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The theme of the festival at Drum Castle is ‘Digging It Down on Deeside’ and has been created by Drum’s Head Gardener Diana Robertson. Last year, Drum Castle was the first Scottish venue to take part in the ‘avant-garde’ gardening event.
Amongst the highlights are the Haiku Poetry trail, featuring poems by Echt and Drumoak primary schools, bee-keeping display and honey sales, and plant sculpture workshops led by celebrated willow weaver Helen Jackson.
And new for the 2016 festival is a display by the Embroiders’ Guild, a collection of floral couture, and miniature gardens inspired by Drum’s magical fairy door trail.
Diana Robertson, Head Gardener at Drum said: “This year we are inspiring the next generation of gardeners with some great fun activities, including wrapping the ancient Tower of Drum in a giant daisy chain, decorating the paving stones in the Garden of Historic Roses with chalk paintings, making origami boats for our pond garden and, my special favourite, bring your teddy bear to join with the castle teddy bears for afternoon tea.”
The weekend of the Chelsea Fringe is also a great opportunity for gardeners to ome and meet the professional team at Drum to learn more about gardening and pick up tips about what is hardy in this area or hints for growing vegetables at home. There will also be special weekend-only offers on plant sales, gardening books and garden salvage, as well as displays from local growers.
The Chelsea Fringe takes place from 11am - 4pm on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May. Tickets are £4 for adults and £2 for concessions. All admission income is being donated to Scotland’s Gardens Charities.
For more information visit www.nts.org.uk/Drum
Branklyn Garden in the heart of Perth, which has been described as ‘the finest two acre garden in the country’, is famed for its fabulous collection of the exotic bloom, boasting 5 species and 25 cultivars on site.
Meconopsis, or blue poppies, which originated in the high mountains of Tibet, south-west China, Bhutan, Sikkim, Burma, India and Nepal, were brought back to Britain by plant hunters in the early 20th century. They adapted readily to our Scottish climate and have thrived in the sheltered surroundings of Branklyn Garden, a collection built up over 18 years.
Visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the grounds with head gardener and horticultural expert Steve McNamara. The walks begin at 11am and 2pm, and visitors will be invited to enjoy refreshments on the patio.
Steve McNamara, Head Gardener said:
“We’ve a great display of the ‘big blues’ on show on Meconopsis Day, as well as some interesting purple hues and white varieties too.”
“The garden is lovely at this time of year - really worth a visit. We are also bursting with rhododendron, primula, and a fantastic rock garden. The list is endless. You must come and see for yourself.“
There will be expert advice available to visitors on cultivating these blue beauties as well as the opportunity to purchase some plants and seeds of your own.
Please book in advance for garden walks on 01738 625535. The garden and shop are open daily 10.00 – 17.00 (shop opening times may vary).
The pupils heaved as the rope tightened and the 18 foot saltire was caught in the wind and raised over the historic site.
Erected in 1870 by the Oddfellows of Dumbarton, the flagpole towers over the spot where Robert the Bruce raised his standard before the Battle of Bannockburn. The 1314 conflict was one of the key events in Scotland’s history and was a bloody and terrifying battle.
Property Manager Scott McMaster said:
“Visitors and locals love to see the flag flying proudly over Bannockburn and they need to be replaced regularly because of the impact of wind and weather. This isn’t a new thing – recent research shows that even back in Victorian and Edwardian times, custodians had to replace flags frequently.
“We usually go through around four flags each year and at £400 each, it’s a significant sum for our charity, especially when we add in maintenance costs too."
Bannockburn staff and volunteers have begun a fundraising campaign aimed at companies, clubs and organisations who might want to sponsor a saltire. Potential sponsors can contact Bannockburn2014@nts.org.uk. Donations are welcome too - text BBRN14 and the amount to 70070.
Opened in 2014, the Battle of Bannockburn experience is the first heritage centre in the world using Hollywood-calibre motion capture to immerse visitors in a realistic and historically accurate 3D medieval battle.
Since opening, the site has won a number of awards and accolades, including the prestigious ‘best visitor experience’ from the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions awards.
The Battle of Bannockburn experience was supported by the Scottish Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund. It’s open all year round, seven days a week – book tickets at www.battleofbannockburn.com.
Pietro Cecchini, Head of Travel Trade said:
"CIE Awards of Excellence are only awarded to those attractions which score customer satisfaction ratings of over 90%. It is especially impressive that this is the 4th consecutive year Inverewe has received the award, the 3rd for Crathes and 2nd for Culloden. Awards like these are important as they help the Travel Trade team sell our visitor attractions to UK and international audiences. Brian Stack, CIE's President and CEO has a very clear message – look after his clients, deliver 5-star customer service and he will keep bringing us his business. Conversely, the implications of failing to consistently deliver high standards are clear to one and all."
