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Banffshire Coast News

Coastal Fringe Festival 2017 starts today
May 26th 2017

The Coastal Fringe Festival starts today in Banff and Macduff and runs until Sunday.

The festival is a number of events by different organisations at a number of different venues around the towns of Banff and Macduff including the Banff Marina 10th Anniversary Gala.

 

  • art exhibitions
  • artists master classes
  • walking the Marches
  • various art activities
  • craft activities
  • circus skills workshop
  • launch of local heritage trail
  • local carnival
  • vintage fair
  • band performances
  • sailing gala
  • cycle challenges
  • heritage games.

View/download the programme at https://www.visitabdn.com/assets/Uploads/170420-Coastal-Fringe-guide-revH-non-folding2.pdf

 

New Book: Cullykhan, Troup Castle and Fort Fiddes
May 16th 2017

For the first time, the full history of Fort Fiddes, and Captain Fiddes who built it, is set out in a book. Previously unpublished documents from local and national archives bring to light Francis Garden of Troup’s role in the project.

This is the story of Cullykhan, a windswept headland on the scenic Moray Firth coast, its ruined medieval castle and Fort Fiddes, the last fortification built there.

The headland lies to the east of Troup Head, near the boundary between the historic counties of Banffshire and Aberdeenshire. To the east of the headland is a beautiful sheltered bay, also called Cullykhan.

This new, extensively illustrated book, published by the Banffshire Field Club, examines the history of the people who lived in the castle. It describes the landscape and recounts what is known from early maps and journals and includes new work on the place names in the immediate area. The history starts with the earliest known written references to the lands of Troup, dating from the 12th century. The main focus of the book is on the castle from about 1300 to 1600, and two families who lived there: the de Trops and the Keiths.

Alex McKay is a native of Banffshire, brought up in Sandend. While a pupil at Banff Academy he took part in excavations at Cullykhan and developed a lifelong interest in archaeology and history. After a career in teaching and educational management, he is now retired and lives in Scone. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and a member of numerous local and national historical and cultural societies. 

You can pre-order a copy by emailing amcksing65@gmail.com

 

Inaugural 5km run announced for Turriff
May 15th 2017

The inaugural Turriff 5Km RUN takes place on Sunday 28th May at the Haughs in Turriff With a view to establishing interest in ParkRun in Turriff.

Arrive 10am – 10.30am at Turriff Sports Centre for route information and event briefing. Race will start at 11am

Age 14 years and over

FREE ENTRY – Donations going to The Haughs Development Group

Please register with – amanda.fullwood@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

 

 

Whisky Galore! - See the Aberdeenshire coast on the big screen!
May 12th 2017

Whisky Galore!

See the Aberdeenshire coast on the big screen!

Whisky Galore! has hit UK & U.S. cinemas! We’re extra excited about its release because it was filmed in two of our naturally beautiful and unspoilt coastal villages, Portsoy and Pennan in Aberdeenshire.

Written by Scottish novelist Compton Mackenzie in 1947, Whisky Galore! has become a film favourite over the years and this new release brings back all the splendour of the classic novel. The film, based on true events, depicts the story of an 8,000 ton cargo ship, the ‘SS Politician’, ran aground off the island of Eriskay during gale force winds. At a time of war rationing, the beaching of this ship sends islanders wild, running rings to hide away cases of precious whisky.

The all-star cast includes Eddie Izzard, Naomi Battrick, George Fisher, Kevin Guthrie and James Cosmo.

Read more at http://bit.ly/2q3Lgoj

FRASERBURGH SUPER Saturdays are back with a programme of events bursting at the seams.
May 4th 2017

The community-led event will kick off for the year on May 13th with a star studded line-up including well-known children’s entertainer Artie Trezise.

The founding member of The Singing Kettle will perform his solo show Artie’s Tartan Tales in the town’s Old Parish Church at two performances on the afternoon of Super Saturdays.

Free tickets for the shows at 1pm and 2.30pm will be available at the event.

Fraserburgh’s Super Saturdays will also be welcoming well-known food blogger, Claire Jessiman aka The Foodie Quine to the event where she will be sampling local produce and speaking to stallholders and Broch businesses.

Organisers have a jam packed programme of events in store for locals and visitors including performances by the Tribal Mutiny Belly Dancers, singing duo Killer Heels and music performed by the Broch Drama Group.

Fraserburgh Rotary Club will be on hand in the Tasting Gazebo providing food samples donated by local businesses. The Rotary club will also be putting on 2 cookery demonstration with a healthy living theme.

Local children are also being invited to take part in the fun by dressing up in their favourite fancy dress costumes and taking part in Fraserburgh Super Saturday’s fancy dress parade. There will be a fantastic prize for the winning entry.

Co-ordinator Leona Findlay said: “We are all very excited for the re-launch of Fraserburgh Super Saturdays as we’ve lots of new and exciting things planned for the year ahead. The first event is themed ‘Fraserburgh Celebrates’ and we want to showcase all the great things that Fraserburgh has to offer locals and visitors. The programme for May is a packed one and there is something for everyone to enjoy. Star Wars fans won’t be disappointed either when they come along to Super Saturdays in May as we have a wee surprise up our sleeves for them too.

“We have more than 40 stallholders coming along selling hot and cold food and drinks, crafts, books, babywear and gift ideas. It’s going to be a fantastic day. We’re also welcoming along many new stallholders including Aberdeen Tapas who will be dishing up some Spanish cuisine and also a pizza van serving freshly made pizza. We are delighted that Devenick Dairy will also be returning to the event in May.”

As well as many stalls, the event will also feature inflatables, a kids shack with plenty to entertain the youngsters, a balloon man, charities and groups promoting and fundraising for their cause.

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays will take place on May 13th from 10-3.30pm at Saltoun Square/Broad Street.

Super Saturdays 2017 events will take place on June 10th, July 8th, August 12th, September 9th and December 9th.

 

Plans for this year’s Fraserburgh Super Saturdays are well under way with lots of new and exciting attractions in store for visitors
Apr 10th 2017

Plans for this year’s Fraserburgh Super Saturdays are well under way with lots of new and exciting attractions in store for visitors.

The first Super Saturdays event of the year will take place on 13th May with the theme being ‘Fraserburgh Celebrates’ and will showcase local entertainers Tribal Mutiny Belly Dancers, Fraserburgh singers Killer Heels and musical entertainers The Broch Drama Group.

Well-known children’s entertainer – Artie Trezise, co-founder and performer with the legendary Singing Kettle, will be entertaining the young and old with songs and stories from his new solo show Artie’s Tartan Tales.

Artie will perform two shows on the day in the Old Parish Church.

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays first event of the year will also feature a wealth of local stallholders selling hot and cold food, gift ideas for the home and garden, sweet treats, crafts plus much more.

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays coordinator, Leona Findlay said: “We are kicking off the year with a fun-packed programme which will have something to entertain everyone. We are delighted to welcome Artie to the Super Saturday’s and we’re sure he is going to be a huge attraction with everyone. The Old Parish Church has kindly allowed us to use the church as the venue for the show so it’s great that the church is getting involved with our community-led event.

“We are looking forward to welcoming back many popular stallholders this year but are also excited to welcome some new stallholders along too. We have a few surprises in store for visitors to the Super Saturdays in May which I’m sure they won’t want to miss – especially Star Wars fans.”

Premier Inflatables will also be attending Super Saturdays throughout the year with bouncy castles and slides.

Fraserburgh Super Saturday’s is a series of themed outdoor street markets aimed at encouraging families to spend the day in Fraserburgh town centre supporting local businesses, stallholders, clubs and charities.

The event is a partnership project involving the local community, Aberdeenshire Council and Fraserburgh Development Trust and was initially set up in 2013 to increase the footfall in the town centre in a bid to help the local businesses to thrive.

Following the initial pilot scheme of four events held in 2013, the community project secured funding from Fraserburgh Regeneration Strategy Group for a programme of events to deliver six themed events each year.

Super Saturdays takes place on Saltoun Square from 10am until 3.30pm. This year’s events will be held on May 13th, June 10th, July 8th, August 12th, September 9th and December 9th. 

Works of influential Scottish artist to go on show at Duff House
Apr 10th 2017

Works by prolific Scottish artist Sir David Young Cameron (1865 - 1945) featuring a collection of 30 prints, drawings and watercolours are set to go on display from this weekend (8 April 2017), for three months, at Duff House in Banff. 

The exciting exhibition titled D.Y. Cameron: The Spirit of Line will run until 30 July, and will explore the artist’s exceptional talent as a draughtsman, and one of the most influential printmakers of the turn of the 20th century.

Part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the exciting exhibition includes a newly acquired etching, Ponte Vecchio, Florence (1895), which will be displayed for the first time at the Georgian mansion.

Cameron produced over 500 prints, mostly etchings and drypoints, throughout his career. His subjects ranged from dramatic Scottish Highland landscapes, to the backstreets of European towns and atmospheric interiors.

Graeme Curran, Manager of Duff House, which is operated by Historic Environment Scotland, in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council and the National Galleries of Scotland said: “This display will showcase a collection of prints, drawings and watercolours from one of the most influential and prolific artists in the history of Scottish art.”

“It’s wonderful that people will also have the opportunity to view a newly acquired artwork by the artist at Duff House. Visitors will be able to take a closer look at this influential artist’s famous work while learning more about his skill and capability as a printmaker.”

The Spirit of Line is being held in partnership with The National Galleries of Scotland and also features the austerely beautiful Ben Ledi (1911) as well as an etching by Rembrandt, The Flight into Egypt: A Night Piece (1651), which was owned by Cameron and given to the National Galleries of Scotland by the artist.

Sir David Cameron was born in Glasgow and attended art classes in Edinburgh and at the Glasgow School of Art. He soon became an internationally known name in the art world with his work quickly becoming highly sought-after by art collectors.

The exhibition is included in the Duff House admission price.

 

Discover Fraserburgh: Scotland’s hidden treasure
Mar 27th 2017

Re-branding of the Fraserburgh Area set to attract more visitors to AB43. 

The Discover Fraserburgh Tourism Group, headed by Lynda McGuigan (Lighthouse Museum Manager) and Carole Short (Down on the Farm), have been busy over the winter!  Having secured funding from the Aberdeen Regeneration Fund, the Group engaged north-east companies’ hedley enterprises, Purple Creative Design and MM Copywriting Services to realise their vision and help put the Fraserburgh Area firmly back on the tourist map.  Their work – to be launched on Monday 27th March 2017 - includes a new logo for the area, a new website (www.discoverfraserburgh.com), printed material and Social Media Channels including Facebook and Twitter.

The DFT Group is made up of people from the Fraserburgh Area that are involved in the tourist industry, and boasts members such as Lynn and Bill Pitt (Mill of Nethermill Holidays) whose self-catering accommodation recently won Scotland’s Best Accommodation Provider 2017 at the Scottish Thistle Awards in Edinburgh.  With such expertise, the group understands what visitors are really looking for when they come to Fraserburgh – something ‘undiscovered’.  With no distilleries and not very much tartan in the area, the Group aim to emphasise the characters of the local people of Fraserburgh, the reality of a life on the sea and the untouched nature of the coastline, the skyline and the beautiful farmlands.

The Group have brought in real-life local heroes like Vic Sutherland from the Lifeboat Station and have compiled their own personal favourite tours in and around the area, to extend a truly personal welcome to holiday-makers. 

Local businesses have the opportunity to sign up and to be featured on the site as the season gets underway.  For more information, contact Lynda McGuigan on (01346) 511022/ manager@lighthousemuseum.org.uk

 

Duff House announce new 'It all started with a still life' Exhibition
Mar 10th 2017

To celebrate the year of history, heritage and archaeology, the Look Again Festival committee, in conjunction with Robert Gordon University Art and Heritage Collections, presents a time capsule of art works and artefacts reflecting the history and heritage of Gray’s School of Art.

The exhibition runs from Saturday 22nd April to Sunday 4th June and is included in the standard admission prices for Duff House.

Full details at https://www.visitabdn.com/whats-on/it-all-started-with-a-still-life/

North Sea Fishing exhibition at the Arbuthnot Museum, Peterhead
Mar 10th 2017

 

Press release

 

North Sea Fishing exhibition at the Arbuthnot Museum, Peterhead

 

23 February – 28 March 2017 

In Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the Arbuthnot Museum in Peterhead is delighted to be hosting a striking exhibition of black and white images shot aboard the seine net fishing boats, Mairhead and Argosy, in the North Sea during the 1990s. These images, by Scottish documentary photographer Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert, capture the reality of the life at sea for the fishermen of Scotland’s North East fishing communities – the cramped conditions, the monotony, and the gruelling work in harsh conditions.

Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert talks about how his photographs came about:

The North Sea – “a confused sea” as it was once described to me and, as one fishing trawler skipper told me, late at night, only the instrument panel lighting the bridge room, “the North Sea, she’s a cruel mistress”.

I think my first experience on the North Sea was on a fishing boat, on an overnight assignment photographing fishing trawlers for a paper. There was a fisherman’s protest, lots of trawlers all together, protesting latest EU rules and regulations, net sizes and quotas. I got sent out to photograph. It was a night of adventure: watch dawn rise, shoot the other boats, back to harbour, home by lunchtime. The skipper that night, Ronnie, was a decent chap. I asked him how long he usually goes out for at a time, “10 days”, was the reply. “Can I come next time?” I asked. He smiled, he laughed, he replied, “if you think you can handle it, you can come, but there’s no going back. If you’re sea sick you’ll be sea sick for 10 days”. “Count me in”.

The results of this expedition are captured in these striking images which serve as an important record of a period and style of fishing which is already passing into history.

“For many these images capture an industry that was synonymous with daily life in the coastal areas of Scotland and vital in their economic wellbeing; whilst for others it speaks of a time that seems relegated to the past, of another era. This work carries all the hallmarks of good documentary photography – a strong narration, objectively conveyed, with a powerful visual impact; the awesome force of the ocean is contrasted with insights into the life of work on the boats. A project worth sharing, which it is guaranteed to do on its year long road trip up the East Coast and to Shetland, to arrive back in the West where it will be seen by yet another new audience, as it will have done on each location on its journey”. (Malcolm Dickson, Director, Street Level Photoworks)

The Arbuthnot Museum is delighted to be hosting this touring exhibition from 23 February until 28 March 2017. North Sea Fishing was previously shown at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. After the exhibition concludes in Peterhead, it will travel to Montrose, Arbroath, Shetland, Wick and Thurso.

The Arbuthnot Museum, St Peter Street, Peterhead, AB42 1QD (tel: 01779 477778) is open:

Monday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm 

Tuesday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm

Wednesday Closed

Thursday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm

Friday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-4pm

Saturday 10am-12.30pm & 1.30pm-3.30pm

Sunday Closed

 

Plans for this year’s Fraserburgh Super Saturdays are well under way with lots of new and exciting attractions in store for visitors.
Mar 1st 2017

Plans for this year’s Fraserburgh Super Saturdays are well under way with lots of new and exciting attractions in store for visitors.

The first Super Saturdays event of the year will take place on 13th May with the theme being ‘Fraserburgh Celebrates’ and will showcase local entertainers Tribal Mutiny Belly Dancers, Fraserburgh singers Killer Heels and musical entertainers The Broch Drama Group.

Well-known children’s entertainer – Artie Trezise, co-founder and performer with the legendary Singing Kettle, will be entertaining the young and old with songs and stories from his new solo show Artie’s Tartan Tales.

Artie will perform two shows on the day in the Old Parish Church.

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays first event of the year will also feature a wealth of local stallholders selling hot and cold food, gift ideas for the home and garden, sweet treats, crafts plus much more.

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays coordinator, Leona Findlay said: “We are kicking off the year with a fun-packed programme which will have something to entertain everyone. We are delighted to welcome Artie to the Super Saturday’s and we’re sure he is going to be a huge attraction with everyone. The Old Parish Church has kindly allowed us to use the church as the venue for the show so it’s great that the church is getting involved with our community-led event.

“We are looking forward to welcoming back many popular stallholders this year but are also excited to welcome some new stallholders along too. We have a few surprises in store for visitors to the Super Saturdays in May which I’m sure they won’t want to miss – especially Star Wars fans.”

Premier Inflatables will also be attending Super Saturdays throughout the year with bouncy castles and slides.

Fraserburgh Super Saturday’s is a series of themed outdoor street markets aimed at encouraging families to spend the day in Fraserburgh town centre supporting local businesses, stallholders, clubs and charities.

The event is a partnership project involving the local community, Aberdeenshire Council and Fraserburgh Development Trust and was initially set up in 2013 to increase the footfall in the town centre in a bid to help the local businesses to thrive.

Following the initial pilot scheme of four events held in 2013, the community project secured funding from Fraserburgh Regeneration Strategy Group for a programme of events to deliver six themed events each year.

Super Saturdays takes place on Saltoun Square from 10am until 3.30pm. This year’s events will be held on May 13th, June 10th, July 8th, August 12th, September 9th and December 9th.

Portsoy's fourth book festival confirmed for March 11th and 12th
Feb 27th 2017

The fourth Portsoy Book Festival will be held at the Salmon Bothy in Portsoy.  To be officially opened by festival patron Mrs Clare Russell, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire on Saturday 11th March at 2pm.

It all promises to be a memorable weekend of thilling stories!

The events will take place in the atmospheric setting of Upstairs at the Bothy and at The Station Hotel in Portsoy.


SATURDAY 11th MARCH - 2.00 - 4.00pm– TICKETS £10
PARTNERS IN CRIME

ANN CLEEVES
Bestselling novelist and creator of the “Shetland” and “Vera” TV series

ALEX GRAY
Born and educated in Glasgow - the city provides the backdrop for her crime novels

CARO RAMSAY
Writer of crime fiction from her home city of Glasgow

SUNDAY 12th MARCH - 11.00am – 1.00pm –TICKETS £5

CRAIG ROBERTSON
Bestselling author Craig Robertson relates his writing career and his latest murder mystery featuring his maverick police photographer, Tony Winter.

SUNDAY 12th MARCH - 2.00 – 4.00pm – TICKETS £5

JAMES OSWALD
Creator of Detective Inspector Mclean. His new novel “Written in Bones” will be published in February 2017

ALL TICKETS INCLUDE REFRESHMENTS AND ARE AVAILABLE FROM
PORTSOY ICE CREAM SHOP OR RESERVED BY CALLING 01261 843822


With the generous support of our local sponsors and the Scottish Book Trust

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays confirm 2017 events programme
Feb 21st 2017

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays are back, bigger and better than ever in 2017.

Super Saturdays are themed street market events which take place in Fraserburgh on the 2nd Saturday of each month from May to September and a festive special in Dec. The 2017 dates and themes are:

Saturday 13th May - Fraserburgh Celebrates

Saturday 10th June - International Market

Saturday 8th July - Get Fit Fraserburgh

Saturday 12th August - Back to the Future (History and Heritage)

Saturday 9th September - Taste of Fraserburgh

Saturday 8th December - Christmas event including an ice skating rink.

Duff House announce 2017 events programme
Feb 21st 2017

Exhibition: D.Y Cameron: The Spirit of Line - Sat 8 April to Sun 30 July

Celebrate the work of one of Scotland’s most influential and prolific artists, Sir David Young Cameron (1865 – 1945). Featuring around 30 outstanding prints, drawings and watercolours on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland, The Spirit of Line focuses on his renowned work as a draughtsman, printmaker and leading member of the international etching revival at the turn of the 20th century.

Insight Tour: Duff House - Thurs 1 June

Get up close and personal with the current work at the house and join the experts on a scaffolding tour of this magnificent country house.


Twelfth Night - Fri 14 July

Shipwrecked Viola has lost her twin brother, Sebastian. Disguised as a boy for protection she becomes a page in the service of Orsino, the Duke. Bring your picnic and enjoy a Shakespearean classic brought to you by Folksy Theatre.

Home and Prison - Sat 22 & Sun 23 July

Meet a Scottish soldier of the Highland Division and find out more about the role the house played as an army base and a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War.  Take the chance to get up close to some of the authentic military equipment of the period.

Right on the shore of the internationally renowned Moray Firth coast the newly created Sail Loft awaits you
Feb 6th 2017

Right on the shore of the internationally renowned Moray Firth coast is the newly created Sail Loft.  This brand new self-catering accommodation facility offers 25 luxurious beds and bunks and boasts a carefully designed modern open-plan communal kitchen, dining area and lounge, laundrette, drying room, secure cycle storage and wash-down area.

Overlooking Portsoy’s beautiful Links Bay beach and surrounded by rugged headlands there is no better location to escape from it all and relax.  Enjoy strolls by the sea or invigorating walks or cycle rides along the Banffshire coastline where you’re likely to spot some of the local wildlife, including leaping dolphins and diving gannets.  Discover the heritage of Portsoy as you visit the harbour which dates back to 1693 and the beautiful Loch Soy.  For those looking to learn a new skill, we can even provide the facilities for courses in boat building, traditional music and storytelling!

As dusk falls enjoy stunning sunsets and star-lit skies, you may even be lucky enough to catch sight of the amazing Northern Lights.  And where better to watch this from than our walled garden where you can enjoy the BBQ facilities and relax in our wood fired hot tub!

Combined with a hearty welcome from our team, The Sail Loft really does provide you with all the comforts to allow you to explore and enjoy this remarkable area.

Bookings are now being taken at http://www.portsoysailloft.org/ or Tel: +44 (0) 1261 842695.

Writers of the north east are invited to DAFT Writers Creative Cafe to enjoy a bit of networking and take the time, and room, to write.
Jan 26th 2017

 

Writers of the north east are invited to DAFT Writers Creative Cafe to enjoy a bit of networking and take the time, and room, to write. DAFT Writers believe that networking is important, as a lot can be learned from other's experiences.

On the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 5pm - 9pm, (beginning 7th March 2017) Upstairs at The Kelpie, we invite you to drop in for a pot luck supper; take time to network and enjoy some room to write in the company of writers.

On the 4th Tuesday of each month from 5pm - 7pm (beginning 28th February 2017) there will be room to write Upstairs at the Kelpie, and then from 7pm we will enjoy readings and workshops given by members, and the occasional invited guest.

Writers at any stage of their craft are welcome to come and interact, write or just listen.

Make a date with yourself
2nd & 4th Tuesday every month

Upstairs at The Kelpie, Banff Castle, Castle Street, Banff AB45 1DL

for further information or to book a space
email: jaywilsonflat6@gmail.com


Banffshire Open Water Swimming - Do you fancy taking the plunge?
Jan 17th 2017

A new group called Banffshire Open Swimming has been set up to bring together people interested in open water swimming on the Banffshire coast.

Having been approached by a number of people who are interested in open water swimming, this group has been set up to connect people who already swim outdoors, or those who are considering starting. Whether you are a fair weather swimmer, swim all year round, in a wetsuit or skins, all are welcome.

For the more advance, why not consider taking part in in a four day outdoor swimming camp? There are two four day camps organised for 2017 at Loch Lomond (June) and on the Banffshire Coast (September).  The Banffshire Coast is quoted as one of the top Ten Coastlines in the World by National Geographic and the Banffshire Coast Camp will be based around the 16th Century Castle of Park.

The swim camps offer three full days of training, including an optional night swim coached by Chris Sifleet twice English Channel swimmer and André Wiersig completer of three of the ocean seven swims. 

For more informaton please visit www.swim4miles.co.uk or email info@swim4miles.co.uk or call      07917 432900.

The Banffshire Open Water Swimming group meets on Sundays at 10am at Banff Links Beach (AB45 2JJ). You'll know who the group are as they'll be the people in the sea!

 

£Millions of LEADER Grant Funding still available as Banffshire Coast Tourist Attraction, Boyndie Visitor Centre has been selected as a National case study following funding from the Leader Programme.
Jan 9th 2017

 

An inspiring LEADER-funded project from Aberdeenshire has been chosen to be a showcase for Community Led Local Development in Scotland.  Social Enterprise Boyndie Trust on the Banffshire Coast is featured in a case-study and short film, published on the Scottish Rural Development Website.  Projects are urged to come forward to access the fund, as millions are still available in North East Scotland.

 

The North Aberdeenshire Local Action Group have been allocated £3.3m of LEADER funding from the Scottish Government and the EU.  The group, NALAG for short, can use this to provide grant support to inspiring and innovative projects in Banff and Buchan, Buchan and Formartine.  Launched in November 2015, the programme is underspent and looking for projects to come forward. 

 

NALAG Chair Duncan Leece said: “We are really looking for inspiring projects that will trigger change and improvement in our communities.  We can fund business start-up and development, community projects and facilities, social enterprise and a lot more besides.  We can also provide mentoring and support through project planning and management, which can be daunting for people taking on something new and innovative.  If it’s going to help communities, grow the rural economy or create jobs, we want to hear about it!

 

Programme Co-ordinator Flick Millar said: “There has been a little uncertainty around the EU referendum but we now have a clear message of Business as Usual for this programme.  There is still a large part of our allocation unspent.  We have allocated funding for business, community facilities and projects, sustainable transport and e-services.  We also have funds for enterprising farm diversification projects, and projects involving co-operation with other parts of Scotland or the EU.  I would urge anyone with an idea or question to get in touch.

 

Information on the North Aberdeenshire LEADER programme can be found at www.nalag.org.uk, or contact nalag@aberdeenshire.gov.uk, 01467 534465.  The Boyndie Trust case study can be found at https://www.ruralnetwork.scot/case-studies.

 

Last few days left to see the Banffshire Coast on BBC Countryfile
Jan 4th 2017

Helen, Joe and Sean explore the varied landscapes of Aberdeenshire. From the solitude of the rugged north coast to the deep dark forests where wildcats dwell, it's a surprising county.

The Aberdeenshire/Banffshire Coast episode is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer until 16th January 2017 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08637cx 

Helen discovers the only village on mainland Britain where cars can't go. She also visits an open-air aquarium where they hand feed the fish, and she makes lino prints with an artist who takes inspiration from this remote coastline.

Joe looks at a project mapping the diminishing wildcat population and sees the extraordinary lengths volunteers go to, to help preserve them.

Sean visits a turkey farm where the guard dogs are alpacas, and Adam catches up with One Man and His Dog winner Dick Roper to pick up some expert tips on sheepdog handling.

Council farms have long been seen as a way for people to get their foot on the farming ladder, but across much of the country they are now being sold off to raise money for cash-strapped councils. Tom Heap investigates why so many of these farms are disappearing from the landscape and how some councils have taken a very different stance.

 

Duff House announce guided tours of historic Georgian Mansion
Jan 1st 2017

Duff House Guided Tours


Jan - Feb, 11.15am, 12.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm

Throughout January and February, visits to Duff House will be by guided tour only. Tickets can be booked in advance by calling 01261 818 181 or at the shop on the same day of the tour. Booking also applies to Historic Scotland members and Explorer Pass holders (entry is free as normal).

Throughout March, access will be available to the shop and tearoom only.

The Scottish Opera 'Opera Highlights' Tour announces concert date in Fraserburgh
Dec 21st 2016

Each year Scottish Opera takes four singers and a pianist out and about around Scotland, travelling the highways and byways, by land, air and sea, to take a musical mix of opera highlights to some of the country’s smaller and more remote venues.

 

Come February, they’ll be packing their van full of props and costumes to bring you an entertaining evening of music and good company. Whether you’re new to opera or a seasoned fan, there’s sure to be something for you, be it a tune you’re discovering for the first time or an old favourite you’ll be humming all the way home.

 

This year’s cast is full of fresh new talent, including two Scottish Opera Emerging Artists and two recent graduates of the National Opera Studio. Former Emerging Artist repetiteur Jonathon Swinard returns to the piano and current Emerging Artist director Jim Manganello is at the helm.

 

Join them as they set off on an unforgettable journey featuring music by Mozart, Handel, Puccini, Gilbert & Sullivan and many more.

 

“Even my non-opera-loving husband enjoyed the evening! It was a treat for those of us who live so far away from large theatres to appreciate such a well-produced evening.’ Audience member, 2016

 

Running time 2hrs approximately

 

Ticket prices are £12 full price and £5 under 26.


