August events at Historic Environment Scotland sites

For more information on any of these events visit Historic Environment Scotland here. Historic Environment Scotland Members’ discount available.

A Sword for my Chief – Urquhart Castle – Select from 12 dates through to Saturday 3 August 2019

Meet one of the loyal clansmen of the Lord of the Isles as he prepares to join his fellow Highlanders in the siege of Urquhart Castle. This presentation incorporates a weapons and costume demonstration involving members of the public. Included in admission price.

King in the North – Spynie Palace – Saturday 3 August 2019 to Sunday 4 August 2019

The Battle of Bannockburn was a turning point in the Scottish Wars of Independence. Meet Robert the Bruce and find out more about this famous battle. Wander through the living history camp, see weapons on display in the armoury, smell food cooking in the kitchens, try playing some medieval games, and have a go at calligraphy using real iron gall ink!

Crannog Life – Linlithgow Palace – Tuesday 6 August 2019

Travel back in time to learn more about the people who lived on Linlithgow Loch thousands of years ago and the incredible houses they built on stilts. Aimed at children aged between 8 and 12, must be accompanied by an adult.

In the Footsteps of John Muir – Multiple Venues – Selected dates through to Tuesday 6 August 2019

Exploring the landscape that inspired John Muir, a leading Scottish American environmental conservationist and known in America as the “Father of the National Parks”, this photography exhibition traces Muir’s travels from his childhood in Dunbar to the American National Parks he helped to establish. Presented by the American Scottish Foundation, the works of Scottish photographer Ken Paterson shares the beauty of both Scottish and American wilderness that John Muir was so passionate about.

Holyrood Harvest – Holyrood Park – Wednesday 7 August 2019

Step back to the time of the Iron Age Celts and celebrate the ancient harvest festival of Lughnasadh. Forage for wild foods and enjoy the bounty the land has to offer. Aimed at ages 10 to 14yrs.

Festival at the Fort – Fort George – Saturday 10 August 2019 and Sunday 11 August 2019

Built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden the fort reaches its 250th anniversary this year.  Discover why and how this mighty fortress was constructed, explore the history it has seen and celebrate Highland culture through music, dance and song. 10% discount when buy your tickets online.

Summer Stroll – Linlithgow Palace – Sunday 11 August 2019

Come along on a guided walk to learn more about Linlithgow Loch and Peel. Discover what calls the loch its home, how it was created and what makes Linlithgow Peel a special place.

In the footsteps of Erskine Beveridge – HES Archives and Library – Monday 12 August 2019

Erskine Beveridge was one of the finest amateur photographers of the late 19th century, documenting archaeological sites, carved stones, villages, buildings, harbours and gravestones. Using his own photography, this talk will tell the story of Erskine and his travels across Scotland and beyond. Follow this with a visit to the Search Room to see related material from the HES Archives.

X Marks the Spot – Linlithgow Palace – Tuesday 13 August 2019

Take part in our orienteering challenge – Can you complete it without getting lost? This is a drop in session, arrive any time between 10am and 12.15pm. Aimed at children aged between 8 and 12, must be accompanied by an adult.

Fortress for the King – Fort George – Selected dates from Friday 16 August 2019 to Sunday 25 August 2019

The Battle of Culloden is over and King George decrees that his army will now build the greatest fortress ever seen in Britain.  It will be the home of 2,000 men who will patrol the glens of Scotland to keep the peace. Stop by any time between 12pm-4pm to meet one of the Scottish soldiers stationed in this northern outpost and learn about his life and times.Included in admission price.

MacDonald Lord of the Isles – Urquhart Castle – Saturday 17 August 2019 to Sunday 18 August 2019

MacDonald, Lord of the Isles, has come to attack the castle. A foot soldier will give an account of life in the castle and how they hope to defend it. Included in admission price.

James Watt: Power to the World – Engine Shed – Select from 104 available dates through to Friday 23 August 2019

Explore the life, work, and legacy of James Watt and his reinvention of the steam engine in our new exhibition. On 25 April 1769, James Watt patented the ‘seperate condenser’. This invention revolutionised the steam engine, and became the driving force behind the Industrial Revolution. In our new exhibition ‘James Watt: Power to the World’, learn all about who James Watt was, and how he worked hard to create a more effective steam engine. Discover the impact he had on Britain’s industry, architecture, and engineering, which you can still see today.

Master Builders: Working with Metal – Engine Shed – Saturday 24 August 2019

Join us for metals day, part of our Master Builders programme, where families can get hands-on with the materials used to conserve Scotland’s traditional buildings. Metal can be found in all types of traditional buildings in Scotland, used in lots of different ways, from structural frames in industrial warehouses to window frames and rainwater goods (like gutters) in homes. Put on some gloves and learn traditional metal casting skills as you cast your own small object, or try your hand at a traditional coin striking technique. Do you have what it takes to be a metal worker? Don’t forget to pick up your Master Builder Log Book and to collect a stamp each time you visit to become a Master Builder!

