Published: 08/09/2017 09:00 - Updated: 03/09/2017 19:35

Black Isle churchyard visitor attraction revamp set for open day

 

Volunteers get the Interpretation boards ready for the open day. They are (l-r) George Mackay, Jim Mackay, Gavin Mackay and Alastair Morton.
Volunteers get the Interpretation boards ready for the open day. They are (l-r) George Mackay, Jim Mackay, Gavin Mackay and Alastair Morton.

 

A SUCCESSFUL community effort to restore a ruined Black Isle church into a venue to display ancient gravestones is set to unveil years of hard work.
Intricate stone carving will be the focus at Kirkmichael’s public open day on September 9. It coincides with the annual Doors Open weekend with sculptors David Lindsay and Richard Groom, creators of the two “as-new” medieval ornate stones at Kirkmichael, running free half-day stone-carving taster sessions in the marquee.
Activities for all the family include a “Hunt the Symbol”, based on the strange, old tombstone carvings at Kirkmichael. Star of the Royal launch earlier in the year, young Lucy McIver will be playing bagpipe tunes at noon and 1pm.
Dr Jim Mackay, chairman of the Kirkmichael Trust, said: “With building work complete and all the interpretation on display, this is the ideal time for folk to enjoy Kirkmichael. 
“There is just so much carving to be seen, from our medieval architecture and ornately carved gravestones, through to modern carving to replace perished stone and our new ornate crosses.”
Guided tours of the site, with lots of lively anecdotes, will start on the hour from 9am to 4pm. And in the evening, David and Richard will be giving an illustrated talk on the process of creating the two new Kirkmichael stones, and on the sculpting highlights of their careers. 
The famous “alien” gargoyle at Paisley Abbey will be featured.
Kirkmichael has been transformed from derelict buildings surrounded by “Keep out” signs to a heritage and community jewel, with funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and the Highland Council among others. 
“We promised the community a public open day,” said Dr Mackay. “A day for everyone to enjoy what has been achieved at Kirkmichael. There are lots of activities going on, and folk can engage both on the day and on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Ki
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