Castle has character
4 October 2007
Cartoon Robert the Bruce comes to life at Urquhart!
As the Cartoon Caper continues at Historic Scotland attractions across Scotland, as part of the October Kids Go Free campaign, visitors to Urquhart Castle may notice something different about one of the 10 cartoon characters hidden around the attraction; Robert the Bruce is moving!
Every weekend during October, visitors can encounter Robert the Bruce (and possibly a little eight-legged friend) as they scour the magnificent fortress for historical cartoon characters. As well as assisting with the Cartoon Caper, Robert will talk to visitors about his weaponry and the perils he faced leading up to being crowned King of Scots in 1306.
After completing the Cartoon Caper, visitors can go on to create there own cartoon adventure in the Urquhart Castle Visitor Centre, and perhaps win free membership with Historic Scotland for a year.
Euan Fraser, Historic Scotland Manager of Urquhart Castle said ‘The Cartoon Caper has started at Urquhart Castle, and adults and children alike have been enjoying themselves trying to find our hidden characters. We hope visitors to the castle will especially enjoy seeing one of cartoons in the flesh. Robert the Bruce will bring the trail to life, and add something a bit special to a day out at this magnificent fortress.’
The Cartoon Caper is part of the Historic Scotland Kids Go Free campaign, which allows free admission to children under 16yrs when accompanied by a paying adult. Now in its third year, the campaign’s aim is to encourage young people to take an interest and gain inspiration from their nation’s heritage.
Robert the Bruce will be at Urquhart Castle every weekend in October from noon to 3.00pm.
Notes for editors
'Kids Go Free’ throughout October at Historic Scotland attractions listed below. Children must be under 16yrs and accompanied by a full paying adult (maximum of 6 children per paying adult). For further information and opening times, please visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/kidsgofree or text ‘KIDSFREE’ to 84118, or call 0131 668 8926.
Further activities at Historic Scotland attractions in the North region include living history characters at Urquhart Castle every Sunday during October, Big Draw events at Fort George and the Scottish Storytelling Festival at various sites across the country (26 October-4 November). Please visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/events for more information.
Historic Scotland commissioned Scottish artist Alice Druitt to specially create the ten cartoon characters covering as many periods of history as possible. After completing the trail, budding cartoon detectives will win a special gift. Details will then be entered into a prize draw to win a VIP trip to Edinburgh Castle, art session at Doodles Ceramic workshop www.doodlesscotland.co.uk, signed originals of the historic cartoon characters artwork by Alice Druitt and lots more art goodies.
The artist commissioned for the light-hearted artwork is 26 year old Alice Druitt who set up her own company, Gingerpaws, selling cards showing famous Edinburgh scenes as an undergraduate. While still at university she was commissioned by Historic Scotland to create the artwork for the popular Cartoon Castles range. Its success prompted the latest commission.
October Kids go free participating attractions in the North and Grampian region
Originally the seat of the powerful Comyn earls of Buchan, Balvenie is a castle of enclosure with massive curtain wall.
Location: At Dufftown on the A94.
Tel 01340 820121
In a lonely moorland setting, Corgarff’s medieval tower house, built in the mid-16th century, is surrounded by a distinctive star-shaped perimeter wall.
Location: 13km west of Strathdon on the A939.
Tel 01975 651460
DALLAS DHU HISTORIC DISTILLERY
The picturesque distillery of Dallas Dhu was built in 1898 to produce malt whisky for Glasgow firm Wright and Greig’s popular ‘Roderick Dhu’ blend. Visitors to the unique time capsule of Dallas Dhu can see and hear how whisky was made here – there is an audio-visual presentation and free audio guide – and sample a free dram.
Location: 2km south of Forres off the A940.
Tel 01309 676548
One of Scotland’s most beautiful medieval buildings, Elgin Cathedral is a magnificent ruin, much of which dates back to the 13th century. Its many outstanding architectural features include the country’s finest octagonal chapter house.
Location: In Elgin on the A96.
Tel 01343 547171
Following the 1746 defeat at Culloden of Bonnie Prince Charlie, George II created the ultimate defence against further Jacobite unrest. The result, Fort George, is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain, if not Europe. Its garrison buildings, artillery defences bristling with cannon, and superb collection of arms – including bayoneted muskets, pikes, swords and ammunition pouches – provide a fascinating insight into 18th century military life. Fort George is the only ancient monument in Scotland still functioning as intended – a working army barracks - but still welcoming visitors. A gift shop and café (seasonal) are among the attractions. The Regimental Museum of the Queen’s Own Highlanders is found at the property, while dolphins can often be seen from the ramparts. There is also a summer events programme.
Location: 10km west of Nairn, 18km north east of Inverness off the A96.
Tel 01667 460232.
Remarkable for its splendid architecture, Huntly Castle served as a baronial residence for five centuries. Many impressive features include a fine heraldic sculpture and inscribed stone friezes. The earliest stronghold on the site sheltered Robert the Bruce in the 14th century.
Location: In Huntly on the A96.
Tel 01466 793191
The great castle of Kildrummy was the stronghold of the Earls of Mar. Although ruined it remains a fine example of a 13th century castle with its curtain wall, four round towers, hall and chapel.
Location: 16km south west of Alford on the A97.
Tel 01975 571331
KINNAIRD HEAD CASTLE LIGHTHOUSE AND MUSEUM
Built for the Fraser family this fine 16th century castle was altered in 1787 to take the first lighthouse built by the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses. It is still in working order but has now been replaced by a small unmanned light nearby. The lighthouse remains much as it was left by the last lighthouse crew and is managed by the Kinnaird Head Trust.
Location: On a promontory in Fraserburgh on the A92.
Tel 01346 511022
For five centuries until 1686, Spynie Palace was the residence of the bishops of Moray. The beauty of the surroundings and the substantial wildlife and birdsong make the Palace a wonderful place to visit.
Location: 3km north of Elgin off the A941.
Tel 01343 546358
Noted for its highly ornamented gatehouse, Tolquhon is one of the most picturesque of the castles in the Grampian countryside.
Location: 24km north of Aberdeen on the A920.
Tel 01651 851286
The magnificently situated Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness, remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart’s remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and Great Glen. The castle’s history and that of the noble families – Durward, Macdonald and Grant – who held it, is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The Centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle. Visitors can relax in the café and visit the shop with its local crafts. The visitor centre contains retail, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets on one level. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from visitor centre veranda.
Location: On Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit on the A82.
Tel 01456 450551