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Study plans new Heritage Hub for Dingwall (20/01/12)
Issued by Dingwall History Society
An exciting study is set to develop plans for a new Viking-themed heritage hub near Dingwall town centre. With the support of The Highland Council, Dingwall History Society has this month commissioned OJT Heritage, consultants in tourism and archaeology, to develop plans for the new centre. The consultants will be working closely with the community to explore a range of models aimed at enhancing tourist information facilities for the town.
The new project came about following The Highland Council’s support for Dingwall’s important role as a partner in the THING Project, a European initiative to promote tourism and sustainable economic growth at places that have strong historic links to ancient Viking culture and society.
Dingwall’s Viking thing or ‘meeting place’ was recently rediscovered through the scholarly efforts of the History Society’s Chair, Mr David MacDonald. This important historical feature is thought to have been a large mound, the site of which is now occupied by Cromartie Memorial Car Park near the town centre.
The new study will look at plans to develop the heritage hub adjacent the Cromartie Memorial Car Park by using a disused public convenience building located beside the site. In addition OJT Heritage will explore plans to improve interpretation and public access to the thing site as well as works to stabilise the nearby derelict St Clement’s Aisle, which is the only remaining fabric of Dingwall’s medieval parish church.
A survey of heritage facilities in Easter Ross and the Black Isle will also be carried out to assess how the new centre could best complement existing tourism facilities in the region and most effectively draw more visitors to Dingwall. The consultants will be looking to explore several options for how to take the project forward.
The History Society have asked that the local community and public become involved in the process as much as possible. Cllr Margaret Paterson, Dingwall and Seaforth Ward said “this is a great opportunity to look at creating a new quality visitor attraction for Dingwall. We hope that a new heritage hub will help the local economy and attract more visitors to spend time in the town centre. Cllr Angela MacLean added on behalf of Dingwall and Seaforth Ward, “I have enjoyed working with the Dingwall History Society on this exciting initiative for the past year. We would welcome everyone in the community getting involved with this exciting project.” The History Society said that there will be a public talk and temporary exhibition held later in the year, when the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and share views about the project’s proposals.
Dingwall History Society is also keen for young and old alike from the local area to get involved. To this end the Society is asking older residents of the town to share their memories of the area surrounding the Cromartie Memorial Obelisk and St Clement’s kirkyard. In particular they are very interested to see any privately held historic photographs or postcards of the area. The images could help inform interpretation for the heritage plans. It is also hoped to eventually involve youngsters and budding historians in the project by encouraging local school children to explore the town’s Viking history through events and competitions.