The 2016 award ceremony was held at Edinburgh Castle in April.
Elizabeth Crabill, Managing Director of CIE Tours International commented: “We anticipate that demand for our UK tours will grow considerably this year, demonstrating the significance and growing appeal of Britain’s heritage to visitors.”
“Our Awards are well recognised and hugely respected in Ireland,” continued Elizabeth Crabill, “and it is gratifying to see that the same has happened so quickly in the UK. The increase in the number of awards reflects how providers have embraced our quality focus and that overall quality levels are increasing, which is great for our customers and the overall industry. Our visitors from North America are accustomed to very high levels of service in hospitality and to achieve an above 90% rating from them is very meaningful.”
CIE Tours brought 12,000 visitors to the UK in 2015, accounting for 100,000 bed nights. The company is working with 200 tourism partners across the country.
Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSE PD) had opened up a second stage of consultation on its plans to construct the pylons as part of the Beauly-Blackhillock-Kintore Reinforcement Project.
The new consultation was necessary because of amendments made to the “preferred” route as was originally consulted upon in 2015.
The amended boundary would mean that pylons would be constructed in close proximity to Culloden Battlefield and the nearby 4,000 year-old Clava Cairns, Castle Fraser and Leith Hall.
In his 4 May letter to SSE PD, our Chief Executive, Simon Skinner wrote:
“Our own research has found that overhead powerlines are identified by both our members and the wider public as one of the most significant factors in degrading valued landscapes.
"It is therefore imperative that the careful siting and, where appropriate, undergrounding of power cables is followed.
"Without these protections, the enjoyment of our nationally and internationally valued landscapes will be damaged, with all the consequences that follow.
“It is unacceptable, for example, that in the case of Culloden, if this project goes ahead there will be no less than three large overhead lines passing through this glen within a mile or so of each other. This is not something we can support.”
The Trust was one of the original objectors to the Beauly to Denny power line and has since expressed concern about its impact on wild landscapes, moves to incorporate new infrastructure and to make the access tracks used for its construction permanent.
Speaking about the Trust’s concerns, Mr Skinner added:
“I completely understand that the country needs to upgrade its capacity to transmit electricity. What disappoints me with this scheme is that SSE seems to be coming up with the cheapest, least imaginative and most damaging options possible.
“Scotland is a country rich in history and natural heritage and these help define us internationally and sustain a significant part of our economy through tourism.
"SSE should not be putting forward proposals that jeopardise this.
“SSE made over half a billion pounds of profit last year, much of it coming from levies that have been applied to the energy bills of ordinary Scots.
"At the very least they have an obligation to minimise the impact of their proposals on the nation’s cherished places.”
You can raise your objection with SSE direct by writing to SSE PO Box 7506, Perth PH1 3QR
The 200 year old tower is currently completely covered in scaffolding to enable the £170,000 project to take place.
Funding has come from Historic Environment Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland’s Canadian Foundation and generous individual donors who contributed to the conservation charity’s call for support.
Masonry and Lime Ltd from Elgin will lead on the work, making repairs to masonry on the monument and boundary wall, replacing lime pointing as needed, renewing the roof, installing a more accessible hatch at the top of the monument and a new handrail to help visitors climb the 62 steps. The commemorative plaques will also be cleaned, repaired and re-lettered, and the landscaping repaired.
Property Manager Kirsteen Nielsen said:
“The Glenfinnan Monument is one of Scotland’s most photographed locations, and after 200 years in this exposed location, it’s in need of some TLC to make sure it still stands tall for generations to come.”
Surveys by the National Trust for Scotland show that the monument currently leans by about 260 millimetres to west. New equipment to aid the conservation charity in monitoring the movement of the tower is also being installed as part of the project.
Trust Surveyor Glyn Young said:
“We’re installing a new system to help us monitor movement of the monument more accurately. Laser survey points are being put in place at the top and bottom of the 18 metre structure, and fixed ground survey points are being put in place too with the agreement of our neighbour. This will mean that we can be confident that the information about the position of the tower is completely consistent, which makes it easier to spot patterns, telling us, for example, if the movement is linked to the seasons or to the water table.”
The project is expected to complete in early July.
The Glenfinnan Monument marks the beginning of the 1745 raising. On 19 August 1745, Charles Edward Stuart rallied the Highland Clans, raised his standard, and began a campaign that aimed to secure the Scottish throne for the exiled Stuarts – this ended in a bloody defeat less than a year later at Culloden.
