Scotland looks to its past for 2017

Two funds totalling £800,000 have been set up to support VisitScotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017.

VisitScotland has unveiled a £300,000 fund to support themed events and activities, while the Heritage Lottery Fund is supporting the initiative with a £500,000 programme called Stories, Stones and Bones, encouraging Scots to uncover and celebrate their local history and traditions.

The tourism agency said more than a third of visitors to Scotland are drawn by Scottish history and culture and hopes the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology will showcase the country’s heritage to the world.

Highlights for the themed year include a ‘Great Roman Bake-Off’, large projections of Viking imagery, a live archaeological dig of St Kilda in Minecraft and an international weaving festival.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for tourism, said: “As well as our history of many well-known stories and famous, indeed some infamous, historical characters, next year will also give us an excellent opportunity to focus on Scotland’s world-renowned archaeology, enticing visitors and locals alike to visit not only our known iconic landmarks with their thousands of years of history, but also our many hidden gems.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, added: “Visitors come to Scotland in their droves to experience its heritage – whether that’s visiting a castle, exploring a battlefield or tracing ancestral roots.

“From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends, the year-long programme will spotlight some of our greatest assets and icons as well as our hidden gems.”

Other organisations are using the theme for their festivals and events, such as the Edinburgh International Science Festival (April 1-16); a major Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland (June-November); and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August.

The launch hashtag is #facethepast and the hashtag for the year is #HHA2017.

Pictured are twins Gordon and Jude Lennon wearing face art depicting the Forth Rail Bridge, one of six Unesco world heritage sites in Scotland.

visitscotland.com/hha2017