Friend or Foe? – Aberdour Castle and Gardens – Saturday 24 August 2019 to Sunday 25 August 2019

Meet both supporters and deposers of Mary Queen of Scots as she wrestles to hold onto the reins of power. Explore the encampment where you will see weapons on display, meet the soldiers, and enjoy a dazzling fashion show. Wander through the living history camp, play games, find out about early medical science from our barber-surgeon, and learn about one of Mary’s hobbies – astronomy!

Go Bats! (Holyrood Park) – Holyrood Park – Selected dates from Saturday 24 August 2019 to Friday 6 September 2019

Join us for an informative chat about bats before heading out on a night time walk around Holyrood to track down these fascinating nocturnal animals. Bring warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear with good grips and a torch if you have one. Members get a 10% discount.

Go Bats! (Linlithgow Palace) – Linlithgow Palace – Selected dates from Sunday 25 August 2019 to Saturday 7 September 2019

Join us for a night time walk around the palace and Peel as we search for Linlithgow’s nocturnal inhabitants. Bat detectors will be available to help us track down these elusive creatures, but don’t forget to bring a torch! Bring warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear with good grips and a torch if you have one. Meeting point – entrance to the palace. Members get a 10% discount.

Open Afternoon: Edinburgh and the Lothians – HES Archives and Library – Monday 26 August 2019

Come along to John Sinclair House as we showcase original material from the HES Archives to accompany the displays in the Search Room.

Arthur’s Adventure – Holyrood Park – Select from 12 dates through to Monday 26 August 2019

Come along on a more challenging guided walk to learn about Arthur’s Seat’s turbulent past, created by fire and ice! Find out about the people who lived and worked in the Park from 7000 years ago up until the present day and learn more about the rare wildlife that makes the Park so special. This is a strenuous walk and will involve steep inclines, declines and rough terrain.

Arthur’s Secrets – Holyrood Park – Select from 45 available dates through to Tuesday 27 August 2019

Join us on a guided walk to learn more about Arthur’s Seat’s turbulent past, created by fire and ice. Find out about the people who lived and worked in the Park from 7 000 years ago up until the present day and learn more about the rare wildlife that makes the Park so special.

Man at Arms – Dirleton Castle – Selected dates through to Wednesday 28 August 2019

Join us at Dirleton Castle for one of our special ‘Man at Arms’ talks, which tell tales of siege warfare and castle life, with a selection of medieval weapons on show. No booking required.

Arthur’s Amble – Holyrood Park – Select from 22 available dates through to Saturday 31 August 2019

Come along on a gentle guided walk around Hunter’s Bog and St. Margaret’s Loch where you’ll learn more about Arthur’s Seat’s turbulent past, created by fire and ice. Find out about the people who lived and worked in the Park from 7,000 years ago up until the present day and learn more about the rare wildlife that makes the Park so special.

1918: Victory and Remembrance – Fort George – Saturday 31 August 2019 to Sunday 1 September 2019

1918 was the year we nearly lost the Great War but ultimately won it with a young conscript army; a year of continuous fighting in which we lost more casualties than in the years of Passchendaele or the Somme; a year in which at one stage the British Army stood with backs to the wall, a hair’s breadth away from disaster, yet finished the war with 100 days of continuous victories; a year in which both sides made liberal use of gas, as the process of killing reached its finest development. Meet a Highland soldier from 1918 and learn about his experience at the front and his reflections on the Armistice. Should we celebrate victory or the end of the War? Should we commemorate noble sacrifice or waste? What did it mean to him? And why should it matter to you? Included in admission price.

Go Bats! (Dunfermline Abbey) Dunfermline Abbey and Palace – Saturday 31 August 2019

Explore this wonderful monument after dark and find out about the fascinating bats that hang out here. Bring warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear with good grips and a torch if you have one. Members get a 10% discount.

Seven Waves – St Clement’s Church – Saturday 1 June 2019 to Sunday 1 September 2019

Seven Waves is a visual art installation by Erlend Brown and Dave Jackson. Suspended from the ceiling, seven beautifully painted canvas waves respond to George Mackay Browns’s poetic cycle Tryst on Egilsay.

British Sign Language Tour – Edinburgh Castle – Select from 2 dates through to Saturday 21 September 2019

Join Edinburgh-born Deaf historian John Hay for a BSL tour of the castle. Explore the Castle with Deaf tour guide John Hay, whose BSL tour will be translated into English by interpreter Linda Duncan. Carers and Historic Scotland Members go free (valid membership card required for each ticket).

