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.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Apr 012017
 

With thanks to Chris Ramsay, Forviemedia.

Expect increased interest in Aberdeenshire when the World Nomad Games are staged on the Royal Deeside estate of Balmoral this spring, Scotland’s first turn at hosting the event.
The Games have been organised by the
Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Inspired.

The decision to bid and then extend invitations – to all nations sharing long nomadic histories – came about after the President of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan visited Aberdeen in the autumn of 2016.

With twenty-five golds, hosts Kyrgyzstan topped the medals table at last year’s Games.

“In the modern world, people are forgetting their history, and there is a threat of extinction for traditional cultures,” says Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev.

“Nomadic civilisation is a good example of sustainable development, which is what all of humanity is looking for today. The Games were designed to unite nations.”

Two thousand competitors from forty countries will pitch up for the Games in Scotland. A hippodrome has been built in the shadow of Lochnagar, Prince Charles’ beloved mountain and haunt. A traditional yurt village has been constructed at nearby Braemar at the site where the Highland Gathering takes place in September every year.

The Games will feature such unorthodox disciplines and ethno-sports as hunting with golden eagles and throwing bones. The highlight will be the horse-riding competition, Kok-boru, a tradition which dates back to when men brandishing sticks on fire used to hunt animals that preyed on their livestock. Fire wards off evil spirits. As part of the Games programme, visitors to the Games in April are encouraged to rewild with reindeer, beavers, lynx and wolves in the Caledonian forests and on the Cairngorm mountains.

More fierce – if not fiery – competition will be evident in the stick wrestling, an event in which two competitors try to gain control of a small stick. The Scottish entrants are expected to excel at the caber tossing, and the Army teams from nearby Ballater are hot favourites to win both the tug-of-war and the polo competition.

The Royal Family is sponsoring a special game – riders on horseback will wrestle each other to capture a dead goat, then hurl the decapitated carcass into a goal. Within the grounds of Balmoral Castle, there will be concerts for spectators and visitors, processions, a nomadic cinema, stunts involving camels and yaks, husky racing, tent erection displays, Bedouin dancing, javelin throwing, rolling Easter eggs and face-painting.

The opening ceremony for Scotland’s World Nomad Games is at Crathie on April 1st 2017.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Dec 062016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

nikki-morris-laingAn initiative designed to help tourism businesses across the area attract more visitors has been launched by tourism body VisitAberdeenshire.

The ‘A Shared Story for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’ toolkit is supplied to businesses free of charge so that they can deliver consistent marketing messages to potential visitors in order to inspire them to come to the region.

The toolkit offers suggestions and tips on how businesses can use common themes, words and phrases, imagery and tone in their marketing materials.

It was developed following in-depth research and a series of industry discussions and workshops carried out by independent consultants, Blue Sail.

It is described as a ‘recipe book’ where businesses can follow the recipe word for word or can adapt the recipes to suit the ingredients they have. The toolkit, which contains some example imagery from the local area, will be further augmented by access to a photographic and video library. This will again be supplied free to businesses when it becomes available.

Blue Sail identifies the key features which are unique and special to the area as:

  • It is ‘true’ – a place which is authentic and real
  • Doric culture – everyday language and music in particular
  • The scale of the place – its landscapes and seascapes
  • Location and latitude – big skies, clarity and changing light
  • Long history – characterised by multitude of castles and royal associations as well as golf and whisky distilleries
  • A proud international city – unique architecture, with global connections
  • Importance of the natural world – the elements, wildlife and plant life

“The most successful tourism destinations have a simple story to tell,” says Nikki Morris-Laing (pictured), marketing director of VisitAberdeenshire.

“The ‘Shared Story’ toolkit gives a way of describing the area with a few simple themes and messages.

“It also uses third party endorsements of the area such as National Geographic describing The Cairngorms as ‘one of the last great places on earth’ and The Scotsman newspaper describing the city of Aberdeen as ‘one of the most architecturally distinctive in Europe’.

“It’s important that we identify and all work towards marking out our unique and special qualities to attract an increasing proportion of Scotland’s visitors to our region. We need to reposition our area in the minds of the travelling public so that they see beyond the ‘oil and gas capital of Europe’ nametag; our area is definitely worth visiting for its own sake and we all need to confidently portray this to potential visitors.”

