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The changes have seen the Trust streamlining its HQ functions, and moving to a four directorate structure which in turn supports six regional groupings of built heritage properties and one nationwide grouping of natural heritage properties.
More efficient ways of working complementing other sources of funding have enabled £17 million of investment to be set aside for investment in key properties, including Culzean, Newhailes and Brodie Castle.
The new appointees are:
Stuart takes on the very important responsibility of providing technical leadership and oversight to ensure that standards and best practice are applied across the Trust in relation to natural heritage. He will also take charge of obtaining external accreditation and advice, performance benchmarking and ensuring statutory compliance, as well as developing and maintaining Trust-wide conservation and management policies.
Stuart was previously the Director of Conservation with the Scottish Wildlife Trust before moving to the JMT. He is currently Chair of the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) UK National Committee.
A graduate in Zoology from Oxford, as well as having a MSc in Environmental Protection and Management from the University of Edinburgh, Dominic’s career has taken him from the Woodland Trust to the Forestry Commission, including a stint as a Social Policy Advisor in Edinburgh, before becoming the Head of Policy and Strategy for the Forestry Commission in England. Latterly he has been heading up part of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) transformation programme, based in London and Bristol.
General Managers for all six of the regional groups of Built Heritage properties have also been appointed:
• Iain Hawkins, who joined the Trust as General Manager, Aberdeenshire early in 2016, has been appointed as General Manager, North East Region
• Clea Warner is appointed as General Manager, North West. Clea began her career with the YHA before gaining a wealth of visitor and heritage attraction experience, firstly as manager of the world-famous Jorvik Viking Centre in York and then joining English Heritage with responsibility the Yorkshire Moors and coast area. Her most recent role is to be the English Heritage’s Area Manager for 22 historic properties in Yorkshire and the South Lakes.
• Linda Wigley is appointed as General Manager, Edinburgh & East. Linda began her career as a Curator for the Science Museum in London, undertaking a number of other heritage roles before moving to New Zealand, where she worked at Director-level in a number of high-profile museums and heritage attractions. Her most recent post is as a General Manager for the National Trust, overseeing Tredegar House in Wales and a £12 million capital improvement programme.
• Richard Williams will be General Manager, Glasgow & West. A Cambridge graduate, Richard had a varied career in publishing, travel and management, including running a travel company and hotel in France. He has been with the National Trust since 2010 fulfilling Property Manager and General Manager roles and has spent the last two years delivering transformational change programmes.
• Stuart Maxwell will be General Manager, Ayrshire & Arran. Stuart’s career background is in the hotel sector, starting at the operational front line before moving into senior management of high-profile hotels across the UK. His most recent position is as Regional General Manager for MacDonald Hotels.
• Richard Polley, currently the NTS Property Manager of Threave Garden and Estate becomes the General Manager, Dumfries & Galloway.
Patrick Duffy, the National Trust for Scotland’s Chief Operating Officer said:
“We are delighted to be bringing such a wealth of talent and experience into the National Trust for Scotland.
“Together, these new appointees create the talent pool we need if we are to take forward the Trust and ensure we meet the ambitious objectives we have set. We aim to increase our visitor numbers significantly over the next few years, at the same time as investing and generating new investment that will allow us to fund major conservation and infrastructure improvements in the iconic properties we care for.
“This is a major step-change for the Trust and it is wonderful that people with such amazing backgrounds share our vision and enthusiasm.”
The National Trust for Scotland carries out yearly monitoring of the archipelago’s bird population. Across the seven monitoring sites this season there was just one kittiwake nest, and one chick hatched – which later died.
Now the heritage and conservation charity fears that it is witnessing the decline of the Atlantic’s most significant seabird sanctuary. After a century of growth, populations are rapidly falling. As well as kittiwakes, the populations of fulmars, guillemots, puffins and razorbills are also threatened.
Dr Richard Luxmoore, Senior Nature Conservation Adviser at the Trust said the decline signalled ongoing changes in the marine environment, particularly the plankton that are vital to the marine food chain.
“Seabirds are essentially part of the marine ecosystem. Although they breed on land they spend most of their life out at sea and they can tell us a lot about its health,” he said.