Dalrymple Hall, Fraserburgh. Book online at http://bit.ly/2hVCCSy

Historic Environment Scotland Asks - What’s Your Heritage? People across Scotland invited to help change the course of heritage
Dec 19th 2016

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced an ambitious national campaign to find out what heritage really means to the people of Scotland as part of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

‘What’s Your Heritage?’ is a multi-channel project that asks members of the public to reveal which of Scotland’s places, buildings and monuments they want to see recognised and celebrated.

HES hopes to uncover some hidden gems and, perhaps, some unusual examples of heritage for future generations to enjoy. From theatres to pubs, and castles to schools, what are the buildings that have made us who we are?

The organisation is calling on everyone in Scotland to get involved with the conversation. An online survey will run for the duration of the campaign, meaning people can contribute at a time and place that suits them. HES will also run a series of informal workshops across the country to give people a chance to participate in conversations in their area. HES has also created a digital toolkit which is available to organisations or groups that would like to run their own workshop. A social media campaign #MyHeritageIs adds another digital dimension to the project, inviting people to share their pictures and thoughts.

The feedback captured in the project will be used to help shape new policies that will assist the organisation in protecting and celebrating historic sites now and in the future. 

Elizabeth McCrone, Historic Environment Scotland’s Head of Designations, visited Glasgow to launch the campaign, and to meet local members of the community in the Gorbals to find out their answers to the question ‘What’s Your Heritage?’

She explained, “This is the first time that we have undertaken such a comprehensive review with the public about the criteria we use to decide whether to designate sites and structures. We receive hundreds of requests every year to assess buildings and sites for listing or one of the other designations and we really want to know what the people of Scotland think should be recognised and protected.

“We know that people are increasingly interested in different aspects of our history that designation hasn’t traditionally focussed on, such as the stories and experiences associated with different places. Through the ‘What’s Your Heritage?’ campaign, we’re hoping to reach out to people across the country to find out whether we’re right about that and, if so, how we can take a fresh look at our work.”

Scotland is a land rich with stories and history. Some aspects are already well-known, for instance the B-listed Citizens Theatre contains an important early auditorium of 1878 as well as rare machinery which survives under the stage. ‘What’s Your Heritage?’ will delve into the stories of such buildings to ensure that what HES is recording, celebrating and protecting for the benefit of current and future generations has Scotland’s support.

Stephen Smart is a member of the Citizens Community Collective, a group made up of around thirty members aged from 22 to 80, from all walks of life. He recently appeared on stage at the Citz in The Gorbals Vampire, the culmination of a 10-month project run by the theatre involving local people, school children and the general public in workshops, exhibitions and creative writing competitions inspired by true events which took place in the Southern Necropolis in 1954. When asked what heritage means to him, Stephen said: “Heritage can mean your roots. Anytime I think of heritage I think of the past – it's not usually something you think of today. It’s very important culturally and positions you in the world – it’s your personality. Heritage is a cultural thing and your culture defines you.”

Nearby pub, The Laurieston is a category C-listed building. Stepping through the door, visitors are taken back in time to the 1960s where the originaldecorative scheme is still intact.

James Clancy, proprietor, said: “There’s not many people that own their own pubs anymore, most people lease – but we own this, and we like to keep it the same as it’s always been. Our family has always been in the pub trade and it has changed a lot over the years. You'll go into places now and they'll have lots of tellies, music blasting, and huge menus. In here you’ll get a pie and peas from the same pie warmer we had at our old premises in Maryhill forty years ago. We’ve got regulars who followed us from there, young lads whose fathers used to come in to see us, and on the walls you'll see photos and newspaper clippings we've collected over the years that we know will be interesting to our regulars. It's like a big extended family, where everyone is welcome.”

HES is also seeking opportunities to collaborate with and empower others to have the conversation. They are not just asking about things that are already deemed ‘historic’, but things people will look back on as shaping the history of Scotland’s communities. Records of places that seem part of everyday life in 2016 could offer a real sense of place and cultural identity for future generations. 

In addition, the organisation is encouraging people to consider how change to designated sites and places should be managed, since the historic environment can and should form the focus for regeneration and business development. By having these conversations, HES will be able to enhance its protection and regulation of the historic environment, and to increase knowledge and understanding of what matters most to the people of Scotland.

What’s Your Heritage?  How to get involved:  

Twitter: @HistEnvScot

Facebook: HistoricEnvScotland

 

BBC Countryfile visits Aberdeenshire and the Banffshire Coast - watch now on the BBC iPlayer
Dec 5th 2016

Helen, Joe and Sean explore the varied landscapes of Aberdeenshire. From the solitude of the rugged north coast to the deep dark forests where wildcats dwell, it's a surprising county.

Helen discovers the only village on mainland Britain where cars can't go. She also visits an open-air aquarium where they hand feed the fish, and she makes lino prints with an artist who takes inspiration from this remote coastline.

Joe looks at a project mapping the diminishing wildcat population and sees the extraordinary lengths volunteers go to, to help preserve them.

Sean visits a turkey farm where the guard dogs are alpacas, and Adam catches up with One Man and His Dog winner Dick Roper to pick up some expert tips on sheepdog handling.

Council farms have long been seen as a way for people to get their foot on the farming ladder, but across much of the country they are now being sold off to raise money for cash-strapped councils. Tom Heap investigates why so many of these farms are disappearing from the landscape and how some councils have taken a very different stance.

You can watch the programme now on the BBC iPlayer at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08637cx

Its Fraserburgh Super Saturday this Saturday!
Nov 30th 2016

The countdown is on for Fraserburgh Super Saturdays Festive Fun event.

With only days to go, the Super Saturdays Festive Fun event is sure to be a hit with locals. Organisers have plenty of festive fun in store for all ages including an all-weather bouncy castle, a Santa’s parade and grotto run by the local RNLI, a Christmas theme treasure hunt, an Owl display and face painting.

And if that’s not enough there will also be musical performances by Broch Drama Group, Killer Heels, The Salvation Army Band, Lauren Baird all topped off with dancing by KDance.

The Festive Fun event will also feature more than 40 local traders selling an array of Christmas gift ideas, flowers and wreaths, homeware, sweet treats and delicious food.

Super Saturdays Co-ordinator, Leona Findlay said: “We are all super excited about this weekend’s event. We have a varied and busy day in store for locals and visitors and it’s a great opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done while keeping the kids entertained and supporting the town’s businesses and local traders. Many of the shops, restaurants and businesses have some great offers on in store to coincide with Super Saturdays so it really is an excellent time to indulge in some retail therapy or to tick items off your Christmas shopping list.

She added: “And if you haven’t had time to order your Christmas dinner yet, then there’s no need to panic as you can get it all done at Super Saturdays and save yourself some pennies too. We have a great selection of food stalls attending the market who will be selling festive food and taking Christmas orders and many have special offers too.”

The festive fun will kick off at 10am until 3.30pm.

Super Saturdays is a partnership project, involving the local community, Aberdeenshire Council and Fraserburgh Development Trust.

Following the initial pilot scheme of four events held in 2013, the community project secured funding from Fraserburgh Regeneration Strategy Group for a program of events to deliver six themed events each year. Next year’s events will take place on 13 May, 10th June, 8 July, 12 August, 9th September and 9th December.

For more information or to put your name forward as a volunteer please contact Leona Findlay on 01346 510245 or email fraserburgh.super.saturdays@gmail.com

Plans for Fraserburgh Super Saturdays Festive fun day are being unwrapped and organisers say it’s going to be a fun-filled event for everyone.
Nov 29th 2016

Plans for Fraserburgh Super Saturdays Festive fun day are finally being unwrapped and organisers say it’s going to be a fun-filled event for everyone.

The local street market will take place on Saturday December 10th and, Fraserburgh Super Saturdays  co-ordinator Leona Findlay says organisers have a jam packed programme of events in store for visitors, she said: “The event is held on Saltoun Square and Broad Street and most of the street will be lined with local stallholders selling a huge variety of products, gift ideas, food items and crafts. There will be some well-known stallholders attending but we have also attracted some new ones too.

“I’m delighted to announce that Buckie based fish and chip van, The Codfather, will also be attending our event.  Colin Halley, owner of The Codfather, has recently returned from Monte Carlo where he served fish caught and supplied by the Lovie family from Foinavon Fish based in Fraserburgh, to the rich and famous. So it will be a great opportunity for locals to sample some of Colin’s famous fish and chips.

“We have also secured some new mobile eateries including The Chilli Thaigher from Old Meldrum, the Little Black Coffee van who will be serving up a range of coffees and snacks and Ellon based Aberdeenshire Larder will also be making its debut appearance at the festive fun day. A Taste of the Wild, The Steak and Grill Company and Peterhead Fish Company will be making a return to the Super Saturdays in December.  

Local businesses are also getting into the festive spirit of things and will be offering visitors excellent deals on the day.

Leona added: “Visitors to the Super Saturdays won’t be disappointed with the packed programme of events we have in store for them. Santa will be arriving to the Broch in style by means of the RNLI lifeboat at 10.45am where he will then jump in his sleigh and make his way up to Broad Street where he will be piped in by the Fraserburgh Royal British Legion Pipe Band before meeting all the local children. All proceeds from the Santa’s Grotto will be donated to The RNLI.

“Throughout the day locals will also be treated to a dance performance by local dance group KDance, music by Fraserburgh duo Killer Heels, Christmas carols from the Broch Drama Group and a brass band performance from the Salvation Army Band. A lot of work has gone on to make the Super Saturdays as successful as they are, but none of it would happen without the hard work and dedication of the strong team of volunteers and business owners who are determined to breathe life back into the town centre. Without them events like this wouldn’t happen. We are keeping everything crossed for a dry day, but if the weather does take a turn for the worse we have a back-up plan in place so the event will go ahead regardless.”

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays will also feature a disco dome, a tasting gazebo featuring food samples provided by local businesses, children’s entertainment and Bobs Buddies will also be there on the day with his feathered friends.

The festive fun kicks off at 10am until 3.30pm and everyone is welcome to attend.

Super Saturdays is a partnership project, involving the local community, Aberdeenshire Council and Fraserburgh Development Trust.

Following the initial pilot scheme of four events held in 2013, the community project secured funding from Fraserburgh Regeneration Strategy Group for a program of events to deliver six themed events each year. Next year’s events will take place on 13 May, 10th June, 8 July, 12 August, 9th September and 9th December.

For more information or to put your name forward as a volunteer please contact Leona Findlay on 01346 510245 or email fraserburgh.super.saturdays@gmail.com.

Book Week talk at Macduff Marine Aquarium
Nov 23rd 2016

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to face down a polar bear, perform lifesaving surgery on a wild animal, or what you would do if you found yourself on a sinking ship? 

The chance to hear stories from three different men who have been in these exact situations is coming to Aberdeenshire later this November. As part of Book Week Scotland, Aberdeenshire Libraries is bringing these adventurers to top venues in the area to tell the stories that feature in their books. Their talks will take listeners from pole to pole and to some of the wildest places on Earth.

 

More frequently behind the camera, world renowned film maker Doug Allan will be hosting an evening at Macduff Marine Aquarium on Friday 25thNovember. Doug spent seven years in Antarctica as a research diver, scientist and photographer for the British Antarctic Survey, and has become one of the world’s best known and respected cameramen. He specialises in natural history, expedition and science documentaries in some of the wildest and most remote places on our planet, particularly the polar zones. His work has been in series such as The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, Ocean Giants, Operation Iceberg, and most recently for Brian Cox and his Forces of Nature on BBC 1. Spending the evening among the aquarium’s exhibits, Doug will give a presentation and chat with visitors, who also have a chance to see the aquarium, including an exclusive look behind-the-scenes.

 

ENDS

Press enquiries:

Fiona Gillies, Aberdeenshire Libraries

Tel 01651 871205 or email Fiona.gillies@aberdeenshire.gov.uk


Claire Matthews, Aquarium Manager

Tel 01261 833369 or e-mail claire.matthews@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk

 

NOTES

Book Week Scotland – 21st- 27th November 2016. During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life. 

Matt Lewis is a marine biologist who lives with his family in Aberdeen.  His bestselling book Last Man Off is a gripping account of his experience of shipwreck and survival in the Antarctic Ocean.

Event: 21st November 6.15pm at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, Fraserburgh Tickets £10 from www.eventbrite.com 

Steve Leonard is a small animal vet, with a side-line in making TV documentaries throughout the world.  Steve starred in the popular TV series Vets in Practice and is now a wildlife presenter for the BBC.

Event: Tickets £5-10 from www.eventbrite.com 

Doug Allan is a freelance wildlife photographer and documentary cameraman, who knows from first-hand experience how it feels to be face to face with some of the largest creatures on planet Earth.  As an author and speaker he shares his encounters and travels spanning over 30 years of working in natural environments.  Tickets £7.50-£15 from www.eventbrite.com 

Macduff Marine Aquarium: One of the top visitor attractions in North East Scotland, Macduff Marine Aquarium is owned and operated by Aberdeenshire Council and welcomes over 45,000 visitors per year. Open since 1997, the aquarium features local marine life and aims to promote awareness, enjoyment and stewardship of the Moray Firth marine environment.

 

Weekend of FREE events announced to celebrate the Treasures of Historic Banffshire Exhibition
Nov 23rd 2016

Communities in Banff and the surrounding area will join together later this month to celebrate the return of some of the North-East’s most treasured archaeological finds to the area 200 years after they were discovered.

A special programme of events will take place at Duff House over the weekend of Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November to celebrate the Treasures of Historic Banffshire exhibition and Historic Environment Scotland is offering visitors free entry as part of its annual Ticket Giveaway weekend.

The exhibition features internationally-renowned objects such as the animal-head war horn known as the Deskford Carnyx and a collection of Pictish jewellery known as the Gaulcross Hoard as well as a full-scale replica of the stunning Gundestrup cauldron.

The programme of day events includes:

Talks by David MacPhail, author of ‘Thorfinn the Nicest Viking’ children’s book series, on Saturday 26 between 11am and 4pm

Object handling sessions with Aberdeenshire Museums Service on Saturday 26, 11am-4pm

Intriguing Iron Age tales with costumed storytellers on Sunday 27 between 1-4pm

A Crafty Creation Station for families, both days between 11am and 4pm

On Saturday evening the community celebrations will continue with the ‘Walk of the Carnyx’ from Plainstones to Banff Castle at 5pm.

Led by Banff Castle Pipe Band, local children carrying lanterns and puppets they have made as part of an outreach education project focusing on the Deskford Carnyx with Puppet Animation Scotland and the Youth Music Initiative will head to Banff Castle for a spectacular sound and light show.

A stunning finale on the day, the large-scale projection onto Banff Castle, ‘Burning of the Light’, has been commissioned by Coast Festival and created by artist John McGeoch.

A second showing of ‘Burning of the Light’ will take place at 7.30pm and hot drinks will be available thanks to Coast Festival at Banff Castle from 5-9pm.

The Treasures of Historic Banffshire exhibition opened at Duff House at the end of October and runs until the end of February 2017.

Admission to Duff House and the exhibition on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November will be free to visitors and opening hours are 11am-4pm.

Chairman of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Cllr John Cox, said: “The return of the Deskford Carnyx to Historic Banffshire 200 years after it was discovered has been a triumph and the community weekend is a chance for everyone in Banff to come together and celebrate that triumph.

“The programme of events gives young and old the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating Iron Age roots of the North East and the torchlit ‘Walk of the Carnyx’ planned on the Saturday evening culminating in a spectacular light and sound show at Banff Castle is not to be missed.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning & Leisure Committee, Cllr Alison Evison, said: “A huge amount of work has gone into making the Treasures of Historic Banffshire exhibition a success and I’d also like to recognise the efforts of partners and the local community involved in the planning of the community celebration weekend.

“That weekend, there is something for everyone at Duff House.

“Through our outreach programmes local school pupils have learnt about wind instruments like the Carnyx and made Iron Age puppets and I’m particularly looking forward to see they and the light and sound show inspire the minds of everyone in the Banff community.”

Graeme Curran, Manager of Duff House, which is operated by Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Since its opening last month, the Treasures of Historic Banffshire exhibition has been a great success and proven popular with our visitors. 

“Now this community celebration event will offer people another opportunity to discover and engage with the heritage and history of Banff in a new way. To mark this weekend-long celebration, we’re pleased to be able to offer free admission to Duff House on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November, as part of our Ticket Giveaway weekend.”

 

Weekend of FREE events announced to celebrate the Treasures of Historic Banffshire Exhibition
Nov 16th 2016

A special FREE weekend programme of events has been organised at Duff House over the weekend of Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 November, to celebrate the Treasures of Historic Banffshire exhibition. During the weekend entry to Duff House will be free too. 

Saturday 26 November, 11am – 4pm

Object handling sessions with Aberdeenshire Museums Services 

A Celtic Creation Station for families

Talks by David MacPhail, author of ‘Thorfinn the Nicest Viking’ children’s book series 


Sunday 27 November, 11am – 4pm

Intriguing Iron Age tales with costumed storytellers (1 – 4pm)

Celtic Creation Station for families 

 
On Saturday 26 November, the community celebrations will continue with the ‘Walk of the Carnyx’ from the Plainstones on Low Street, to Banff Castle at 5pm.  Led by Banff Castle Pipe Band, local children carrying lanterns and puppets they have made as part of an outreach education project with Puppet Animation Scotland and Youth Music Initiative focusing on the Carnyx, will head to the castle grounds for a spectacular sound and light show. 

As a stunning finale to the day, a large-scale projection onto Banff Castle, ‘Burning of the Light’, has been commissioned by Coast Festival and created by artist John McGeoch. A second showing will take place at 7.30pm. Hot drinks will be available thanks to Coast Festival at Banff Castle from 5-9pm.

The Treasure of Historic Banffshire exhibition itself will run until the end of February 2017.

Exhibition of national importance now open at Duff House
Nov 3rd 2016

An exhibition of national importance is now open at Duff House in Banff.  The 'Treasures of Historic Banffshire' exhibition celebrates Celtic metalwork and the archaeological heritage of the Banffshire region.  

Artefacts on display include the famous Deskford Carnyx, an ancient musical instrument and the Gaulcross Hoard, a collection of Pictish jewellery, discovered locally.

Full details at http://duffhouse.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/treasures/

Spooks galore this Halloween in Aberdeenshire
Oct 19th 2016

We may be having a beautiful sunny and warm Autumn but as the sun sets and darkness arrives, something more sinister and evil comes to light in Aberdeenshire and along the Banffshire Coast. The temperature plummets, a creepy mist appears and things are not all as they appear as things start to go bump in the night! Maybe it’s my over-active imagination or maybe the reality is that Aberdeenshire’s ghosts and ghouls have come out to play and create some Halloween scares…

For those of you enjoy nothing better than a good old fright after dark I’ve compiled a list of scare-tastic Halloween events for you to attend:


Museum of Scottish Lighthouses

Book now for our children's craft activities during the October Holidays!

Have a go at building your own haunted lighthouse on Thursday 13th October then make everything you need to become a ghostly lighthouse keeper on Thursday 20th October!
Both sessions run from 10am - 12pm or 1pm-3pm.

It costs £1 per child and children must be accompanied by an adult.
Book a place by calling 01346 511022 or emailing learning@lighthousemuseum.org.uk


Haddo Country Park

Firstly- as you can see from the slightly spangly pic above- tickets are now on sale for our Halloween Magic at Haddo event on the 21st & 23rd October.


If you came along to Kids' Creepy Halloween last year (or were around for the Arts Festival) you'll already know how amazing Haddo looked all lit up. This year we'll have more lights, hopefully a few spooky special effects and a range of woodland sprites, tree fairies and some slightly more scary ghouls and ghosts for you to meet as you explore the park after dark.

There'll be hot food and drink on sale and hopefully (numbers of staff/volunteers permitting) a bonfire to sit round as well.

Tickets are £5 per person with family/group tickets available for £20 which gives you access to the park any time between 7pm and 9pm.

Halloween Monster Ball with Feeva

Get your Halloween Glad Rags on and go to the Halloween Monster Ball at the Aberdeen Altens Hotel. £28 per person including dinner & entertainment or £58 per person including dinner, entertainment and accommodation.


Things that go BUMP in the night!


Graeme Reaper invites you to his annual fancy dress Halloween Party.  He’s famous for his scary tricks and spooky stories but he didn’t plan a real murder… or did he?

Durn House in Portsoy are offering you a fully interactive murder mystery experience.  Find clues, lead the interrogation and solve the crime as part of an evening packed full of mystery. A delicious 4-course dinner is also incorporated in to the evening.


Face your Fears at Halloween at Macduff Marine Aquarium

Macduff Marine Aquarium are giving you the chance to get to grips with snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlies during creature handling sessions with our friends from Animates between 12.30pm – 2pm on October 30th.

 

Spook-Tacular at Codona’s


1/2 PRICE OCTOBER ‘SPOOK-TACULAR’


A whole month of 'SCARY' fun! - 1st - 30th October 2016


There’s lots of spooky fun to be had at Codona’s this October! The complex will be decorated for Halloween, offering traditional party games, plus a new scary 4D motion ride and we’re ‘slashing’ the price of our ‘All-Day

Amusement Park Family Wristbands’ to HALF PRICE!

 

Aberdeenshire’s Haunted Houses


It’s not just at Halloween that the VisitAberdeenshire area can be spooky, we offer scares, spooks and chills all year round!  Check out our other suggestions for year round frights!: http://www.visitabdn.com/blog/aberdeenshires-haunted-houses/

‘Glasgow Boy’ Heads to Banff - Sir John Lavery’s Pergola latest masterpiece to go on display at Duff House Georgian Mansion
Oct 17th 2016

A painting by highly acclaimed post-impressionist and ‘Glasgow Boy’ Sir John Lavery has gone on public display in the UK for the first time since the 1940s. The Pergola is now being exhibited at the A-listed Georgian mansion of Duff House, near Banff.

The painting was completed in 1906, the same year that the Fife family gave up Duff House and gifted it to the nearby towns of Banff and Macduff. The house is now in the care of heritage body Historic Environment Scotland and open to the public, and The Pergola is housed alongside several collections of art treasures and superbly furnished rooms.  

Hugh Morrison, Collections Registrar at Historic Environment Scotland, said:

“We are thrilled to receive this important masterpiece on loan at Duff House and very grateful to the private lender for the opportunity of putting it on public display for the first time since the 1940s. The quality of this painting is sure to attract many fans of The Glasgow School to see it in its new setting.

“The Pergola by Sir John Lavery is a welcome addition to the wealth of artworks on loan from the National Galleries of Scotland and other lenders. The painting will join works by El Greco, Gainsborough and Raeburn and the collection of paintings belonging to the Erskines of Torrie, a wealthy 18th century Scottish family from Fife.”

Belfast-born painter Sir John Lavery, who passed away in 1941, spent some time in Glasgow and was associated with The Glasgow School, a circle of influential artists and designers that flourished from the 1890s to around 1910.

Painted in 1906 and first exhibited in 1908 at the Paris Salonne d’Automne, The Pergola depicts Lavery’s favourite German muse, Mary Auras, and his teenage daughter Eileen enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the dappled sunlight terrace of the artist’s residence in Tangier. Sir John began a fascination with the Moroccan port in 1891 - later purchasing the small villa in the painting known as Dar-el-Midfah or the House of the Cannon in 1903. The identity of the young man in the painting is unknown, however it is said that the man could be one of Mary’s many suitors.

Regarded by his biographer Walter Shaw Sparrow as an ‘original contribution to the latter day art dubbed Post-Impressionism’, Sir John Lavery’s post-impressionist artistic style is part of a movement including artists like Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gaugin. He exhibited across Europe in the major salons and successions and was favoured in Paris, Rome and Berlin.

The Pergola can be viewed as part of general admission to Duff House. Tickets are available online from www.historicenvironment.scot

 

Portsoy Community Enterprise (PCE) is delighted to announce the start of a new boat building project which will be based at The Boatshed
Oct 6th 2016

Portsoy Community Enterprise (PCE, formerly The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival) is delighted to announce the start of a new boat building project which will be based at The Boatshed, the permanent facility for the construction of wooden vessels by the Old Harbour at Portsoy.

The Project will provide 14 to 16 year old pupils from Banff Academy with an out-of-school opportunity to develop skills via a programme of practical boat building to a point where they could enter a construction or boat building apprenticeship. 

Developed in conjunction with Banff Academy and supported by Chevron, in addition to providing wood working and boat building skills, the two year course will aim to develop life skills with numeracy and literacy teaching embedded in all activities. The performance of the participants will be measured and recorded both for themselves and potential employers. The long term aim is to create the potential for one or more of the participants qualifying to apply for a boat building apprenticeship (at Lowestoft or Portsmouth) and thereafter being employed at The Boatshed. 

Alan Horberry, Rector at Banff Academy commented:  “We are delighted to support and be part of the Youth Boat Build Project sponsored by Chevron. We already have a strong and productive partnership with Portsoy Community Enterprise and the Project enhances this partnership to the benefit of some of our most educationally vulnerable pupils.

The Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) agenda is a key priority at Banff Academy and the impact of the Chevron Outreach Project greatly supports the development of the employability skills of our more vulnerable pupils.

Alex Yelland, Chevron Upstream Europe’s Policy, Government and Public Affairs Manager, said: “Chevron seeks to build partnerships that support the economic and social development of the communities where we work.  We invest in programmes that teach young people about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and vocational training programmes that lead to employability, jobs and enhanced skill sets.  We are delighted to support the Youth Boat Build Project and hope it will inspire the participants to pursue a career using the skills they learn.”

A key objective will also be the creation of a template for the promotion and development of the Project in schools and academies across Scotland.


The Project was officially launched at The Boatshed in Portsoy on Thursday October 6th with guests from Chevron, Banff Academy and Aberdeenshire Council attending, alongside Aberdeenshire Deputy Provost Grant, Lord Lieutenant Clare Russell and Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP.

Book now for children's craft activities this half term at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses
Oct 4th 2016

Book now for our children's craft activities during the October Holidays!

Have a go at building your own haunted lighthouse on Thursday 13th October then make everything you need to become a ghostly lighthouse keeper on Thursday 20th October!

Both sessions run from 10am - 12pm or 1pm-3pm.

It costs £1 per child and children must be accompanied by an adult.

Book a place by calling 01346 511022 or emailing learning@lighthousemuseum.org.uk

 

Things that go BUMP in the night!
Sep 20th 2016

Durn House in Portsoy are delighted to offer guests a fully interactive murder mystery experience. Guests have the opportunity to find clues, lead the interrogation and solve the crime as part of an evening packed full of mystery. A delicious 4-course dinner is also incorporated in to the evening.

On the weekend when beach litter surveys are happening all over the world, why not come along and do your bit for your local beach?
Sep 19th 2016

On the weekend when beach litter surveys are happening all over the world, why not come along and do your bit for your local beach? Organised by the Marine Conservation Society in Britain, this annual event monitors litter found on beaches and uses the information collected to improve the state of our beaches for people and wildlife. Join in the UK’s biggest beach clean and help to remove and record the rubbish from a beach near you. A fun and rewarding morning for all the family. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Gloves and rubbish bags will be provided.

Meet at Spotty Bag Shop car park, Banff, AB45 1GE at 11am.

 

The new season of fascinating and inspiring Banff and District talks gets underway on Tuesday 4th October
Sep 19th 2016

The new season of fascinating and inspiring Banff and District talks gets underway in the Reception Room at Banff Castle this Tuesday, 4th October at 2pm.

Book your place for all 5 talks for just £9, payable at the first meeting, or just turn up on the day for only £3. The speaker for the final talk has still to be confirmed and as soon as this happens we will let you know.

Tuesday 4 October, 2pm "Haddo Babies" - John Lemon

Tuesday 11 October, 2pm "Tables of Unspoken Dreams" - David Watson Hood, on Chinese Art

Tuesday 18 October, 2pm "Continued reminiscing by Paul" - Paul Williams

Tuesday 25 October, 2pm "Can you identify these?" - Deirdre McAinsh of Turriff & District Heritage Society

Tuesday 1 November, 2pm Age Concern Scotland - speaker to be confirmed

Venue for all talks is the Reception Room (ground floor), Banff Castle AB45 1DL


Further details available from 01261 831121/01261 812941/ 01261 842689.

