aloft, marching through picturesque Strathdon is one to behold, and not to be missed.”

Ringside seat tickets for the 176th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games are on sale now, priced from £12 for adults and £7 for children. Visit www.lonach.org for full details.

Established in 1823, by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is a charitable organisation based in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. The society organises the annual Lonach Gathering at Bellabeg Park, Strathdon, which is held on the fourth Saturday of August.

The main attraction at the gathering is the march of the Lonach Highlanders, a unique body of non-military men. Further information on the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, the Lonach Highlanders and the annual Lonach Highland Gathering can be found at www.lonach.org.

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