The toolkit gives one over-arching story for the region and also shared stories for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and the Banffshire coast, Royal Deeside, castles, whisky, golf, festivals and events, food and drink, and outdoor activities.

Carol Benzie of Aberdeen International Airport says,

“The toolkit is an excellent resource for tourism businesses in the area. It gives everyone a clear direction for how we can all support the key messages being promoted by VisitAberdeenshire by focusing on what is unique and special. We will definitely be using the toolkit to help shape our marketing efforts in the future.”

Giving guidance on tone of voice, the toolkit recommends a conversational tone which is clear and direct; welcoming and approachable; and positive and confident. Businesses are encouraged to use the stories to inspire content in their marketing campaigns including in their websites, across social media platforms, leaflets and brochures and press releases.

Key focuses from the individual shared stories are:

  • Aberdeen – proximity to the sea, a special light, the city’s two old ‘towns’, off the tourist map
  • Aberdeenshire and Banffshire coast – a strong community feel, theme of people and place
  • Royal Deeside – feeling encircled and embraced, majestic scale and natural beauty, royal associations
  • Castles – range of types/settings, famous and inspirational, strong royal connections
  • Whisky – sense of place, bringing natural elements to life, off the tourist track
  • Golf – sense of drama and importance of links and parkland courses, space and light
  • Festivals and Events  – how names of festivals evoke wider themes of latitude, light, royal, coast, nature, culture and belonging
  • Food and Drink – big brand names, top quality, traditional to contemporary, alchemy of resourceful people and bountiful place
  • Outdoor activities – abundance of outdoor pursuits, quality of light and air, roam free in all seasons

VisitAberdeenshire, which was created from the merger of three previous destination management/marketing organisations VisitAberdeen, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership and Visit Royal Deeside, as well as the Aberdeen City & Shire Tourism Partnership, in April this year prioritised key segments of visitors. These segments, based on VisitScotland research, include natural advocates, engaged sightseers, curious travellers and business extenders.

Focus will be on those visitors who have direct access, including access by flight routes, from the UK, Norway, Germany and The Netherlands. 

VisitAberdeenshire is funded by Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, and Opportunity North East, with additional support from Scottish Enterprise. For further information or a copy of the toolkit, contact VisitAberdeenshire on 01224 900490, email info@visitabdn.com or visit www.visitabdn.com.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Oct 272016
 

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

Sir Edward Bradford

Crates of furniture, textiles and gifts are being unpacked at a Deeside castle this week, more than a century after the
owners’ forebears lost similar items when they were shipwrecked in the Mediterranean.

Kincardine Castle on Royal Deeside is being transformed into an Eastern bazaar as it welcomes Scottish home furnishing, textile and gift company The Nomads Tent.

The Edinburgh-based firm is holding a 10-day pop-up shop at the castle from Friday, 28 October.

Visitors to the Victorian property, four miles east of Aboyne, will be able to purchase a range of authentic items from the Orient.

Had a boat journey nearly 130 years ago turned out differently, those attending would have been able to see the modern objects for sale against a backdrop of Indian antiques.

On April, 17 1887, Sir Edward Bradford, the great-grandfather of the current owner of Kincardine Castle, Andrew Bradford, was onboard SS Tasmania along with his wife Elizabeth. The pair were returning to Britain with their possessions after two decades in India.

As SS Tasmania passed Corsica in the early hours it was caught in a fierce storm and struck a rock. The P&O steamship with 144 passengers and 161 crew onboard became stranded.

In the hours that followed, 35 passengers and crew, including the captain, would lose their lives. The vessel’s cargo and shipment of mail were also lost to the sea. The Bradfords escaped the wrecked steamer with their lives, but all their worldly goods amassed in India were consumed by the swell.

Sir Edward had served in the Indian Army before becoming the general superintendent of the Viceroy’s Secret Police in 1874. In 1878, he was appointed governor-general’s agent for Rajputana and chief commissioner of Ajmer, with special responsibility for relations with the Rajput Princes. Prior to their departure, the Bradfords were presented with many elaborate gifts by the Indian Princes, but within days all of these mementos would be gone.

