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Aberdeenshire offers virtual access to a host of fabulous buildings as part of Doors Open Day

By David Porter

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Scotland’s biggest free festival of architecture will present its largest ever digital offering this September in celebration of Aberdeenshire and the nation’s buildings online.

High Shore, Banff is one of this year's featured properties.
High Shore, Banff is one of this year's featured properties.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been agreed that Doors Open Days 2020 will go digital this year to ensure that people in Aberdeenshire and across the country can continue to safely explore Scotland’s buildings.

Not only will the digital format enable local residents to enjoy an insight into north-east architecture from the comfort of their own home, they will be able to take a peek inside buildings the length and breadth of the country without the need for travel.

Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival which celebrates heritage and the built environment, new and old.

Every September visitors explore hundreds of fascinating buildings across Scotland for free.

Some open up once a year, some just once in a lifetime.

Among the Aberdeenshire highlights throughout the weekend of September 19 and 20 are a virtual tour of the Duff House Mausoleum given by the Duke of Fife, a 3D walking tour of Fraserburgh, video tours of Braemar Castle, 1 High Shore Banff, the Macduff Knowes Tower War Memorial, the Tullich Church and Carved Stones project at Ballater and Aden Estate and Farming Museum, a virtual tour and digital quiz from Alford Heritage Centre, ‘Priests and Pipes talk from St James’ Church Stonehaven and stunning 360-degree digital tours of Peathill Kirk, Pitsligo Castle and the Sandhaven Meal Mill.

The full list of participating North-east venues features:

Kincardine and Mearns - St Cyrus National Nature Reserve; Tod Head Lighthouse; St James Episcopal Church, Stonehaven; Tolbooth Museum; Beannachar Camphill Community; Community Larder, The Haven, Stonehaven.

Marr - St Margaret’s Church, Braemar; Braemar Castle ;Christ Church, Kincardine O’Neil; Alford Heritage Museum; St Margaret’s Church, Huntly; Birse Community Trust; Raemoir House; Tullich Church and Carved Symbol Stones Collection.

Garioch - Aberdeenshire Ranger Service – Doors To The Past; Aberdeenshire Ranger Service – Nature Doors, Under The Sea; All Saints Episcopal Church, Whiterashes ; Garlogie Mill Beam Engine and Turbine House.

Formartine - National Decommissioning Centre.

Buchan - Aberdeenshire Farming Museum.

Banff and Buchan - Fraserburgh Heritage Centre; Sandhaven Meal Mill; Peathill Kirk and Pitsligo Castle; Macduff War Memorial; Duff House Mausoleum; Portsoy Church Centre; Salmon Bothy, Portsoy; 1 High Shore, Banff; Fraserburgh Walking Tour.

Clare Tierney, Aberdeenshire’s Doors Open Days Coordinator, said: “It has been great to see how the venues taking part have been able to adapt to the different approach this year, and we are very grateful for all the effort being put in to provide digital content for this year’s event.

“Aberdeenshire has a wealth of interesting historical and important buildings – and lots of fascinating stories to accompany them – and this digital approach will help us to showcase our rich heritage to a new audience from far and wide.

Chair of Scottish Civic Trust, Colin McLean, added: “We at Scottish Civic Trust are excited to support the new direction for this year’s Doors Open Days as a digital festival. By taking the festival online we are not only keeping our venues and communities safe, but offering support to organisations across Scotland to develop their digital literacy.

“We hope that our support will give venues confidence to have a continued online presence, and that digital engagement will become a mainstay of heritage outreach in the years to come.”

The Aberdeenshire event will be taking place on the weekend of September 19-20 with links to the various online tours, photos, quizzes and talks going live from 9am on the 19th until the end of the month at www.doorsopendays.org.uk

In the week leading up to the weekend tasters of what’s to come will be posted daily and on the dedicated Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AberdeenshireArchitectureHeritageDesign

You can also find out more at www.doorsopendays.org.uk

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