28 June 2021
A world record attempt at mass Highland dancing, workshops on historic craft skills, and Jacobite talks are just some of the events planned for a Raising the Standard fundraising project at Braemar Castle.
The Aberdeenshire castle is the UK’s only community run castle, a 17th century fairytale concoction that has stood witness to 400 years of turbulent Scottish history.
The planned summer of events is part of Raising the Standard, a major fundraising campaign this autumn that aims to safeguard the castle's heritage and increase its contribution to the local and regional community.
Programme of events
On 24 July at 6pm Catriona Skene, events coordinator at Braemar Castle is hoping to break a world record attempt for most people performing a choreographed dance online, using the accessibility of Zoom to bring those with ancestral links to the area, and those who enjoy Scottish heritage together with a band and dance callers online to perform a Military Two Step.
Whether based in LA (10am) or Tokyo (2am) dancers can join in the fun and support the community’s ambitions for the castle by paying £5 per person to take part. The previous record is 500, but the record for the world's largest Scottish country dance is 1,453 and the hope is to exceed both of these targets and go down in history with 2,000.
Drystane Dyking is a dying art, so familiar across the Scottish countryside, but only five craftspeople now have the skills required to maintain and build these countryside features. A small number of people will get the opportunity to try their hands and develop their skills on weekends in June, July and September in the castle grounds.
On 10 and 11 July Alan Breck’s Jacobite and Redcoat armies undertake their training at Braemar Castle. This year Breck’s, a highly anticipated book, by local historian, Maureen Kelly of the Braemar Local History group, on the Jacobites of Upper Deeside will be launched alongside the annual spectacle.
Other events over the summer include the Braemar Castle Scramble golf tournament, and an ongoing series of coffee talks on the history of the Castle, Clan Farquharson, the Jacobites and the war among other fascinating topics.
Any money made through these activities will be put towards the community charity’s campaign Raising the Standard, which will fund the £1.6m conservation and re-development project planned for completion in 2023. It has already received generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Castle team is well advanced in raising £600,000 in gifts from individuals, trusts and companies.
To find out more, visit the Raising the Standard website.
Report and images courtesy of Braemar Castle