Visitor centre gets Royal approval

The Prince tours the heritage centre construction site
The Prince tours the heritage centre construction site

A new heritage centre on the site of the Braemar Gathering is fast taking shape.

Construction of the major visitor attraction is well under way and has already been given the royal seal of approval.

The facility will tell the story of the Highland Games and is set to open later in the year.

The development has been supported by the Duke of Rothesay, as Prince Charles is known when in Scotland, through his newly-established charity, The Prince’s Foundation.

He has taken a keen interest in the project and has toured the construction site.

Michael Harris, an architectural designer at The Prince’s Foundation, said: “It has been an honour to design a building for the Braemar Royal Highland Society, whose rich history is reflected by the annual Braemar Gathering.

“We hope for it to become a landmark venue for locals, students and visitors alike to understand and feel the culture of the Highland Games for generations to come,” he said.

The site will incorporate a gallery, an exhibition hall, cafe, and a gift shop.

Exhibits will include medals and trophies associated with the Games.

David Geddes, president of Braemar Royal Highland Society, said: “For the last seven years, we have worked towards developing this centre.

“HRH The Prince of Wales became interested in the project and had a vision of how he wanted the building to look and, through Michael Harris, we have a fantastic new design that I love.”

He added: “I’ve been president for the past five years and it’s been my ambition to see this through.

“I feel the centre will be a major boost to tourism in Deeside. It is the type of attraction that is sadly lacking around here and will hopefully attract more people, including coach trips touring the area.”

The project has been welcomed in the local community.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor Geva Blackett said: “It’s wonderful to see the progress this building is making as combined with the Fife Arms renovations, Braemar is a vibrant place to live with a sustainable future.

“I am sure His Royal Highness will have been extremely impressed with the progress being made.”