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Birds of a feather at Linlithgow

18 July 2007

If you have ever marvelled at the grace and beauty of birds of prey, or fancied finding out about falconry, then make sure you keep this Sunday free for a fascinating event at Linlithgow Palace.

On Sunday 22 July, the magnificent ruins of this, the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots will be the venue for Falconry Up Close and Personal, a special event where visitors will not only be able to learn everything they ever wanted to know about this ancient skilful sport, but also have a rare opportunity to handle different species of impressive birds.

Experts from Falconry Scotland will be on hand to show off their feathered friends and talk about the history of falconry, from its origins 4,000 years ago to the 21st century, and how it has been used by kings and commoners through the ages. Presentations are at 12noon, 1.30pm and 3.00pm.

Julie Saleh-Solimon of Falconry Scotland said: "Visitors will be able to meet these truly wonderful birds of prey, learn about their hunting habits and preferred types of food, and really ‘get right up close and personal’ by holding and handling them."

Sheena Garden, Interpretation Manager at Historic Scotland said: "Through the ages and across continents, birds of prey have always held a great fascination for young and old alike. The Falconry Up Close and Personal event at Linlithgow Palace offers a superb introduction to the wonderful world of raptors.  It is a fantastic chance to learn about and appreciate these amazing birds, and find out why falconry has been a favourite pastime throughout history."

Falconry Up Close and Personal is at Linlithgow Palace on Sunday 22 July, with presentations at noon, 1.30pm and 3.00pm. Falconry Scotland will be repeating the event at other outstanding Historic Scotland attractions throughout the summer including Dirleton Castle on 5 August, Aberdour Castle on 19 August, Crichton Castle on 1 September and Tantallon Castle on 2 September.

Notes for editors
Linlithgow Palace is in Linlithgow off the M9. Telephone 01506 842896. Tickets are £5 for adults, £4 concessions and £2.50 for children.

The magnificent ruins of Linlithgow Palace are set in a park beside a loch. All of the Stewart kings lived here, and numerous renovations to the Palace’s grand facades and chambers were carried out as each sought to create the ideal modern palace.

The Palace was last visited by the Stewart family in 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed.  In 1746, the Duke of Cumberland set the Palace on fire as he left to travel north to fight this very same Stewart at Culloden.

Linlithgow Peel has been altered by human activity and traces of that activity, from prehistoric times to the present can still be detected.  Two of the islands in the Loch, the ‘Rickle’ and ‘Cormorant Island have been identified as Crannogs (ancient loch dwelling found throughout Scotland and Ireland).  Built some 5,000 years ago, they were originally timber roundhouses supported on piles driven into the loch bed.  They now appear as tree covered islands.

The Loch is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the extensive wildfowl population. A well surfaced walkway around the loch gives good views of the abundant water birds including swans, ducks, great-crested and little grebes.

Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae.

Historic Scotland’s Mission is: to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment and to promote its understanding and enjoyment.

For further information

Kate Turnbull
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959