“In the last 30 years plankton communities have shifted northward by 1000 kilometres, more than the distance from Edinburgh to Paris, and it’s having huge impact. If vegetation shifted by a similar distance there would be pandemonium, but because it’s happening in the sea we tend not to notice.”
This year’s seabird survey recorded significant declines across most species. To highlight the issue, the Trust has produced a film about its work on St Kilda, which explores the complex factors affecting seabird numbers, including predation from great skuas, or bonxies.
Seven of the seabird species found on St Kilda are geographically significant and four of them - the northern gannet, Atlantic puffin, great skua and Leach’s storm-petrel – are important on a world-wide scale. Monitoring looks at breeding abundance as well as breeding success. The first shows more gradual changes to an overall population while the seasonal success - or not - of fledglings can indicate short-term fluctuations.
Dr Luxmoore added:
“The message that seabirds are bringing back to us about the marine ecosystem is extremely worrying. We used to think that the tiny organisms in plankton were quite immune to climate change. But their shift in range combines with decreased abundance of up to 70 per cent, so it’s not surprising that the seabirds that depend on this are being left high and dry.”
“If the inhabitants of St Kilda were to come back now nearly 90 years after their evacuation and see the cliffs that were once teeming with seabirds now almost empty, they would be horrified to see what has happened on the island where they once lived.”
View the film, “St Kilda – Facing the Change” - https://vimeo.com/183845187/9315a431fb
The Trust operates a dedicated fundraising appeal, called ‘Love our Islands’, to support important conservation and ecological work on St Kilda and in the longer to term to help support the island and coastal places and communities in its care - www.nts.org.uk/loveourislands.
As well as carrying out wildlife conservation duties, the Trust works to preserve manmade dwellings including the iconic street, the church and Factor’s house along with hundreds of cleits (conical stone structures used for storage and drying of seabirds), enclosures and miles of drystane walling, as well as the enigmatic buildings in Gleann Mor.
Enjoy the palace’s pretty gardens illuminated in seasonal twinkling lights for an evening stroll on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December – a magical way to experience this historic setting.
There will be plenty of opportunity to find stocking fillers at a market bringing together some of the area’s top artisan giftmakers. Foodie fans will enjoy the selection of nibbles.
Event organiser Naomi Webster said:
“Falkland Palace is a magical place at Christmas and we can’t wait to share this special event with families from all over Fife.”
Advance booking is essential – visit www.nts.org.uk for tickets and pricing.
Falkland Palace was a favourite palace of Mary, Queen of Scots, as the Renaissance design reminded her of the chateaux she lived in as a child. The original and reconstructed rooms are packed with 17th-century Flemish tapestries, elaborate painted ceilings and antique furnishings.
The beautiful, tranquil grounds are an attraction in themselves, and along with the UK’s first tennis court and the extensive Percy Cane gardens include ruins of the 12th century castle of Falkland, and an ancient orchard with a wild flower meadow.
The musician had been hosting an afternoon of tea and chat at the Tower Digital Arts Centre in Helensburgh, and afterwards was shown round the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed house on a special tour.
The charity, which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, has even created a Christmas hub on the historic Fife estate for families seeking festive inspiration. The Foresters Cottage will be full of gorgeous gifts and delicious treats, plus the Tarvit team will be on hand for all sorts of festive demonstrations.
For those searching for stocking fillers, the Christmas Craft Fair takes place on 3 + 4 December, and Santa will be making an appearance too.
And on 10 and 17 December, there will be Christmas craft sessions for kids looking to create their own gifts, cards and decorations.
The skilled team will also be leading a workshop in the art of wreath making, using foliage found around the beautiful Fife estate on 18 December.
Events and hospitality manager Karl Morgan said:
“Christmas at Hill of Tarvit is shaping up to be a real cracker. We’ve got special events for all ages and we’re really hoping that families will grab Christmas by the antlers with the National Trust for Scotland this winter.”
Advance booking is essential. For tickets and more information visit www.nts.org.uk.
Site managers, the National Trust for Scotland, who are the charity which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, have organised for elves to visit. They will share important insights into how to develop the skills needed to grab Christmas by the antlers, including present-delivery skills, card design and making an elf hat.
Elf and Safety runs on 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 December.
