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Banffshire Coast News

Fyvie Castle prepares for invasion by festival visitors
Jun 12th 2014

Fyvie Castle is set to be the spectacular backdrop for a 4-day music, culture and ancestry festival later this summer to mark Scotland's Year of Homecoming.

The Fyvie Homecoming Festival will run from 28th to 31st August - comprising a spectacular packed programme of activities and entertainment, with a strong accent on music and local culture.

Although Fyvie is only a small village, it is historically important and right in the middle of an area of Scotland which is also rich in music of various genres, and there will be plenty to sample from local musicians, singers and dancers.  Fyvie Castle will provide a wonderful backdrop for the main gala on the Sunday afternoon, starring the Gordon Highlanders who will be beating the retreat to bring down the curtain on the weekend's events.  The weekend's music programme will include a fiddlers' feast, featuring North-east traditional music superstar Paul Anderson and the Garioch Fiddlers, folk concert by Drever McGuire, a Fyvie Folk Club ballad bus tour, a family ceilidh and special service of praise.

Tickets (which are required for some of the headline events) can be booked and purchased by contacting the organisers at info@fyviehomecoming2014.com or calling 01651 891790. 

For more information on the festival programme of events, go online at www.fyviehomecoming2014.com.

Turriff, Banff and Macduff ready for the Baton
Jun 12th 2014

The Queen's Baton Relay will pass through Turriff, Banff and Macduff at the end of June - en route to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Sunday 29th June will see a packed day of events to celebrate its passage through this part of Aberdeenshire.  Although the local baton-bearers were selected some weeks ago, their identities have been kept under wraps. 

The Baton will arrive at Banff Bridge by road from Turriff at around 2.23 p.m. and special events have been organised to mark the occasion.  The highlight of the baton's visit to the area will be a short 20-minute sea passage across Banff Bay from Banff Marina to Macduff harbour aboard the Macduff lifeboat, the "Lydia MacDonald."

National and international TV crews will be in Banff and Macduff on the 29th to record the baton's visit.  To make the bay crossing as special as possible, local owners of all kinds of boats are being invited to form a flotilla in the bay to cheer the baton on its short voyage.  Canoeists and surfboarders who wish to join in the event should contact Deveron Canoe Club and Surf Scotland respectively. 

Band hopes to drum up a boost in members
Feb 27th 2014

The longest-running pipe band in the area is recruiting new members of all ages and abilities.

Whether you are an experienced piper or a youngster who wants to learn how to play the snare drum, Turriff and District Pipe Band is looking for new performers to bolster its ranks.

In 2013, the band celebrated its 90th anniversary, and has established itself as a vibrant and prominent group in the local community and the competition circuit.

The band's annual events take the form of pipe band contests and competing at various major competitions.  The band also performs at a number of other engagements throughout the year, most notably the famous Braemar Gathering. 

The band has a strong youth system, with youngsters tutored by senior members and brought through to join the ranks of the competition band.

Anyone interested in joining the band should call Pipe Major Billy Hepburn on 01888 563079, Pipe Sergeant Kevin Urquhart on 07834 332997 or Scotch Corner on 01888 563079.

Plans for a day to remember at Foggie
Jan 22nd 2014

Aberchirder is gearing up for landmark celebrations in May to bring the once bustling village streets alive to mark its 250th anniversary.  Aberchirder was the first planned village in Scotland in 1764. 

Plans for the event on Saturday 17th May 2014 are at an early stage, with the centrepiece of the day's celebrations the unveiling of a specially commissioned commemorative plaque in the square below the Jubilee Clock, which was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in June 1887.

Plans include a coffee morning with live entertainment, a display of historic photographs and artefacts from Foggie's history, and an outdoor gala event featuring live music, stalls and entertainment for the whole family. 

Originally known as Foggieloan - still locals' preferred name for the village - what became Aberchirder was named after a nearby historic "ferm toun".  The village was founded by Alexander Gordon, the laird of Auchintoul, and renamed Aberchirder by Gordon's successor as owner of the Auchintoul estate - after the thanes of Aberkerdour who lived at Kinnairdy Castle on the banks of the River Deveron in the 13th Century.

However, the popular name of Foggieloan, often shortened to Foggie, has survived for over two centuries, and has been incorporated in the motto of the village's coat of arms.

Catalan youth fanfare orchestra visits Turriff
Jul 9th 2013

One of Europe's top youth fanfare orchestras - the Banda Municipal de Lleida, from the Catalonian region of Spain - will be playing a concert at St Ninian's and Forglen Church in Turriff on Friday 26th July.