Nicky Bradford of Kincardine Castle said:

“Sir Edward and Lady Elizabeth’s return from India is a remarkable tale. They were extremely lucky to escape from the wreckage of SS Tasmania with their lives, but there must have been great pain knowing that all of their possessions were gone. Many of these pieces would have been very ornate and a real testament to the craftsmen and women of the country at that time.”

Although the Indian furniture, textiles and souvenirs amassed by the Bradford family in the mid-19th century failed to reach Kincardine Castle, the Deeside residence will welcome modern day treasures from the Orient into its rooms until Sunday, 06 November.

As The Nomads Tent pitches up at Kincardine with an authentic range of Indian, Turkish, Vietnamese and Moroccan goods for sale, visitors will get the chance to see inside this private family residence free of charge. Sourced from markets and bazaars, the items include carpets, rugs, furniture, pottery, lanterns, Christmas decorations, scarves and jewellery.

Nicky Bradford added:

“The Nomads Tent is bringing a real taste of the Orient to Deeside with its fantastic array of textiles, pottery, homewares and gifts.  For 10 days this autumn, Kincardine will be awash with vibrant colours both inside and out. It will be wonderful to see the interior bedecked in Middle and Far Eastern objects and bring part of the Bradford family’s story full circle.

“Throughout the decades, Kincardine has come to life when it has been full of guests. Today is no different, and we’re really looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming guests into our home and sharing some of its fascinating history.”

Alongside the pop-up Eastern bazaar, tea, coffee and light lunches will be available in the castle each day during the event, while Kincardine’s monthly pop-up café with its more extensive lunch menu will take place on Friday, 04 November. Two half-day cookery classes, run by Kincardine Cookery, will also be held at the castle on Saturday, 05 and Sunday, 06 November.

The Nomads Tent Roadshow will take place at Kincardine Castle from Friday, 28 October until Sunday, 06 November, opening daily between 10:00am and 5:00pm, except on Sundays when it will open from 11:30am.

Kincardine Castle is the centrepiece of the 3,000-acre Kincardine Estate, which is owned and managed by Andrew and Nicky Bradford. The estate was bought in the 1880s by Andrew’s great-grandmother and the castle remains a private family residence. 

Built in 1894, the castle was designed by architects David Niven and Herbert Wigglesworth.

The building incorporates elements of five centuries of castle architecture in its design, starting with the 14th century style square keep tower. Kincardine Castle is available for hire for a range of events, including meetings, conferences, dinners and weddings. Sixteen bedrooms in the castle provide overnight accommodation for groups of six or more. For further information Kincardine Castle, visit www.kincardinecastle.com or telephone 01339 884225.

More about Sir Edward Bradford:

Born in 1836, Sir Edward Bradford saw active service with the Indian Army before becoming political assistant in West Malwa. 

In 1863, he was mauled by a tiger whilst hunting, which led to a roadside operation in which a surgeon removed his left arm at the shoulder. He continued to ride and whilst hunting he controlled his horse by holding its reins with his teeth. In 1866, he married Elizabeth Knight, the grand-niece of Jane Austen.

On returning to Britain in 1887, Sir Edward Bradford was appointed secretary of the Political and Secret Department of the India Office. He revisited India in 1889 to conduct a tour by Prince Albert Victor, the eldest son of the future King Edward VII. The following year he became chief commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, and during his 13 years in the role oversaw a reduction in crime levels in the capital and the introduction of the city’s first motor taxi.

Upon his retirement in 1903, and until 1910, he served as an extra equerry to King Edward VII and King George V. Sir Edward died in 1911.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Aug 262016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Visit Aberdeen, the new destination organisation that will market the city to both leisure and business visitors, has appointed a chief executive officer. Steve Harris will take up the job on 14 August, after moving from his current position as Head of UK Media Relations at Shell. Pictured Steve Harris (Photo Ross Johnston/Newsline Scotland)

Tourism body VisitAberdeenshire will cross the North Sea later this month in order to strengthen the north east’s connections with Scandinavia.
Representatives from the organisation will attend Offshore Northern Seas (ONS), a key energy industry event in Stavanger, Norway, from 29 August to 1 September.

Norway is Scotland’s seventh largest international market in terms of visits, spending around 430,000 nights in the country and contributing £68 million to the economy.