The monument was built in 1815 by Alexander MacDonald of Glenaladale to honour his ancestors and the fallen Jacobites. For 200 years, tourists from all over the world have come to visit the monument, and enjoy the dramatic Highland view, and reflect on the events of the 18th century.
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.
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 31 March 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.
Titled Future/Past, the free exhibition will go on show to the public this week (from 9 April) and is hosted within St Ronan’s Wells Visitor Centre.
The exhibition gives a unique insight into the history of Robert Smail’s Printing Works over the past 150 years as told through items from their extensive archive of printed materials, personal records, belongings and old shop goods. It also has a fascinating photography element called “Images of Old and New Innerleithen” that contrasts views of the town and surrounding area taken over a century ago by Robert Cowan Smail (the middle son of Robert Smail) and local photographer Thomas Hughes Milner Colledge, with modern day equivalents photographed by the school children.
Robert Smail’s Printing Works has been operating on the same site in Innerleithen for 150 years and was run by three generations of the Smail family, before being taken over by the National Trust for Scotland in 1986. Relentless hoarding by the Smail family throughout their tenure led to the accumulation of a vast and unique archive of material. This includes copies of every single item printed at Smail’s being retained in special bound volumes called Guardbooks, resulting in an extensive and exceptional catalogue of printed work from the 1870s to the present day.
The Printing Works now operates as a combined visitor attraction and is the longest continually operational commercial letterpress printers in Scotland. The Future/Past exhibition, curated by Rachel Mays, Senior Assistant at Robert Smail’s, brings together never before seen items from the Printing Works’ archives and collections. The exhibition expands on the foundation of the Printing Works and the enterprises that ensured its survival for three generations. Themed displays include personal family records and belongings, photographs, items sold in the original shop, and a section devoted to ephemera (the minor transient documents from everyday life) produced for the local community. Amongst some of the rarest items on display will be Smail’s Peeblesshire Almanac, a publication from 1880 that was only discovered during a recent inventory project and books and photographs produced by Thomas Smail of Jedburgh, Robert’s older brother.
Rachel Mays, the exhibition curator said: “This exhibition is a great opportunity for Smail’s to celebrate its 150 years. Through three generations, two world wars, the rise and fall of the textile industry and all the many changes in communication, Smail’s has survived. When the property was acquired by the National Trust for Scotland in 1986, the conservation charity was astounded not only by the working Victorian equipment and presses, but by this vast and diverse archive piled on every shelf. The exhibition shows some of our really special and interesting pieces."
Future/Past does not only focus on Smail’s role in history but also showcases fascinating work from recent projects undertaken by the Printing Works. This includes the collaborative “Images of Old and New Innerleithen” photography project undertaken by primary 6 pupils from St Ronan’s Primary School with the Innerleithen Community Trust and Graham Riddell Photography.
The exhibition also features work by Smail’s first ever artist in residence, Theresa Easton. As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations Theresa, who is based in Newcastle, was given the unique opportunity to spend the last six months using the Printing Works’ archive as an inspiration for her work. She has designed and printed beautiful new works including Chapbooks - small booklets - and Broadsides – typographical prints. The final pieces have been inspired by stories that she discovered in old copies of The St Ronan's Standard, the weekly newspaper printed on Smail’s Wharfedale Reliance Press until 1916. The chapbooks include tales of famous suffragist, Ethel Moorhead, who visited Traquair House in disguise with the intent to cause disruption! The Broadsides touch on the story of Thomas Turnbull, a dyer from Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen, who was the first to use Wode and Indigo in the dying process. Other pieces of Theresa’s work are inspired by Tales from Smail’s which are snippets of conversations and oral histories that Theresa has gathered from Smail’s staff and customers, past and present and is a great chance to find out about people’s personal connections with the Printing Works
Rachel continued: “The collections at Smail’s continue to develop through our community outreach projects such as the Artist in Residence and Images of Old and New Innerleithen. We still have customers chapping the door to place their orders for ‘jobbing’ work and are continually adding to our collection of Guardbooks to create an archive for the future. Every aspect of community life, from huge industry to minor events, was recorded in some way in our archives and collections, and it is wonderful that we continue to do so today.”
The team at Robert Smail’s Printing Works is also keenly encouraging local people and visitors to view the Future/Past exhibition in conjunction with a tour of the Printing Works itself. The exhibition features many items from the not-so-distant past. Locals may remember some of the dances, concerts and events that the Smail’s printed tickets for!