 

New scheme launching in October 2016: Bus and Bike to Haddo!
Sep 18th 2016

Have you ever visited Haddo House and Country Park and all its attractions? Would you like to cycle some of the way to Haddo? If you do, then you may be interested to hear about the new travel option that is being launched in October for visitors to Haddo.

The Haddo Country Park Regeneration Project is pleased to announce the launch of... a new cycle scheme which will allow visitors to Haddo to easily access the attractions of Haddo. A cycle initiative, ‘Tarves - Haddo Cycle Link’, is being launching on Saturday 7 October 2016. The scheme works by travelling to Tarves, the nearest village to Haddo with a bus stop, visiting the Tarves Heritage Centre to lease a bicycle and safety helmet from the Tarves Development Trust, who manage the booking system for the bikes. Haddo is approximately 2.8 miles from Tarves and will takes around 15 – 30 minutes to cycle to.

Cycle to Haddo to visit Haddo House and tea room run by the National trust for Scotland, or visit the Country Park to have fun at the adventure play area, or simply to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings. There are bike racks available in the main Haddo car park, and near the adventure play area to safely secure the bicycles while you enjoy all Haddo has to offer. Bikes require to be returned to the, Tarves Heritage Centre collection point on the same day.

The bicycles have been supplied by a community organisation based in Huntly, Network of Wellbeing, who promote and help people to improve their mental health and general quality of life. All the bicycles have been refurbished by people being helped by the Network of Wellbeing.

http://www.visitabdn.com/attractions-and-activities/view/haddo-house

 

Aberdeenshire Doors Open Day takes place on Saturday 17th September giving you access to fascinating buildings across Aberdeenshire.
Sep 13th 2016

Aberdeenshire Doors Open Day takes place on Saturday 17th.  Doors open day gives you access to hundreds of fascinating buildings across Scotland. Every weekend in September you can explore places that are normally closed to the public. Some open up once a year, some just once in a lifetime. Discover the architecture, places and spaces right on your doorstep or explore a new part of the country.

The full list of properties taking part are:

1. Tarves Heritage Centre

2. Auld Post Office in Turriff

3. St Congan's in Turriff

4. Session Cottage Museum in Turriff

5. St Andrews Parish Church in Turriff

6. Delgatie Castle near Turriff

7. Forgue Kirk, Huntly

8. Christ's Church, Huntly

9. The Dutch Barn, Wardhouse Estate (AB52 6YL)

10. Fyvie Church in Fyvie

11. Fyvie Guide House in Fyvie

12. Haddo House Country Park near Methlick

13. Acorn Centre, West Church in Inverurie

14. Masonic Lodge of St Anthony 154 in Inverurie

15. Ellon Castle Gardens in Ellon

16. Udny Mort House in Udny Green

17. All Saints Episcopal Church in Whiterashes

18. Elyza Fraser Mausoleum in Monymusk

19. Garioch Heritage Centre @ The Loco Works in Inverurie

20. Garlogie Mill near Echt

21. Craigston Castle near Turriff

22. Turriff Masonic Lodge in Turriff.

23. Fraserburgh Heritage Centre: http://www.banffshirecoast.com/Events/9504/Fraserburgh+Heritage+Centre+Doors+Open+Day/?m=09&y=2016#event9504

North East Open Studios provide great opportunities to see the best of North East Scotland's arts this September.
Sep 2nd 2016

North East Open Studios (NEOS) provides you with a great opportunity to see the best of the North East's arts this September. 

Formed in 2003, the North East Open Studios (NEOS) is an award winning collective of artists, makers and designers based in the North East of Scotland. We provide an informal contact network for artists and makers alike, to help the public access the wealth of creative talent throughout the North East of Scotland.

The NEOS 2016 Event takes place between September 10th - 18th and features 232 artists, makers and designers. A wide range of work will be on show from painting to printmaking, textiles, ceramics, photography and many more. This year we have added 2 New Disciplines of Heritage Crafts to encourage and celebrate our Creative History, and Digital Art to embrace new Technology and it’s creative use.

The open studios event serves to engage wider audiences in all aspects of art to grow small-scale art and craft business in the north east of Scotland, and to provide a cohesive network of professional artists and makers.

Full listings for NEOS can be viewed at http://www.northeastopenstudios.co.uk/

 

 

 

Fraserburgh’s September Super Saturday celebrates Aberdeenshire’s rich and varied heritage from its fertile farming fields to its rugged coastline and beyond.
Sep 1st 2016

Fraserburgh’s September Super Saturday celebrates Aberdeenshire’s rich and varied heritage from its fertile farming fields to its rugged coastline and beyond. 

Get close up and personal with some livestock and enjoy the Shetland Pony display. If you like it a little wilder the Ranger Service will be on hand with lots of information and activities including their nest box kits. Marine Lab will have some of our more exotic species from our coastline on display. The history of it all can be traced at the Heritage Centre’s stall and KIMO will be on hand to show us how we can keep our seas safe and pollution free for the future. 

Whether you are a meat eater or a fish lover there’s lots to taste and try with some new foody additions and to work it all off why not try the new bungee run before rounding your day off with some great entertainment from local stars of Global Rock, the Broch Drama Group and Lighthouse Rock.

Fraserburgh’s Super Saturday is happening from 10am to 3.30pm on the 10th of September with the enthusiastic support of Aberdeenshire Council. It will be Super!!

Mungo Park comes to Portsoy
Aug 23rd 2016

North East Arts Touring (Deveron) present 'Mungo Park', direct from the Edinburgh Fringe on September 1st at 19:30 in Portsoy Church Hall.


Tragi-comic, theatrically daring Scottish-Danish co-production examining anew Europe’s colonial legacy through the idealistic 18th century Scottish explorer’s adventures and misadventures. Mungo Park led expeditions to West Africa to chart the River Niger and investigate tales of vast wealth. Featuring Matthew Zajac as Park. Dogstar Theatre Company (Scotland) and Mungo Park Arts Centre (Denmark) present Mungo Park – Travels in the Interior of Africa by Martin Lyngbo, director, and Thor Bjorn Krebs. 


Full - £9

OAP - £8

Con - £6

Family of 4 - £28

 

Tickets on sale from:

Portsoy Ice Cream Shop

www.neatshows.org.uk

Or phone me Sara Oakes on 01261 843006

 

Formartine Floral Trail and Flowerpot Family - only a few days left to take part
Aug 22nd 2016

The 2016 Formartine Floral Trail features Fred’s Flowerpot Family and covers from Balmedie to Turriff. There are 20 villages and towns featured on the trail, where you will see over 500 hanging baskets, numerous tubs, planters and countless flower beds with amazing, colourful and imaginative floral displays. There are over 100 of Fred’s family members to discover whilst you enjoy a drive in this beautiful part of the North East of Scotland.

Download your copy of the trail at http://www.formartinepartnership.org.uk/download/697/

 

Launch of 2017 Beautiful Banff and Buchan Calendar
Jul 26th 2016

The Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership and Visit Aberdeenshire are delighted to launch the ‘Beautiful Banff and Buchan’ 2017 calendar which showcases the Banff and Buchan Coast for locals and visitors to the area.

Following the success of the 2016 Calendar the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership and Visit Aberdeenshire are delighted to support this initiative which showcases the area locally, nationally and internationally.  Roger Goodyear, Chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership & Visit Aberdeenshire Board member, comments: “Following the success of the inaugural ‘Beautiful Banff and Buchan’ Calendar we were delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate again with Andy Martin of Andy Martin Photography to produce the calendar. The calendar acts as a reminder to local residents of what a beautiful area we call home and a great souvenir to visitors.

Andy Martin comments: “Following the success of the 2016 edition it really was a no brainer to produce a 2017 edition. The feedback I received from locals and visitors and indeed the retailers selling the calendar was so positive.  I have chosen a new set of images from the area including Delgatie Castle near Turriff, Crovie, Cullen and Sandend.  The images promote the natural and unspoilt beauty of the area and act as an inspiration to visit the destinations featured”.

Roger Goodyear comments further: “Tourism is a fundamental part of the economy of North East Scotland and in conjunction with the new Destination Marketing Organisation, Visit Aberdeenshire, we need to do everything we can to promote and sell the delights of this wonderful area.  The calendar is a great method for doing this and we would encourage everyone to get their copy before they sell out. The calendars can be purchased online at www.andymartinphotos.com and throughout the Banffshire Coast area in local retailers and outlets”.

For further information, please contact David McCubbin on 01224 900486 or david.mccubbin@visitabdn.com

Cullen Harbour Gala confirms programme of events
Jul 25th 2016

The 2016 Cullen Harbour Features:

*The RNLI Buckie Lifeboat
*North 58 Sea Adventures
*HM Coastguard
*Cullen Sea School's Skiff 'Mairi' plus visiting Skiffs, boats and yachts from along the Banffshire Coast.

BBQ and stalls including:
*The Whale and Dolphin Centre
*Music by Joe, Bill and supporting cast

At the Cullen Sea School (12pm-3pm):
*Tea, coffee, cakes
*Heritage Display

Build up begins for Turriff Show
Jul 24th 2016

The North East's Premier Agricultural Show

Special Attractions:

The Royal Signals White Helmets Motorcycle Display Team, Ore Country Trainers - terrier racing, The Sheep Show

300 quality trade stands, Food Fayre, Arts & Crafts, shopping mall, exhibition marquee, Ferguson Hall, Industrial & Horticultural Marquee and Codona's Funfair.

Marquee Dance: Friday 29th July - Night Fever Disco

Sunday 31st July: Horses and Ponies, goats, rabbits, cavies, pigeons, pony driving, tug-o'-war, open dog show.

Monday 1st August: Companion dog show & Highland Dancing Competition (SOBHD Rules)

More Information available from Helen M Paterson, Secretary on helen@turriffshow.org

Fordyce residents invite you to their village open day
Jul 21st 2016

Fordyce Village Open Day takes place on Sunday 24th July from 12.oopm - 5.00pm.

The residents of Fordyce invite you to walk around and sample the historic atmosphere of this 500 year old village.

Explore the streets, lanes, old buildings and open spaces of this unique environment and enjoy teas and refreshments in the Community Hall courtesy of Fordyce SWRI.

Visit open gardens, plant sales, craft stalls, demonstrations, and explore the community woodland.

 

Zippos Circus celebrates its 30th Year with an all-new circus show for 2016!
Jul 18th 2016

Thrill to the dare-devil Wheel of Death and the Trapeze; admire the artistry of Zippo's horses, plus performing cats and budgies; gasp at the Kenya Boys' acrobatics; and laugh at the inventive clowning of Mr Lorenzo.

And there's much, much more, all hosted by the World's Greatest Ringmaster, Norman Barrett MBE.

Zippos Circus is touring the Banffshire Coast and North Aberdeenshire and will be in the following places:

Fraserburgh: July 18th - 20th
Turriff: July 22nd - 24th.

More information at http://www.banffshirecoast.com/Events/9449/Zippos+Circus/?m=07&y=2016#event9449

Harvest Hut offers weekend getaway from city life
Jun 6th 2016

A brand new glamping facility is being launched this month where guests will be able to sleep underneath the stars and re-engage with nature.

Carole and Matthew Short, farmers near Rosehearty in Aberdeenshire, have lovingly transformed an old mill hut into a wonderful and quirky glamping space.  With a wood burning stove, bright and colourful furnishings and proper beds, ‘Harvest Hut’ makes for the ideal getaway from the modern world of smart phones, digital devices and finger tip technology.  

This is not the first time the couple have shared their impressive 200 acre farm with visitors.  They have been welcoming glamping enthusiasts onto their land since 2012 with the introduction of ‘High Seas Hobbits’ and more recently with ‘Coastal Carriage’.  Their farm boasts a fabulous location in the North East of Scotland with stunning views over the Moray Firth.  Together with their herd of beef cows and a sprinkling of sheep, peacocks, ferrets and dogs, it is no surprise why people fall in love with it and choose to holiday here.  

Nestled in its own grassy field, making it a thoroughly exclusive experience, Harvest Hut offers a taste of years gone by.  Once used by farm workers for humble accommodation, Carole and Matthew have sensitively converted it to a fun and unique living space, which sleeps 3.  It continues to be off grid and environmentally friendly with solar powered lighting and proudly displays a few hints towards its past. 

Harvest Hut is just a short drive away from many beautiful beaches, quaint fishing villages and Scotlands only mainland Gannet colony, perfect for weekend trips away.  

Harvest Hut costs £75 per night.  For more information or to make a booking call 07954 989737.

 www.highseashobbit.com

www.coastalcarriage.co.uk

 

Fraserburgh Super Saturday
Jun 5th 2016

It’s Super Saturday time again on 11th June in Fraserburgh Town Centre. This month is all about Creativity so come along and see some of Fraserburgh’s Creative Talent on display whether it be knitted toys, delicious cakes, arts and crafts or other surprising new stalls. Entertainment will be provided by local duo, Killer Heels, St Andrews School Choir and Fraserburgh Junior Arts. Plenty of things for the children too at our Super Saturday Shack including a competition, Glitter Tattoos and the ever popular Hook-a-Duck. Local shops also offer special deals and promotions on the day, so don’t miss out. Super Saturdays benefit from the enthusiastic support of Aberdeenshire Council and is happening 10am -3.30pm on Saturday 11th June in Fraserburgh town centre. It’s going to be SUPER!

Event Highlights include:

Stalls

Enjoy a tasty ‘Fraserburger’ from the Fraserburgh Community Church

The Kitchen of the Old Dragon with jams and chutneys

Rhiannon with jewellery and handbags

Kim's Cupcakes

Starjump Leisure with their inflatables

S & J with their Helium Balloons and gifts.

North East Scotland College will be there promoting courses and hopefully with students doing some demos.

Creative stalls who are first timers at Super Saturday include "Bear with Us", " Duthie Handicrafts" and "Rainbow Rose".

 

Entertainment

St Andrews School choir with "Songs to Make You Feel Good" and South Park who will be showing off their Primary 6 Enterprise work.

Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society will be singing songs from "Sunshine on Leith", their forthcoming summer show.

Super Saturday’s are a fun packed busy day with lots of stalls, entertainment for kids and adults as well as a Tasting Gazebo and Kids Saturday Shack.

Cullen Sea School is gearing up for the launch and the official naming ceremony of the first Three Harbours Association St Ayles rowing skiff.
Jun 1st 2016

Cullen Sea School is gearing up for the launch and the official naming ceremony of the first Three Harbours Association St Ayles rowing skiff.

Come along and meet “Mairi” on Saturday, 4th June at Cullen Harbour. The official naming ceremony to be held in the brand new Cullen Sea School building at 10.45am while the launch of the skiff will take place at Cullen harbour around 11.30am.

Background

The Three Harbours Association is a registered charity running the Cullen Sea School (CSS) project which is a multipurpose facility currently being developed into a hub for small boat building, sailing and Watersports.

As part of the project CSS runs a weekly boatbuilding course three times a week where 14 enthusiastic boatbuilders have created “Mairi” from a St Ayles skiff kit.

CSS is also in search of rowers for the Three Harbours Association rowing team so if you are interested to take part please get in touch with Katalin Urquhart, Project Coordinator on 01542840830 or email to katalin@cullenseaschool.co.uk

7th Haal Folk Festival
May 26th 2016

 

Folk at the Salmon Bothy Portsoy presents the 7th Haal between 3rd - 5th June 2016. The Haal is a weekend of songs, tunes, stories, poetry, dance, workshops and sessions held in and around Portsoy.

There is a packed programme of event over the 3 days with tickets on sale now from the Station and Boyne Hotels in Portsoy or by calling 01261 842571.

Full programme information can be found at www.bothyfolk.org

 

A BIG weekend of events in Banff and Macduff
May 23rd 2016

Banffshire Cycle Challenge

The Banffshire Cycle Challenge 2016 takes place on Sunday 29th May - 10am, starting from Banff Harbour.

You can take part in either the full 25 mile cycle run or a 6 mile short run.  Registration can be completed in advance either online or by downloading the registration form and posting it. You can also register in person on the day of the Cycle Challenge. Registration facilities will be open from 9am at Banff Harbour on the day of the Cycle Challenge. Full details at http://banffshirecc.weebly.com/


The Coastal Fringe Big Weekend

The Coastal Fringe Big Weekend takes place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May 2016 in Banff and Macduff.

A fantastic range of events is on offer to you so why not come for the day or even make a weekend of it on Scotland's Banffshire Coast:

Events

Circus Skills Workshop


Free fun for everyone! Take part in a FREE Circus Skills Workshop at Macduff Marine Aquarium. 11.00am - 3.00pm daily.

 

Duff House 'Wings' Public Art & Recreation Project

Duff House has been described as the grandest classical country house to be built in 18th century Scotland. William Adam (of the famous architectural and furniture design family) had an even grander plan for additional “wings” but unfortunately these were never built. 

This weekend riends of Duff House are re‐creating the layout to give an impression of an even more magnificent House. As part of the Coastal Fringe festival the public can come, for free, and paint scenes they envisage in the windows of the west pavilion on large format boards.

11.00am - 4.00pm daily.

 

Coastal Fringe at Banff Castle

A colourful and creative mix of stalls with local artists, craft makers and vintage businesses on two floors at Banff Castle, Car Boot stalls, food and activities in the grounds. Sat 28 and Sun 29 May, 10.00am to 4.00pm. Free entry.

 

 

 

 

Writing Fringe: Part of the Coastal Fringe 2016
May 17th 2016

 

Writing Fringe: part of the Coastal Fringe 2016

Sunday 22 May from 2pm

DAFT Writing presents a programme of workshops and readings celebrating north east writing talent.

Join us on Sunday 22 May, Upstairs At The Kelpie, Banff Castle, Banff.

DAFT Writers & Friends are invited to take part in a lightning strike Writing Workshop
lead by Wayne Price - be prepared to work!
BOOKING ESSENTIAL.
From 2pm - 2.45pm
Entry By Donation

Headliners Preview 
Aberdeen May Festival
Headliners can be seen first at Banff Castle.
From 3pm,
Entry By Donation

 

  • Alison Lumsden, poet and senior lecturer at Aberdeen University, will talk about 20th century north-east writers including Shepherd and Gibbon: illustrating the traditions new writers of the region draw on today. 

  • Shane Strachan, Peterhead fiction writer focussing on north-east fishing communities, featuring Doric dialect. His work has been published widely and his drama staged in Aberdeen.

  • Jen Cooper, Aberdeen poet and winner of Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award 2016. Her poems have been published in several literary magazines including
    The Rialto, Ambit, New Writing Scotland and Envoi.

 

  • Wayne Price, Aberdeen poet, fiction writer and winner of Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award 2011 is Co-Director of the WORD Centre for Creative Writing. His work is widely published and his poetry pamphlet Fossil Record was selected for the Laureate's Choice series 2015 by Carol Ann Duffy.


    Question & Answer session
    Got a burning question you want to ask the panel of writers? Hang around for the Q&A. Chat about writing influences and experiences, 

    This event is supported by Aberdeenshire Council's Towns' Regeneration Scheme 

    Location: Upstairs At The Kelpie, Banff Castle, Banff.

A great weekend of events
May 11th 2016

There is a great weekend of events taking place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th May and no, we are not talking about the Eurovision Song Contest!

If you are planning a day out, short break or holiday including this weekend then the area is playing host to a great range of events for you to choose from:

 

Saturday 14th May

Could you be a Lighthouse Keeper? The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses need you to join their Lighthouse Keeper’s Bootcamp! Sign up at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and Fraserburgh Heritage Centre on Saturday 14th May and see if you have what it takes to become a keeper.

Fraserburgh Super Saturday: Super Saturdays are event days packed full of fun for the whole family and each month has a different theme. The theme for today is Fraserburgh and the Great Outdoors.

Coastal Capers: Join the Rangers as we discover the fascinating world of rockpools. Find out about the suckers, gluers and swimmers lurking beneath the waves at New Aberdour Bay. Booking essential.


Sunday 15th May

Medieval Open Day:  The event is being held on the site of the Medieval Banff Castle.  See the Scottish Knights in Action, Wander around the Medieval encampment, Try your hand at Medieval Skills.

Croquet on the Lawn: Everyone is welcome to come for a game, a little bit of competitiveness and a lot of fun. Croquet is an easy game that all abilities and ages can enjoy. Duff House from 2-4pm.

Click http://www.banffshirecoast.com/Events/9290/ for full event details.

 

Fraserburgh Super Saturdays
May 6th 2016

Super Saturdays are event days packed full of fun for the whole family and each month has a different theme. Each event has a different theme and we have a super range of market stalls, tasting gazebos, demonstrations using local produce, all day live street entertainment and plenty of great activities for children and families to take part in.

Super Saturday takes place in Saltoun Square and Broad from 10.00am - 3.30pm with the following themes:


May 14th: Fraserburgh and the Great Outdoors

June 11th: Fraserburgh’s Creative Talent

July 9th: Get Fit Fraserburgh.

August 13th: Fraserburgh’s Foodie Delights

September 10th: Fraserburgh Land and Sea.

December 10th: Fraserburgh’s Festive Fun.

 

Time: 10:00 - 15:30

Could you be a Lighthouse Keeper?
Apr 26th 2016

We need you to join our Lighthouse Keeper’s Bootcamp! Sign up at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and Fraserburgh Heritage Centre on Saturday 14th May and see if you have what it takes to become a keeper.


For this year’s Festival of Museums we’re helping you to get hands-on experience of what life was really like on a lighthouse!

Come along and gain the vital skills to keep our seafarers safe! Can you climb to the very top of our lighthouse? Rescue someone from a shipwreck? Learn to tie knots? Work a lens mechanism? Make a weather vane? Or use a Marconi Radio?
When you’ve finished the Bootcamp you’ll get your official certificate to prove you’re an honorary lighthouse keeper.

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and FraserburghHeritage Centre are doing a special joint family ticket of £12 for the day so there’s never been a better time to see if you could be a keeper.

This event is part of the Scotland wide Festival of Museums taking place 13 – 15 May 2016. Visit www.festivalofmuseums.com for more details

Cullen Sea School open for business
Apr 18th 2016

The Cullen Sea School is an exciting new project run by the Three Harbours Association, a registered charity that represents Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty communities.

The Cullen Sea School has been developed into a hub for all things related to small boat sailing and water sports and offers a small boat building/repair workshop, meeting/instruction space and showering/changing facilities including provision for the disabled.

If you would like to know more about the project, have helpful suggestions, wish to join our list of volunteers or be part of what is already happening or planned, please get in touch with Katalin Urquhart, Sea School Co-ordinator by e-mail katalin@cullenseaschool.co.uk or phone 01542 840830.

Launch of 2016-17 Scotland's Castle Trail
Apr 12th 2016

The 2016-17 Scotland's Castle Trail guide was launched today at Kinnaird Head Castle and Lighthouse in Fraserburgh.  For the first time in the trails history, Kinnaird Head Castle which forms part of the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses has been included.

Kinnaird Head Castle was built in the 16th Century for the Fraser family. This fine 16th century castle was altered in 1787 to take the first lighthouse built by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses.

Scotland's Castle Trail lets you discover 19 of Aberdeenshire's most famous and dramatic castles. Get inspiration from the suggested itinerary or simply create your own bespoke tour using the printed leaflet, pdf download or simply follow the distinctive brown and white Castle Trail road signs through the heart of Aberdeenshire.

For full Castle Trail information click here.

Banff Castle Spring Vintage Fair, Saturday 16th April
Apr 5th 2016

Spring Vintage Fair, Saturday 16 April, 10am to 4pm

Location: Banff Castle, Castle Street, Banff, AB45 1DL

Curtiss & Clementine Presents: Spring Vintage Fair, Saturday 16 April, 10am to 4pm. Free entry. Over ten vintage stalls on two floors offering a colourful range of interesting items from the kitsch to kitchenalia. Featured stalls include vintage and second-hand clothing, fashion, jewellery, handbags, antiques & collectibles, pretty china and glass, studio pottery, quirky finds and recycled/upcycled gifts.

See Curtiss & Clementine on Facebook for more info or call 07905 792479.

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses Spring Holiday children's craft events announced
Apr 1st 2016

The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh is the place to visit during the school holidays with confirmation of children's craft events.

The popular themed family events take place at the Museum on Thursday 7th April with the 'Sky' as the theme and on Thursday 14th April with the 'Sky at night' as the theme. 

The events take place between 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm.


For further details or to book a place please call 01346 511022 or email learning@lighthousemuseum.org.uk

Programme announced for 7th Haal Folk Festival in June
Feb 24th 2016

The programme for the 7th Haal Folk Festival has now been announced.

To download the full programme, click here.

Top Scots singer Robyn Stapleton will headline the Jimmy McBeath Memorial Concert, supported by the Mabel Duncan Band.  Thomas McCarthy, Tom Spiers, Artur Watson and fiddler Sarah Beattie complete the Friday bill.

Saturday is packed with workshops and opportunities to sing and play.  The evening concert is to be opened by Huntly lass Iona Fyfe and her band of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland students.  The Jerimiahs, an award-winning Dublin-based band, will be next on stage, and the evening rounds off with top English folk act Simpson, Cutting and Kerr - each very well known as solo artists, coming together to form a very formidable trio.

There will also be a family ceilidh and Artie Trezise, who founded the Singing Kettle, returns to entertain the youngsters.

Many of the events are in the Town Hall, local cafes and licensed premises.

Macduff Marine Aquarium needs your vote
Feb 24th 2016

 

The Friends of the Macduff Marine Aquarium have been successful in their application to the Tesco grant scheme being funded by the 5p carrier bag levy.

They are already winners, having been awarded a minimum of at least £8,000 which will cover the provision of some outdoor activity equipment, including a shark play sculpture, an octopus for wee ones to clamber on and a toddler seating unit in the shape of a starfish, plus a wall-mounted panel and an interpretive outdoor display.

But this award could be increased with your votes.  Three applications in the area have been shortlisted for a public vote – with the highest getting £12,000, the second £10,000 and the third £8,000.

Voting will be open in Banff, Turriff, Fraserburgh and Huntly stores – from 27th February to 6th March. 

Please vote – please pass the message on to friends and family – please spread the word on social media - and let’s get that award increased by 50%.

Every little helps!

3rd Portsoy Bothy Book Festival
Feb 24th 2016

The 3rd Annual Portsoy Bothy Book Festival will launch with an excitiing author event for children in the Town Hall.

Badger the Mystical Mutt, written by Lyn McNicol and Laura Jackson, will finish a tour of primary schools and libraries in Aberdeenshire at the festival on Saturday 12th March 2016.  Badger's first book was placed at No. 1 on the Daily Record's children's book list.

Saturday 12th March will also feature a vintage tea party at the Salmon Bothy hosted by authors Aline Templeton, who has written 13 crime novels and been published in the USA and several European countries, and Maggie Craig, the recognised authority on female involvement in the Jacobite rising of 1745. 

Tickets for all events are available from Portsoy Ice Cream Shop, Seafield Street, Portsoy, or by phoning Moira Stewart, Festival Committee Member, on 01261 843455.

Museum lands coveted status
Jan 26th 2016

The Portsoy Salmon Bothy's museum has been awarded full accreditation by Museums Galleries Scotland.  The award is of great credit to the Salmon Bothy sub-group and volunteers who give their time and efforts to the facility and its operations.

The Portsoy Salmon Bothy Museum is made up of three chambers in a former ice house, and the group strives to bring together a collection of local artefacts to display to the public.

Members are currently preparing the collections for the new season opening at Easter, through to October.

The group is keen to increase its pool of volunteers; anyone happy to assist and looking for more information should e-mail contact@salmonbothy.org.uk.

And watch out for the film shows coming up in 2016 - see www.salmonbothy.org.uk for more information.

Distillery scoops award at premier dram contest
Dec 30th 2015

Glenglassaugh Distillery's 30-year-old has won a bronze medal at one of the most important whisky competitions in the calendar.