In addition to meeting with key Norwegian travel industry operators and media, VisitAberdeenshire has sponsored the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Pavilion which forms part of the conference’s evening festival entertainment in Vagen Harbour.

Open nightly from 5pm to 1am, the festival’s official after-party programme also includes concerts and fireworks displays, and allows delegates the chance to meet in an informal environment after attending the event’s conference, exhibition and technical sessions through the day.

Steve Harris, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“Norway has traditionally been a key market for both leisure and business visitors to the north east of Scotland, and VisitAberdeenshire is keen to strengthen these links.

“Despite the depressed nature of the oil and gas industry, it is still a key driver of business tourism in the north east of Scotland. Aberdeen and the surrounding area is still recognised as a global centre of excellence for the energy industry, and so it makes sense for international events related to the field to be held in the region. Throughout ONS we will be liaising with decision makers in the industry to attract new events to the north east of Scotland.”

Regular flights from Oslo, Stavanger and Bergen allow travellers to touch down in the north east after just over an hour’s flight time. This close proximity allows for great collaboration in both business and leisure tourism.

Steve continues,

“Attending events like ONS allows us to meet with key business and leisure contacts to increase awareness of everything Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer. Aberdeen is consistently one of the most popular destinations for Norwegian visitors, and in fact is the fourth most popular destination for Norwegian travellers in the whole of the UK.”

“New developments like the relocation of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will undoubtedly be a big talking point for those interested in bringing large conferences and events to the north east of Scotland. Many business visitors will also be interested in extending their stay in order to enjoy the area’s renowned golf offering.

“And the region also has a lot to offer leisure visitors. Lower shopping prices are incredibly attractive, as are the area’s amazing castles and whisky distilleries.

“With the area’s hotels more competitively priced than ever before, we firmly believe that there has never been a better time for Norwegian travellers to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and we look forward to spreading that message in Stavanger later this month.”

VisitAberdeenshire was launched in April 2016, and is supported by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Scottish Enterprise and Opportunity North East. For more information, please visit www.visitabdn.com

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Aug 182016
 

The countdown has begun to Deeside’s first ever speed hillclimb course on Sunday at the picturesque Kincardine Castle, Kincardine O’Neil.With thanks to James Parker.

2 D Type Jag Morag Yule with Car of the Day champayne (Tony Yule)130 hillclimb cars and bikes will take part, including the 1956 Ecurie Ecosse D-type Jaguar (which has just won Car of the Day at the Ballater Week parade) and motorcycling legend and 8 times Isle of Man TT winner Charlie Williams, on his 1974 Maxton Yamaha.

In all, 400 cars will participate.

A broad cross-section of over 60 static cars will be displayed, including a Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F50, and AC Le Mans Coupe, Colin Macrae’s MKII Ford Escort rally car, and the Charlie Bang slingshot dragster.

Tesla To Bring The Model X.

We heard from Tesla today that they will be bringing their Model X to their stand at RDSF!

The Model X will, for the first time, be north of Edinburgh and is the 1st Model X out on the road in Scotland.

Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history. It is, however, ludicrously fast, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in as quick as 3.2 seconds. With all-wheel drive and a 90 kWh battery providing 303 miles of range, Model X has ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear.

18 car clubs with 240 cars will be attending, representing Ferrari, Ford, MG, Aston Martin and Subaru, to name a few.

Tesla will have a special display of their Model S electric luxury cars. Park’s Motor Group of Hamilton head up an enviable array of trade stands with their McLaren, Maserati and Bentley, including McRae and Dick (Honda and Ford); Murray Motor Group (Lotus); Pentland Land Rover Elgin are coming, and also Shirlaws (Kawasaki and Triumph).

Passenger rides on our off-roading courses are to be recommended. The Flowline-sponsored Landrover Experience will offer a thrilling ride tacking the ‘The Rocky Road’, ‘The Toblerone” and “Willie’s Drop”, and a scenic ‘off-road safari’ will be run by the Buchan Off-road Drivers Club.

4 charlie williams 04 charlie NortonThe Clan BMX Stunt Team will be there to take centre stage with their death-defying stunt shows throughout the day, and our Festival Marketplace in the walled garden will showcase food, drink, crafts, beauty products and local businesses.

Kids can enjoy a climbing tower, carousels and bouncy castles.