This survivor of old Edinburgh’s rural hinterland originally dates to the 1680s and in 1709 the estate was purchased by the powerful and influential Dalrymple dynasty in the form of Sir David, 1st Baronet of Hailes, who served as Scotland’s Solicitor General and Lord Advocate.
In the decades that followed Newhailes House came to be seen as one of Scotland’s most beautiful Palladian-style country houses set among extensive and gorgeously landscaped grounds.
It was claimed that Dr Samuel Johnston described Newhailes’ library as “the most learned drawing room in Europe” and it became a centre of attraction for many figures involved in the Scottish Enlightenment and a location for many fevered conversations on society, politics, economics, art and science that helped shape the world as we know it today.
The National Trust for Scotland took possession of Newhailes in 1997 and the new investment represents the first phase of a programme of development, entitled The Newhailes Revival, that will ultimately restore and re-interpret major portions of the landscape and the house itself and provide exciting new features and facilities for visitors.
The first £2.4 million of investment, which will be divided between £1.48 million to be spent on conservation and landscape enhancement and £972,000 on commercial and visitor services improvements, will deliver:
Restoration of the Ha Ha (a feature barrier which nevertheless preserves uninterrupted views of the landscape)
Restoration of the historic Doocot to include new interpretation aimed at families, along with landscaping that will provide visitor amenities and catering facilities
Creation of an extensive Doocot Village play area specially designed for younger children and themed on the Newhailes story
Re-instatement of the Flower Garden walls to restore the ‘D’ for Dalrymple shape around the planting area
Planting out of a volunteer-led community ‘growing space’ within the Walled Kitchen Garden, which will enable local groups to grow fruit and vegetables
New interpretation within the tunnel by which servants moved to and from the house
Bringing the curling pool back to use with an all-year synthetic rink
A new visitor reception and café themed on the Enlightenment along with an outdoor space within the courtyard
Office space to provide an HQ for the Trust’s newly created Edinburgh and East Region.
The National Trust for Scotland’s Chief Operating Officer, Patrick Duffy said:
“Newhailes is to be one of the first ‘priority projects’ to be taken forward by the Trust and deservedly so.
“Our ambition is to do nothing less than reawaken Newhailes and return it to the elegance and excitement of its Enlightenment heyday.
“These first steps will provide the means to attract many more visitors to see what was once one of the great cultural and intellectual hotspots – but in ways that are innovative, engaging, accessible and enjoyable.
“The estate represents one of the original pleasure grounds and the combination of parkland, natural beauty, formal gardens, historic buildings and play is a potent one which will be especially appealing to families.
“In the longer term we aim to secure further funding to create new routes through the estate, re-plant and complete the restoration of the Flower Garden and ultimately restore, re-present and re-interpret Newhailes House itself.”
Tucked away on the island of Arran in Brodick Castle is a collection that gives a unique insight into the social and private lives of one of Scotland’s leading noble families.
From the fifteenth century to the twentieth, the Hamilton family was central to the cultural and political life of Scotland. They were Scotland’s foremost noble family and claimants to the Scottish throne and amassed what has been described as the greatest collection of fine and decorative art in the history of Scotland.
Now owned and cared for by conservation charity, the National Trust for Scotland, Brodick Castle is home to part of their once vast holdings and today (23 November) that collection has been Recognised as Nationally Significant to Scotland. The award is made by Museums Galleries Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. This announcement brings the total of Recognised Collections in Scotland to 47.
The Recognition Scheme ensures that Scotland’s most important collections are identified, cared for and promoted to wider audiences. The award also opens up access for Brodick Castle to apply for Recognition funding from Museums Galleries Scotland to improve how people experience and engage with the collection.
Ray Macfarlane, Chair of Museums Galleries Scotland’s Recognition Committee, said:
“Scotland’s 47 Recognised Collections cover a fascinating range of topics and highlight the incredible diversity and uniqueness of what lies inside museums and galleries dotted in towns and cities all across Scotland.”
“I am delighted that the collection of Brodick Castle cared for by National Trust for Scotland has joined this list of our must see collections. The quality of the collection is truly remarkable. Without a doubt this is one of Scotland’s gems.”
The honour was awarded at a special event today in the castle, where National Trust for Scotland Chief Executive Simon Skinner also shared the charity’s plans for Brodick Castle and Country Park over the next few years. Identified as one of the Trust’s priority properties, there will be an investment of £2.6 million as a programme of works to better protect this important collection gets underway, along with plans to provide exciting new visitor facilities around the wider estate.