The malt enjoyed success at the annual Malt Maniacs competition.  There were a total of 12 other medals for BenRiach and GlenDronach whiskies, which are part of the same group.

The Malt Maniacs are a worldwide group of whisky lovers made up of amateur connoisseurs and profssional whisky writers, with the judging panel drawn from the group's amateur ranks.  The Maniacs have been conducting their annual competitions since 2003 and it has evolved into one of the most important and independent whisky competitions in the whisky calendar.

As well as winning these coveted Malt Maniacs medals, the organisation has won a further 10 medals at the IWSC awards, announced record profits and a major £25 million investment, and they became the Global Whisky Distiller of the Year at the Icons of Whisky awards.  The single cask releases represent the most exclusive whiskies from their warehouse.

Gift tree for disadvantaged kids
Dec 1st 2015

Organisations in Banff and the area's largest independent retail store are gearing up to distribute toys to disadvantaged children over the next few weeks in time for Christmas.

The Gift Tree Project has launched in the town, and residents are being urged to donate gifts to ensure the children have a happy festive time.

Last year locals provided more than £25,000 worth of gifts and food support.

The Spotty Bag Shop has donated £5,000 worth of toys.

Gift Trees with tags will appear at the Spotty Bag Shop until 13th December, and members of the public will be asked to select a tag from the tree, then buy just one extra gift while doing their Christmas shopping.  That present will then be donated to vulnerable children of all ages.

The Spotty Bag Shop and Home-Start Deveron, working in conjunction with Care United 2, Banff and Buchan community planning, community education, social work, health visitors and other professionals have joined forces to organise the toy appeal.  Close links have also been forged with local churches and other organisations working towards supporting those in need with food parcels.

Anyone who would like further information or would like to be involved in this project can contact Ms Thom at Home-Start Deveron, 5-7 Strait Path, Banff AB45 1AD, or call 01261 819964.

Aquarium named as top attraction
Dec 1st 2015

The Macduff Marine Aquarium was named the top Visitor Attraction of the Year at the recent Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

The Aquarium was up against other high quality attractions from across the area, and is now automatically through to the national finals in March 2016 for the ultimate tourism Oscar - the Scottish Thistle Award.

Winning this award reflects the great efforts, enthusiasm and dedication of the Aquarium team.  It's been a great year for the Aquarium, having also won a TripAdvisor Traveller's Choice award during the summer and being ranked by the global travel community as the top aquarium in the UK.

The team will be out to build on this success in 2016.

Famous faces finish filming Whisky Galore
Aug 25th 2015

The remake of the 1949 film "Whisky Galore" has now completed filming in and around the Portsoy area.

The original film is based on real-life events popularised by Compton Mackenzie in his 1947 book which was then made into a film by Ealing Studios - nominated for a BAFTA in 1950.  The story of Scottish islanders trying to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship is still as entertaining as it was then.

Actors attached to the film have been seen on set and around the Banffshire area, including Eddie Izzard, Gregor Fisher (famous for his role as Rab C. Nesbitt), Ellie Kendrick (best known for her role in "Game of Thrones"), Naomi Battrick (who appeared in Stonemouth, filmed in Macduff last year) and Kevin Gunthrie from the musical "Sunshine on Leith".

The film will be released next year, and it is hoped the production will provide a boost to tourism and the local economy.

Youngsters invited to enter the Young Fish Pie Master cooking challenge
Aug 25th 2015

Aspiring young chefs have been invited to take part in a cooking challenge at Macduff Marine Aquarium.

Next month, the visitor attraction will be celebrating fish in a different way and exploring their lives from sea to plate, including the journey in between.

The FishFest event will promote sustainable seafood through cooking demonstrations and a fun challenge to get young people interested in fish and food.

Youngsters are being encouraged to take part in the Young Fish Pie Master cooking challenge.  Children aged 12 to 17 can submit a recipe for fish pie, using locally sourced and sustainable seafood ingredients, along with some background about their recipe - whether it is a family favourite handed down through the generations or their own new twist on this traditional dish.

All entries will be seen by a panel of judges from the food industry who will then select five finalists to compete in a cook off in a marquee outside the aquarium and kick off the FishFest celebrations on Saturday 12th September.  The contestants will have an hour to assemble and cook their pies for presenting to the judges for the all-important tasting.

The winning recipe will be featured on the Banff Springs Hotel menu for a time after the competition, with the winner and family being invited to dine at the restaurant to sample the special dish.

FishFest takes place during 12th and 13th September.  In addition to the Young Fish Pie Master cook off, there will be presentations of sustainable seafood recipes, fishing heritage displays and workshops, art, music, fish biology workshops and talks from government advisors on marine conservation and fish scientists.

For details on how to enter the cook off, visit www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk or the Aquarium's Facebook page.  The closing date for entries in Friday 28th August.

New map will tell anglers where to go
Aug 7th 2015

A new "Angler's Map of River Deveron" has been launched by the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust.

It has been made possible by a bequest from Tom Ingleby of Aswanley, Glass, and displays all the Deveron fishing beats and associated pools, together with 14 beauty spots and landscapes.

The new map has been researched and produced by the Trust in conjunction with Bowlts Chartered Surveyors and illustrated by artist Harley Miller.  All proceeds raised from the sale will be used in future conservation initiatives and educational projects run by the Trust.

The new map can be ordered through www.deveron.org or by contacting the Trust on 01466 711388.

A dram fine achievement
Aug 7th 2015

Glenglassaugh Distillery near Portsoy has scooped a gold medal for its 30 Years Old single malt whisky at this year's International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) - an internationally recognised badge of quality.  The local firm also picked up silver medals for its Revival, Torfa and Evolution expressions.

The Glenglassaugh 30 Years Old was the first release from the distillery after BenRiach took over the distillery in 2013, and has been critically acclaimed in all the company's markets.

Owners BenRiach Distilery Company won 10 medals in total, including 2 gold and 4 silver outstanding, across its three brands, which also include GlenDronach and BenRiach.  Rounding off the excellent performance at the awards, the company was again shortlisted for the 2015 UK Spirits Producer award.

It is a huge achievement for a small independent to make the UK spirits producer shortlist in the company of global companies.

Locals flock to casting call for film extras
Jul 14th 2015

Scores of people have turned out for auditions in Portsoy for the remake of the classic comedy "Whisky Galore". 

A modern-day version of the iconic 1949 fim will start shooting in Portsoy on 26th July.  The cast and crew will be there for three weeks, and a large number of extras are needed.

The film tells the story of how Scottish islanders removed the whisky cargo from a ship which ran aground.  The SS Politican sank off the Scottish island of Eriskay in 1941, and 8 years later, the film "Whisky Galore" told the story of how the locals took the whisky and hid it from the excise men.

Following on from the filming of Stonemouth, it is another boost for the Banffshire Coast area.

Aquarium gearing up for busy summer
Jul 14th 2015

With the schools out for summer, the staff at Macduff Aquarium are looking forward to a busy season full of visitors to take part in activities and fun with the fabulous marine life of the Moray Firth.

The attraction, which is entering its 19th year, offers a very educational and enjoyable day out for youngsters this summer.  A journey through the aquarium will take visitors through the exhibits displaying coastal and shallow water sealife such as an array of fish, lobsters, crabs, octopus and jellyfish.

A star attraction to the aquarium is Jemima the halibut, who has recently acquired 2 new potential mates brought in to keep her company.  This is extremely important as halibut are an endangered species of fish. 

The aquarium has scheduled diving into the kelp reef 3 times a week (Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.) where visitors get to see divers hand-feed the fish while guides give a talk about the marine life in the main theatre where visitors watch from the main window. 

The aquarium is for all ages from babies to older children to grandparents.  From the educational benefits with the kids' quizzes that are included in your visit to the looks of fascination of the younger children as they look upon over 50 species of fish and more than 90 animal species.

The Aquarium is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 17.00, and from 11.00 to 17.00 on Saturdays and Sundays, with talks and feeding running each day.

For more information, phone 01261 833369.

Banff Links a winner in Beach Awards
Jul 2nd 2015

Banff Links has been announced as a winner in the 2015 Keep Scotland Beautiful's Scottish Seaside Awards; and it has been an award-winner since 2007.

The awards honour the efforts of beach managers and communities across Scotland in maintaining high standards.

The annually presented Seaside Awards are the only accreditation for beach management which includes an on-site assessment of every beach.  This year, 60 beaches in Scotland have been recognised for their excellent safety and environmental management procedures and good water quality.  The Seaside Awards are designed to recognise the rounded visitor experience, from good access to water quality, from toilet provision to the cleanliness of the beach itself.

For a map showing all the award-winning beaches, with directions and pictures, click here

 

Rowers delighted with Soy Quine's new lease of life
Jul 2nd 2015

The skiff Soy Quine is all ready for the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival this weekend - after a lengthy re-fit and upgrade by dedicated members of Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club.

The glamorous pink lady saw final outfitting and sea trials, with rowers agreeing that not only does the boat look really special, she handles better than ever.

Through experience, the team has learned a great deal about what works best for rowers.  So, they have repositioned the benches and designed new footrests, which makes rowing more comfortable.  Rowlocks and oars have also been re-designed to make them more efficient; and the beautifully crafted new tiller and rudder created by one of the volunteers are what makes this re-fit extra special.

The Quine's brother, Soy Loon, has been working extra hard, with rowers taking him to sea at every opportunity.  His turn for a re-fit will come later this year.

Anyone who would like to try rowing - from 16 to 80 - with or without experience - is very welcome to come along to regular Tuesday and Thursday club nights at Portsoy Harbour.

Club rowers have already rowed at Collieston, Findhorn and Catterline this year; but the first big competition comes this weekend at the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival on 4th and 5th July - with 14 teams entered.

The number of new skiffs built by communities around the Moray Firth continues to increase.  Although started in Scotland, this has become a popular enterprise worldwide.  Nearby, new boats have recently taken to the water at Burghead and Findhorn, with Findochty expected to launch very soon. 

A brand new skiff has also been built by youngsters at Banff Academy - the first by a school in the area - as part of a unique boatbuilding course under the direction of the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training - a core subject, not a special project.  The launch of the vessel, together with 2 other small boats built by youngsters involved in academy boatbuilding, will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday 3rd July at Portsoy Harbour.

For more information about the club, visit Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club's Facebook page, or contact Wendy on 07717 220018.

 

Bright Coast - Exhibition by Bryan Angus
Jun 23rd 2015

An exhibition of new work by landscape artist Bryan Angus is to go on display at Duff House.

Specialising in lino printing, Bryan's pictures explore the weather conditions and natural light experienced on the Banffshire Coast.  They have been created to demonstrate the beauty and quality of natural light this region of Scotland benefits from at a particular time of year, whilst capturing the dramatic coastal landscape.  The exhibition will present new interpretations of some familiar viewpoints, as well as a wonderful opportunity to view and explore the dramatic coastal landscape of the region.

Bright Coast opens at Duff House on Saturday 18th July 2015 and will run until Sunday 30th August; entry is included within the admission price to Duff House (free to Historic Scotland members). 

A graduate from Gray's School of Art, Bryan went on to establish the Creative Retreat in Gardenstown.  With accommodation and studio spaces, it is a place for artists to escape to and where Bryan and other artists teach residential art courses.

The images Bryan creates, often only using two colours, portray the villages and sea edge of the fishing villages and towns near his home - Banff, Gardenstown, Macduff, Penan, Sandend and Cullen.

Pirates set to invade fun day at Macduff Marine Aquarium
Jun 4th 2015

Staff at a popular north-east aquarium are preparing to be taken over by pirates as World Oceans Day approaches.

Macduff Marine Aquarium is one of the region's top tourist attractions, and to mark the international awareness day on Sunday 7th June, it is hosting a pirate day.

The mischievous crew will be spending the day at Macduff Marine Aquarium, canvassing visitors and drumming up support and awareness of the natural marine environment.  World Oceans Day is an opportunity to get out and enjoy the marine environment, whether you have a walk on the beach, take a boat trip, or come and find out more at the aquarium.  You'll be surprised how exciting the sea can be.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society will be joined by Aberdeenshire Ranger Service to take visitors on a tour of the beach and keep an eye out for passing marine mammals.

Inside, young visitors can join in a whole host of games and art activities, as well as a treasure hunt through the aquarium.

Zoos and aquariums around the world take part in World Oceans Day each year using it as an opportunity to focus on raising awareness of the marine ecosystem and promoting further education amongst members of the public.

Date of 4th Cullen Skink World Championships Announced
May 4th 2015

4th Cullen Skink World Championships - Sunday 22nd November 2015

The Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative and Cullen Bay Hotel are delighted to announce the date for the 4th Cullen Skink World Championships - Sunday 22nd November 2015 - in the Cullen Bay Hotel.

Following a very successful inaugural Cullen Skink with a Twist competition in 2014, there will again this year be two world titles up for grabs, with a closing date for entries of 31st October 2015.

Traditional Cullen Skink:  this title will be awarded to the competitor creating the best Traditional Cullen Skink made from fresh, local produce.   The Traditional Cullen Skink must be made with smoked haddock, and no other fish, smoked or otherwise, may be used.   Every competitor is required to submit a recipe for at least 1.5 pints or 750 ml. of Cullen Skink and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists, to take part in the cook off, on Sunday 22nd November 2015 commencing at 11 a.m. Judging of the Cullen Skink will be made on the texture, flavour, colour and appearance of the soup. 

For a Traditional Cullen Skink entry form, please click here.  For the full entry rules, please click here.

Cullen Skink with a Twist:  this title will be awarded to the competitor creating the best Cullen Skink with a Twist made from fresh, local produce.   The basic ingredients for Cullen Skink with a Twist must include fish, potato, milk and onion; any other ingredients and/or recipe variations are down to the contestants.  Every competitor is required to submit a recipe for at least 1.5 pints or 750 ml. of Cullen Skink and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists, to take part in the cook off, on Sunday 22nd November 2015 at 1.30 p.m. 

For a Cullen Skink with a Twist entry form, please click here.  For the full entry rules, please click here.

There is a registration fee of £5 per competitor in each competition - which should be sent, with each entry form, to:-

World Cullen Skink Competition, Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative, c/o Cullen Bay Hotel, Cullen, Moray, AB56 4XA.

Duff House Stories - Grounds and House Tours
Apr 28th 2015

People have the chance to uncover little known tales with Duff House Stories, a series of guided tours by Historic Scotland's volunteer team taking place over the summer months.

Historic Scotland, with support from the Friends of Duff House, have created two tours, one of the house and one of the grounds.

The House Tour looks at the role of Duff House during the war, the history of the Duff family and explores specific artefacts and the story behind them.  The Grounds Tour takes in the grounds and Wrack Woods, looking at the ice house, mausoleum, plant and wildlife.

Places are limited to 12 people per tour, so you should telephone Duff House on 01261 818181 to book.

The cost of the tours is included in the admission fee.

The dates for the year are:-

3rd May:  Grounds Tour at 11.15 a.m.; House Tour at 2 p.m.

24th May:  Grounds Tour at 11.15 a.m.

1st June:  House Tour at 11.30 a.m.

12th July:  Grounds Tour at 11.15 a.m.; House Tour at 2 p.m.

30th August:  Grounds Tour at 11.15 a.m.; House Tour at 2 p.m.

Open evening focussing on Aquarium support group
Mar 11th 2015

A new group has been formed to support one of the area's most popular tourist attractions.

Friends of Macduff Marine Aquarium (FOMMA) recognises the Aquarium as one of the community's greatest assets, a valuable education resource, an important and popular part of the area's tourism product, and, with its continually changing and moving exhibits, a great place to visit time and again.

The Aquarium is of interest to all ages and closely linked to the history and heritage of the community with whom strong links have been forged, ranging from visits by schools and youth groups, through to local fishermen and divers who help with collecting fish for the exhibits.

The Aquarium shows the Moray Firth's marine life in all its wonderful diversity through displays showcasing different habitats, arranged around a central deep tank, with shoals of many types of fish that can be seen in very realistic environments.  Information boards give visitors an insights into the many species, and helpful staff are on hand to answer questions.

FOMMA has been created by a group of enthusiasts, intending to inspire and promote understanding, appreciation, consideration, protection and conservation of Moray Firth wildlife and its environment by supporting and assisting the Aquarium.

FOMMA has invited the public to an informal event on Thursday 12th March - between 7 and 9 p.m. - where they can find out more about the group and its plans, look around the Aquarium at night, offer suggestions as to how they think the Aquarium could develop, and hopefully provide support, with some becoming members of the group, either individually, as families, or as a business.

For a modest annual membership, the privilege gains access to exclusive events during the year, the opportunity to look behind the scenes at the Aquarium and to receive a newsletter.

More information can be obtained by e-mailing FOMMAquarium@gmail.com

 

Exhibition to showcase an unusual take on Scottish History
Feb 4th 2015

An exhibition which explores a number of pivotal moments in Scotland's history has opened at Duff House in Banff.

The Nation // Live is a flagship exhibition and pioneering project by the National Galleries of Scotland which saw community groups in five regions across the country paired with a lead artist to explore a particular theme within the context of the country's past.

Historical events, spanning themes including work, roots, union, faith and civil war, were tackled by locals of all ages from Skye, Inverness, Dumfries, Clydebank and across the central belt.

Working closely with professional artists and drawing inspiration from historic works of art held in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery's collection, community groups and individuals were challenged to create their own contemporary interpretation of some of these key moments, incorporating their own personal memories and stories into their final pieces. 

This is a truly unique project that explores history with a modern twist.  The artworks created will be on display alongside reproductions of works of art from the national art collection which inspired these modern interpretations.  Several schools have been involved, including Keith Grammar School which collaborated with Knockando Woolmill to create their own woollen panels, which were then joined together to illustrate their local environment and surroundings.

The exhibition also spans a number of multi-media platforms, including works that make use of video, music, performance and sculpture.  The centrepiece of the exhibition is a film that captures all five elements of the collaboration and features all the community groups involved.

This is the first time that the exhibition has been shown outside of Edinburgh.

Schools can access Duff House and its collections through Historic Scotland's free education visits scheme.

The exhibition is open to the public until Sunday 15th March, and is included within the admission price.

Porridge oats in protection plea
Feb 4th 2015

A Banffshire breakfast favourite is the focus of a call for it to feature a stamp of authenticity.

Hamlyn's Porridge Oats, which are produced at Boyndie, have been suggested for their potential to earn EU Protected Food Name (PFN) status.

Grampian Food Forum chairman Keith Whyte said he would be delighted to see backing for the product to be given the status.

Grampian is the country's main growing area for oats because the soil is so good.  Richard Lochhead, Scotland's Food and Drink Minister, has said he would support PFN applications for the oats.  Grampian is home to some really iconic Scottish products, including Hamlyn's porridge.  2015 being the Year of Food and Drink provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase our produce to a global audience.

Award-winning author launches latest novel in Banff
Jan 7th 2015

Award-winning author Stuart MacBride is launching his latest novel - "The Missing and the Dead" - at Banff Academy.  The event will include a talk and a book signing.  Tickets (free) are available at Macduff Library, or by calling the Library on 01261 833289.

The book is the latest instalment in the career of MacBride's jaundiced hero, Detective Inspector Logan MacRae.  It is set in Banffshire, where the body of a young girl is washed up on a beach, sparking a murder investigation.  The novel features many local references, and the front cover features a depiction of Tarlair's open air swimming pool.  The synopsis reads:  "One mistake can cost you everything...  When you catch a twisted killer, there should be a reward, right?  What acting Detective Inspector Logan MacRae gets instead is a 'development opportunity' out in the depths of rural Aberdeenshire.  Welcome to divisional policing - catching drug dealers, shop lifters, vandals and the odd escaped farm animal.  Then a little girl's body is washed up just outside the sleepy town of Banff, kicking off a massive man hunt.  The major investigation team is up from Aberdeen, wanting answers, and they don't care who they trample over to get them.  Logan's got enough on his plate keeping B Division together, but DCI Steel wants him back on her team.  As his old colleagues stomp around the countryside, burning bridges, Logan gets dragged deeper and deeper into the investigation.  One thing is clear:  there are dangerous predators lurking in the wilds of Aberdeenshire, and not everyone is going to get out of this alive..."

Stuart MacBride describes the Banffshire Coast as very dramatic, the perfect setting for a crime novel and one of his favourite bits of Scotland as well.  For more information on the author, visit:  http://bit.ly/1CovEMo

Glenglassaugh Owners named Distillers of the Year
Dec 18th 2014

The Edinburgh-based owners of the award-winning Glenglassaugh distillery have been named as Scotland's distillers of the year by the industry's highly influential "Whisky Magazine".

The BenRiach company has been awarded the highly coveted Icons of Whisky 2015 accolade.  The award recognises the people and places behind Scotland's great whiskies and celebrates companies and individuals for their significant contribution to the Scotch whisky industry. 

The company is currently trading in some 40 countries worldwide with other emerging markets entering the negotiation stage - so the future for all of their brands is tremendously exciting.

All 3 of the company's distilleries produce unique whiskies with extraordinary depth, balance and character. 

Lots of festive fun at the Macduff Marine Aquarium
Dec 9th 2014

Santa Claus is leaving no stone unturned, no chimney unclimbed - and now no rockpool unexplored.  Santa is coming to the Macduff Marine Aquarium at 2pm on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th to give the fish in the main tank their presents. 

There will be lots of festive fun to enjoy, including the Twelve Days of Fishmas Trail and a Christmas cracker joke competition.

The weekend's festive feast marks the end of a successful year at the Aquarium.  The annual Shark Season fortnight in October drew record numbers, and the recent release of 2 adult conger eels into the Moray Firth was heralded as a conservation victory.

A great day at the 3rd Cullen Skink World Championships
Nov 26th 2014

What a fantastic day it was!  Brilliant sunshine in Cullen - the fabulous setting of the Cullen Bay Hotel with views of the beach - and 2 very worthy winners.

Now in its 3rd year, the Cullen Skink World Championships continue to go from strength to strength.  This year, the entrants included locals and competitors from further afield.  So, with the new Cullen Skink with a Twist competition in place, it seems fair that one stayed at home, and the other - for the first time ever - went further afield.

After 2 years of locals winning the Traditional Cullen Skink competition, this time around we congratulate Neal Robertson from Auchtermuchty on his great win.  Neal has collected a number of other titles - including World Porridge Champion 2010, World Speciality Porridge Champion 2011, and awards in the World Stovie and Jam Making Championships.  Neal has now got his eyes firmly focussed on the World Mince and Tattie Championships in Mull in 2015, as well as defending his Cullen Skink title of course.  If you want to try out Neal's winning recipe, click here.

The inaugural Cullen Skink with a Twist title went to Ian Watson of Cullen who was inspired by a traditional fish chowder from Bermuda which includes black rum and chilli pepper.  He marinaded the wood chips in black rum and molasses to give the fish a sweet, smoky texture; he then added garlic, chilli, sweet potato, leeks, peppers and port sherry.

Many thanks from the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative to all those who participated and organised the day; particular thanks to Mrs Clare Russell, Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish who had the very onerous, but hopefully tasty, task of judging the entries.  And to the Cullen Bay Hotel, Ian and Rena Watson, for their continued support of the event.

Deveron FM starts broadcasting fulltime
Nov 26th 2014

Banff, Macduff and the surrounding area is set to rock to its own beat from the beginning of December when local radio station Deveron FM starts broadcasting full-time.

The station will re-appear on the airwaves on 107.4FM at 7am on Monday 1st December.  The station has secured its full-time licence.  The station first went on the air, initially for a fortnight, more than 13 years ago on a restricted service licence.  In the intervening years, it broadcast for 2 four-week periods each year in a bid to obtain a full-time broadcasting licence. 

Deveron FM has recently moved into new premises in Banff which boast a total of 5 new studios, a live lounge area and plenty of working office space. 

Macduff plays host to BBC Filming
Nov 24th 2014

Macduff has played a starring role in an eagerly-awaited TV adaptation of a thriller written by one of Scotland's best-loved authors and set in the North-east of Scotland.

The BBC Scotland co-production with Glasgow-based Slate films of the late Iain Banks' novel "Stonemouth" will feature Macduff as the backdrop to a tale of crime, corruption and coming of age set in a fictional town on the Aberdeenshire coast.

The cast is led by Peter Mullan (star of Trainspotting, War Horse and Sunshine on Leith), Gary Lewis (star of Game of Thrones), Sharon Small (star of the Inspector Lynley Mysteries), Christian Cooke and Charlotte Spencer.  The production will be the first time any of Iain Banks work has been dramatised for TV following his death in 2013.  "Stonemouth" is the only novel Iain Banks set in the North-east.

New Life for Derelict Cottages in Portsoy
Nov 24th 2014

Historic sail-making cottages in Portsoy are set to be regenerated in a £1.8 million project.

Derelict cottages at the Back Green, Portsoy will be restored and converted into bunkhouse accommodation for walkers, cyclists and other visitors to the area.  Confirmation of an £873,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has signalled the green light for the project.

This is the first scheme in Scotland to be awarded funding through HLF's Heritage Enterprise scheme and is being undertaken by the North East Scotland Preservation Trust (NESPT).  Once completed, the 4-star bunkhouse - which will accommodate up to 25 visitors - will be operated as a community business by the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.  The bunkhouse will also provide accommodation for participants on the residential boat building courses to be run at the new Boatshed facility under construction at the harbour.

The project has already received funding from Historic Scotland through the Portsoy Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme and from the Architectural Heritage Fund.  The outcome of a funding application to the Coastal Communities Fund for £450,000 will be known in December.

The buildings, known as the Back Green, comprise a former sail-making loft and associated cottages.  The category-B listed buildings are located in the Portsoy Conservation Area, close to the town's caravan park.  Traditional materials will be used in the restoration of the 19th century building used for sail-making.  Among the traditional materials to be used in the makeover are timber-slated roofs and clay pantiles.

Portsoy Salmon Coble Exhibition on at Portsoy Primary
Oct 28th 2014

The Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT) salmon coble project, which got underway earlier this year, is recreating from scratch one of the Moray Firth's most iconic and easily recognised historic fishing boats.  The build, which is being carried out by a band of dedicated and committed volunteers, is a keel-up recreation using traditional raw materials and construction methods.

The project volunteers have created an exhibition entitled "The Coble and the King of Fish" to demonstrate the vital role these small boats once played in Scotland's commercial salmon fishing industry.  Sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund, one of the project's key aims is to inform the wider community about related history and traditions.  The exhibition consists of 12 bespoke, boat-shaped illustrated panels and a variety of specially chosen artefacts.  Through an informative selection of illustrations and texts, visitors are able to follow the story of the king of fish - the salmon, the historic development of coastal salmon fishing at Portsoy and the important role played by the coble.  The exhibition explains how these often-overlooked small boats were constructed and how and why PORT is trying to preserve this important area of our heritage by building one from scratch. 

In September, the exhibition went to the Orkney International Science Festival, and in January 2015, the PORT team will be mounting their project exhibition for MSPs at the Scottish Parliament. 

The exhibition is currently on show at Portsoy Primary School where it has been employed as an important local marine heritage educational tool.

Whistle My Lad Film Team set to return to the North-east
Oct 28th 2014

The team behind the highly successful short film, Whistle My Lad, which was shot in and around Banff, Crovie and Pennan last year, is preparing to return to the north-east in 2015.

A 15-minute historical romance set in an early 20th century Banffshire coast fishing community, Whistle My Lad premiered to critical acclaim in Aberdeen in May 2014.  It has since been shown at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, recently finished a tour of venues along the north-east coast, and was screened at the recent Aberdeen International Film Festival.

Now Richard Burke, who wrote the screenplay and co-produced the original film, is preparing to shoot a feature-length version of the forbidden romance between two teenagers set in 1911 - hopefully at the beginning of 2015.

The original short film has since been dedicated to the memory of former Banff Academy teacher, Joan Rennie, who lost her life in a fire at her fishing cottage home in Crovie on the eve of the film's premiere in Aberdeen. 

Shark myths set to be debunked
Oct 15th 2014

Sharks have a fearsome reputation as man-eaters and villains.