Gen Harrison, Property Manager/Compositor at Robert Smail’s Printing Works concluded: ”Visiting Smail’s brings the technology and craft of letterpress printing to life and gives visitors the opportunity to see the old presses in action. The Future/Past exhibition shows the important role the Printing Works has played in the day-to-day life of local people over the last 150 years. In combination, the two offer not only an interesting and entertaining day out but also give an insight into the social history of this wonderful town.”
The Future/Past exhibition will be open from 9 April to 31 October, Monday – Friday 10 – 1 and then 2 – 5 and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 – 5. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of talks, workshops and outreach events. For more information on visit www.nts.org.uk?property?Robert-Smails-Printing-Works/Events.
Newhailes in Musselburgh will host a range of work by students, staff members and graduates from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). The show runs from 7 April - 30 October.
In partnership with National Trust Scotland (NTS), ECA artists have carefully researched the building and its history. They will draw inspiration from its colour palette, inscriptions, existing paintings and the lives of previous residents.
The Georgian estate has been carefully conserved by NTS, giving the impression it has been left untouched since it was a working house.
Sculpture student Rachel McLennan’s mirror-clad pyramids will be placed throughout the house to represent traditional hierarchies in stately homes.
A T. Rex skeleton created by Kenny Hunter, Director of the ECA Sculpture Programme, has been made in a deliberately unthreatening pose – its prehistoric menace diminished by extinction. Student Katie Strachan’s work gives the illusion that a colourful ball pit has spilled into the formal setting.
A number of artists have been inspired by people that once inhabited the historic building. Student Anna Vesaluoma’s decorative screen depicts scenes of servants working.
David Moore, ECA tutor, and artist Kate Davis were inspired by former Lady of the Manor, Christian Dalrymple. In 1792, she was one of the few women to inherit a whole estate in her own right, yet there are no known portraits of Miss Dalrymple. She allegedly thought herself unattractive. Only a silhouette survives.
David and Kate have created three life-size silhouettes of her and placed them around the house’s exterior to give the impression that Miss Dalrymple is gazing out at visitors.
Student Jessica Gasson’s artwork is also situated on the grounds. Her huge lawn stencil – drawn with paint used to line football fields – mirrors decorative patterns from inside Newhailes House.
Jo Edwardson’s yellow egg-shaped sculpture provides a flash of neon in the dressing room. Meanwhile, Keiran Mitchell’s piece plays with the idea of collecting in Newhailes’ now empty library – once home to one of the UK’s largest private book collection – which he has partially substituted with plants and bottles.
Further artworks on show include modern portraits painted on aluminium by student Lana Svirejeva and an interactive audio tour by recent ECA graduate, David Haslam.
Kenny Hunter, project manager and ECA Director of the Sculpture Programme, said: “I am delighted with the wide variety and high quality of work our students from the School of Art have produced. This productive partnership with National Trust for Scotland has given us the unique opportunity to create site-specific work within a remarkable space – left largely untouched since the family left. It’s highly decorative surfaces and fixtures are a complete contrast from the minimalist white cube setting we are used to working in.”
Mark McLean, National Trust Scotland Learning Officer, said: “This is a marvellous opportunity to show off our amazing property and to engage with our visitors in a completely fresh and creative way. The imaginative insights these artists have brought to Newhailes have allowed us reflect more fully on what we hold in trust for the people of Scotland. Newhailes was, from its inception, at the cutting edge of art and design and “working through art” with ECA has been a fascinating new chapter in that story.”
Allied Antagonists is open to view by guided tour at Newhailes House Thursday to Monday from 12.30-3.30pm every day from 7 April - 30 October, and seven days a week in July and August. Tours can be booked via the Newhailes House website or telephone: 0131 653 5599. Tickets are free for NTS members and between £9 and £12.50 for the general public.
We've shared our ‘manifesto’ with party candidates – A better Scotland, for all of Scotland – which is based on 85 years of experience in managing some of the nation’s most significant buildings and landscapes.
The National Trust for Scotland, which has more than 330,000 members and caters for over 2 million visitors each year, invited political parties and their candidates to find ways to:
Among the proposals in the manifesto are:
The National Trust for Scotland’s Head of Policy, Diarmid Hearns said:
“Almost exactly 85 years ago, when the first, practical steps were taken to establish a National Trust for Scotland, the vision was to enable permanent protection of important lands and buildings for the benefit of the nation.
“This was a far-reaching ideal, which has just as much resonance today as it did between the two world wars.
“However, we now know that places like those we care for can offer much more than simple enjoyment – they can have positive benefits for our economic, cultural and social wellbeing, as well as our health and fitness. That is why we are calling on all party political candidates to pay attention to these and consider innovative ways in which our rich heritage can be harnessed for the good of this and future generations.”
Read the full manifesto here.
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