An event-full summer

An Iron Age Gourmet Day (20 July), a performance of Twelfth Night at Bothwell Castle (15 July), a major Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland and Piping Live! (7-13 Aug) are just a few of the events set to celebrate Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology throughout the summer months.

Scotland’s vast history, heritage & archaeology has a fascinating story to tell so what better way to celebrate the summer months and school holidays than to experience the variety of exciting events set to bring Scotland’s past to life.

Running from May to September every year, Scotland’s Highland Games provide a fantastic opportunity to experience sporting prowess, massed bands and highland dancing against a variety of locations including The Stewart Highland Games taking place this forthcoming weekend at Ballone Castle (8 July), Inveraray Highland Games at Inveraray Castle (18 July), Dufftown Highland Games (29 July) and Aberlour Strathspey Highland Games (5 Aug).

You’ll also be able to discover more about modern day clan societies and see impressive spectacles of ceremony and tradition at a range of Clan and Family gatherings throughout the summer including Clan Hay’s ‘Tartan Ties (3 – 6 August), Elliot Gathering (24 – 27 Aug) and Clan Macnab members from countries across the world will gather at the Killin Highland Games (1 Aug) to celebrate their Scottish Heritage.

If music is more your thing, Scotland has a thriving home-grown music scene and the best of Scotland’s traditional and contemporary folk music will be on show at a range of events countrywide including Stonehaven Folk Festival (6 – 9 July) and HebCelt (19 – 22 July).

2017 also celebrates a number of important anniversaries; 450 years since the death of Mary Queen of Scots, 900th anniversary of St Magnus, and The Scottish Crannog Centre celebrates its 20th anniversary with a whole host of events from the Iron Age Festival (19 Aug) to the Summer Harvest Festival (27 Aug).

This year also marks the 70th anniversary celebration of Edinburgh as a world leading festival city. 2017 will see the inaugural World Fringe Day (11 July) celebrate the collective power of the fringe movement worldwide and August wouldn’t be August in Edinburgh without the Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo (4 – 26 August) and this year’s colourful theme of Splash of Tartan will welcome over fifty clans and chiefs to take part in this year’s spectacular show in celebration of this momentous year.

2017 also celebrates the first ever exhibition of the Colin Mackenzie Collection which comprises a remarkable range of material, including beautiful figures intricately carved in stone, thousands of drawings and sketches from across India and Java depicting ancient monuments, people and customs, maps, coins, and incredibly old and precious palm leaf manuscripts. Items from the Collection will be on loan from the British Museum, The British Library and the V&A, and exhibited at Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle from 11 August  to 18 November.  This will coincide with Purvai Festival which will celebrate the rich history that exists between India and Scotland (10 -19 August).

Historic Environment Scotland has a bigger and better events programme than ever which will see Spectacular Jousting take centre stage at Caerlaverock Castle, returning for the first time in a decade (29 & 30 July).  Hundreds of performers will bring history to life at the Fort George event Amazing Ages! (12 August), and Siege on the Forth (2/3 September) at Blackness Castle will include tales of epic battles and encampments to bird watching from the battlements.

For those who want to delve deeper into the darker parts of Scottish history, why not experience The Secret Room (3 – 7 July) where performances are intricately linked to a magician’s interpretation of the colourful history of some of Edinburgh’s hidden historical buildings, or  The Resurrection – a new play from Scottish Canals and The Walking Theatre Company (August), will see guests enter the eerie depths of the Falkirk Tunnel as they learn about the dark deeds of ‘resurrection men’ William Burke and William Hare.

With the recent unearthing of the Galloway Hoard – there has never been a better time to discover archaeology and get your hands dirty this summer. Dig It! 2017 is year-long celebration of Scottish archaeology with a packed programme of events including the Battle of Bannockburn Digs (May – September), The Ness of Brodgar Dig (5 July – 23 August) and Newbarns Prehistoric Cairn Excavation (1 – 30 July).

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“In 2017 the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is celebrating Scotland’s historic environment and past”.

“So far this year, hundreds of events have focused on archaeological sites and visitor attractions which are an important part of the tourism product. This summer, visitors will have an opportunity to enjoy more great events that celebrate and bring to life Scotland’s past.”

Marie Christie,  Head of Development, VisitScotland Events Directorate said:

“From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is shining a spotlight on Scotland’s greatest assets, as well as our hidden gems.”

“Scotland’s history & heritage is defined by its people, both past & present and is an integral and iconic part of our national identity.  Visitors from throughout the world recognise Scotland for the uniqueness of its tangible and intangible heritage and the opportunity to come face to face with the past, and the wealth of events throughout the summer will help further bring this to life.”

The summer line-up of history, heritage and archaeology events follows a rich programme of activity which has already taken place across the first six months of 2017.  Supported events including Spectra in Aberdeen and TradFest drew record crowds and Edinburgh Georgian Shadows attracted 24,000 spectators across its duration.  Scotland’s six most iconic sites were also celebrated through a series of events as part of World Heritage Day on 18 April. From a Minecraft recreation of St Kilda to an Edinburgh New Town versus Old Town Battle of the Bands, the activity was designed to encourage even more visitors to experience the wonders of Scotland’s World Heritage Sites.

Both visitors and locals have also virtually been transported to a range of historical attractions through a new virtual reality app launched by VisitScotland.  Featuring state-of-the art 360˚ imagery and footage from locations including Edinburgh Castle, Skara Brae and Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, the app has attracted over 40,000 downloads to date.  Projects including Edinburgh’s ‘101 objects’ and ‘On the trail of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites’ are also providing inspiration for both visitors and locals to explore new areas and attractions.

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