But the organisers of Macduff Marine Aquarium's shark season are aiming to dispel those myths.

A fortnight of educational events will showcase the centre's six local species and offer visitors an insight into the lives of the misunderstood predators.

Up until Sunday 26th October, the tourist attraction will be welcoming families with a host of new events.  There is such a wide diversity of sharks, rays and skates that live in our oceans - and the Moray Firth is visited by over 30 different species of these amazing animals.  Sharks have been very important to our lives in the past and continue to be a source of medicinal development for our future too. 

The Aquarium is home to six species of shark found in the seas around Banff, and has its own shark nursery, where baby dogfish and rays are hatched and cared for before they are released into the wild. 

The events running until Sunday 26th October will offer visitors an opportunity to take part in illustrated talks, shark trails, artwork and games, and watch the Aquarium's scheduled feed and dive shows.  Daily interactive shark workshops will look at sharks inside and out, explore how they survive in our oceans, unveil what makes them different from other fish, and describe the role they have played in the lives of people around the world.  Fossils and shark teeth specimens will be on display, including the fossilised tooth of a Megalodon, the largest shark that ever existed. 

Dr Caroline Barelle from the University of Aberdeen will be at the Aquarium on Friday 17th to speak about her work with shark blood and how it can be used in the fight against cancer and other human illnesses.

And on Monday 20th, the Macduff Aquarium's own shark biologist will be talking about her research to protect sharks in the wild and how that can also help to protect humans.

For more information, visit www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk or check out www.facebook.com/macduffmarineaquarium or call the Aquarium on 01261 833369.

Athletes say thanks with a taste of the Caribbean!
Oct 15th 2014

This summer's Commonwealth Games may now be consigned to memory, but one of the competing teams from the Caribbean has sent a memento of their time in Glasgow to Macduff Marine Aquarium.

Staff at the Aquarium got into the swing of the games by adopting the Antigua and Barbuda team, supporting them with a temporary exhibit of Antiguan fish in a special tank.  It was the first time that tropical species have been displayed at the cold water aquarium.

While the Antiguan athletes were unable to visit Macduff during their time in Scotland, they sent a token of their thanks via Grahame Ross, a volunteer who looked after the Antigua and Barbuda team.  A signed photograph of the team, along with a bottle of special Caribbean hot sauce, will be on display alongside the tank of Antiguan fish which will remain on show until the end of the Aquarium's season later this month.

Inverboyndie and Cullen beaches retain their top rating for water quality
Oct 15th 2014

Bathers in the north-east can be assured they are swimming in some of the cleanest waters in Scotland.

Inverboyndie and Cullen beaches are among the 84 designated bathing spots to be awarded the Scottish Environment Protection Agency's top rating for their water quality. 

Other beaches in the "Honours List" include Aberdeen, Balmedie, Findhorn, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth East, Rosehearty and Stonehaven.

Portsoy community aim for dolphin statue
Sep 17th 2014

Eight years ago, Carn Standing met a young woman on the Doonie beside the remains of the gable end at Portsoy Harbour. She was disabled and very ill, but had been camping there for a number of weeks. He asked her why she was there, to which she replied that she’d been waiting for the dolphins. Carn was inspired by her spirit and determination, and since this encounter, seeing dolphins has always reminded him of this brave woman. This prompted him to create a life size dolphin sculpture out of mild steel and galvanized to protect it from rust, for the 2014 'Scottish Traditional Boat Festival' in Portsoy.  

Dolphins in a lot of cultures around the world symbolise community and harmony and due to such a positive response from locals and visitors alike after seeing the sculpture poised on the harbour wall during the Boat Festival weekend, Carn has graciously agreed to give the Portsoy community first option to purchase this beautiful sculpture. A fundraising effort has begun for this cause.  

In the last 30 years Carn has created a substantial body of work ranging from life-sized sculptures of animals cast in bronze and stone, to designs and sculptures for film, television and major theme parks. His commissioned works are in private collections around the world and some have also been shown at international events such as Crufts.  He sculpts with a wide range of materials including ceramics, mild steel, bronze and glass, often combining more than one material. All the work that he creates is made by him alone, by hand, capturing the heart and soul of the maker.   

Donations are being collected at Beggars Belief Coffee Shop and The Shore Inn near the harbour or if you would like any information about donating or assisting with this fundraising effort, please email Lee at leemail44@gmail.com

 

 

 

3rd Cullen Skink World Championships - date announced
Aug 31st 2014

Following the success of the championships in 2012 and 2013, the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative has now announced the date for the 2014 championship - Sunday 23rd November 2014.  

The two previous competitions have resulted in wins for a Cullen loon, Nigel Ross, in the inaugural event, followed by Tracey Fuller, a Cullen business woman, in the 2nd Championship.  So, the championship cup has remained firmly on home soil.  This year, the Initiative is introducing a variation to the competition – in that there will be two World Championships up for grabs – for the best Traditional Cullen Skink – and for the best Cullen Skink with a Twist.  

Those entering the Traditional Cullen Skink Championships will have a broadly free hand when it comes to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to is the requirement to use smoked haddock, milk, potato and onion.  Those entering the Cullen Skink with a Twist will enjoy even greater latitude.  The basic ingredients must include fish, potato, milk and onion; any other ingredients and/or recipe variations are down to the contestants.  

The finalists in each cook-off will have one hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges; they will be allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking has to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.  

The judging panel will once again be the cream of local culinary expertise – including the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.

The Cullen Skink World Championships have now become a key event in the Cullen calendar.  Moving the event to the quieter winter months will hopefully enable many more competitors to enter.

The rules of the competition and an entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com, on request by e-mail to visit@discovercullen.com, or by phoning 01542 840314.  The closing date for entries is 31st October 2014. 

Distillery raises a glass to competition success
Aug 7th 2014

Glenglassaugh Distillery won an outstanding gold medal for its 30-year-old malt at this year's International Wine and Spirits Competition.

The distillery, owned by BenRiach Distillery Company, also received a gold for its 40-year-old malt, an outstanding silver medal for its Torfa brand, and silver medals for its Evolution and Revival expressions.

The International Wine and Spirit Competition is one of the most prestigious in the world.  It exists to award excellence to wines and spirits worldwide, encouraging consumer and trade recognition for quality products.

Judging for the competition is unique in that it has two stages; first, the products are tasted blind by expert panels, selected from over 300 fully experienced and qualified industry judges.  Then, products which receive the top medals are subject to technical analysis before results are released; this crucial stage ensures winners receive complete validation.

Memorial Dedication for World War 1
Aug 7th 2014

The centenary of the outbreak of World War 1 was marked in a service on 4th August with the dedication of a memorial at Duff House.

It will honour the more than 1,700 men from the old county of Banffshire who lost their lives in the trenches, at sea and in the air during the conflict.

A memorial stone and a copse of specially-planted trees was unveiled by Clare Russell, Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, who spearheaded the project.  This memorial will provide a permanent marker of the outbreak of World War 1 and the sacrifice of so many men.

Festival turns focus on Gamrie's artistic talent
Aug 7th 2014

The creativity of artists in Gardenstown will be celebrated at a mini festival in the village - from 7th to 10th August 2014.

Gamrie Creatives started with a chat between local artists and designers who saw the opportunity to display their diverse skills in the village.  The group has a dozen artisans who will be exhibiting their work over the weekend; and this will be the first of an ongoing mini festival in Gardenstown.

There will be exhibition venues around the village, all well mapped out in a leaflet, with a trail showing visitors what is where and how to get there.  There will be pottery, textiles, jewellery, paintings and prints, painted furniture, and photographs.  There will also be activities, art workshops, an evening talk about art and a creative writing session.  There are also places to have lovely food and enjoy the stunning surroundings.

The group, who all live and/or work in the village, are inspired by the beauty and often wild nature of the Banffshire Coast.

For more information, visit the group's Facebook page.

Weekend leaflets and maps can be found at local tourist offices and shops, and can be downloaded here.

Fordyce Joinery Workshop celebrates its 21st anniversary
Aug 7th 2014

Fordyce Joinery Workshop and Visitor Centre, one of the North-east's more unusual historic and cultural visitor attractions, is currently celebrating its 21st anniversary.

A registered museum, it was set up to help visitors "discover the importance of the rural carpenter to the local community in the days before mass-produced goods, with displays of early tools and audio-visual presentations."

With admission free and open to the public all-year round, the centre offers visitors the opportunity to watch craftsmen working with wood using historic workshop machinery and the chance to relax in its Victoria-style garden.

Located in the picturesque village's West Church Street, the complex was taken into local authority control in 1972 and officially opened as a visitor centre in 1993 after it was leased from Aberdeenshire Council by the Fordyce Community Association.

The Community Association decided it would offer the facilities to volunteers with an open bench policy, allowing anybody who wanted to work there to rent workshop space and take on the role of "live" exhibits.  There is currently a team of 15 volunteers who work at the centre; they are in the early stages of developing the "living, working museum" theme, but with public support they intend to introduce new crafts, such as traditional knitting, crochet and patchwork, to add to the woodworkers; they hope to establish a rota to allow more local volunteers to join in the activities.  They also hope to open a tea and coffee area, so the facility can also function as a drop-in centre for the local community.  The focus is to become a crafts hub to encourage the participation of the local community, while developing the facilites for the future.

Aquarium warms up for Commonwealth Games
Jul 21st 2014

Macduff Marine Aquarium is getting into the spirit of the Commonwealth Games and the Support a Second Team initiative this summer, and will be celebrating the games in a very fishy way.  Aberdeenshire Council is behind Antigua and Barbuda and the aquarium is joining in by hosting their own Antiguan team - of coral reef fish.

Normally home only to cold-water-loving inhabitants of  Scotland's Moray Firth, the aquarium is creating a special Antiguan Caribbean reef display that will showcase fish and other animals that would be very familiar to the Antiguan athletes and sports people coming to Scotland for the games.

Antigua is one of the Caribbean Leeward Islands, with white coral beaches, palm trees and secluded bays, surrounded by coral reefs.  Fish such as royal and green grammas, damsel fish, blue tangs and Caribbean cowfish are common residents of these reefs and will make a colourful splash in the aquarium's Antiguan exhibit. 

This will be a stand-along exhibit as the aquarium's system's water temperatures are way too cold for these Caribbean species that are used to balmy waters of around 25C.  It will make a fantastic comparison to their own Scottish rocky reefs featured elsewhere in the aquarium. 

 

Display Turns Focus on Boyndie Wildlife
Jul 9th 2014

A new display has been built in the gardens of the Boyndie Trust Visitor Centre, detailing the range of plants, birds and wildlife that can be found there.  The information boards also showcase the shrubs and trees that have been planted over the years.

The display is a great piece of work done by a young local wildlife enthusiast, Harris Brooker, who spent several weeks as part of his college studies exploring every inch of the Boyndie gardens, then recording and researching all the species he found.  A fascinating database has been created.

From research done by the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, the huge richness of wildlife across Aberdeenshire, and particularly on the Banffshire Coast, is a major draw for visitors.

The Macduff Marine Aquarium showcases marine species, and likewise Troup Head for seabirds.  Boyndie can now showcase the inland species we all take for granted in our gardens and countryside.  Boyndie is a great place to help visitors and locals alike appreciate the area's natural beauty. 

A further part of the display is inside the visitor centre building, where cameras show live images and sounds of wild birds feeding at a specially constructed station in the gardens.  There is also a "nest box cam" on the roof, and it is hoped it will attract a resident bird family in 2015. 

Turriff, Banff and Macduff ready for the Baton
Jun 12th 2014

The Queen's Baton Relay will pass through Turriff, Banff and Macduff at the end of June - en route to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Sunday 29th June will see a packed day of events to celebrate its passage through this part of Aberdeenshire.  Although the local baton-bearers were selected some weeks ago, their identities have been kept under wraps. 

The Baton will arrive at Banff Bridge by road from Turriff at around 2.23 p.m. and special events have been organised to mark the occasion.  The highlight of the baton's visit to the area will be a short 20-minute sea passage across Banff Bay from Banff Marina to Macduff harbour aboard the Macduff lifeboat, the "Lydia MacDonald."

National and international TV crews will be in Banff and Macduff on the 29th to record the baton's visit.  To make the bay crossing as special as possible, local owners of all kinds of boats are being invited to form a flotilla in the bay to cheer the baton on its short voyage.  Canoeists and surfboarders who wish to join in the event should contact Deveron Canoe Club and Surf Scotland respectively. 

Guide shines a light on our secret stills
Jun 12th 2014

Three local distilleries feature in a new guide - "The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire" - which highlights the North-east's hidden distillery treasures.

Macduff Distillery, Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery and the Glendronach Distillery near Aberchirder are among the new Aberdeenshire guide's "active and lost" whisky producing facilities.

"The Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire" provides a wonderful insight into the whisky heritage of our region.  Of the 8 working distilleries featured in the guide, most are relatively small in scale, but each has its own distinctive history, style and taste.  4 have small visitor centres and shops, offering regular tours led by guides; while 3 of the featured distilleries are not officially open to the public, informal tours can be organised.

Copies of the guide are now widely available free at each of the featured distilleries, at local visitor information centres, with details also available online at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

Fyvie Castle prepares for invasion by festival visitors
Jun 12th 2014

Fyvie Castle is set to be the spectacular backdrop for a 4-day music, culture and ancestry festival later this summer to mark Scotland's Year of Homecoming.

The Fyvie Homecoming Festival will run from 28th to 31st August - comprising a spectacular packed programme of activities and entertainment, with a strong accent on music and local culture.

Although Fyvie is only a small village, it is historically important and right in the middle of an area of Scotland which is also rich in music of various genres, and there will be plenty to sample from local musicians, singers and dancers.  Fyvie Castle will provide a wonderful backdrop for the main gala on the Sunday afternoon, starring the Gordon Highlanders who will be beating the retreat to bring down the curtain on the weekend's events.  The weekend's music programme will include a fiddlers' feast, featuring North-east traditional music superstar Paul Anderson and the Garioch Fiddlers, folk concert by Drever McGuire, a Fyvie Folk Club ballad bus tour, a family ceilidh and special service of praise.

Tickets (which are required for some of the headline events) can be booked and purchased by contacting the organisers at info@fyviehomecoming2014.com or calling 01651 891790. 

For more information on the festival programme of events, go online at www.fyviehomecoming2014.com.

Book completes boat records
Jun 12th 2014

The final book in a trilogy published by the Buckie and District Fishing Heritage Centre - documenting fishing boats carrying the local BF port registration - is finished.

Cullen author John Addison's "BF Motor Fishing Boats - Volume 3" will be launched at a book signing at Banff's Meadowlands Gallery on Saturday 14th June from 10.00 to 16.00. 

The volumes document each vessel to carry the BF port registration and are invaluable to those with an interest in the fishing industry or the vessels themselves.  They contain a photographic record of vessels throughout their working lives and details of the vessel's owners and their technical specifications.

Banff beach makes the top grade again
Jun 4th 2014

Banff's Inverboyndie beach has again been recognised as one of Scotland's top seaside ports of call for locals and holiday makers - for the 7th successive year - in the 2014 Scottish Seaside Awards announced recently.

The award scheme, run by independent environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, saw more Scottish beaches than ever receive credit for environmental quality and an exceptional seaside experience.  The annual awards recognise good water quality and excellent litter, safety and environmental management procedures. 

A map showing all the award-winning beaches, with descriptions, directions, facilities and pictures, can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/coastal.

 

Boat Festival Strikes Gold
Jun 4th 2014

Olympic golden girl and rowing world champion Katherine Grainger CBE will be the star guest on the opening day of the 2014 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy at the end of June.

The UK's most successful female rower and the only female athlete in any sport to win medals in four consecutive Olympic Games will lay the foundation stone for the PORT (Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training) Boatshed Project.

And she will then be taking to the water after being press-ganged into joining the all-female coastal rowing crew of the locally built "Soy Quine".  Grainger's outing with "The Skiffettes" in their bright pink St Ayles skiff (built by a team of PORT's female members) will bring her world championship and Olympic pedigree to bear on the local women's bid for victory in the festival's coastal rowing regatta.  A record 19 skiffs from around the UK and further afield have registered for the racing events at the Festival.

PORT volunteers, who have completed the construction of a second skiff, the fluorescent green "Soy Loon" - also competing in the regatta - are currently recreating a traditional salmon coble.

For further information about the Festival - and to buy tickets - visit www.stbfportsoy.com

Shark's Easter Egg Marvel
Apr 18th 2014

Staff at the Macduff Marine Aquarium are celebrating an Easter Egg surprise.

A very rare double-yolked shark egg found at the Aquarium is possibly the first of its kind on record.  The egg came from a dogfish in the centre's kelp reef tank.  Staff have been raising dogfish for 16 years and this is the first time that a double-yolked mermaid's purse has been produced.

The Aquarium's shark expert has been studying and working with sharks for nearly 10 years, and has never seen or heard of twins in this species, the lesser spotted dogfish.  The female normally lays two hard egg capsules - mermaids' purses - in quick succession, but not normally two eggs in one purse.

There are no reports of this phenomenon to be found.

A young dogfish starts life as an embryo nourished by a yolk sac in the mermaid's purse.  It develops within the purse for up to 9 months, at which point it resembles a tiny shark.  It hatches and feeds on tiny crustaceans and worms on the sea bed.

Divers regularly pull mermaids' purses out of the kelp reef exhibit as the dogfish in there breed happily.  The purses are put in a nursery tank and monitored until they hatch.

Each year, some youngsters are released into the sea as part of a conservation effort to boost local populations.

Macduff Marine Aquarium reveals raft of new features for new season
Apr 15th 2014

The ever popular Macduff Marine Aquarium - recently shortlisted for the Visitor Attraction of the Year award in Aberdeen City and Shire - has had a makeover in preparation for the busy summer season. 

Among the latest additions is a beachcombing display that highlights the stories behind animal remains left on the seashore.  Shells, casts, bones, feathers and empty egg cases are available for visitors to handle as part of the interactive exhibit.  New illustrated information boards have been installed at each tank, detailing the animals' vital statistics. 

The Aquarium will also be switching on its video link with the nearby gannet colony at Troup Head.  Live images of the birds will be shown on monitors at the centre throughout the summer.

Glenglassaugh Distillery raises a glass to new malt
Apr 15th 2014

Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched a new richly peated Highland single malt that will now be part of its core range along with Revival and Evolution.

Glenglassaugh Torfa, with its smoky, peaty, phenolic nature, is a unique expression and quite different to the usual type of whisky produced in the Highlands.

Torfa is described as having a brooding, edgy character and is to be found at the darker end of the spectrum.  Its name takes its inspiration from the Old Norse language with which the Scots dialect spoken in North-east Scotland has an affinity, and translates to "turf" or "peat".

 

Homes sought for visitors to boat festival
Apr 15th 2014

Householders living on the doorstep of Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival are being asked to help organisers accommodate what could be one of the biggest crowds in the event's history.

A huge influx of international visitors, performers and crews is expected to attend this summer's event from 27th to 29th June, and more beds are needed in the town and surrounding area to cope with demand.  Organisers are asking local residents with spare rooms if they would be prepared to open their homes to provide accommodation, and at the same time allow visitors to see Scotland through the eyes of people who live and work here.

The event has been expanded from 2 to 3 days, and the launch of the North Sea Ring - a new organisation which aims to bring together groups from across Europe with a common interest in boatbuilding and maritime traditions - will lead to an increase in overseas visitors.  There will also be a greater number of heritage vessels on show in the historic 17th century harbour, and a large contingent of coastal rowing clubs from across the UK taking part in the regatta.

The festival is one of the main events in the Year of Homecoming 2014 which aims to celebrate all that is great about Scotland.

Anyone who is prepared to host visitors during the festival should contact Shona Murray (01261 842951) or e-mail her on shona@stbfportsoy.com.

For more information about the event and to buy tickets at early bird rates, visit www.stbfportsoy.com

 

Duff House debut for a master of the Renaissance
Apr 15th 2014

An exhibition charting the work and influence of one of the world's most celebrated artists has gone on display in Duff House in Banff for the first time.

"Durer's Fame" showcases the work of the acclaimed German Renaissance artist, Albrecht Durer - recognised as the most important artist of his era and one of the most celebrated artists of all time - best known for his technical excellence and highly distinctive print-making style.

The exhibition displays some of his most iconic works for the first time in the North-East of Scotland, and explores his legacy, including his influence on Scottish artists, with examples of their work on display alongside those of Italian and Dutch artists.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 13th July 2014.

Log on to Heritage Brochure
Mar 5th 2014

Those tracing their heritage in the Banffshire area will find help in a new online brochure entitled "Routes to your North East Roots".

The 4th edition of the publication has been produced by the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Ancestral Tourism Partnership (NESATP) and is sponsored by VisitAberdeen.

The brochure includes vital information for researchers, including a guide on how to get a search started, and advice on records that render the most useful information.

Also included is a detailed directory of all of the centres and organisations in the north east that can provide original records or secondary sources of information.

To view the Routes to your North East Roots brochure online, visit www.visitaberdeen.com/ancestral-

NESATP is staging an event at Haddo House celebrating family history and heritage from 8th to 10th August, as part of the 2014 Year of Homecoming programme.

The Bothy Goes To War
Mar 5th 2014

Portsoy's award-winning Salmon Bothy will be playing its part in this summer's UK-wide commemorative events marking the centenary of the outbreak of World War 1.

An exhibition is being created to recall the impact on the town and surrounding area of the 4-year conflict which began in August 1914.  The exhibition will include stories of men from Portsoy who perished in the fighting and whose names are remembered on the town's war memorial.

The World War 1 exhibition will share top billing on the Bothy's summer programme with another exhibition linked to the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training's (PORT) salmon coble building project.  The trailblazing project to recreate a traditional vessel of the type used by generations of Moray Firth salmon netters is currently underway at the PORT group's workshop in South High Street.  The exhibition will tell the story of the development of salmon fishing along the Moray Firth coast, featuring the art of coble building and displaying the techniques used in the boats' construction.

Banffshire Dram Hailed as "Perfection"
Mar 5th 2014

A single malt from the Glenglassaugh Distillery has been hailed in the 2014 edition of expert Jim Murray's "Whisky Bible".

The Distillery's 39-year-old Massandra collection Aleatico won the 35-40 years single cask award with 96.5 points out of 100.

Jim Murray described the whisky as "perfection - one of the few whiskies this year which has made me sit bolt upright in my seat.  Whisky of the very rarest beauty and one of the finest to land on my tasting desk for a great many years."

 

Band hopes to drum up a boost in members
Feb 27th 2014

The longest-running pipe band in the area is recruiting new members of all ages and abilities.

Whether you are an experienced piper or a youngster who wants to learn how to play the snare drum, Turriff and District Pipe Band is looking for new performers to bolster its ranks.

In 2013, the band celebrated its 90th anniversary, and has established itself as a vibrant and prominent group in the local community and the competition circuit.

The band's annual events take the form of pipe band contests and competing at various major competitions.  The band also performs at a number of other engagements throughout the year, most notably the famous Braemar Gathering. 

The band has a strong youth system, with youngsters tutored by senior members and brought through to join the ranks of the competition band.

Anyone interested in joining the band should call Pipe Major Billy Hepburn on 01888 563079, Pipe Sergeant Kevin Urquhart on 07834 332997 or Scotch Corner on 01888 563079.

Starry line-up on the cards for Haal Festival
Feb 27th 2014

Portsoy's 5th Haal Folk Festival has announced its headliners for the big weekend event on Friday 30th May and Sunday 1st June.

Siobhan Miller - winner of 2013 Scottish Singer of the Year at the Traditional Music Awards in Aberdeen - will take to the stage, as will ex-Fairport Convention fiddler Dave Swarbrick.  Dave will be bringing along a number of fellow performers, including Cathan McConnell and Duncan Wood, to perform at the festival.

Completing the main acts line-up is world renowned singer-songwriter Tommy Sands, from Newry, Northern Ireland, who has been very prominent in the peace movement in many countries as well as his home nation.

A new venue, the Boyne Hotel, will be added to the list of places for sessions and workshops, which will be shared between the Salmon Bothy and the Town Hall.  Concerts and other sessions will be held at the Shore Inn and Beggars Belief.  The main concerts and late-night club will once again be held in the Station Hotel.

For more information, e-mail bobphilips25@live.co.uk

 

 

Global window on beach views
Feb 18th 2014

Explorers of beaches in Banffshire can now let the world know what they mean to them as part of an innovative online project.

Manonabeach visited the area in 2013, taking in Cullen Bay, Banff and Cullykhan beaches, and asked people on each of them "What does the beach mean to you?"  The videos of the people who gave their thoughts were then uploaded to the project's website.

Now the online resource can allow people to submit their own recorded answers to the question - by text, audio and video - while enjoying responses from other people in the UK or further afield.

Manonabeach.com hosts narrative interviews with beach-goers and has been running for more than two years.  The website is seen in 119 countries.

Plans for a day to remember at Foggie
Jan 22nd 2014

Aberchirder is gearing up for landmark celebrations in May to bring the once bustling village streets alive to mark its 250th anniversary.  Aberchirder was the first planned village in Scotland in 1764. 

Plans for the event on Saturday 17th May 2014 are at an early stage, with the centrepiece of the day's celebrations the unveiling of a specially commissioned commemorative plaque in the square below the Jubilee Clock, which was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in June 1887.

Plans include a coffee morning with live entertainment, a display of historic photographs and artefacts from Foggie's history, and an outdoor gala event featuring live music, stalls and entertainment for the whole family. 

Originally known as Foggieloan - still locals' preferred name for the village - what became Aberchirder was named after a nearby historic "ferm toun".  The village was founded by Alexander Gordon, the laird of Auchintoul, and renamed Aberchirder by Gordon's successor as owner of the Auchintoul estate - after the thanes of Aberkerdour who lived at Kinnairdy Castle on the banks of the River Deveron in the 13th Century.

However, the popular name of Foggieloan, often shortened to Foggie, has survived for over two centuries, and has been incorporated in the motto of the village's coat of arms.

Boat-builders ready to roll
Jan 17th 2014

Portsoy's community boat-building project enthusiasts have started 2014 with their sleeves rolled up ready to start work in earnest on the re-creation of a traditional wooden salmon coble. 

And the Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT) Coble Building Group has extended an invitation to anybody interested in the project to join them.

The group will be hosting an open information session at the Salmon Bothy in Portsoy on Thursday 23rd January at 7.30 p.m.

Anyone who comes along will be brought up to speed on what's been going on to date, and they'll get the lowdown on the next steps in a unique project.  The amazing photographic record of the story of the "Tern" - a beached salmon coble which has been dismantled to provide the group with valuable information - will be on display.  A selection of the film clips of the coble project will also be shown. 

The group is very keen to hear from anybody interested in any aspect of boat building.  Anyone who wants to get involved in the project or just wants to drop in at the workshop on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday will be made very welcome.

And as the year progresses, there will be many more opportunities to get involved in an exciting and innovative project.

Big screen scoop for Banff's new cinema
Jan 16th 2014

Banff Cinema is set to come of age with its first screenings of 2014 - featuring the multi-BAFTA nominated blockbuster "Mandela:  Long Walk to Freedom" (12A) on Monday 27th January (commencing at 7.30 p.m.).  Launched late last year as a community project to bring big-screen cinema back to Banff, the initiative has found its feet very quickly and elicited terrific support from local residents.  Earlier on the same evening, and aimed at a family audience, Banff Cinema is showing "The Moshi Monster Movie" (PG) - another recent release.

Tickets for both films are available at the Strachan Pharmacy branches at 69 High Street, Banff, and 29 Main Street, Turriff, and at the Harvest Centre, Castle Street, Banff.

Tiddlers Fun Time at the Macduff Marine Aquarium
Jan 16th 2014

Jiggling jellyfish, weird wolf fish and colourful starfish are just some of the enormous characters that will entertain toddlers over the coming months at Macduff Marine Aquarium.

Tiddlers Fun Time, a series of fun-filled weekly sessions specifically designed for pre-school children, will lift the lid on life below the waves through themed activities, stories and games.

