Support voiced for new Braemar centre

An artist's impression of the new centre
An artist's impression of the new centre

Residents of Braemar and the surrounding area this week got to look at detailed plans for a new £2.5 million Highland Games Centre in the village.

The attraction, which would be used to host Scotland’s historic Highland Games, has been given a preferred site of Princess Royal Park.

It is hoped that the centre will boost the village’s reputation as a tourist destination and benefit the other towns and villages in Deeside.

Members of the Braemar Royal Highland Society unveiled the images of the planned centre and are now hoping to raise the necessary funds to make the plans a reality.

The Queen and Prince Phillip, and sometimes other Royals, join thousands every year in watching the Braemar Gathering, where piping, dancing and athletics competitions are on show.

The centre will focus on the rich history and heritage associated with the games, which date back to the 11th century, with a museum, visitor centre, cafe and shop planned.

Braemar resident John Macpherson welcomed the development, citing the possible boost to tourism in the village: “This will make a huge difference to Braemar and a huge difference to the tourist trade here.

“Tourism (in Braemar) is the economy. Visitors are our lifeblood. This (development) will add hugely to the tourist draw of the area.”

He also said that the plan could benefit Deeside more widely: “Any attention that this gets will draw people to Deeside.”

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor, and Braemar resident, Geva Blackett said: “This could really make Braemar a wow factor destination and I look forward to watching it progress.”

Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine MP Sir Robert Smith agreed, praising the chosen site: ““The site of the Braemar Gathering is an ideal location for this centre which will build on the attraction of the games to boost visitor numbers throughout the year.”