Playing mainly symphonic music, its repertoire also includes film, traditional and fanfare favourites.

The band has achieved great cultural prestige around Europe; in 2007, the band took part in the Mid Europe Festival in Schladming, Austria - one of the biggest fanfare festivals in Europe.  In 2008, it was a guest at both the 1st Band Festival in Foix in France, and at the Jungfrau Music Festival in Interlaken, Switzerland.  In 2009, it was selected to perform at the World Music Contest in Kerkrade in the Netherlands, and followed that in 2010 and 2011 with performances at the 13th Young Band Festival and the International Band Festival in Greece.  In 2012, the ensemble took part in the Florence International Festival.

Tickets for the Turriff concert - beginning at 7.30 p.m. - will be available at the door, priced £8 for adults and £5 for children of school age.

Turra Coo Statue branded a design icon
Sep 11th 2012

One of Banffshire's most famous landmarks - The Turra Coo - has been recognised as a design icon at Aberdeenshire Council's Design Awards ceremony at Haddo House.

The popular bronze statue, which was commissioned to commemorate the resilience of the people of the North-east of Scotland, is a life-size bronze sculpture of one of the region's most famous animals.

The Turra Coo statue was officially unveiled by First Minister Alex Salmond in November 2010; this was the culmination of a five-year project steered by the Turriff Tourism Action Group to raise the funds needed to make and erect the statue.  The statue has since become synonymous with the bustling farming town of Turriff and a popular draw for tourists. 

The Turra Coo Vying for Design Award
Jun 17th 2012

The Turra Coo has been voted as one of the north-east's most impressive features.  Houses, businesses and artwork throughout Aberdeenshire have been shortlisted for the region's annual design awards by a panel of judges, who whittled 106 entries down to just 28.  The winner will be announced in September.  Aberdeenshire has a rich heritage that is being preserved through craftsmanship of the highest standard with towns and villages being transformed by public art and creative architecture. 

3 Banffshire Coast Awards Finalists
May 15th 2012

Three organisations in the Banffshire Coast area have won through in the North-east Regional Finals for Scottish Thistle Awards and now go through to the National Finals in November.

Portsoy's Scottish Traditional Boat Festival started as a small community celebration to mark the 300th anniversary of Portsoy harbour almost 20 years ago and has grown in status to become recognised by VisitScotland as one of the region's flagship tourism events.  Although the emphasis of the Boat Festival is on maritime culture and heritage, the event has expanded over the years to reflect a wide range of associated traditional skills.  There is also a hugely popular food fayre and craft tent, an extensive music programme featuring local and internationally-renowned artists, and sports activities from running to rugby.  This year the festival is making history by playing host to the biggest ever St Ayles skiff coastal rowing regatta.  The Festival received the Award for Best Cultural Event in the North-east.

The Deveron Fishing Festival has been recognised for its success in attracting visitors to the area and boosting the local economy.  A lot of the trade now see the festival and its trade fair as a major event on the UK fishing calendar, and it is fairly unique to be able to hold a fair in an environment where equipment can be shown and tried on the river.  The festival ticks all the boxes in showing off the river to anglers and bringing people to the area.  The community also gets a payback in the benefits to the local economy.  The Festival received the award for the Best Nature-based Experience.

The Spotty Bag Cafe in Banff - part of the famous Spotty Bag Shop - received the regional award for the Best Cafe, Bar or Restaurant in the north-east.

Plans to develop the Auld Post Office Museum
Mar 22nd 2012

Turriff and District Heritage Society has announced plans to develop and improve the popular Auld Post Office museum.  The building's tenancy has been secured for the next five years and the museum's future assured.  The Society is committed to developing the Museum, and has also been given responsibility for Turriff's Session Cottage museum. 

Museum wins vital funding lifeline
Jan 4th 2012

Supporters of Turriff's Auld Post Office Museum are looking forward to a happy new year after securing vital funding to ensure its future.  The funding will allow the Society to take up a five-year lease on the Museum which is run voluntarily by the Society members.  Included in the museum's artefacts are Turra Coo memorabilia and the robes of the former town council.  It also hosts talks and exhibitions, and is visited regularly by local school pupils.

New! Mobile website for the Banffshire Coast
Nov 3rd 2011

Great news for the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. Our new mobile website is now live on-line, and available to all who use their mobile phones to access the internet.

This is the future! It means that folk in their cars, or in the street can find out where to go, where to shop, where to eat, where to stay etc in our area, just with a few clicks on their mobiles.

The Banffshire Coast mobile website includes some minor mods to make it easier to use and to read on small  phone screens.

