Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Book Launch at Kirktown Garden Centre

On Saturday 19th August 2017, Andy Hall will be at Kirktown Garden Centre, Stonehaven for a Book Signing for his latest book "Aberdeenshire -  A New Perspective"

Andy has lived in the North East of Scotland all his life and loves every aspect of it: the light, landscape, architecture, literature, music, history and its people.

When he embarked on the photography for this book, he wanted to see the area with fresh eyes and to revisit the familiar to discover the unfamiliar.

This he has done to great effect.

He is working in partnership with Network Aberdeen Social Enterprise run bt Dr. Caroline Traa to give young adults with additional support needs an opportunity to have a meaningful working experience.

The book gives a fascinating insight of Aberdeenshire and some great images.

Well worth a read.

Book can be signed between 2pm and 3pm.

George Mcgillivray

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Mearns Connections Festival 2017

The 2017 Mearns Connections Festival at the Grassic Gibbon Centre in Arbuthnott looks like it will be a cracker this year.

 At the Mearns Connections Dinner on Friday 11th, the guest speaker is Finlay Calder, British Lions captain and Scotland rugby legend. He is very entertaining. Tickets are £25 and include a 3 course supper.

Geordie Murison, the fabulous local King of the Bothy Ballads and his pals will provide a Bothy Nichts evening of entertainment on the Saturday night (12th).

For those of you who know Geordie, you’ll know that you are guaranteed a fabulous evening of entertainment. His friends Jim Taylor, Allan Taylor and others are equally entertaining. For those who don’t know them, you’ll have a great time. Tickets are £15 and include a stovie supper.

There is a Ballad Bus on the Saturday afternoon which goes on a musical journey around some Mearns Churches with artistic stained glass windows.Tickets are £12.

On Sunday afternoon, popular local photographer, Andy Hall is doing a talk at the Mearns Launch of his new book "Aberdeenshire - A New Perspective". Tickets are £5 and include tea, home bakes and a raffle ticket for a framed image of Catterline Bay.

There will be some books for sale and Andy will be happy to sign them afterwards. If you would like to come to any of these events, please phone the Grassic Gibbon Centre on 01561 361668 or send email 

Thursday, 13 April 2017


A GO-AHEAD Stonehaven woman is set to become one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the area by following in her family's footsteps.

At just 22-years-old Nikki Howarth is set to open and run her own business - a coffee shop and bistro in a prime corner spot at the town's Market Square.

Nikki got the idea from her parents Mick and Sheila Howarth owners of the Belvedere Hotel in Evan Street who praised their young daughter's spirit of adventure in starting a new enterprise at a time when banks and other businesses are shutting down in the town.

The former Mackie Academy pupil and psychology graduate from Abertay University is to open her new venture next week but realises she faces a huge learning curve.

The coffee shop, to be called "Nikki's",  is in the former Maggie May's premises at the corner of Barclay Street and Margaret Street which shut down in December.

Nikki will be joined by chef Paul Johnston who she "pinched" from her parents' hotel to help prepare everything from sandwiches to stovies and many gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options.

Nikki, who gained her first catering experience helping out at the Belvedere, said: "I’m really excited. Having worked at my parents' hotel I feel that I’ve got a good relationship with a lot of people in the community, who’ve been very encouraging. I’ve also gained a good understanding of what’s required to run a commercial kitchen and how essential good customer service is ."

Her mum Sheila, who recently spearheaded the successful campaign against massive commercial rates rises that threatened the future of hotels and pubs in the area, said:  "Mick and I were concerned about the possibility of cutting staff hours and potentially jobs in the future, so to avoid this, we looked at the possibility of taking over another business to redeploy some of the staff. So when Nikki said that she’d like to take over and run the cafe on her own, we thought it was a great idea."

And she joked: "The down side obviously is that I’m now two excellent staff members down at the hotel."

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


The Cutty Sark Museum Project, has been given a tremendous boost for 2017 by an extremely generous sponsorship support package by Fotheringham Property Developments, Gourdon.
Managed by Mearns Heritage Services, the Cutty Sark Project has been under way in partnership with local schools since the summer of 2016. A potential and appropriate building for the Museum was identified in Inverbervie, the birth place of Hercules Linton, designer of the famous Cutty Sark, but as a result of some local objections this had to be abandoned.
Given the importance of the unique local heritage of Linton and the Cutty Sark, and the fact that Linton was given national recognition through the award of a bronze plaque by Historic Scotland in 2015, meant that a strategy was needed to overcome this minor setback.
Bervie, Glenbervie and Auchenblae primary schools have all been working with Mearns Heritage Services on projects to develop an integrated Cutty Sark project, which draws together, the various connections between Robert Burns, Tam o’ Shanter, William Burnes the father of Robert Burns, born at Clochnahill outside Stonehaven, Cutty Sark, and Hercules Linton, in the context of the Mearns, and culminates in a dedicated Cutty Sark Museum.
The innovative approach which has been adopted, is to develop a “virtual” Museum, where information, design, audio links, graphics and photography in an interactive website, will inform the final design and size of the Museum building. Project Director Dave Ramsay said “The generous sponsorship by Fotheringham Property Developments, (FDP) is much more than just financial support. What we have through this sponsorship, is access to high quality, specialised, architectural and property development and project management, to industry standards.”
“When it comes to the final specification of the Museum, and identification of a building to suit our needs, we then have the expertise of a highly experienced Property Development Team, who can assist with all the specialist information required for grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding bodies. This is what makes this Partnership support by Fotheringham Property Developments so valuable.”
George McGillivray, web designer of Webecom Marketing, will be leading on the design aspects of the Project, while a skilled team, of heritage and graphics specialists, coordinated by Dave, will provide the inputs to the website. George has a wide experience of developing specialist heritage sites, to suit an extensive range of purposes and audiences.
“As a local business we see great value in supporting other local organisations and endeavour to do so. When Dave approached us about the prospect of creating a Cutty Sark Museum, we could see his vision and enthusiasm for the project and were delighted to support it both financially and with our expertise to help make this vision become a reality Allan Fotheringham Senior – Managing Director
The Project has support from Aberdeenshire Council, Viscount and Viscountess Arbuthnott, Cutty Sark Museum Greenwich, and the Eyemouth Maritime Heritage Centre, birth place of Jock (White Hat) Willis, who commissioned the Cutty Sark for the tea trade.
To provide further support for the Project, Ronan Littlejohn of Johnshaven, is putting together a small team of cyclists for a sponsored cycle ride from Invervbervie, the birth place of Hercules Linton, to Dumbarton, where Cutty Sark was built and launched in November 1869. Ronan has been an enthusiastic and highly successful fund raiser, generating thousands of pounds for local families and charities.
Dave said “Given the level of specialist and community support which we have encouraged, I have no doubt that we will create a viable and valuable visitor attraction which will recognise the unique story of Hercules Linton, Cutty Sark, and Inverbervie”.
The website and “Virtual” Museum, and all the work of the schools, additional features and special exhibits, will be formally launched at a special event on the 15th May to commemorate the death of Hercules Linton on that date in 1900.
Photography by Ron Stephen
Original Article Source: http://www.fotheringhamhomes.com/news/2017/fotheringham-property-developments-sponsor-the-cutty-sark-museum-project/ 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Is There A Pot of Gold Here?