Following trails, taking part in hands-on activities and getting close up to wonderful seaside critters will all be part of these Fun Time sessions.  A story-time puppet show will be a highlight of the sessions; each session will introduce a marine tale with a different theme, exploring the underwater world through colour, shape and numbers, along with quests to find mermaids, monsters and treasure.

Tiddlers Fun Time runs every Monday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information, contact Macduff Marine Aquarium on 01261 833369, visit www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk, or check out the aquarium's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/macduffmarineaquarium.

Santa returning to the Macduff Marine Aquarium
Dec 10th 2013

Santa will be making his annual visit to Macduff Marine Aquarium this weekend; every year, he takes time out of his busy schedule to make a splash in the aquarium's main kelp reef exhibit, and is scheduled to scuba dive to spread some festive cheer to the fish on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December.

Turkey will not be on the menu; the aquarium staff have ordered in the necessary ingredients for the fishes' festive feast, including squid, herring and mussels, and will prepare the gourmet Christmas dinner over the coming days.  Santa will hand-deliver the treats to each and every fish in the tank.

Visitors to the aquarium can see Santa feed the fish, enjoy activities and have their photos taken with the big red man from one of the windows into the tank.

The aquarium is open from 11.00 to 16.00, and Santa is expected to dive in at 14.00 on both Saturday and Sunday.

Glenglassaugh releases new single malt
Dec 10th 2013

Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery continues to grow with the release of a 40-year old single malt whisky.

With an initial run of about 800 bottles, the single malt will be an on-going product in the distillery's range.

Founded in 1875 by local entrepreneur James Moir, Glenglassaugh has stocks dating back to 1963, and the distillery was mothballed in 1986.  It re-opened in 2008, and was taken over by BenRiach earlier this year.

In August, the owners released their first Glenglassaugh bottling - a 30 year-old single malt - and the new 40 year-old continues the distillery's ability to merge tropical fruits with sherry and oak spice.

The new owners have inherited some astonishingly fine whisky at Glenglassaugh, and they are delighted to launch their second expression almost nine months after taking over the distillery.  There is very strong demand for Glenglassaugh whiskies around the world.

Movies Return to Banff
Nov 11th 2013

Big-screen cinema is returning to Banff in November 2013 for the first time since The Picture House closed almost 40 years ago.

Local businessman John Strachan and his wife, Dana, who own the Strachan Pharmacy stores in Banff and Turriff, have teamed up with the Riverside Church and screening company Film Mobile Scotland to screen six of the latest blockbuster movies at three Banff Cinema film nights over the next two months.

And a good response from the local public will see the film nights extended into 2014 and beyond.

The Riverside Church's Harvest Centre on Castle Street will be transformed into a cinema showing two films - one for children - back-to-back on selected evenings through November and December.  The first screening will be on Wednesday 13th November, when "Sunshine on Leith", a musical based on the music of The Proclaimers, will be the first big feature to be shown at 7.30 p.m.  It will be preceded by "Turbo", an animated film for children at 5.30 p.m.

The other scheduled dates are:-

Monday 2nd December:  5.30 p.m.:  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - a children's animated film, followed at 7.30 p.m. by Philomena - starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan

Monday 30th December:  5.30 p.m.:  Frozen - a children's comedy adventure, followed at 7.30 p.m. by Saving Mr Banks - starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thomson.

Tickets are priced at £6 for adults, and £5 for children; they can be purchased from the Strachan Pharmacy stores in Banff and Turriff, and from the Harvest Centre, Castle Street in Banff.

Snacks will be on sale at screenings, and only food purchased at venue can be consumed on the premises.

Salmon Bothy scores top tourism accolade
Oct 18th 2013

A north-east harbour building which has been lovingly restored by residents has scored a top tourism accolade.  Portsoy's Salmon Bothy, which attracts more than 3,000 visitors each year, has been upgraded to 4-Star status by VisitScotland. 

The harbour-side building was bought by the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival committee in 2006.  More than £400,000 was raised by volunteers for the restoration project.  After 2 years of work, the bothy was re-opened to the public.  It is now home to a museum, a genealogical research centre and a community facility known as Upstairs at the Bothy.  The bothy is used by local groups, including painting, craft and knitting clubs.  It also offers boatbuilding courses for school children, as well as traditional music via Folk at the Salmon Bothy.  The upstairs section has also been used for exhibitions, parties and even weddings.

The building is managed by a voluntary team and remains part of the Festival committee which is a registered charity. 

Coastal rowing taking off with launch of 2nd boat in Portsoy
Oct 18th 2013

Coastal rowing in Portsoy has really taken off - since the beginning of the original St Ayles Skiff community project in April 2012.

With a registered membership of more than 35 men and women aged between 20 and more than 60, Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club's rowers and boatbuilders have made remarkable progress - with the growth in enthuiasm for rowing requiring a second boat to provide competition and training.

The Soy Quine was launched in March 2013, and the Skifettes took part in competitive rowing for the first time at the 2013 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, followed closely by the first World Coastal Rowing Championships in Ullapool where they reached the finals in two events at their first attempt.  Since then, the Soy Quine has been taken to Banff, Cullen and Burghead to demonstrate the club's activities.

The Soy Loon was launched on Sunday 13th October.

For more information, go to the group's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PortsoySkiffettes or visit their website at http://kaydunn08.wix.com/portsoy-skiffettes or phone membership secretary Carol MacDonald on 01261 843960.

Aquarium's New Classroom Boost
Oct 3rd 2013

Macduff Marine Aquarium has launched a raft of free downloads accessible from its official website to help teachers at schools across the North-east plug into a priceless educational resource.

The Aquarium welcomes more than 3,000 schoolchildren on official guided visits every year, with classes of all ages enjoying tours through the marine habitats, fish and other wildlife of the Moray Firth.

The downloads include informtaion for teachers and a range of colourful, exciting activity sheets, covering study facets required in the Curriculum for Excellence's sciences, maths, social studies and health and wellbeing courses.

Using the resource, children can explore the life cycles of jellyfish and lobsters, compare the features of seabirds, take a peek inside the body of a fish, imagine being a fishing boat skipper and reflect on the experience of touching crabs and starfish at the Aquarium's touchpools.

Get Arty at Duff House This Month
Oct 3rd 2013

Visitors to Duff House are being challenged to get in touch with their "inner Picasso" throughout October and get involved in the world's biggest drawing festival - "The Big Draw".

Over the next 4 weeks, visitors to Duff House will be equipped with packs which will allow them to capture the site through art by drawing the view from one of the house's windows.  The focus is on the natural world in line with the Year of Natural Scotland.

More than 200,000 people in 15 countries around Europe are expected to take part in the art festival.

Banffshire Farmers Creating Special Toast of the County
Oct 3rd 2013

Banffshire farmers are to toast their union's centenary in momentous style - by collecting malt whisky from 28 of the county's distilleries to create The Banffshire Centenary Blended Malt - a unique commemorative blend.

Local NFU branch members will take to the road to underline the close links between the two main industries.  Members of the NFU's Banffshire branch, armed with an empty cask, will start touring the distilleries, including Glenglassaugh and Macduff.  Thanks are due to all the distillers who are donating the whisky; in some cases, the distillers are including malts that they do not normally release for blending, ensuring that this cask will represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for whisky aficionados.

A first release of what will be called The Banffshire Centenary Blended Malt is expected around February 2014, and the proceeds from sales will go to the NFU's Centenary Fund.

Rare Historical Artefact Returns to Macduff
Oct 3rd 2013

A rare historical artefact - a 19th century lithograph - is back in its spiritual home in Macduff.

One of very few surviving examples from a limited run of 200 prints made locally in the mid-1840s, the artwork will soon be handing in the Knowes Hotel in Macduff.  The hotel, owned by John and Debbie Henderson, was originally built in the mid-19th century to house the Murray Institute, known locally as the Ragged School, by London-based businessman and philanthropist John Murray.  Mr Murray contributed £40 a year - a huge amount in those days -  from his own pocket to run the Ragged School, and left a £4,000 legacy in his will.

The lithograph, which depicts a view of Victorian Macduff from Banff, was brought back to the north-east by retired businessman Tony Buckley and his wife Sue.

 

Glenglassaugh Distillery releases new malt
Sep 5th 2013

The Benriach Distillery Company, which bought Glenglassaugh in March, has released its first new bottling from the Portsoy distillery since the takeover - a 30-year-old single malt.

Glenglassaugh 30YO was unveiled recently - a 44.8% volume single malt described as a "magnificent and very special Highland single malt" - amber in colour, with a rich, complex and full nose featuring luxurious tropical fruits of peach, mango and banana, complemented with sultanas, sherry and gentle oak spice.

This release is the first of a number of planned developments in response to strong demand for Glenglassaugh in global markets.

Historic cross on show in revamped Banff Museum
Aug 18th 2013

The original Banff Burgh Cross, dating back centuries, is one of the highlights of Banff Museum which was officially re-opened on 9th August.  The High Street tourist attraction has undergone a complete transformation over the past 3 months thanks to a group of volunteers and a grant from the Banff Common Good Fund.

Improvements include new film which has opened up the windows - making it brighter, but also preserving the artefacts from direct sunlight - and low-energy LED lighting in the artefacts which also improves the displays. 

The Burgh Cross - dating back to the 1400s - has been in storage since 1992, and all involved are delighted that it is now back in Banff.  There are many interesting artefacts on display, including a claymore dating from the early 1300s which is said to be one of the best preserved from the Scottish War of Independence.

Whitehills Marina becomes first in the UK to receive gold anchor award
Aug 18th 2013

Whitehills Marina has been awarded a Gold Anchor from The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA), and is the UK's first self-assessed One Gold Anchor marina.  The accolade follows the marina winning in the Grampian Awards for Business Enterprise and the Alick Buchanan Smith Spirit of Enterprise Award in 2004.

With 40 berths, Whitehills boasts a full marina with a few visitor berths for those sailors looking to sail along the coast to Inverness, down the Caledonian Canal and on to the sailing waters of the west coast of Scotland.  The marina also attracts many Scandinavian sailors.

The recently opened fish restaurant, The Galley, has been a popular addition to its facilities, which also include a crew lounge and kitchen, washing machines and tumble-dryers. 

To receive the award, marinas have to demonstrate that they are constructed to be secure, built to be operated to a satisfactory standard with suitable facilities and offer a minimum standard of customer service, as well as confirming that they are compliant with all regulatory requirements.

To celebrate the award, the marina team has painted a large gold anchor in pride of place at the marina entrance.

Macduff Marine Aquarium signs up to summer outings scheme
Aug 2nd 2013

Macduff Marine Aquarium is one of a range of north-east tourist attractions who have signed up to a money-saving admission voucher scheme called "Naturally Great Days Out", run by VisitScotland.

More than 100 attractions throughout Scotland are all providing offers such as "child goes free" or "2 for 1" until the end of October.

The vouchers can be downloaded from www.visitscotland.com/greatdaysout and printed off to use at participating attractions.

Catalan youth fanfare orchestra visits Turriff
Jul 9th 2013

One of Europe's top youth fanfare orchestras - the Banda Municipal de Lleida, from the Catalonian region of Spain - will be playing a concert at St Ninian's and Forglen Church in Turriff on Friday 26th July.

Playing mainly symphonic music, its repertoire also includes film, traditional and fanfare favourites.

The band has achieved great cultural prestige around Europe; in 2007, the band took part in the Mid Europe Festival in Schladming, Austria - one of the biggest fanfare festivals in Europe.  In 2008, it was a guest at both the 1st Band Festival in Foix in France, and at the Jungfrau Music Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland.  In 2009, it was selected to perform at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade in the Netherlands, and followed that in 2010 and 2011 with performances at the 13th Young Band Festival and the International Band Festival in Greece.  In 2012, the ensemble took part in the Florence International Festival.

Tickets for the Turriff concert - beginning at 7.30 p.m. - will be available at the door, priced £8 for adults and £5 for children of school age.

Portsoy's Skifettes make debut on world stage
Jul 9th 2013

Portsoy's all-woman rowing crew - the Skifettes - are making their debut on the world stage this week at Ullapool in Wester Ross.

The Skiffettes and their self-built St Ayles skiff - "Soy Quine" - are testing their skills and speed in the Inaugural World St Ayles Skiff Championships.  They join 32 vessels from around the world and around 800 competitors.  The championships have drawn boats and crews from Scotland, England, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA.

This will be the biggest gathering of skiffs anywhere in the UK, and Loch Broom is a spectacular setting. 

A number of activities are also available onshore, including ceilidhs, traditional music performances, sampling local seafood and taking part in arts and crafts sessions.

Further information on the championships is available at www.skiffieworlds.com

Boat building project gets financial boost
Jul 1st 2013

The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival's boat-building arm, Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (PORT), has announced the award of a £57,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

They lodged a successful bid to support the building of a traditional wooden Scottish salmon coble, following its progress from the felling of timber through construction to the launch of the completed vessel and beyond.

The project aims not only to produce a wooden coble in the traditional manner, but also to maintain and develop traditional boat-building techniques by involving volunteers of all ages and experiences in a series of workshops to create a body of interested and skilled workers.

If they wish, volunteers can later move on to help restore some of the beautiful old boats inherited by PORT from Portsoy Maritime Heritage.

The coble project aims to raise awareness of local seafaring heritage and traditions, and, at the end of the project, there will be a major exhibition featuring a professionally produced film and DVD charting the progress of the build and a display of pictures, tools and artefacts linked to salmon fishing history in the area.

The finished boat will serve as a workhorse for the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival every year and available to go on display at festivals and maritime exhibitions around the coast.

 

Beaches keep places on top Seaside Awards list
Jun 15th 2013

Banff's showpiece Links beach and Sandend beach near Portsoy have retained their standing among Scotland's top 59 bathing beaches.

Both picturesque and highly popular beaches have again been listed in the 2013 Scottish Seaside Awards by the environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Banff Links and Sandend were among almost 30 beaches in the North and North East of Scotland which were commended for excellent litter management, bathing safety procedures and water quality.

Gannet couple are TV stars
Jun 6th 2013

Macduff Marine Aquarium has adopted two members of Troup Head's world-renowned seabird colony, just one mating pair among the many thousands of gannets currently courting, nest-building and getting down to the serious business of looking after their eggs.

Visitors to Macduff Marine Aquarium will be able to watch the birds - named George and Janet the Gannets by staff - as they come and go over the course of the breeding season, thanks to a spy-on-the-cliffs camera link which beams real-time footage to a monitor in the Aquarium's exhibition hall.

The camera link has been running for the past 6 years in conjunction with the RSPB, but this year the focus will be on one mating pair.  The Aquarium staff will be taking careful note of the milestones the pair reach and their behaviour.

The stars of the summer-long show have a large nest right in the middle of the gannet colony on Troup Head's 50-metre high, north-facing cliffs - the only place on mainland Scotland where gannets nest every year.

George and Janet's adventures can also be followed on the Aquarium's Facebook page.

See www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk for more details.

Bathing Beaches Sparkle
May 27th 2013

Beaches in the north and north-east are among the cleanest in Europe. 

5 beaches in Aberdeenshire received the top rating - Philorth and Tiger Hill in Fraserburgh, Inverboyndie at Banff, Peterhead Lido and Rosehearty. 

The excellent rating went to Achmelvich, Dornoch, Dunnet and Rosemarkie in Highland, Cullen Bay on the Banffshire Coast, and Ganavan in Argyll and Bute.

Underwater dwellers get home makeover
May 8th 2013

Macduff Marine Aquarium's unique kelp reef centrepiece exhibit has had a complete makeover.

Thanks to investment by Aberdeenshire Council, the aquarium team has been able to give the 400,000-litre cylindrical tank, which is five metres deep and open to the sky, a complete refit - a refit undertaken with the tank full and still fully occupied!  It was a huge operation to undertake the refit; the divers worked really hard to remove all the old rocks - wielding a sledgehammer underwater is no easy matter and all the while they had to worry about minimising disturbance to the fish. 

The commercial divers needed help from the Aquarium diver to deal with the huge lobster Huffy Horace, as he refused to move from his home, but otherwise the fish coped well, and visitors were fascinated to see the operations.

The process included the design of a new rocky theme, construction of several fake rock pinnacles that will be free-standing in the kelp tank, the removal of 8 tonnes of rubble from the tank, and the placement of the new rocks before the final addition of live kelp to recreate a natural kelp reef.

Fun-packed Festival goes back to nature!
May 8th 2013

Organisers of one of the biggest events on the Banffshire summer calendar, the COAST Festival, are in final preparations with this year's brochure now in shops and community venues.

The fun-packed initiative, in its 6th year, takes place during the final weekend of May 2013 in Banff and Macduff and the emphasis is to get the community involved as much as possible.

The theme is "Responding to Nature" and will see numerous workshops throughout the weekend which people can get involved with.

This year's aim is to have a stronger workshop programme and provide a good variety.

The full festival programme is in the brochure which is available at most shops and community venues in the area.

New film set to whistle up publicity for coastal area
May 3rd 2013

A film crew who recently shot a short film in the area were so impressed by its landscape and people that they are set to return to create a full-length movie.

Tripswitch Productions recently completed location work on "Whistle My Lad", an early 20th century story of forbidden love in a north-east fishing village and filmed at a number of villages, including Crovie, Pennan and Gardenstown.

The team is now hard at work in post-production and plan to showcase the 15-minute film, and in turn the Banffshire coast, at film festivals across the world, including Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca next year.

Producer Chris Robb said that the generosity and helpfulness of people in the villages made the filming that much smoother.

The film will premiere at one of the film festivals, but special screenings are to be held in village halls in the area and at the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in 2014.

Museum to open after revamp
May 3rd 2013

Portsoy's Salmon Bothy opens its re-vamped museum on Saturday 4th May.

Over the winter months, volunteers at the Salmon Bothy have been busily re-furbishing the small museum housed in the three, vaulted ice chambers.

Star of the updated exhibition is Jeannie, the lifelike and authentically dressed fisher lass, created by Bothy volunteer, Jack Elliott.  Accompanied by her kist full of personal possessions, she represents the thousands of gutting quines who followed the migrating herring from Shetland down to Yarmouth each year.

In the first of the three ice-chambers, visitors can find out about the development of Portsoy's two harbours.  New items in this chamber include a collection of original boat-building tools and a display of seafaring knots where people can try their hand at securing various items using this once essential skill.  Also available for visitors to try are a selection of block and tackles which would have been seen on all sailing vessels and used for heavy lifting jobs.

Chamber two shows the busy industries once established in Portsoy - including the quarrying of Portsoy marble and the making of buoys for the fishing industry, not forgetting the lively smuggling activities which were once rife in the area.  It also features an original clinker-built pilot boat (descended from the Vikings), complete with splendid sail, an example of the kind of vessel which once sailed from Portsoy's harbours. 

Chamber three features the life history of the salmon, and charts the development of commercial salmon fishing, which flourished in Portsoy until the closure of the fishery in 1990.  A large variety of salmon fishing artefacts are on display which visitors are welcome to try for themselves.

New to this chamber are examples of boats built and sailed by local youngsters in a series of innovative projects undertaken by PORT, the boat building wing of the Scottish Traditiional Boat Festival.

As well as housing the small museum, the Bothy has developed a centre for family history research and has become the hub for all kinds of community activities.

For further information, visit www.salmonbothy.org.uk

 

Top-class beaches retain coveted top rankings
Apr 2nd 2013

Two of Banffshire's most popular beaches, Banff Links at Inverboyndie and Cullen Bay, have retained their coveted top rankings in the Marine Conservation Society's latest "Good Beach Guide".  Everyone connected with the tourist industry is delighted that the two beaches have maintained their position amongst the UK's cleanest, safest and best beaches.

These two beaches, combined with a string of high-quality beaches right along the Banffshire coast, underline the high praise this coast received recently when it was named by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.

Along with Cullen and Inverboyndie, Rosehearty and Fraserburgh beaches both won the top "recommended" rating for 2013.

Duff House hosts Scottish artist's work
Apr 2nd 2013

Duff House will be home to an exhibition of work by William McTaggart, one of Scotland's best-loved artists, which will be on show for the first time in the north-east until the end of June.

More than 20 of prolific McTaggart's stunning watercolours, compositional studies and oil paintings will be on show as part of a Scotland-wide series of exhibitions to celebrate The Year Of Natural Scotland.

McTaggart is regarded as one of the greatest interpreters of the Scottish landscape - with everyday scenes of fishing communities, breathtaking views of the ocean and sheltered bays along the Scottish coast featuring heavily in his work.

The exhibition runs until Sunday 30th June.  Entry is included in the standard admission price for Duff House, which is open from 11.00 to 17.00 daily during the summer months.

Seahorses swim into new home at Macduff
Apr 2nd 2013

The seahorse, once thought of as just a tropical fish, has proved it is a hardy species with the fish now found in Scottish coastal waters.

The species is now the focus of a new exhibit at Macduff Marine Aquarium.  Short-snouted seahourses typically live in coral reefs, but have been found living amongst algae and seagrasses around Shetland, along the West Coast and even in the North Sea.  Their populations are vulnerable, however, and protected in Scotland.

The seahorses have settled in well and are feeding on tiny shrimps.  They have no stomach and a pretty inefficient digestive system, so they need to eat a lot, which certainly keeps the Aquarium team busy.  The team hopes to breed their own seahorses in the future; it's the males that get pregnant.

The arrival of the seahorses was celebrated also through the running of a poetry competition for primary schools across the north-east - with the poems judged by local writer Esther Woolfson.  The winners will get to sponsor a seahorse for their classes. 

Duff House surrounds will bloom as floral wonderland
Feb 27th 2013

Duff House is one of three estates in Aberdeenshire which will come alive as floral winter wonderlands over the next weeks as part of VisitScotland's 7th Annual Snowdrop Festival, which runs until the middle of March.

Duff House is one of the best locations in the north-east to see the wonderful array of this year's spring snowdrops.  The festival is staged to remind people of the beauty of Scotland in the winter months and is a welcome boost for gardens, woodlands and the surrounding tourism businesses as the industry goes through its traditionally quieter months.

The Year of Natural Scotland will help enhance Aberdeenshire's reputation as a place for outstanding natural beauty, a stunning and easily-accessible place for active pursuits and the perfect stage for outdoor events and festivals.

The versatility of the snowdrop means that they grow in a wide range of locations and people can see more than 300 varieties of this delicate white flower.

Cullen & Deskford Calendar Photo Competition Launched
Feb 21st 2013

Residents, visitors and fans of Cullen and Deskford are invited to send in their personal photographs of the local area for the chance to be included in the 2014 calendar.  As previously, an eminent national photographic adjudicator will be judging the entries within three categories:  Primary School age, Secondary School age and Adults.  Each month will feature a winning photograph.  In addition, local businesses, clubs and groups can also have their own little bit of immortality by sponsoring a month.
 
The photo competitions over the last two years have seen some fantastic photographs - with some entries from as far afield as New Zealand and America.  Sales of the calendars have gone extremely well, contributing almost £2,000 to community projects; the calendar offers a fantastic opportunity to promote and show off our fantastic coastline and rural scenery, as well as raise funds for local community projects.

Click here for an entry form and rules. 

Entry forms are also available from the Cullen Paper Shop and Cullen Corner Shop, or by e-mail to community@discovercullen.com

2nd Cullen Skink World Championship Date Announced
Feb 20th 2013

Following the success of the inaugural championship in 2012, the Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative has now announced the date for the 2013 championship - Sunday 4th August 2013.

After many years of discussion, the inaugural World Championship took place in Cullen in 2012.  And it was very fitting that a Cullen loon won it !  The aim is to make the Championship an annual event, and that, in time, it may become as big and renowned as the World Porridge Making Championship in Carrbridge.

The first ever Cullen Skink World Championship was held in Cullen on Sunday 22nd July 2012.  Seven finalists were chosen from more than 20 entries to compete in the finals at the Cullen Bay Hotel.  The seven hopefuls had an hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges.  They had a broadly free hand when it came to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to was the requirement to use smoked haddock.  The finalists were allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking had to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.

The judging panel was the cream of local culinary expertise - made up of the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, cookery writer Diana Baxter of the famous soup-making family, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.

Nigel Ross, originally from Cullen but now living in Aberdeen, used an old family recipe to beat off the competition.  His recipe came from his grandmother; the family reckon that the recipe is at least 100 years old.  In addition, Nigel smokes his own fish - which was one of the keys to his success.

The other six finalists who made it such a great competition were Mary Addison, Fiona Forrest, Stuart Bonar, Paul Buxton, Gary Brown and Jamie Dawson.

To commemorate the day, Moray Distillery Glenglassaugh teamed up with the Cullen Bay's head chef Paul Buxton and Louie Paterson of Cluny Fish to create the most expensive bowl of the famous soup - Cullen Skink featuring haddock fillets marinated in Glenglassaugh's Revival Malt.  South Lissens Pottery handcrafted the soup bowls used in the competition.  And to round off the local theme, engraver Steve Thornton ensured that Nigel Ross' name appeared on the trophy for the presentation.

The Championship title will be awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional Cullen Skink, made from fresh, local produce.  The traditional Cullen Skink must be made with smoked haddock; each entrant will be asked to submit a recipe and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists to take part in the cook-off which will take place on Sunday 4th August 2013.

The rules of the competition and an entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com or on request by e-mail to community@discovercullen.com.

Celebrity to open River Deveron fishing season
Jan 28th 2013

Scotland's top angling celebrity, former "Hooked on Scotland" TV host Paul Young, will open the new River Deveron fishing season next month.

The Scottish actor will bless the river with a dram of Glen Deveron at the Turriff AA Lodge, Turriff Bridge, at 10.00 on Monday 11th February.  He will also present the Morison Trophy to last year's winner Craig Wyness, who will make the first cast as his reward for catching the biggest fish landed on the river in 2011.

The River Deveron District Salmon Fishery Board is asking anglers to return all salmon caught between the opening day of the season and 31st May to the water to help conserve spring stocks and release all sea trout caught over the course of the season.

Macduff Marine Aquarium launches special events for toddlers
Jan 25th 2013

Macduff Marine Aquarium is holding a number of special events aimed at toddlers over the coming weeks.  Jiggling jellyfish, weird wolf fish and sneaky sharks are just some of the underwater characters standing guard over a hidden treasure trove in the depths of the visitor attraction.

Little treasure hunters have been challenged to make their way through a watery trail to find the long-lost jewels as part of the Aquarium's "Tots Tuesday" events for pre-school children.

The sessions will include interactive activities, treasure trails and crafts.  A story time puppet show will be a highlight of the sessions, and the Council's library service will provide exciting stories that encourage the enjoyment of books and language at an early age.

The five sessions will run every second Tuesday, starting 22nd January 2013, from 11.00 to 16.00 and include activities based around treasure hunting, underwater colours and pirates.

Further information can be found on the Aquarium's website - www.macduff-aquarium.org.uk, Facebook page or call 01261 833369.

Online Whisky Tutorials Whet The Appetite
Jan 17th 2013

Staff at Glenglassaugh Distillery, near Portsoy, are set to become internet TV stars in 2013 following the launch of their own YouTube channel.

Whisky connoisseurs around the world are now just a click away from learning about the distillery's products direct from the people who know them best through a series of on-line tasting notes and tutorials.

The channel went active recently and viewing numbers have been steadily increasing ever since.  The channel is a great opportunity for the team to share their passion for the whiskies that Glenglassaugh produces and to show their products to customers who live on the other side of the world.

The Glenglassaugh YouTube channel can be found at:-

www.youtube.com/user/Glenglassaugh1875

 

 

Banffshire and Moray Coastline a World Beater
Jan 17th 2013

Moray's coastline is among the top 20 most beautiful coastal areas in the world, according to the international "National Geographic" Magazine.

A world-wide destinations rating survey, voted for by experts and readers, has placed the Moray coastline amongst 99 other iconic coasts, but rated it better than renowned areas such as the Skeleton Coast in Namibia and New Zealand's Great Barrier Island.

The coastline's outstanding cliff scenery and strong community feeling received plaudits from many contributors.

Hailing the area as a popular vacation spot for more than a century, the magazine describes the coast as offering "outstanding cliff scenery" whilst maintaining "a strong community feeling".