Chief Executive Simon Skinner said:
“We are delighted that the collection at Brodick Castle has received this important recognition for its wonderful collection and important place in Scotland’s heritage. The Trust has long realised the significance of what we care for here on Arran, for its heritage value, for its importance in the history of the island and Scotland as a whole and as a destination for visitors from near and far. That is why we are investing to ensure that the important collections here are better protected for future generations. Out in the grounds there will be much more for visitors to explore and enjoy, helping to put Brodick back on the map as one of Arran’s heritage treasures.”
Work to make extensive fire protection improvements begin at Brodick Castle in the next few weeks. The castle will re-open in Spring 2018.
Out in the country park, a series of themed interpretive trails will lead visitors on adventures from formal gardens through to wild woodlands, with sensory installations throughout. A new adventure play experience which takes its inspiration from Arran’s rich natural heritage is due to open in 2017.
The historic estate, which is cared for by the charity which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, will be leading visitors on a magical journey inspired by Christmases of old as part of its Magical Castle: A Christmas Dream which runs on 4, 11, and 18 December. With fairies, spells and a beautiful ball, it is sure to have Ayrshire families grabbing Christmas by the antlers.
For those searching for stocking fillers, the Acorn Craft Fair takes place on 4 + 11 December, and there is a fantastic farmer’s market on 3 + 11 December too.
Event organiser Hannah Teasdale said:
“Christmas at Culzean Castle is shaping up to be a real cracker. We’ve got magical events for all ages and we’re really hoping that families will grab Christmas by the antlers with the National Trust for Scotland this winter.”
Advance booking is essential for most events. For tickets and more information visit www.nts.org.uk.
The National Trust for Scotland is investing £2.5 million at Culzean Castle and Country Park to:
improve visitor facilities,
expand its trail network,
introduce a transport system,
reinstate the historic designed landscape
enable Fountain Court to host large-scale events and concerts once again
create a hi-level play area for visitors aged 9 and up
improve parking and access around the estate.
The historic estate, which is cared for by the charity which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, will have Santa, elves, and for the first time ever, Mrs Claus popping in to help Aberdeenshire families grab Christmas by the antlers.
But first, there are stockings to be filled at the Exclusively Highland Christmas Fair on 26 and 27 November. The castle will be filled with fine food, crafts and gifts that the north of Scotland has to offer. Entry costs £3.
On 9 December, the Great Hall will be filled with festive sounds of carols at the Deck the Halls Christmas Concert.
Santa is stopping by for the already sold out Giant Gingerbread Party on 10 and 11 December, but there is no need for disappointment, Mrs Claus will be making her Castle Fraser debut to host a special party.
Mrs Claus, whose is a long-established residency at the charity’s Pollok House in Glasgow is a much loved Christmas tradition, will be venturing north for a special party weekend, on 10 and 11 December. Aimed at younger children (aged 3 and up) there will be games, crafts and the chance to track down Edmund the Elf.
Event organiser Hannah Beedie said:
“Christmas at Castle Fraser is shaping up to be a real cracker. We’ve got magical events for all ages and we’re really hoping that Aberdeenshire families will grab Christmas by the antlers with the National Trust for Scotland this winter.”
The charity, which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage, has fairies, elves, reindeer parades, visits from Santa and Mrs Claus and even owls lined up to help families grab Christmas by the antlers.
Events take place all over Scotland throughout December. Amongst the highlights are:
Christmas Wonderland, Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire Sat 3 & Sun 4 Dec, 10.30am - 4pmThe castle has been transformed into Santa's workshop, see Santa and his reindeer on parade, pop into Mrs Claus' Christmas kitchen and try your hand at Christmas pudding skittles on the croquet lawn.
The Magical Castle – A Christmas Dream, Culzean Castle and Country Park, Ayrshire
Sunday 4, 11 & 18 Dec, 10.30am - 4pm (timed tickets)The family are preparing for a Victorian Christmas. Carols are being sung, servants are preparing tasty treats and the halls have been decked! Follow the Earls son as he sleep walks through magical lands. If you find the faeries cure and wake him up, you're invited to the family's fabulous Christmas ball too! Tickets also include a trip to see Santa in is Grotto.
