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Brechin tourism: Weekend event will showcase new ideas and seek local inspiration

Derek Harper, Norma Lyall, Eleanor Mitchell, Rachel Benvie, Ann-Marie Black and Eric Gray of the Brechin tourism steering group. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.
Derek Harper, Norma Lyall, Eleanor Mitchell, Rachel Benvie, Ann-Marie Black and Eric Gray of the Brechin tourism steering group. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.

A wealth of ideas to inject impetus into Brechin’s tourism offering will be showcased this weekend.

It’s the latest stage in a new initiative after the Angus town was selected as one of two in Scotland to pilot community-led tourism.

Those behind the project want to tell locals what is already happening and get residents to say what they would like to see.

Brechin tourism
Derek Harper, Norma Lyall, Eleanor Mitchell, Rachel Benvie, Ann-Marie Black and Eric Gray of the Brechin project. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media.

Brechin Community Led Tourism and Angus Tourism Cooperative are staging the event.

It is being held in the City Hall on Saturday from 10am to noon.

“This is a chance to see what the BCLT steering group has been working on over the last few months,” said Rachel Benvie of the project.

Stories in Stone

And it will be the first chance for people to see new Pictish-inspired stones created for the community.

Monikie Rock Art and Anderson Stone are in partnership with BCLT to tell the cathedral city’s stories in stone.

David McGovern of Monikie Rock Art has carved them entirely by hand.

But the new designs follow ancient Pictish conventions.

Pictish stone
Wolfstone by David McGovern of Monikie Rock Art. Pic: David McGovern.

His skilful work is already enjoyed by visitors to St Vigeans, near Arbroath.

In 2020, the county’s first standing stone slab in more than a millennium was unveiled there.

And it was followed by a second piece created in tribute to local environmental campaigner Ralph Coutts.

Pictish art
David McGovern’s centaur stone for Brechin. Pic: David McGovern/Monikie Rock Art.

Rachel, who worked as a curator in Angus museums from 1987, is getting local schools involved in the idea.

The event will be launched by Scottish Cabinet Minister for Rural Affairs and North Angus and Mearns MSP Mairi Gougeon.

It will give visitors the opportunity to speak to a range of tourism providers.

Locally ground coffee and sweet treats will be served up to feed the discussion around the plans and how to get involved.

Inch Park ambitions

“Planters are being placed around the town in coming months,” said Rachel.

And a new promotional video for Brechin is currently being filmed.

BCLT has also drafted in the driving force behind the Montrose Playhouse cinema project for the feasibility study around Inch Park.

The group hopes the area around the River South Esk could become a centrepiece of its efforts.

Brechin leisure centre
A feasibility study around the future of the old leisure centre is being carried out. Pic: Mhairi Edwards/DCT Media

Brechin flood prevention scheme delivered much-needed improvement protection.

But the old leisure centre is still lying empty despite efforts to find a new use for it.

Rachel added: “David Paton from Crawford Architecture in Montrose will be conducting a survey during the morning to find out what people would like to see at Inch Park and the former leisure centre building.

“We really want people to turn out to see what is planned and have their say.”

The community-led tourism initiative

Brechin and Girvan were selected for the community-led tourism pilot.

The programme is supported by social enterprise organisation SENScot and Creetown Initiative in Dumfries and Galloway.

And the Brechin steering group marked its first anniversary by securing an £8,000 Awards for All grant late last year.

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