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Kirkmichael open day paves way for ambitious Black Isle heritage scheme


By SPP Reporter


The Kirkmichael project aims to create an intriguing attraction in a little visited part of the Black Isle.
The Kirkmichael project aims to create an intriguing attraction in a little visited part of the Black Isle.

A PROJECT to repair an ancient and derelict building on the Black Isle is being launched this weekend with the first of several open days.

The Kirkmichael Trust team is inviting locals and those from further afield with an interest in history and conservation to come and explore the old ruined building at Kirkmichael with expert guidance.

Hopes are high that plans for the redeveloped site – backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund at the beginning of 2014 – could see it become a major heritage and visitor attraction.

A determined effort by a handful of dogged volunteers has seen a once desperate-looking project rise from the ashes.

The Kirkmichael Trust team is now planning an exciting launch to the project with the first of several open days this year, on Saturday, April 16 from 11am until 3pm.

The team is inviting local people and those from further afield with an interest in history and conservation to come and explore the old ruined building.

Dr Jim Mackay chairman of the Kirkmichael Trust said: “We know that many families in the Black Isle and beyond have forebears buried at Kirkmichael, and it will be a place of significance to many others too.

“We’ll be developing a resource for people with a connection with Kirkmichael, and so we are very keen for people interested in their family history to come along and share any stories or photographs about Kirkmichael they may have.

“Next Saturday will give everyone the opportunity to ask questions, look closely at what is planned and make suggestions.”

Activities for all the family will include a fun “spot the odd one out” picture quiz based on the many old and strange tombstone inscriptions and carvings at Kirkmichael and surveying a new path route using probe sticks.

There will also be guided tours and a chance to look at the site plans in detail. The buildings and mausolea are to be repaired, and this will be the opportunity for people to find out how this will be achieved. They can also give their views on what else needs to be done to the site.

A marquee will provide a place to sit and chat and shelter from the elements, plus enjoy simple refreshments, on Kirkmichael Corner just opposite the kirkyard, by kind permission of local farmer Danny McBean. Visitors are reminded that there are no toilets available on site.

The trust is in the process of appointing an experienced contractor who will produce new stonemasonry to match existing masonry on site and who can offer many other traditional building skills.

Works will start on site in early May – so this month is the last opportunity to see the building in its woebegone state before fresh life is breathed into it.

For more information visit the Trust’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KirkmichaelTrust



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