With thanks to Aberdeenshire SNP.
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.
“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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