The finale of our event will be the Westburn Finance Soapbox Derby allowing gravity (along with a few twists and jumps) to prove the thrilling does not necessarily mean engine-powered!

The Event supports the charities Children 1st and Help for Heroes.

Royal Deeside Speed Festival,
Sun 21 August 2016:  09:45am- 5:15pm

Kincardine Castle, Kincardine O’Neil,
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire AB34 5AE

Adult £15, Child £12.50, Family £50 (up to 3 children).

Advance sales via website or cash only tickets on the gate. Free parking.

For further information please visit our website www.rdsf.co.uk or follow us on Facebook (royaldeesidespeedfestival)

May 192016
 

Enthusiasts will be heading to Aberdeenshire this August for the inaugural Royal Deeside Speed Festival, to be thrilled by the largest gathering of rare supercars, exciting performance cars, motorbikes, and historic racing cars in the north east of Scotland.

Deeside Speedfest (3)

Kincardine Castle. Venue of the inaugural Royal Deeside Speed Festival

The Royal Deeside Speed Festival will take place at Kincardine Castle, 20 miles to the west of Aberdeen.
The event will be based around a demonstration speed hillclimb, and complemented by a range of high quality trade stands and motoring attractions. The Royal Deeside Speed Festival will follow the ethos of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.

The venue, an iconic Scottish castle in the heart of Royal Deeside, is home to Andrew and Nicky Bradford.

Situated in the pretty conservation village of Kincardine O’Neil and overlooking the banks of the River Dee, it is only 10mins from Banchory on the A93. The picturesque castle grounds will also play host to car clubs along with a local food, drink and craft festival.

As well as the motorsports action we will have family attractions, a climbing tower and kids’ funfair.  We will be supporting the charities Mission Motorsport, Help for Heroes and Children 1st.

However, the main focus of the day will be the fabulous and fast ‘West Drive’ – which will be converted into Deeside’s first speed hillclimb course, designed by Scottish hillclimb champion Roy Napier, and featuring a series of demonstration class runs throughout the day. And in another new twist, the West Drive will also play host to a Soap Box Derby – an event open to teams who wish to build their own Soap Box and race down the hill for glory!

Key attractions this year include Aberdeenshire’s charismatic race driver Chris Chilcott who will be bringing his 1962 Brabham BT2. It raced in 1962 at Goodwood and Monaco, driven by Jack Brabham and Frank Gardner, and took the class Silverstone lap record at 103mph. Also Charlie Williams, multiple TT-winning motorbike racing legend. With 21 TT podium finishes to his name, Charlie is bringing bikes.

Onsite, there will also be an adventurous off-road 4×4 course including the fearsom ‘Willie’s Drop’, courtesy of Land Rover Experience Scotland, offering passenger rides throughout the day, and The Clan BMX stunt team will entertain with their crazy extreme cycling show.

We have a large club stand field, along with a separate concours d’elegance area, both will surely delight the public and the owners alike.  A broad cross-section of fantastic cars, ranging from the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari F50, and Lamborghini Diablo through to the Shelby Cobra 286, 1969 wide-dash body Opal GT and Jaguar E-type Series 1 Roadster will be on show.  In total there will be over 50 static exhibits to marvel over.

Additionally, the Ferrari Owners’ Club, Ford Modern & Classic Scotland, Aberdeen MG Owners’ Club, Aston Martin OC, and the Scottish Subaru OC are just some of the clubs that have confirmed their attendance – with over 170 club cars now confirmed to be on display.

This could quite possibly be the most unique and exciting collection of vehicles ever brought together in Aberdeenshire, highlighting the diversity of classic, contemporary and interesting cars, street-legal or competition, which we have here in the north east of Scotland.

Amongst the many dealerships and trade-stands that we are excited to have attending the event, we are delighted to welcome back Park’s Motor Group of Hamilton who will be showcasing a collection of luxury and sports cars from McLaren, Maserati and Bentley.

Murray Motor Group will be displaying the Lotus range. We also welcome Pentland Land Rover Elgin who are excited to show off some fantastic Land Rovers, and Shirlaws of Aberdeen will provide two-wheel excitement from Kawasaki and Triumph.