Hollyfest , Drum Castle, Aberdeenshire
Sat 3, Sun 4, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Dec, 11am - 4pmBack for its 22nd year - Holly Fest is a special time at Drum. Join us for an indoor market, elves toy factory, driver friendly mulled wine, pop up music, see the castle decorated for Christmas and pick up one of Drum's signature holly wreaths.
Midwinter Lights & Festive Market, Falkland Palace, Fife
Sat 17 & Sun 18 Dec, 4 - 8.30pm (timed tickets)Brighten up your dark winter nights with a stroll around the formal gardens at Falkland Palace. Our gorgeous lighting display illuminates as the evenings draw in. Stockings can be filled with artisan gifts and nibbles at our Festive Market.
Return of the Reindeer, Holmwood, Glasgow
Sat 3, Sun 4, Sat 10 & Sun 11 Dec, 11am - 4pmSanta and his reindeer are returning for Christmas 2016. Come along to Holmwood to meet Santa and find out if you made the 'nice' list and then meet real reindeer. Shop for gifts in and enjoy some warming festive treats.
Winter Holly Days & Santa, Newhailes, Musselburgh
Sat 10, Sun 11, Sat 17 & Sun 18 Dec, 11am - 4pmCelebrate the Winter Holly Days at Newhailes. Visit Santa in his grotto. There will be music in the courtyard, delicious seasonal treats in the café, gift ideas in the shop, wreath-making workshops to enjoy and more. Entry to the courtyard is free, fees apply for some activities.
Mrs Claus, Pollok House, GlasgowSat 3 – Sat 24 Dec, 11am - 4pm (timed tickets)Take the children to meet Mrs Claus at Pollok House this Christmas. The house will be decorated for Christmas and all good children will receive a special gift from Mrs Claus in her cosy festive room.
Jingle Owl the Way, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Ayrshire
Sat 10 & Sun 11 Dec, 10am - 4pm (timed tickets)Write a Christmas letter with a quill with the help of Santa’s elves and meet the snowy owl who will take it to the North Pole. Meet Santa in Burns Cottage and receive a Christmas gift. There will be snacks for little people AND big people plus a Craft Fair on Saturday and a Farmers Market on Sunday.
Booking is essential for all events – please visit www.nts.org.uk for the full festive programme, prices and booking information.
A full range of Christmas gifts, including gift membership is also available online at www.nts.org.uk.
Orange ladybirds can usually be found in the sycamore trees that line the Broad Walk at Castle Fraser but this is the first year that they have been seen in such abundant numbers.
Wildlife experts from the charity which conserves and promotes Scotland’s heritage say that the find could be due to plentiful food supplies this summer. But, could it herald a mild winter ahead?
National Trust for Scotland ranger, Toni Watt said:
“We first noticed the ladybirds several years ago while carrying out tree safety inspections and have since looked for them every year.
“They seem to prefer certain sycamore trees along the main drive, some of the old ones with good ridges and crevices in the bark for the ladybirds to shelter underneath.
“This particular sycamore tree is always a favourite for some reason. Knowing it is a good tree I do keep a look out for the ladybirds but have never seen numbers like this before.
“Sycamore and ash are the favoured hosts of the orange ladybird and this is thought to be contributing to the insects becoming more common across the UK.
“They feed on the powdery white mildews growing on the leaves of deciduous trees, so the increased population could mean that this has been a particularly good year for their favoured food.
“But, the proportion of orange ladybirds overwintering up in the trees can apparently correlate to winter temperature - so do the ladybirds know what the coming winter is going to be like? It will be interesting to see whether they stay put in the trees, or move to leaf litter as they do in harsh winters.”
The sycamore avenue at Castle Fraser is known as the Broad Walk and appears on all maps and plans from the Roy map in 1750 onwards. Some of the trees are almost 200 years old.
Castle Fraser is an atmospheric baronial castle dating back to the 15th century and was the ancestral home of the Fraser family. As you venture through the castle and up to the round tower, with its panoramic views of the gardens and estate beyond, you get a sense of life from the medieval to the Victorian period.
Highlights include the Great Hall dating back centuries, a library filled with a treasure trove of antique books. Outside, explore the secret woodland garden, the walled garden and estate trails.
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