The magazine describes the coastline as "an undiscovered gem with pretty coastal villages, excellent beaches and outstanding cliff scenery.  The area is attractive to walkers, cyclists, wildlife watchers and surfers.  It also offers whale and dolphin watching."

The full report can be seen on the National Geographic Travel website at:-

www.travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/coastal-destinations-rated/top/scotland

Glenglassaugh's Latest Addition to the Chosen Few Range
Dec 20th 2012

A new single cask bottling has been released by Portsoy's Glenglassaugh Distillery as part of an unusual scheme where staff receive the keys to the warehouse to search out their favourite dram.

The bottling is part of the Banffshire distillery's Chosen Few Range - the first in the series was released in November 2011 as the choice of account manager, Ronnie Routledge.  This time, production manager Mhairi McDonald has opted for a single malt aged in a bourbon barrel.  Only 275 bottles of Mhairi's Chosen Few are available for release.  In addition to choosing her own favourite expression, Mhairi was also asked to develop tasting notes to accompany it. 

The Chosen Few Range is special in that it enables each member of staff to choose a cask of  Glenglassaugh which not only expresses the distillery's style, but their own as well. 

Mhairi's Chosen Few is available from all whisky retailers or the Glenglassaugh Distillery online retail shop at www.glenglassaugh.com.

See your heritage for free!
Nov 20th 2012

Banff's Duff House will be one of more than 40 Historic Scotland attractions giving away thousands of free tickets in celebration of St. Andrew's Day. 

Visitors need to register in advance at www.ticketgiveaway.co.uk in order to download a free ticket for each person for the attraction they would like to visit over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd December.

The Ticket Giveaway is part of the Scottish Government's Winter Festivals programme, which celebrates three of the country's most distinctive festivals.

A full list of participating sites can also be found at www.ticketgiveaway.co.uk.

 

New Book - Banff Through Time
Nov 20th 2012

Banff Preservation and Heritage Society will be launching its new book - Banff Through Time - on Friday 23rd November 2012.

The book charts the history of the town by comparing old and new photos of a variety of its areas.

 

McPherson mural to hang in Banff again
Nov 18th 2012

A Fife businessman hopes to return a 1970s mural depicting one of the most notorious episodes in Banff's history - the Hanging of McPherson at the Plainstones on November 16th 1700.  The mural has been discovered in the house of a relative.  Painted by former Banff Academy art teacher John Stewart, the original version of the famous and humorous mural used to hang in the Fife Arms Hotel until the Low Street premises underwent a major refurbishment some 20 years ago. 

The mural is massive and unique, and a colourful piece of Banff's history.  The mural was painted with a keen satirical eye by John Stewart, who recreated the theme in the 1980s with a second iteration which currently hangs in Banff's Broken Fiddle Cafe on Strait Path.  A major tourist attraction in its own right, the 1980s mural features characters who bear familiar faces with many a local, Scottish and national celebrity, including a young First Minister Alex Salmond, local councillors and business people.  A self-portrait of the artist is also included in the 1980's painting, which features John Stewart on horseback, assisting the hangman.

Launch of exclusive new single-malt Scotch whisky
Nov 18th 2012

Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched an exclusive new single-malt Scotch whisky. 

The limited-edition malt, named "Evolution", has been matured in bourbon casks and has a totally different set of characteristics from "Revival", the previous release from the distillery, located near Portsoy.  The bottling has extended to only 6,000 bottles, which have been hand-filled.  The feedback from pre-launch tastings in Dufftown, London and Germany has been fantastic.  As it is a limited-edition product which has matured in casks sourced from a distillery in Tennessee, Glenglassaugh are confident of a complete sell-out within a relatively short period.  Glenglassaugh intend to develop "Evolution" in future with a range of different wood styles; the next release is due in 2013. 

"Revival", the first single malt to roll off the production line since the relaunch of Glenglassaugh in 2008 - the most coastal mainland distillery in Scotland - has exceeded all expectations since its release in April 2012. 

19th Century Banffshire in new book
Nov 18th 2012

The Keith and District Heritage Group has published a book entitled "Victorian Scenes by William Robb, Solicitor of Keith" which features a series of rare glass plate photographs showing images from Keith, Banffshire and neighbouring counties.  The original full collection of glass plates can be viewed in Moray Council's Heritage Centre in Elgin.

Mr Robb had a great liking for the coast, and included in the book are photographs featuring Buckie, Portknockie, Portsoy and other fishing villages, with the various types of fishing boats of the time identified and named.

Local Hero Village Back in Picture
Nov 8th 2012

Local Hero village Pennan is about to provide the backdrop for another film by a team of award-winning movie-makers.

Titanic actor Ewan Stewart will play one of the lead roles in Whistle My Lad when production starts in April 2013.  Billed as a tragic story of forbidden love set against the deep-rooted traditions of a fishing community in the early 1900s, it is being made by the crew behind the BAFTA-winning No More Shall We Part, which was also shot in the north-east.  The production team is determined to find north-east faces and voices for the project.  Scriptwriter Richard Burke used to live on the Banffshire Coast and worked as a coastal salmon fisherman at Macduff.  He and the team have revisited the area and settled on a number of locations around Pennan - made famous in Local Hero in 1983 - and nearby Gardenstown.

New Book Available - Old Gardenstown, with Crovie and Pennan
Nov 6th 2012

This collection, in addition to the picturesque photos of the fishing boats and harbours from which these communities made their livings, also contains fascinating social scenes from the 19th and early 20th centuries of the communities at work and at play.

Available from Edgehill Stores, Gardenstown or by contacting Kay Beaton, the author, at Purple Creative Design - kay@purplecreativedesign.co.uk

 

Cullen and Banff Beaches on the official list of Scotland's best beaches
Sep 26th 2012

Banff's Inverboyndie Sands and Cullen's picturesque shoreline have retained their billing on the official list of Scotland's best beaches.

Both passed stringent Scottish Environmental Protection Agency water quality tests which showed that they displayed low pollution levels.  Both were awarded top marks under the current European Union Bathing Waters Directive.

New Whisky Visitor Centre Opened
Sep 24th 2012

Glenglassaugh Distillery has launched its new visitor centre, including a cafe, tasting room and shop.  Although the distillery has been taking pre-booked tours since its re-launch in 2009, this is the first time it has been able to open to the public.  The old revenue and customs office has been transformed into a tasting room,with the former staff office providing space for the retail space and a cafe.  All of the work has been done by the company's own in-house maintenance team.  The centre will initially open from Monday to Friday.   

New Unique Malt Whiskies Developed
Sep 24th 2012

Glenglassaugh Distillery has continued its resurgence by creating five unique malt whiskies as part of a deal with a world-renowned winery.  The Distillery has joined forces with Massandra (based in the Crimea) to create a single cask series, with each of the five whiskies given their own unique characteristics and flavour after being finished in casks previously used for maturing fine wine.  Only 1349 bottles have been produced from the five casks which were used to produce the selection which is called The Massandra Connection.

This is the first time that a distillery has been able to use Crimean wine casks in this process.  Previously, the Massandra Winery would use their casks until physical exhaustion and this is the firsrt time that they have allowd the casks to be used outside of the winery.

Massandra is the oldest winery in the Crimea and has been producing fine wines for more than 110 years, winning international acclaim for their exceptional quality.

North East Open Studios - the largest art event of its kind in the country
Sep 11th 2012

Now in its 9th year, North East Open Studios (NEOS) - the largest art event of its kind in the country - returns to the Banffshire area on Saturday 15th September.

Artists will throw open the doors of their workplaces from Saturday 15th until Sunday 23rd September - for the public to view their creative process and, in some cases, get hands-on making their own pieces.

This year sees 288 entries in the free catalogue and these are available from all the participating entrants and various other locations.  The catalogue provides directions to the studios and also opening times - which do vary from venue to venue.

Turra Coo Statue branded a design icon
Sep 11th 2012

One of Banffshire's most famous landmarks - The Turra Coo - has been recognised as a design icon at Aberdeenshire Council's Design Awards ceremony at Haddo House.

The popular bronze statue, which was commissioned to commemorate the resilience of the people of the North-east of Scotland, is a life-size bronze sculpture of one of the region's most famous animals.

The Turra Coo statue was officially unveiled by First Minister Alex Salmond in November 2010; this was the culmination of a five-year project steered by the Turriff Tourism Action Group to raise the funds needed to make and erect the statue.  The statue has since become synonymous with the bustling farming town of Turriff and a popular draw for tourists. 

Cullen Loon Becomes First Ever Cullen Skink World Champion !!
Jul 30th 2012

The first ever Cullen Skink World Championship was held in Cullen on Sunday 22nd July 2012.  Seven finalists had been chosen from more than 20 entries to compete in the finals at the Cullen Bay Hotel.  The seven hopefuls had an hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges.  They had a broadly free hand when it came to their recipes; however, one stipulation rigorously adhered to was the requirement to use smoked haddock.  The finalists were allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking had to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.

The judging panel was the cream of local culinary expertise - made up of the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Lady Clare Russell, cookery writer Diana Baxter of the famous soup-making family, and Louie Paterson from Cluny Fish at Buckie.

Nigel Ross, originally from Cullen but now living in Aberdeen, used an old family recipe to beat off the competition.  His recipe came from his grandmother; the family reckon that the recipe is at least 100 years old.  In addition, Nigel smokes his own fish - which is one of the keys to his success.

To commemorate the day, Moray Distillery Glenglassaugh had teamed up with the Cullen Bay's head chef Paul Buxton and Louie Paterson of Cluny Fish to create the most expensive bowl of the famous soup - Cullen Skink featuring haddock fillets marinated in Glenglassaugh's Revival Malt.  Louie Paterson marinated the haddock in Revival before smoking it in the 100-year-old kilns in his smokehouse at Cluny Fish, Buckie.  Cullen Bay chef, Paul Buxton, then had the challenging task of finding just the right measure of whisky to complement his own recipe.

Also in line for praise was local firm, South Lissens Pottery, who handcrafted the soup bowls used in the competition.

Thanks must also go to local engraver Steve Thornton who whisked the trophy away and returned it bearing Nigel's name at the top of what is hoped to be a long list. 

Watch out for next year's competition when Nigel will return to defend his title !

Glenglassaugh Distillery toasts success
Jul 30th 2012

Staff at Glenglassaugh Distillery, Portsoy, are toasting success this week after winning a gold award for their 45-year-old single malt.

The whisky, which is part of the distillery's Rare Cask series, took the top award in the International Wine and Spirit Competition held at the Innholders' Hall in the City of London.

Judges praised its taste and texture.

Marine Competition Winner Announced
Jul 26th 2012

Congratulations to Mr Harker from Northallerton who has won a fantastic set of Olympus Binoculars!

Mr Harker, along with almost 700 others, entered our recent marine-themed competition.

Thank you to everyone who entered. 

Take on the Coastal Challenge
Jul 17th 2012

Walkers, runners and cyclists are being encouraged to take part in this year's BRG Coastal Challenge which raises money for charity.  The popular 17.5 mile course will take participants along the stunning Banff and Buchan coastline, starting at Fraserburgh, going through Rosehearty, Sandhaven and finishing at Gardenstown on Saturday 25th August.

Participants of all ages are invited to walk, run or cycle the course, and under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. 

Entry to the event costs £15 online at www.brgchallenge.co.uk, or £20 on the day

Rare barnacles discovered at Banff Links
Jul 17th 2012

Local photographer Andy Martin stumbled on a rare species of barnacle on the beach at Banff Links recently.

Andy established via communications with a marine biologist on Facebook that the rare find was gooseneck barnacles - a fairly rare sighting on Scottish beaches.  Scottish Natural Heritage describes sightings of gooseneck barnacles as "occasional" in Scottish waters. 

In medieval times before the concept of bird migration was understood, people believed that geese hatched from the gooseneck barnacles because of their shape, hence the name given to them.  The barnacles - long writhing stalks or pendulates, tipped with triangular shells - are normally found deep below the waves, but can be washed up on beaches clinging to logs and other water-borne flotsam and jetsam.  Goose barnacles rely on water motion for feeding, leading to the tentacled animals frequently being washed up on shore.  They extend a fan-like array of limbs to catch plankton and attach themselves to surfaces by their stalks, rendering them incapable of moving from the point where they are fixed.

In Portugal and Spain, the barnacles are a widely consumed and expensive delicacy known as percebes.  They have a briny taste and are served steaming hot with their triangular shells still attached.

Artwork Installation in Pennan
Jul 17th 2012

Fort Fiddes at Cullykhan Bay, near Pennan, will host a four-day installation of artwork called "Peace Camp" from Thursday 19th July to Sunday 22nd July as part of a UK-wide cultural project linked to the Olympic Games.

"Peace Camp" is a collaborative project for the London 2012 Festival and City of Culture 2013, inspired by the ancient idea of an Olympic Truce.

Fort Fiddes is one of only eight national sites (the other Scottish site is on the Isle of Lewis) chosen as a location for the series of coastal installations appearing from dusk until dawn.  Fort Fiddes is a stunning location for this spectacular event which brings together history, art and a sense of place.  Peace Camp will highlight the beauty of Aberdeenshire and will also attract extra visitors to the area over four days of activity, with a mix of national and local events.

The glowing encampments of tents will be set against some of the most breathtaking scenery of the coastline, with visitors able to wander freely through the installation of softly-illuminated tents.

Humpback Whale Sighted for first time in decades
Jul 6th 2012

Marine experts have recorded a rare sighting of a humpback whale off the north-east coast; it is thought to be the first of its kind spotted in the Moray Firth for nearly a decade.  The spectacular mammal was less than 2 miles off Gamrie when it was seen by wildlife watchers from Banff-based North 58 Sea Adventures.

Minke whales are often seen in the Moray Firth during the summer months, but not humpbacks.  The last humpback whale in the Moray Firth is thought to have been in 2004.

Humpback whales, which can grow up to 45 feet, are still very rare in UK waters.  They were hunted to near extinction by whalers in the early 20th century, but scientists say they have been gradually making a comeback to north-east waters in recent years. 

Shanty at Boat Festival
Jun 21st 2012

Dozens of youngsters from across the north-east are working on a song to launch this weekend's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.  Around 50 primary pupils from throughout Banffshire have teamed up with local songwriters to put together their own sea shanty, and will perform their Big Boat Song at the festival's opening night concert in a marquee set up at Portsoy's Wally Green.  The children have been rehearsing for several weeks with members of the Creative Scotland Youth Music Initiative.  The songs written thus far have ranged from ballads about fairies and trips of the zoo to learning the penny whistle.  There's even a song called It's A Long Way to Portsoy Co-op.

Maritime Traditions at Scottish Traditional Boat Festival
Jun 17th 2012

Visitors to this month's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival are being urged to observe centuries-old maritime traditions.  Organisers have produced a tongue-in-cheek guide of do's and don'ts for those visiting Portsoy for its 19th annual show.  The list is based on superstitions which were held by seafaring communities in the north-east.  Many of the beliefs, aimed at warding off bad luck or bringing good fortune, began as tall tales or legends.  Sailors observed a variety of traditions, including pouring wine on the deck and avoiding red-headed people.  It was believed men with red hair would bring bad luck on a journey, but this could be avoided by speaking to the person before they had the chance to say anything first.  Sailors were warned to not throw stones into the seas as it would be seen as disrespectful and result in retaliation such as giant waves and storms.  Women were also advised not to board any ships, as it was commonly believed women had no place at sea. 

The Turra Coo Vying for Design Award
Jun 17th 2012

The Turra Coo has been voted as one of the north-east's most impressive features.  Houses, businesses and artwork throughout Aberdeenshire have been shortlisted for the region's annual design awards by a panel of judges, who whittled 106 entries down to just 28.  The winner will be announced in September.  Aberdeenshire has a rich heritage that is being preserved through craftsmanship of the highest standard with towns and villages being transformed by public art and creative architecture. 

Banff Links and Sandend beaches secure coveted Award
Jun 11th 2012

The beach at Banff Links has secured the coveted Rural Seaside Award Flag from Keep Scotland Beautiful for the 6th successive year, while nearby Sandend beach has received it for a third year in a row.  They were among 9 Aberdeenshire beaches to receive the acclaim from the country's leading charity for the environment.  The award, given annually, recognises high standards of cleanliness, safety and water quality.  There has never been a better time to enjoy local Aberdeenshire beaches.  A map showing all the award-winning beaches with descriptions, directions and facilities, can be found at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/coastal, along with an option for people to rate their favourite.

Cullen Hosts World Championship
Jun 2nd 2012

Cullen will see the first ever Cullen Skink World Championship this year in July on the same weekend as the Cullen Summer Festival.  Cooks from all over are being urged to enter this inaugural competition.

The Cullen Voluntary Tourist Initiative have organised the event - and are ambitious in their plans to achieve the same scale and prestige as the World Porridge Championship in Carrbridge.  The championship title will be awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional Cullen Skink, made from fresh, local produce.  Each entrant will be asked to submit a recipe and their method of cooking this special dish.  From this, the judges will choose 6 finalists to take part in the cook-off which will take place on Sunday 22nd July 2012.

The rules of the competition and an entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com or on request to community@discovercullen.com.  They are also available from the Cullen Paper Shop, the Cullen Tourist Office and the Cullen Bay Hotel.

Bon Voyage for Proud Pageant Boat
May 29th 2012

Obair-Na-Ghaol, the wooden fishing boat built by the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy, has set off on its journey to London to fly the flag for Banffshire at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.  She will be part of a flotilla of 1000 vessels saluting the Queen as she celebrates 60 years on the throne.  The boat is an exact replica of a scaffie - a traditional herring drifter - named Gratitude BCK 252.  Obair-Na-Ghaol -  the Scots Gaelic for Labour of Love - was built from scratch 14 years ago by Alex Slater, Sinclair Young and Willie Simpson.  The boat has been fitted out with a new engine thanks to Macduff Shipyards and has been freshly painted.  Obair-Na-Ghaol will be returning to Portsoy on the first day of the Aberdeen Asset Scottish Traditional Boat Festival - 23rd June 2012.

Cullen Exhibition set for Summer Fun
May 29th 2012

The Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie Heritage Group will be throwing open the doors to their Summer Exhibition on Saturday 2nd June at 2 p.m.  This is the third summer-long exhibition of local artefacts and memorabilia at the village's Memorial Hall.  The Exhibition will be open every week from Wednesday to Sunday during the months of June, July and August, with the doors open from 10.00 to 16.00.  Appropriately enough the exhibition will open on a theme celebrating Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.  The photo exhibition is set to feature images of both her August 1961 and July 1982 tours of Moray and district.  As well as these photos, there will also be a range of interesting artefacts that have been donated by locals over the years.  In particular, these items will recall the halcyon by-gone days of sail and steam and life on a farm in or around the area of Cullen, Deskford and Portknockie.  There will also be audio-visual displays and volunteers will be on hand with more information about the objects.  Family history and genealogy is an increasingly popular subject, and the Heritage Group will have their own experts in this field available, complete with a comprehensive set of records.

Cash boost for Art Project at Boat Festival
May 29th 2012

Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival has been awarded nearly £20,000 in a scheme aimed at promoting Scotland's creativity and raising its profile as a tourist destination.

The funding from Creative Scotland is part of a £1.2 million investment in projects across the country, and will see an art project entitled "Ebb and Flow" delivered at the festival by artists Bryan and Carla Angus for the next three years.

The Boat Festival is renowned far and wide for the quality of its maritime heritage offering, but the event is about so much more than boats.  It has built up an enviable reputation for showcasing the very best in traditional and modern arts and crafts, and many of the 16,000 visitors who come to Portsoy over the weekend come specifically for this element of the event.  The award will enable us to take this to a new level, and we are delighted that it provides an opportunity for visitors to actually get involved with the artistic process.

The Festival takes place on 23rd and 24th June 2012.

 

3 Banffshire Coast Awards Finalists
May 15th 2012

Three organisations in the Banffshire Coast area have won through in the North-east Regional Finals for Scottish Thistle Awards and now go through to the National Finals in November.

Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival started as a small community celebration to mark the 300th anniversary of Portsoy harbour almost 20 years ago and has grown in status to become recognised by VisitScotland as one of the region's flagship tourism events.  Although the emphasis of the Boat Festival is on maritime culture and heritage, the event has expanded over the years to reflect a wide range of associated traditional skills.  There is also a hugely popular food fayre and craft tent, an extensive music programme featuring local and internationally-renowned artists, and sports activities from running to rugby.  This year the festival is making history by playing host to the biggest ever St Ayles skiff coastal rowing regatta.  The Festival received the Award for Best Cultural Event in the North-east.

The Deveron Fishing Festival has been recognised for its success in attracting visitors to the area and boosting the local economy.  A lot of the trade now see the festival and its trade fair as a major event on the UK fishing calendar, and it is fairly unique to be able to hold a fair in an environment where equipment can be shown and tried on the river.  The festival ticks all the boxes in showing off the river to anglers and bringing people to the area.  The community also gets a payback in the benefits to the local economy.  The Festival received the award for the Best Nature-based Experience.

The Spotty Bag Cafe in Banff - part of the famous Spotty Bag Shop - received the regional award for the Best Cafe, Bar or Restaurant in the north-east.

Flying the Flag at Coast Festival
May 15th 2012

Organisers of Banff and Macduff's annual COAST event are planning a huge installation featuring more than 200 custom-made flags.  The piece will take pride of place at Banff Castle.  The theme of the festival is the creative individual, so the organisers are providing more than 200 blank flags that groups will be getting together to decorate.  Locals are being challenged to design a flag that best represents them or their families.  The flags will be fixed to a forest of bamboo canes.  Meanwhile 20 giant flags are being decorated by the same team behind last year's colourful umbrella project.  This year's event runs from 25th to 27th May, starting with an opening ceremony at Macduff Town Hall.

Cullen Beach Gets Top Award
May 12th 2012

The Marine Conservation Society has just issued its Good Beach Guide for 2012.  Cullen Beach has achieved the MCS Recommended standard - the gold and top standard for excellent water quality.

Banff's New Arts and Folklore Centre Opens
May 10th 2012

Banff's new £200,000 arts and folklore centre was unveiled on 6th May 2012.  The recently-completed Kelpie centre was the backdrop to the Beltane Festival marking the changing seasons in the ancient Celtic calendar.  The traditional fire festival celebrated the return of the sun with rituals to ensure the fertility of the land as livestock was herded from winter pens out into summer pastures.  The two-day Banff event also signalled the opening of the transformation of a former stable block at the town's castle to a modern venue for local cultural activities and performances. 

Herring Drifter Trophy in Show
Apr 28th 2012

 

A marble trophy once given to fishing crews who chased the "silver darlings" will be the centrepiece of the "Our Fishing Heritage" Exhibition at the Salmon Bothy, Portsoy from 4th to 7th May 2012.  The Exhibition will also include photographs, posters, fishing artefacts and a film.  The hand-carved Prunier prize was awarded from the 1930s to 1960s to the drifter which netted the highest crannage of herring in one shot in one night.  The first winner, in 1936, was the Aberdeen-built boat, Boy Andrew, crewed by Portsoy fishermen.  The Prunier Trophy is kept at the Lowestoft Maritime Museum and has been loaned to the Salmon Bothy for the exhibition.  It has been to Portsoy before and is relevant because of the link with the first winner.  The trophy is named after Simone Prunier, who, in 1935, opened a London branch of the Paris restaurant Maison Prunier.  She became aware of declining fortunes in the herring industry and decided to award the trophy as an incentive to fishermen.  The last winner was the Fraserburgh-built drifter Tea Rose in 1966.

Orchard planned to mark Jubilee
Mar 26th 2012

A new orchard could be created at Banff Castle to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  Banff Community Association, which runs the venue, aims to plant 10 fruit trees initially, then encourage further planting in the grounds.  The trees will be introduced in the garden, lining an old carriage track which used to link the site to Castle Street.  Banff and Macduff Community Council has agreed to provide a selection of apple, plum and pear trees.  The aim is to encourage locals and groups to plant further fruit trees in the extensive castle grounds to border pathways and to then harvest the fruit. 

Heritage Trail Plan set to take off at RAF Airfield
Mar 26th 2012

Proposals to create a heritage trail at a former wartime airfield in the north-east are to be unveiled to the public.  The former RAF Banff site at Boyndie - built in 1942-43 as a training base for pilots - is the focus for plans to establish an educational and recreational facility.  The initiative is being steered by the Banff Airfield Trust, which was established two years ago.  The scheme centres on ways to stabilise, record and conserve the buildings and use them as focal points in a self-guided walking heritage trail.  It would begin from the Boyndie Visitor Centre, already home to a display of RAF Banff artefacts.  An open public meeting is planned this spring to let interested parties find out about the plans.   

North East Open Studios event going ahead in September
Mar 22nd 2012

A new team of creative talents has come forward to ensure one of Scotland's biggest art events on the calendar goes ahead this year.  A new group of volunteers has stepped forward to ensure the event continues to allow artists to showcase their work.  The nine-day event, which has grown in popularity since it was launched in 2009, gives art fans the chance to see painters, sculptors, silversmiths and textile makers at work in their own studio.  Hundreds of artists take part each year, with studios and galleries in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and Moray opening their doors from 15th to 23rd September 2012.  Artists are being urged to submit their work now; the deadline for entries in 13th April 2012.

Deveron Fishing Festival aims to net more anglers
Mar 22nd 2012

Following last year's successful inaugural event, preparations are well underway for the 2nd Deveron Fishing Festival from 29th April to 2nd May 2012.  The main organiser - the Deveron, Bogie and Isla Rivers Charitable Trust - aims to attract more salmon anglers from the UK and abroad to a river known as "Scotland's Hidden Gem."  In 2011, it created a huge boost to the local economy when more than 200 anglers took advantage of free fishing on 19 of the river's top beats.  Most of the accommodation in the area was fully booked months in advance, and retail outlets saw a dramatic upturn for what is traditionally a quieter time of the year.  The format of the festival has been changed this year; many of the 140 anglers who have been successful in the ballot for the free fishing over three days available this year have paid for three more days so that they get a full week's fishing.  The event will open with a trade fair.  Turriff Tackle and Trophies is the letting agent for the river's beats.  90% of the registered anglers are from far afield.

Plans to develop the Auld Post Office Museum
Mar 22nd 2012

Turriff and District Heritage Society has announced plans to develop and improve the popular Auld Post Office museum.  The building's tenancy has been secured for the next five years and the museum's future assured.  The Society is committed to developing the Museum, and has also been given responsibility for Turriff's Session Cottage museum. 

COAST Festival is tops with voting public
Mar 22nd 2012

The COAST organisers have won a popular vote for the best festival in the area for 2011.  The charitable body that supports cultural organisations in the North-east, Creative Cultures Scotland, conducted a survey in 2011 to find the best events and projects, as voted by the public, and COAST came out top in the category of festivals.  Representatives from COAST picked up their certificate at a presentation in Aberdeen.  This year's festival will feature performances, exhibitions and entertainments in Banff and Macduff.

Duff House Open Day focuses on visitor experience
Mar 22nd 2012

A blanket invitation has gone out to local tourism-related businesses to the Duff House Open Day on Thursday 29th March - offering free all-day entry to the house and its grounds.  Special activities on the day include a journey into Banffshire's Jacobite history with the Alba Adventure Company, private guided tours of Duff House and VIP previews of this summer's 2012 ARTIST ROOM exibition.  Attendees will be given comprehensive information on Duff House's summer programme and special events, and a chance to win a free family ticket to an open-air show in the Duff House grounds featuring either a performance of Roald Dahl's hilarious children's story, "the Twits" or Gilbert & Sullivan's classic operetta "HMS Pinafore".  Guests will be welcome to bring along publicity material for their own businesses and encouraged to exchange views with fellow business people.  Places should be booked as soon as possible either by e-mail to duff.house@aberdeenshire.gov.uk or by calling Jo Edwards on 01261 813000.