Finally, in addition to the car related exhibitors, we are delighted to be able to use the event as a showcase for local producers of food, drink and crafts.  Deeside Brewery will be hosting a mini beer festival on the castle terrace alongside the castle’s own pop-up café, and the picturesque wall garden is the setting for a market of local produce.

Castle owner, Andrew Bradford writes:

“I first did ‘a ton’ on the drive when I was 15 in a friend’s MGC. A couple of years later I was the passenger in a V8 AC Cobra and clocked 115mph on the drive. For over 40 years that has been the unofficial speed record for our drive and I look forward to it being well-and-truly broken in August.

“We’re excited to be part of this major event which, quite possibly, will be the biggest crowd in Kincardine O’Neil since King Edward I of England arrived here on 2 August 1296 with 30,000 men-at-arms and 5,000 mail-clad knights”.

Royal Deeside Speed Festival,
Sun 21 August 2016:
09:45am- 5:15pm

Venue:
Kincardine Castle,
Kincardine O’Neil,
Aboyne,
Aberdeenshire AB34 5AE

Tickets:
Adult £15, Child £12.50, Family £50 (up to 3 children).
Advance sales via website or cash only tickets on the gate.
Free parking.

For further information please visit our website rdsf.co.uk or follow us on Facebook.

Apr 082016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

ABERDEEN ART GALLERY DRUM CASTLE

Griffin Coe, fine art curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery views Floorpiece, 1996 by Maureen Bell, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections

Four centuries of art – from 17th Century paintings  to contemporary DVD installations – have been unveiled at Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire in its latest venture with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

The contrasting exhibition called Northern Lights shines a light on key works on loan from the city gallery while it remains closed for refurbishment.

And it’s hoped that Northern Lights will contribute to another dazzling year for the National Trust for Scotland property which saw visitor numbers grow by a quarter after launching its gallery space last year.

Dr Alison Burke, property manager of Drum Castle, says:

“I am delighted that the partnership between Aberdeen Art Gallery and the National Trust for Scotland has resulted in a second exhibition at Drum Castle. It is an honour to welcome this fascinating exhibition that includes four centuries of art within the historic environment of Drum Castle.

“Last year we did exceptionally well and saw a 24% increase in visitor numbers which means an increase in our income to help us conserve the castle and the estate, but it’s also about more people coming to Drum and finding out about Aberdeenshire’s oldest castle.

“Many visitors said they felt closer to the art in a domestic setting; they felt they could get up close and personal with the works. Other feedback was they liked the juxtaposition of viewing a contemporary collection in an historic location.

“The 2016 exhibition includes some of the most iconic works of Aberdeen Art Gallery and is called Northern Lights, themed around light and I think there is something for everybody.

“From historic art, we move on to influential art from the 20th Century, iconic works by Turner, McIntosh, DVD installations and scultpture; Drum is helping play a part in keeping these iconic works accessible to the public while Aberdeen Art Gallery is being refurbished.”

There are more than 30 paintings, sculptures and digital video including a new addition to the collection, Watercolour by Elizabeth Blackadder and works by Joseph Farquharson, Joan Eardley, John Byrne, John Bellany, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and SJ Peploe and the challenging performance work, Gralloch by Henry Coombes.

ABERDEEN ART GALLERY DRUM CASTLE

Skull portrait at Drum

Its launch comes as some of the castle’s own important art is back in place after undergoing restoration.

The Irvine family were staunch supporters of the Stuart cause, and the Jacobite portrait painter Cosmo Alexander collection at Drum has undergone a refurbishment, revealing a fresh face of ‘The Hidden Laird’ who hid in the tower to evade Government forces.

Alexander Irvine of Drum fought alongside Bonnie Prince Charlie at the Battle of Culloden, retreating to the castle after the battle and was hidden in the secret room within the walls of the ancient Tower by his sister Mary Irvine for  three years.

Aberdeen Art Gallery is due to reopen following a major refurbishment in the winter of 2017 and has shared its collections with venues across city and shire to ensure the public can continue to enjoy the works.

Northern Lights showcases many of the Gallery’s iconic paintings in addition to challenging, cutting-edge pieces of the 21st century, side by said, says Olga Ferguson, fine art curator at Aberdeen Art Gallery.

“The overarching theme is Scottish art and artists but each room has its own theme,” says Olga.