St Vigeans Open Days – St Vigeans Stones and Museum – Select from 6 available dates through to Sunday 22 September 2019

It’s hard to believe that sleepy St Vigeans was once the centre of a royal estate and of huge religious importance. Yet the Angus village bustled with pilgrims and monks more than 1,000 years ago. Tickets can be purchased on arrival.

Standing Stones of Stenness Walk –  Stones of Stenness Circle and Henge – Selected dates through to Wednesday 25 September 2019

Join the Orkney Ranger Service for a free guided tour of our oldest stone circle, and explore the fascinating links with the nearby Neolithic village of Barnhouse.

Ring of Brodgar Walk – Ring of Brodgar Stone Circle and Henge – Selected dates through to Thursday 26 September 2019

Explore the area around the Ring of Brodgar during a guided walk around Scotland’s largest stone circle which forms part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Meet in the car park by 1pm.

Romantic Scotland – Duff House – Through to Sunday 29 September 2019

Bringing together treasures from the National Gallery of Scotland’s and Historic Environment Scotland’s collections, Romantic Scotland contrasts the romantic depictions of Scotland’s changing landscapes created by artists and writers in the 19th century, with the reality of ordinary life. The exhibition includes works by renowned painters Sir John Lavery, Patrick Nasmyth, and Sir James Guthrie, whose dramatic landscapes continue to shape perceptions of Scotland, and stunning early photography and historic objects that reframe these works in their historical contexts.

Explore your Local and Family History – HES Archives and Library – Select from 2 dates through to Monday 30 September 2019

Discover more about how to use our online services to find out more about Scotland’s past. After a basic overview of Canmore, Scran, NCAP and Britain from Above, you will have the opportunity to experiment yourself with expert staff on hand to help and answer your queries.

British Sign Language Tour (Stirling) – Stirling Castle – Select from 2 available dates through to Saturday 5 October 2019

Join us to explore the Castle with Deaf tour guide John Hay, whose BSL tour will be translated into English by interpreter Linda Duncan. The tour at Stirling Castle is included in the admission price. Carers and Historic Scotland Members go free (valid membership card required for each ticket). You can buy your tickets on the day, or book your place in advance. On the same day at 3pm, we’re running a free BSL tour of the Engine Shed – Scotland’s national conservation centre.

Biggar Gasworks Steam Days – Select from 8 dates through to Sunday 20 October 2019

Enter the last remaining town gasworks in Scotland – the only surviving example of a once familiar sight. For more than 130 years, this industrial plant made coal gas for Biggar and beyond before the advent of natural gas in the 1960s. See the coal fired boiler put to work and the steam driven machinery in action. Learn the secret of how gas was produced from coal from our guides on site.

Guided Building Tours – Engine Shed – 12 dates through to Saturday 7 December 

Join us for a free guided tour of our building – Scotland’s dedicated building conservation centre. Our building in Stirling was once a military goods and transfers shed, built sometime between 1896 and 1913. The exact details of its construction were subject to an information blackout and are still unknown today. In 2017, after an extensive restoration, we opened our doors to the public. During the guided tour, you’ll learn more about our building including how it was made using traditional materials in a contemporary way  and how we’ve recycled or restored many other traditional materials during the restoration.

Wee Builders – Engine Shed – Select from 5 dates through to Thursday 12 December 2019

Join us for our exciting under 5’s sessions. Wee Builders will explore a monthly theme through creative play in a fun, child-led and sometimes messy environment! For wee-er builders, a sensory area will be available. Wee Builders take place on the second Thursday of the month (term time only, excluding September). Please note: Parental/guardian supervision is required for the duration of the activity.

Relaxed visiting hours – Engine Shed – Select from 7 available dates through to Saturday 14 December 2019

Our Relaxed Visiting Hours are a time for young people with autism to explore and enjoy our conservation centre. During these times adjustments will be made to lighting and sound, and a quiet space with sensory toys will be available. Relaxed Visiting Hours take place on the second Saturday of the month (excluding September). Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Scotland from the Sky – Multiple Venues – Select from 275 dates through to Sunday 19 January 2020

Scotland from the Sky brings a selection of the breathtaking aerial photography, featured in the book of the same name, on a tour of some of our most atmospheric properties. See Scotland from the Sky at: Fort George from 12 April to 7 July; Arbroath Abbey from 11 July to 6 October; Blackness Castle from 10 October 2019 to 19 January 2020.

Open Exhibition: Edinburgh and the Lothians – HES Archives and Library – Selected dates from Monday 5 August 2019 to Friday 27 March 2020

Come and enjoy this display of imagery and original material highlighting the buildings and places of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

 

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