Durn House Guest House wins award
Mar 20th 2012

Durn House Guest House in Portsoy has been nominated for a prestigious award for providing B & B accommodation in Scotand. Voted one of the friendliest B & B's in Scotland, Durn House is also ranked the No. 1 B & B/Inn in the whole of Aberdeenshire. See their website www.durnhouse.co.uk

Royal Visitor sees refurbished Thames-bound boat at Macduff
Mar 6th 2012

The Princess Royal was given a sneak preview (1st March 2012) of a fishing boat which will take part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  Macduff Shipyards are involved in the refurbishment of a replica scaffie herring drifter - called Obair-na-Ghaol - which will sail on the Thames at London this summer as part of a huge pageant to mark the monarch's Jubilee.  It belongs to the Portsoy-based Scottish Traditional Boat Festival group and will represent Banffshire's Lord Lieutenant at the celebrations.

Toddlers splash out in underwater world
Mar 6th 2012

Sea life and a world under water are opening up for youngsters at the Macduff Marine Aquarium.  Weekly sessions that allow toddlers to discover marine wonders are proving to be a hit at Macduff.  The Tots Tuesday adventures allow children to come face-to-face with sea creatures and take part in fun activities.  Children are able to take a journey through the underwater world on trails and treasure hunts to meet lobsters, sharks and jelly-fish.  They can also get their hands on starfish, sea snails and slimy seaweed.  The sessions also include a story-time puppet show which fascinates the young visitors.  Aquarium staff have joined forces with Aberdeenshire's library service to provide exciting stories on watery themes.  Part of the aim is to encourage the enjoyment of books and language at an early age.  The Tots Tuesday sessions from 11.00 to 16.00 will run until the end of March.  Full information is available from the Aquarium on 01261 833369.

Date stone uncovers the key to 17th century village life
Mar 6th 2012

An important relic from the 17th cenutry has been discovered in a garden in Banff.  A 1695 date stone found at Banff carries the initials of a former provost of the burgh and his wife.  Although the stone is broken and incomplete, it is likely to become a feature of a new folklore centre in the town.  Four pieces of the stone were found in a low wall in the grounds of Banff Castle after the structure was disturbed by workmen.  Investigations point to it being a stone once set into the wall of a long-demolished property at High Shore.  Four pieces of the stone have been found, and it is hoped that the rest can be traced.  The artefact is due to find a home at the new folklore centre at Banff Castle.

Funding Delivers First Major Results
Feb 16th 2012

The first elements of ground-breaking marketing initiatives for the Banffshire Coast area have now been launched.  The website now contains a new section focusing on one of the area's key attractions, Dolphins and Marine Life, as well as ideas for Great Days Out along our coastline.  These features will make it easy for visitors to find useful information not only about the wildlife, but also about the best viewing points and the range of marine attractions to visit.  The three Marine and Wildlife Itineraries provide ideas for great days out along the coastline, giving visitors lots of reasons to spend time here, whether one day, a few days or longer.  In March, the new Area Guide will be launched.

Crovie Pier to be restored to its former glory
Feb 14th 2012

Residents of a small Moray Firth coastal community are celebrating success as the owners of Crovie pier, the Crown Estate, have drawn up plans to save the crumbling B-listed structure. 

Cullen on TV - Antiques Road Trip
Feb 8th 2012

 ** Cullen features on BBC's Antiques Road Trip **

Cullen is fast becoming a television favourite!  In December 2009, the extremely successful Reindeer Parade was featured on STV News.  In January 2011, Cullen featured in Episode 11, Series 2 of the Antiques Road Trip (James Lewis and Kate Bliss were the experts - and they came 1st and 2nd respectively in the competition!).  
 
With three antiques and collectables shops in the town, Cullen is obviously a favourite location for this successful BBC programme as yet again two experts visited here in the summer of 2011.  Their exploits will be featured on the new series starting on 13th February (the Cullen programme may not be screened until March).  The experts this time were Charlie Ross and James Braxton; they once again visited all the shops in Cullen, and there was some great drama at the Buckie auction - so it will be good viewing. 
 

Fishing Season Starts 11th February River Deveron
Feb 7th 2012

Salmon and Sea-trout season-  11 February 2012 to 31 October inclusive. Brown trout season  15 March to 6 October Inclusive.

The river Deveron due to its more illustrious North East neighbours the Dee and Spey is a well kept secret where anglers return year after year, generation after generation.The Deveron rises in the high hills above the Cabrach along with its main tributaries the Blackwater and the Bogie.

Salmon can be encountered right from opening day on February 11th anywhere on the river but the higher beats are usually a favourite. During April and May the brown trout fishing is superb with many specimens of 5 to 6 lb being caught each year.

Sea Trout start running towards the end of May until July and again a 7 lb fish is not uncommon.

The grilse run begins mid July but given water can start in June and can last all season. This is supplemented with the summer Salmon which can reach 18 lb. The back end run starts in September and fish can weigh up to 40 lb +. Indeed the British record for a salmon caught on fly came off the Deveron and weighed 61 lb.

Favourite flies include the Stoats tail, Munroe Killer. Willie Gunn, Ally Shrimp ,Cascade and the executioner. Spinning is allowed on most beats in high water and flying "c", Toby's and Rapalas are great takers of fish in high water.

Wartime Memorabilia on Display
Jan 31st 2012

A treasure trove of wartime memorabilia has gone on display at Duff House, Banff.  The exhibition includes historic documents, newspaper cuttings and artefacts from World War II.  A range of interpretive boards have also been set up to explain what life was like for the north-east during the 1930s and 1940s.  Duff House itself played a significant role in the war as a military base and prisoner of war camp.  The 18th-century house had been used as a hotel and sanatorium when it was handed over to the UK Government in 1940.  Initially it became an internment camp for people living in Britain who were believed to be a threat.  It was later used to hold prisoners of war.  In July 1940 it was attacked by a lone Heinkel HeIII bomber whose pilot had mistaken it for an allied base.  Six PoWs were killed in the raid.  The house was later used as a base for Scottish, English, Norwegian and French troops until the war ended.

Group Gears up for COAST Festival
Jan 26th 2012

A voluntary group of local residents, artists and community organisations are now hard at work preparing for COAST 2012.  The 5th COAST Festival will take place from Friday 25th May 2012 to Sunday 27th May 2012. 

The programme will contain a range of events, with the theme for the core events being "The Creative Individual".  The Festival will be presenting experienced artists, art students, the work of traditional artisans and the often unseen work of the home-based creator.  The "Show Your Hand" exhibition will feature artworks and artifacts showing traditional artisan skills, from ceramics and leatherwork, to enamelling to smithing.  The Festival will also have family fun events, including the ever popular sandcastle competition, the spectacular duck race, and a programme of hands-on workshops for all ages.  Brochures will be available at the end of April.

If you want to create an event, please contact the organisers at info@coastfestival.org.uk.

Cullen - One of the Best Places to see the Northern Lights
Jan 26th 2012

The Aurora Borealis - or Northern Lights - is entering the liveliest stage of its 11-year cycle. And that means eerie hues of green and purple could be dancing over us several times a month. Our chances of seeing a display are increasing; solar activity goes in cycles of roughly 11 years, and the current cycle is set to peak next winter. It is possible to predict when an aurora will occur - to an extent. Sunspots indicate activity on the sun and there are websites which allow anyone to follow the "kp index". It measures solar flares. If it exceeds five, there may well be activity in mid or northern Scotland.

It is possible to see the very brightest of displays from towns, but it's best to be out in the country where it's darker. People do travel to Northern Norway and Iceland, but you can see them well from the north of Scotland which has the same latitude as Stavanger in Norway and Moscow. It's best to have a low horizon, so Cullen in the north east is a great spot.

Those who wish to find out when the Northern Lights will be visible can sign up for e-mail updates from AuroraWatch (click on http://aurorawatch.lancs.ac.uk to sign up).

Entries sought for Exhibition of Traditional Craft Skills
Jan 19th 2012

An exhibition of traditional craft skills will be a major part of the annual COAST Arts Festival at Banff and Macduff in May 2012.  Banff and Buchan Arts Forum is now appealing for entries for Show Your Hand which will showcase traditional pursuits from ceramics to leather work and enamelling to blacksmithing.  This will be a major exhibition for the Festival and an important way to revealing the skills that are being lost.

Boyndie Trust Visitor Centre to be expanded
Jan 19th 2012

Work is expected to start soon on a £162,000 development to expand the interior of the Boyndie Trust Visitor Centre.  The popular centre provides training for about 60 people who are either unemployed or have learning difficulties.  It also features a shop, cafe, garden centre and an exhibit on RAF Banff, and its popularity has meant that the work is necessary for it to continue to grow.  The work will be a revamp of the inside of the centre to provide visitors with better access to it.  It will include creating more retail space and training facilities, and it will mean people will get to see a lot more of the centre.  The car park will also be extended to create about 20 extra spaces.  And it is hoped that more work placements for training will be available.  All of the funding is now in place (including almost £70,000 from the rural Aberdeenshire LEADER fund, other grant awards and the Trust itself), and the work is expected to start very early in the year. 

Group calls for return of the Mercat Cross
Jan 19th 2012

The Banff Preservation and Heritage Society is looking to bring one of the town's oldest existing artefacts back home.  A replica of the Mercat Cross now stands at the Low Street Plainstones; however the Society wants to bring the rare original (currently stored by the North East Scotland Preservation Trust) to the town's museum.  The Mercat Cross dates back to the 16th century and it was erected where the Biggar Fountain on the corner of Low Street now stands today.  In 1767 it was removed from the spot because of its size and interference with traffic, and its custody was given to the Earl of Fife.  He erected it on a hill at Sandyhill Road before it was re-sited at the Plainstones in 1900.  The base at Sandyhill Road remains and is a doocot.  In 1994, the Society created a replica of the cross and the original was then put in storage.  The Cross is a very rare piece in Scotland as it is one of the few remaining pre-Reformation crosses.

New Arts and Folklore Centre for Banff
Jan 19th 2012

A former stables block is the focus of plans for a £200,000 development at Banff Castle community centre.  The aim is to produce a cultural practice and performance area while preserving a part of Banff's buildings heritage.  Banff Community Association runs the castle - which is a mansion house - as a centre for local leisure and activity groups.  Both levels of the two-storey stables block will be used for the folklore centre and there are also plans for a cafe with access to a walled garden. 

Boat Festival to play role in Year of Creative Scotland
Jan 19th 2012

The 2012 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will play a role in the Year of Creative Scotland and will have an emphasis on cultural heritage and the area's creative links to Europe and the rest of the world.  Visitors, which usually number in excess of 16,000, will also be able to see traditional boats from far and wide in Portsoy's historic 17th century harbour, along with associated crafts, music, song and dance and the very popular Festival Food Fayre.

Traditional Boat Building and Restoration Base to be created in Portsoy
Jan 16th 2012

Plans to create a traditional boat building and restoration base in Portsoy have taken a major step forward.  The Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training (Port) - a subsidiary of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival group - plan to renovate a derelict property near Portsoy harbour. Two feasibility studies - to look at the buildings (which will include sleeping accommodation for visiting groups) and the business planning/operational side - will be complete by the end of March.  There will be community, environment and tourism benefits from the development; the project will also provide youngsters with an opportunity to develop their skills and confidence.

Historic Scotland to take over running of Duff House
Jan 16th 2012

The management of Duff House will be transferred to Historic Scotland, who will also become responsible for the 25 staff.  Since 1992, Duff House has been run as a partnership by Aberdeenshire Council, Historic Scotland and the National Galleries of Scotland.  Duff House had been threatened with closure over the winter months; however, it is hoped that this move will be the best way of securing and developing Duff House in the future.

Museum wins vital funding lifeline
Jan 4th 2012

Supporters of Turriff's Auld Post Office Museum are looking forward to a happy new year after securing vital funding to ensure its future.  The funding will allow the Society to take up a five-year lease on the Museum which is run voluntarily by the Society members.  Included in the museum's artefacts are Turra Coo memorabilia and the robes of the former town council.  It also hosts talks and exhibitions, and is visited regularly by local school pupils.

Portsoy Boat Festival Secures Caravan park
Jan 4th 2012

Aberdeenshire Councillors have agreed to transfer the assets of the caravan site at Portsoy to the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival organisation.

There are now plans for immediate investment in the site to refresh the facilities. In the longer term, the plan is to replace all the facilities and bring the site up to modern-day standards. There are plans to make the Portsoy site the best in Scotland.

The park currently has more  than 30 pitches for static vans, tourers and tents.

Bridge-building at Banff landmark
Jan 4th 2012

Design work is under way on new features for a historic north-east bridge to help streamline the water flow. Shaped stone sections called cutwaters are to be fitted to piers on the 18th-century Banff Bridge.

The work is part of a £450,000 project to protect the catergory A-listed structure at the mouth of the River Deveron.

It is hoped the work will be carried out during Summer 2012.

 

Push for improvements at Banff conservation area
Jan 4th 2012

Moves are under way to identify a programme of improvements at the Scotstown cottages at Banff.  The houses were built in the 19th century to house fishermen from Portknockie who wanted to move to Banff.

Fishing boat replica to set sail and mix with royal party
Jan 4th 2012

A replica of a 19th-century fishing boat will play a part in celebrations to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee.  The Obair-Na-Ghaol - Gaelic for Labour of Love - will be made ready for the event by the Portsoy-based Scottish Traditional Boat Festival group; the boat is a replica of the scaffie Gratitude which was a traditional herring drifter with a dipping lug sail.  The original was built in Portknockie in 1896 and Obair-Na-Ghaol was launched exactly 100 years later after being built at Portsoy.  The vessel will be made ready for the event by volunteers from the festival's restoration and training project.  The humble wooden vessel will join a flotilla on the Thames in London this summer for a spectacular river pageant.  About 1,000 boats from throughout Britain and the Commonwealth will assemble to pay tribute to the Queen. 

The Dutch are coming!
Nov 30th 2011

 

Dutch tourists could be flocking to the shores thanks to an innovative deal between a travel agency in the Netherlands, and a North-east tourism group.

 

The Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership (BCTP) is celebrating the new venture which it hopes will bring new visitors to the North-east.

 

The BCTP has created a link with Dutch travel agency, Travel4Reasons, who specialise in theme trips to Great Britain and Ireland.

 

The agency from Groningen already have a track record in bringing Dutch and Belgian Beatle fans, and football afficionados to Britain, as well as whisky drinkers, golfers and anglers to Scotland.

 

But it is our landscape and the quality of the light on the Banffshire Coast which Travel4Reasons think will appeal to nature lovers and photographers from the Low Countries.

 

BCTP chairman, Roger Goodyear, explains: “This company is promoting the Banffshire Coast and very much hope to bring groups over ‑ a particular possibility being for photographic packages, thus capitalising on one of our great assets ‑ the wonderful light.”

 

Travel4Reasons say: “For years we have enjoyed the Scottish Country, the beautiful landscape of the Highlands and the Cairngorm Mountains and the diversity of the Scottish Coast. They inspired us to make packages to meet the beautiful country on its very very best!”

 

Big cat hot spot
Nov 22nd 2011

The gruesome remains of a partly decomposed cat-like animal was photographed by a cyclist on the Banff to Aberchirder road, and published in the Banffshire Journal on November 22. It shows the head of the cat, which has extremely large teeth, and unusual ears and nose. The photo has been passed on to the  Big Cat Society for analysis.
Intriguingly, the location is very close to Cornhill, where there have been photographs taken of large black cats and Scottish wildcats in recent months.

Sea lab boost at Macduff Aquarium
Nov 21st 2011

Visitors to Macduff Marine Aquarium can look in microscopic detail at the creatures in the Aquarium's sea lab, using binocular microscopes which can project in high definition onto a plasma screen. An underwater camera also allows the smallest sea life in the lab to be filmed and seen in intricate detail.

The new equipment is a result of a successful £2,000 bid to the People's Postcode Lottery by the Aquarium, and the Aquarium say it really enhances the Sea Lab.

New art space in Banff
Nov 21st 2011

An empty shop in Banff's Strait Path has been re-opened as a gallery and exhibition space, used by local artists.

Artists include illustrator Jimsin Vogel, metalworker Barry Twain from Gardenstown, and wildlife artistr Katy Rewston from Alvah, near Banff.

The rest of the shop will be used as a workspace by local film-maker and animator Dave Chisnall.

Portsoy Ice Cream scoops 10 awards
Nov 16th 2011

Top local ice cream maker and retailer, Portsoy Ice Cream are chillin' out after picking up a record TEN awards in the Ice Cream Alliance contest.

Owner Alex Murray says the only previous time he entered, he won a single diploma, so is delighted with his success.

Winning flavours included their green apple sorbet. The firm produce no fewer than 100 flavours, but not all are available at the same time!

Portsoy Ice Cream prides itself in responding to customer suggestions for flavours, and use local producers wherever possible.

The busy shop on Portsoy's main street welcomes visitors from all over Scotland, who have already tasted their fantastic ice cream, or have heard of the shop's reputation.

Get snapping for Cullen calendar
Nov 15th 2011

Visitors and locals alike to the beautiful town of Cullen are invited to submit photos for the town's calendar.

The local community council are opening the photo contest for the 2013 calendar, so it will be ready in the shops next May.

The organisers are looking for photos taken of the area. The competition is in three categories; primary age, secondary schoolo, and adults.

The calendar has been a great success in recent years and the community council want the 2013 calendar to be in the shops as early as May next year, so that visitors can purchase them; hence the launch now.

Full information is available on the www.discovercullen.com website, by e-mailing community@discovercullen.com; or by phone to 01542 840314. Entry forms are also available at the Cullen Paper Shop, and Cullen Corner Shop. Closing date for entries is April 14, 2012.

 

Conger eel on love date from Macduff Aquarium
Nov 15th 2011

Macduff Marine Aquarium have bid a reluctant farewell to one of their biggest residents, a six foot conger eel called Rip. But Rip seemed reluctant to leave, and had to be persuaded to go when he was released into the Moray Firth just outside the aquarium.

The Aquarium's motive on letting Rip return to the wild is both compassionate and passionate. Male congers go through a mid life crisis, when they head for the only time in their lives to the breeding grounds near the Azores, off the African coast, to find a mate, and die.

Rip was named for his habit of tearing food from the divers' hands who hand feed him in the Aquarium's giant 16 five metre tank. After six years at the Aquarium, he was showing the tell-tale signs of unrequited love: leaving his permanent hidey-hole, and swimming in daylight hours.

Rip quite happily went into his escape route, a large bag. But when it was lowered by crane into the firth, it took some persuasion by the Aquarium's divers to entice him from the safety of the bag, and set off on his one way mission.

But he eventually took the plunge and was last seen heading out to sea.

Sea eagle rescued
Nov 7th 2011

An injured sea eagle, originally from Ireland, is recovering after being stranded on seacliffs near Pennan.

Banff-based boat trip operators, North 58 Sea Adventures rallied to the call from the RSPB when a kayaker spotted the exhausted eagle on the cliffs in an inaccessible cove near the RSPB reserve at Troup Head.

While North 58 boat skipper Ian Page struggled against the failing light and a falling tide, brave RSPB sea eagle officer Rhian Evans ran onto the beach, and swam towards the bird to get it off the cliff, before grabbing the bird and getting it on onboard the Buchaneer. She was pictured in the P&J on the Buchaneer, with an ear to ear grin whilst still keeping a firm grip on the massive bird with its hooked beak and razor talons in clear view.

The bird was whisked off the vets to recover from its ordeal.

Early attempts were made to release the bird back to the wild at the Loch of Strathbeg bird reserve near where it was found, but the eagle refused to go.

It has been taklen back intro care, so that vets can check it for oil on its feathers, and to allow it to put on weight.

New! Mobile website for the Banffshire Coast
Nov 3rd 2011

Great news for the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. Our new mobile website is now live on-line, and available to all who use their mobile phones to access the internet.

This is the future! It means that folk in their cars, or in the street can find out where to go, where to shop, where to eat, where to stay etc in our area, just with a few clicks on their mobiles.

The Banffshire Coast mobile website includes some minor mods to make it easier to use and to read on small  phone screens.

Thanks go to our IT gurus at blue square for creating it.

If you don’t have an internet enabled  phone, you can get a look at the mobile website on:  http://m.banffshirecoast.com/  To see how it actually  looks on a phone screen, make your viewing window much narrower. (Of course, it is much smaller on a phone too.)

North east is flying
Oct 27th 2011

Aberdeen airport is a key hub in the fast-growing global air network being built by Air France-KLM. The company's UK manager reported growing demand for the flights, with more flights and bigger planes being needed for the 10% rise in passenger numbers they have recorded in the past year.

Air France-KLM operate five flights a day from Aberdeen to Amsterdam, and three to Paris. 60% of passengers then board flights to other destinations.

New Christmas lights
Oct 25th 2011

Macduff will be ablaze with a new set of Christmas lights this year, thanks to fundraising efforts by the Banff and Macduff Christmas Lights Association.

The lights in Banff and Macduff will be officially switched on at a ceremony on the Plainstones, on Low Street, Banff on the afternoon of Saturday November 27.

There will be stalls, Santa's grotto, horse and cart rides, Macduff RNLI, the coastguard and fire service. Music from the Banff Castle Pipe band, singers and a magician.

The event starts at 12.30pm, and the switch on is at 4.30pm.

Winter Workshops programme
Oct 24th 2011

The downloadable information about the winter programme is:

BCTP The Next Steps booking form (Word doc)

BCTP The Next Steps Leaflet  (pdf).

If you are unable to access or print these, please contact the BCTP and we will be happy to send out hard copies. Reply to this e-mail, phone (012610 815641, or write to:

Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership,

Banff Castle,

Castle Street,

Banff

AB45 1DL

Banffshire Coast Tourist Group Awarded Promotional Boost
Sep 30th 2011

Banffshire Coast Tourist Partnership were recently awarded £35,000 funding from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council.

Over the next 18 months, tourism businesses along the Banffshire Coast will have the opportunity to participate in several significant marketing initiatives, thanks to a recent funding award of £35,000.

The funding, from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council, will enable the Banffshire Coast Tourism Group to further develop and market the Banffshire Coast as a highly attractive visitor destination.

Roger Goodyear, Chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, commented: "This award is a fantastic opportunity to promote our area to both first time and returning visitors, and follows on from a very successful short marketing campaign run at the beginning of this year which resulted in visits to our website (www.banffshirecoast.com) rising by more than 1500%."

The four marketing initiatives fall under two themes - Outdoor and Ancestral.  A full-colour 48-page pocket Area Guide, to be distributed throughout Scotland and the Banffshire area, will contain high-quality imagery and editorial content to encourage both visits to and wider exploration of the area.  The other three initiatives will focus on the area's strengths of Marine Life, Walking and Birdwatching, and Ancestral.  They will all involve a combination of activities, including the creation of new sections for the website, e-flyer campaigns to targeted market segments, PR trips and familiarisation visits, as well as social media campaigns.  All four initiatives will provide tourism businesses in the area excellent opportunities to advertise their own individual offering.

Roger Goodyear commented further:  "The Banffshire Coast has a wide range of tourism attractions and services, but these have never been brought together in a way which is 'visitor friendly'.  The planned campaigns will draw all of these elements together in one place and promote comprehensive packages and itineraries to those with these specific interests - for the very first time.  We will be showing visitors just how they can spend their time in our area - whether one day, a few days or longer.  By focussing on the web and social media, we will be able to achieve more significant results than the traditional advertising routes which are out of the reach of our budget, as well as utilising the most up-to-date promotional tools.  We are very grateful to our 3 funding partners - without whom we would not be in a position to make this step change in tourism on the Banffshire Coast."

For more information, please contact:  Zillah Jamieson, Director, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership Limited; 01542 840314; zillahj@btinternet.com

Basking shark spotted
Sep 26th 2011

A basking shark has been spotted in Banff Bay, and photographed by a local man. An expert guessed the animal was a young male,which would probably make its way back to the Atlantic, where they are resident.

Cheaper public transport
Sep 6th 2011

Good news for the thousands of visitors who use service buses to get around.

The biggest bus operator in the North of Scotland is reducing the price of many of its multiple journey day tickets.

The firm is introducing a zonal system for calculating fares. One route to benefit is the service between Banff/Macduff/Turriff and Aberdeen, where weekly tickets are being reduced.

The company have also announced that they are freezing prices on their single and return ticket prices.

More details from the company's website: www.stagecoachbus.com

Delgatie Castle wins homebaking award
Aug 9th 2011

The home-baking in the Laird's Kitchen tearoom has won a Scottish Home Baking Award, thanks to nominations from happy customers of its delicious cakes and scones. The awards recognise real home baking done on the premises, and consistent quality.

The judge said: “You absolutely must try this castle and the Laird’s Kitchen if in this neck of the woods- not only for the experience but for the chance of eating excellent home baking in the kitchen of this ancient castle. The baking is just the way my Gran taught me many moons ago and is truly fantastic.  We were generously handed a full dark gingerbread to take away which did not last long on the journey home.  An absolute must for Joan’s storytelling and baking alone.  Keep the spirit alive Delgatie!”
Joan Johnson, Trustee of the Delgatie Castle Trust was delighted "To receive such an award following nominations from the public is wonderful.  We have always taken pride in being able to offer fresh home baking every day at the castle since the Laird’s Kitchen opened almost 20 years ago and to have this recognition is a real honour."

Delgatie Castle is open to the public every day from 10a.m. until 5p.m. until the 20th December. Visitors do not need to tour the castle to visit the Laird’s Kitchen.

Puffin stars on camera
Aug 2nd 2011

A puffin has become the leading actor on TV cameras at Troup Head  bird reserve after it made its burrow right in front of the live bird-watching camera. The colourful little seabird can be watched entering and leaving its burrow, which may have chicks inside.

The final RSPB bird watching evening of the summer at Troup Head takes place on Tuesday, August 9 from 6pm-8pm.

As well as puffins, visitors will be able to watch at close hand the only mainland gannet colony in Britain, with RSPB experts on hand. There are 3,000 pairs of the beautiful seabirds nest on the towering cliffs every summer.

New book about Duff House
Aug 2nd 2011

 Duff House at War tells the eventful story of the stately home, now an art gallery and and restored stately home.The house was bombed by the Germans, ironically killing several German prisoners of war. As well as a prison, the house was used as an internment centre for foreigners at the start of the war, and to house Allied soldiers.

Duff House manager Rachel Kennedy is very excited about the new book, saying that it makes a significant contribution to local and national history. Duff House at War includes 40 pages of photographs, and includes memories of wartime residents. It is written by Allan Burnett.

Turriff Tandoori triumphs
Jul 19th 2011

The Moonlight Tandoori is the winner of the Scottish section of the 2011 Lyca Tiffin Cup. It beat 61 Scottish Asian eateries to the title of best South Asian restaurant in the contest, held in the Houses of Parliament.

The Moonlight was nominated as the North-east entry by local MP, Eilidh Whiteford.

Mystery cat sightings
Jul 19th 2011

Photographs have been published of what is claimed to be a Scottish wildcat and kitten near the village of Cornhill. The pictures appeared in the Banffshire Journal, and are from the same area which produced video footage of what some believed was a big cat species.

There have been other documented sightings of big cats in the past decade, very close to Banff, at nearby Whitehills, and south of Turriff. The Scottish wildcat is an extrememly rare and endangered species, and there have been no recorded sightings in lower Banffshire for many years.

Now nature-watchers to the Banffshire Coast can add another rare creature to their must-see list, on top of dolphins, gannets and seals!

Special Offers
Jul 12th 2011

40% discount on hire of classic MB sports and touring cars for the month of October. Classic Highland Car Hire are offering this very generous discount on their beautifully restored MGs, MGBs and MG Midgets. The cars can also be hired for just four, six or eight hours, as well as daily and weekend rates. See www.classicmghighlandcarhire.co.uk, or phone 01224 537275.

Duff House: Under 16s go in for free (visitors must quote ref: BCDUFF16 at point of entry.)   

Boyndie Visitor Centre: Used Macduff Aquarium tickets entitle holder to free soft drink, tea or coffee. Duff House ticket holders receive 10% discount on garden plants. 

Delgatie Castle: Special tea room deal: afternoon tea deal (£6) includes sandwiches, scone, cake and tea or coffee.

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