“A breadth of art is shown, both works by Scottish artists and those with a Scottish connection, in a display where modern art mingles with earlier, traditional paintings. Each room has its own individual variation upon a theme, subject or style which offers a snapshot of the story of art in Scotland.

“There are 30 works of art and the contemporary pieces in particular contrast with what one would normally expect to find in a National Trust for Scotland castle.”

Deputy Leader of Aberdeen City Council Councillor Marie Boulton added:

“It’s wonderful that while Aberdeen Art Gallery is closed as part of a multi-million pound redevelopment we continue to offer a programme of art and music to residents and visitors to the city, and indeed across the UK and abroad.  By working in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland we are able to offer visitors to Drum Castle the opportunity to see a selection of some of our most popular artwork in a wonderful new setting.”

Last year’s collaboration, an exhibition entitled Human Presence, helped generate increased footfall, with the castle welcoming 33,500 visitors.

The new curated exhibition continues at Drum until March 31, 2017.

Drum Castle is located 10 miles west of Aberdeen off the A93. The castle is set in extensive grounds with walks, picnic area, an historic rose garden, adventure play area, tearoom and shop. Normal castle admission charges apply.

For further information call 01330 700 335 or visit http://www.nts.org.uk/property/drum-castle-garden-and-estate/

 

 

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

 

May 292015
 
Alison Burke stands before ‘Gallowgate Lard’ by Ken Currie

Alison Burke stands before ‘Gallowgate Lard’ by Ken Currie

With thanks to Esther Green.

As ancient buildings with intriguing pasts, castles have a reputation for being places where things go bump in the night and that raise unexpected goosebumps.
Visitors to Drum Castle at Drumoak could be forgiven for thinking they are coming face to face with a ghoulish spectre after an art display has brought a ghost-like presence to the historic venue.

The haunting image ‘Gallowgate Lard’ by Ken Currie is one of the significant pieces in the Aberdeenshire castle’s exhibition of key works on loan from Aberdeen Art Gallery, now closed for a £30m refurbishment.

It is one of 20 artworks loaned from the city gallery that form the opening display at the castle’s new exhibition area, which has seen an entire floor redeveloped to create a museum-standard exhibition space showcasing important artworks now and in years to come.

‘Human Presence’ explores how artists capture a human figurative presence where the approach may be aesthetic, witty, playful or sinister and brings mid to late 20th Century paintings and contemporary installation works to the historic setting.

Property manager Alison Burke says that artworks like ‘Gallowgate Lard’ look stunning in the castle environment.

She says:

“Drum is very much the people’s castle, and I don’t like to think of the castle as haunted as I work here in the evenings but there are sometimes some unexplained occurrences.

“Things like ladies’ laughter in the garden when there is no one there, servants’ bells suddenly ringing when there is no one upstairs, the temperature suddenly dropping in the green closet for no reason, but the oddest one was when I came in and found all the tankards had been swapped around on the dining room mantelpiece and categorically no one had been in the Castle from when I had closed it the night before.

“I am not a superstitious person and always look for the reasonable explanation, but that had me completely flummoxed!

“The nicest mysterious happening at Drum though, is when the fairy doors appeared all over the estate, and we think we caught a fairy on camera; a mysterious mist was photographed on our swallow-cam.

“Now that we have opened up the upper floor, we are curious to see if there are mysterious happenings up there as well!”

Drum Castle dates back to the 1300s and was the seat of the Irvines, a clan who supported the Stuarts during the Jacobite uprisings.

It became part of the National Trust for Scotland in 1975 and transforming the second floor manager’s accommodation into the gallery has opened up an area of the castle previously unseen by the public.

Other works on show include ‘Highly Sprung’ by Julia Douglas, a dress made from 12,000 clothes peg springs, and ‘Restraining Coat II (Female)’ by Julie Roberts, a painting which implies a human presence with no body in it.

Located 10 miles west of Aberdeen off the A93, Drum is set in extensive grounds with walks, picnic area, an historic rose garden, adventure play area, tearoom and shop. Normal castle admission charges apply.

More Info:

Drum Castle, Garden and Estate is owned and operated by the National Trust for Scotland and is one of more than 100 properties which the conservation charity promotes and conserves, for the benefit of the nation.

