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Storyteller takes a look Aneath The Stanes of Aberdeenshire

By Kirsty Brown

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A FORMER Fyvie resident has been awarded The Andy Hunter Bursary to launch his project Aneath The Stanes.

Now residing in Lochinver, storyteller, poet and writer Griogair MacAllein secured the funding from the Scottish Storytelling Project and the family of the late storyteller for a project which encourages people to learn about their surroundings.

Aneath The Stanes is a project closely linked with the storytelling guided walks which Griogair offers as these allow the opportunity to share the history of the derelict houses which remain in the Highlands and to a lesser extent the north-east.

Through an audiovisual presentation of images by Griogair and archive sources, audio recorded and stories written on the remaining ruinous crofting communities and drystane dykes, the congregation of long gone families scattered across the coastline, mountainsides and lowlands can be told.

He will also tell the stories of the summer sheilings when the women, cattle and children moved to the grazings in the mountains or coast to allow the men mend walls, plant new crops.

Some songs in Gaelic and Scots were composed and sung around the peat fire in the long winter nights.

Loch Croispal School, Durness.
Loch Croispal School, Durness.

The local folklore and beliefs which formed a huge part of the seasons turning will be uppermost in the narrative and in the live storytelling and music which will be performed in the Scottish Storytelling Centre when it is safe to do so.

The audio visual documentary will be broadcast on the centre’s website and on Youtube.

The documentary will be recorded in the field with the collaboration of master drystone dykers Dave Goulder from Lairg and George Gunn from Caithness.

The unique geological landscape of the Highlands lends to a variety of building techniques depending on the type of stone – from the Lewisian Gneiss to Caithness Flagstone.

It will include a home coming for Griogair, who born and brought up in Abereenshire surrounded by the miles of dykes laid across the landscape.

The fort of the Mither Tap on Bennachie and the drystone of Gight Castle will be featured along with other locations including the carvings in Turriff’s auld kirk.

Appropriate traditional music will be incorporated into the sound track with Gaelic song, and there is some opportunities for performers.

To help bring his project to fruition Griogair is looking for information on drystone walling in the north east including example of walls, damaged or otherwise

Anybody who thinks they could help can contact him by e-mailing: telliesperie@gmail.com.

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