Copyright ©Kenny MacFarlane

Love this amazing photo of a rainbow over Dunnottar Castle.

A chance meeting in a bar in Stonehaven led to a conversation about Stonehaven and taking photos.

Kenny MacFarlane had come to Stonehaven from Glasgow to visit his girlfriend and to take photos of the Fireballs Festival.

He didn't have much luck with Fireballs photos but managed to capture this amazing photo while out walking near the iconic Dunnottar Castle on New Year's Day 2017

He told me the story of how he watched the rainbow form and waited till it had dropped down on the castle and was able to create this great shot.

No pot of gold was found but it was certainly a golden moment and I am very grateful to Kenny for sharing this with me and allowing me to share this with others.

If anybody is interested in purchasing this photo please send us an email.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Plans lodged to expand Stonehaven’s most historic building

A planning application has been lodged to Aberdeenshire Council for a significant expansion of the Tolbooth Museum on Stonehaven Harbour.
The Stonehaven Tolbooth Association (STA) which runs the facility hope the plans will cement it as an “iconic” building.
The 16th-century site is currently home to a local history museum on the ground floor and The Tolbooth Seafood Restaurant on the first floor.
The proposals are for a two-storey extension to the Tolbooth, which will allow it to house further exhibition space, a function room or cafe – or a combination of all three.
Last night the STA said it hopes the application for planning permission and listed building consent would allow them to tackle the “serious issue” of overcrowding facing the museum.
The extension to the Tolbooth would be built into the courtyard section of the site.
Under the plans the ground floor will be reconfigured to give access through a different doorway.
A new reception and information area would be formed, along with a staff canteen and public toilets. The current display areas would also be realigned.
Last night a spokesman for the STA said visitor numbers had surged from 9,000 a year prior to 2011 to 22,000 in the past two years.
He added it “has been the most frequented free attraction operating under Aberdeenshire Council’s museum service umbrella”.
He also said the proposals “would enable the museum to expand but at the same time retain the ambiance of the community hub which we have fostered over the last five years”.
The spokesman added: “This success, whilst welcome, has come with a price and given the current size of the museum and the high footfall, the visitor experience has, on many occasions, been less than satisfactory as overcrowding has become a serious issue.
“The architects reviewed the existing footprint of the Tolbooth complex and by utilising underused space on the ground floor the plans permit the doubling of the size of the museum at this level.
“The addition of a glass walled upper floor creates an area that will provide panoramic views of the harbour and coast and be able to operate as a cafĂ©, a function room, further museum space or any combination of all three.
“The design is a blend of the old and modern and will become an iconic building that is sure to attract locals and tourists alike”

A brief history: The Tolbooth

The Tolbooth, constructed in the late 1500s, is believed to be the oldest building in Stonehaven.
It was built as a storage facility by George Keith, the 5th Earl Marischal and founder of Aberdeen’s iconic Marischal College, as he began work on an extension of the neighbouring Dunnottar Castle.
When Stonehaven was named the county town in 1600, it began its life as the local tolbooth, courthouse and prison.
The ground floor was the site of the prison and an exercise yard, and the first floor was home to the court.
When new facilities were opened in 1767 to fulfil these functions, the Tolbooth entered a new era as a storage facility for grain, coal and lime until the mid-1900s.
In dire need of repair, it was rebuilt in 1963 into a cafe and museum.
The STA was formed after the building was closed down by its owners, Aberdeenshire Council, in 2011 and revived it as a free entry community facility.
The local heritage museum is home to relics dating back to the Iron Age, as well as items from the history of the building itself.
Article Source: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeenshire/1111102/plans-lodged-to-expand-stonehavens-most-historic-building/

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Kids go FREE!! Saturday 8th - Sunday 22nd October inclusive

If you are looking for something to do with your kids while they are off school during the October 'tattie' holidays why not spend some time exploring the castle then down to the beach here for some rock pool adventures? Up to 3 children are free with a paying adult from Saturday 8th - Sunday 22nd October inclusive.