Thanks go to our IT gurus at blue square for creating it.

If you don’t have an internet enabled  phone, you can get a look at the mobile website on:  http://m.banffshirecoast.com/  To see how it actually  looks on a phone screen, make your viewing window much narrower. (Of course, it is much smaller on a phone too.)

Banffshire Coast Tourist Group Awarded Promotional Boost
Sep 30th 2011

Banffshire Coast Tourist Partnership were recently awarded £35,000 funding from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council.

Over the next 18 months, tourism businesses along the Banffshire Coast will have the opportunity to participate in several significant marketing initiatives, thanks to a recent funding award of £35,000.

The funding, from a combination of the Rural Tourism Business Support project, the VisitScotland Growth Fund and Aberdeenshire Council, will enable the Banffshire Coast Tourism Group to further develop and market the Banffshire Coast as a highly attractive visitor destination.

Roger Goodyear, Chair of the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership, commented: "This award is a fantastic opportunity to promote our area to both first time and returning visitors, and follows on from a very successful short marketing campaign run at the beginning of this year which resulted in visits to our website (www.banffshirecoast.com) rising by more than 1500%."

The four marketing initiatives fall under two themes - Outdoor and Ancestral.  A full-colour 48-page pocket Area Guide, to be distributed throughout Scotland and the Banffshire area, will contain high-quality imagery and editorial content to encourage both visits to and wider exploration of the area.  The other three initiatives will focus on the area's strengths of Marine Life, Walking and Birdwatching, and Ancestral.  They will all involve a combination of activities, including the creation of new sections for the website, e-flyer campaigns to targeted market segments, PR trips and familiarisation visits, as well as social media campaigns.  All four initiatives will provide tourism businesses in the area excellent opportunities to advertise their own individual offering.

Roger Goodyear commented further:  "The Banffshire Coast has a wide range of tourism attractions and services, but these have never been brought together in a way which is 'visitor friendly'.  The planned campaigns will draw all of these elements together in one place and promote comprehensive packages and itineraries to those with these specific interests - for the very first time.  We will be showing visitors just how they can spend their time in our area - whether one day, a few days or longer.  By focussing on the web and social media, we will be able to achieve more significant results than the traditional advertising routes which are out of the reach of our budget, as well as utilising the most up-to-date promotional tools.  We are very grateful to our 3 funding partners - without whom we would not be in a position to make this step change in tourism on the Banffshire Coast."

For more information, please contact:  Zillah Jamieson, Director, Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership Limited; 01542 840314; zillahj@btinternet.com

Cheaper public transport
Sep 6th 2011

Good news for the thousands of visitors who use service buses to get around.

The biggest bus operator in the North of Scotland is reducing the price of many of its multiple journey day tickets.

The firm is introducing a zonal system for calculating fares. One route to benefit is the service between Banff/Macduff/Turriff and Aberdeen, where weekly tickets are being reduced.

The company have also announced that they are freezing prices on their single and return ticket prices.

More details from the company's website: www.stagecoachbus.com

Delgatie Castle wins homebaking award
Aug 9th 2011

The home-baking in the Laird's Kitchen tearoom has won a Scottish Home Baking Award, thanks to nominations from happy customers of its delicious cakes and scones. The awards recognise real home baking done on the premises, and consistent quality.

The judge said: “You absolutely must try this castle and the Laird’s Kitchen if in this neck of the woods- not only for the experience but for the chance of eating excellent home baking in the kitchen of this ancient castle. The baking is just the way my Gran taught me many moons ago and is truly fantastic.  We were generously handed a full dark gingerbread to take away which did not last long on the journey home.  An absolute must for Joan’s storytelling and baking alone.  Keep the spirit alive Delgatie!”
Joan Johnson, Trustee of the Delgatie Castle Trust was delighted "To receive such an award following nominations from the public is wonderful.  We have always taken pride in being able to offer fresh home baking every day at the castle since the Laird’s Kitchen opened almost 20 years ago and to have this recognition is a real honour."

Delgatie Castle is open to the public every day from 10a.m. until 5p.m. until the 20th December. Visitors do not need to tour the castle to visit the Laird’s Kitchen.

Turriff Tandoori triumphs
Jul 19th 2011

The Moonlight Tandoori is the winner of the Scottish section of the 2011 Lyca Tiffin Cup. It beat 61 Scottish Asian eateries to the title of best South Asian restaurant in the contest, held in the Houses of Parliament.

The Moonlight was nominated as the North-east entry by local MP, Eilidh Whiteford.

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