The building is part Jacobean mansion, with a 700 year old medieval tower attached. The castle has long connections with the Irvine family who maintain close links with the property and live nearby. It has a fine collection of art, music and provides a fascinating insight into the life of one of Aberdeenshire’s most historic families, their staff and a way of life which is now almost extinct. Drum also has extensive gardens, including a famous rose garden, woodland and walks.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.
Mar 192012
 

A proposal to build a road through woodland in Ellon has come under fire from a group set up to support the management of the area. The intended purpose of  road is to provide access for the development of 250 new homes. Those opposed to the plan believe the road is unnecessary, destructive, and in contravention of a Blench Charter. Friends of McDonald Park founder member Lynn Gilbert brings Voice readers the story.

The plan is being opposed by Friends of McDonald Park, a group set up by Aberdeenshire Council in 1990 when the Council bought the superiority of the Park from the charity Barnardos.
The aim of the group is to support the management of McDonald Park for the benefit of the community. We have done this by planting bulbs, trees and a hedge as well as regularly clearing litter from the ground and from the Modley Burn.

The Park was given to the Burgh of Ellon in 1928 by Sir James McDonald and is governed by a Blench Charter.

The terms of the Charter state that the Park should be used for recreational purposes only, that nothing should be done which is detrimental to the Park and that its area is not to be reduced in any way.

In 1996, we successfully opposed a plan by Aberdeenshire Council to use part of Caroline’s Well Wood, the east section of McDonald Park, as a bus park for Ellon Academy. On that occasion we raised the terms of the Blench Charter and an alternative solution was found without destroying any of the Park.

In 2010, builders Barratt East Scotland and Scotia Homes were given Council permission to construct 250 houses in Ellon’s Castle Meadows but it was only when marks appeared on trees in the east section of the Park, that it became apparent that the plan was to construct a road through it, from the development site to Golf Road. I made enquiries on behalf of the Friends and was told that the road had been approved by councillors.

In August 2011, the Friends were informed in a Council Estates Department letter that an S75 Legal Agreement for the application had still to be signed, and were asked for their views on the proposed access. The same letter stated that legal advice given to the Council was that:

“vehicular access must facilitate/improve public access to the park and cannot be granted purely to allow development”.

The Friends voiced total opposition to a road through the Park, stating that it would be in contravention of the Blench Charter since it would not improve public access to the Park, but was solely for the development. It would also involve the felling of a large number of mature trees in an area inhabited by red squirrels, bats and spring/early summer migrating birds.

It would seem that councillors were not satisfied with the legal opinion offered and they sought further advice several times from Sir Steven Stuart QC. This was given in a privately-heard report presented at a Formartine Area Committee (FAC) meeting on 6 December last year. It suggested that temporary construction access could possibly be granted, subject to a number of safeguards and agreements being in place.

  The Friends and many others have lodged objections to the planning application

On 17 January, a report to the FAC, again heard in private, proposed a temporary five year construction access which would become a pedestrian and cycle path once the five years had elapsed. This temporary access would be a tarred road with lighting and other services and which would involve the felling of at least 99 mature trees.

It would take a fifteen metre slice of the woodland at the Golf Road end, this increasing to nearer thirty metres at the top, a significant area of the Park.

It seems that when councillors first approved this access, they were not aware that they themselves were in fact Trustees of McDonald Park. It was in this capacity that councillors had to consider the application at their 28 February meeting, and as Trustees they rejected it.

This application is to be considered at a Planning meeting on Tues 20 March.

The Friends and many others have lodged objections to the planning application, and I have asked to speak at the meeting should it be heard there. Quite apart from the effect of this road on the woodland, a precious asset to Ellon, there is another matter to be considered.

Construction traffic using Golf Road would access the Park at the rear of Ellon Academy, an area used by a large number of Academy pupils and mothers with buggies walking into Ellon. There are two other access roads to the development, but some residents along these routes would rather see part of McDonald Park destroyed than have traffic pass their homes.

Interestingly, the site of this proposed access is given as ‘Castle Meadows’ on the planning application, when in fact it is McDonald Park. This makes it easy to overlook the reality of the situation.

Further info: Save McDonald’s Park Caroline’s Well Wood Ellon : Facebook Page
Image credit: Ian Jukes