VisitS­cot­land backs quarry vis­i­tor cen­tre

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Visit Scot­land has backed a plan to trans­form one of the big­gest man-made holes in Europe into a vis­i­tor cen­tre cel­e­brat­ing the north-east’s gran­ite her­itage.

Mal­colm Roug­head will travel to Aberdeen’s Ru­bis­law Quarry this af­ter­noon to learn more about pro­pos­als to cre­ate a £6mil­lion tourist des­ti­na­tion at the site.

He will meet project di­rec­tor Hugh Black to dis­cuss the sig­nif­i­cance of the nowflooded quarry, which gave the Gran­ite City its nick­name.

Mr Roug­head said: “I am thrilled to be at­tend­ing to­day and to hear Hugh’s plans for the Ru­bis­law Quarry her­itage cen­tre which, I hope, will even­tu­ally be a great as­set to the city.

“It seems very fit­ting that in this, Scot­land’s Year of His­tory, Her­itage and Ar­chae­ol­ogy, we are dis­cussing mark­ing some­thing which has played such an im­por­tant part in Aberdeen’s past – al­most 75% of Aberdeen’s build­ings, bridges and mon­u­ments were made from Ru­bis­law gran­ite.”

Mr Roug­head’s visit will co­in­cide with a Scot­land­wide art project tak­ing place at Ru­bis­law and the top of Ben Ne­vis.

Artist Henry Cas­tle has taken a slab of gran­ite from the Aberdeen quarry, one of the low­est points in the coun­try, to its high­est – the peak of Ben Ne­vis.

And to­day, he will team up with the global sub­sea com­pany Kongs­berg to con­vey a stone from the top of Ben Ne­vis on a con­trolled de­scent to the bottom of Ru­bis­law Quarry with a GPS po­si­tion­ing buoy.

The tech­nol­ogy will mean the piece of Ben Ne­vis will al­ways be lo­cat­able. Mr Black said: “We are de­lighted to help Henry Cas­tle fin­ish his work in mak­ing the con­nec­tion be­tween two dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions but both iconic land­marks – Ben Ne­vis and Ru­bis­law quarry.

“Ev­ery­one knows Ben Ne­vis is the high­est point in the UK, but very few peo­ple will be aware the floor of Ru­bis­law Quarry was once the low­est ac­ces­si­ble piece of land in the UK, cov­er­ing ap­prox­i­mately three acres, sit­ting more than 100 me­tres (328 feet) be­low sea level.

“Th­ese are very ex­cit­ing times for us as we get closer to es­tab­lish­ing a world-class vis­i­tor cen­tre at Ru­bis­law Quarry, where we can share the story of Aberdeen’s gran­ite her­itage and how the Gran­ite City was once the cen­tre of the world’s gran­ite in­dus­try.” for col­lecta­bles. They are mostly or­di­nary ev­ery­day ob­jects, but ones that we just don’t see any­more – which makes them of much in­ter­est his­tor­i­cally.

“The Vic­to­rian high chair is quite un­usual, with its leather work and but­ton­ing – it looks like it has been well used. And we have also got an old-style fridge – which would have kept things cool in the days be­fore elec­tric­ity by wa­ter evap­o­ra­tion.”

Af­ter be­ing pur­chased by Mrs McMur­trie in 1960, the A-listed 16th­cen­tury Bal­bithan House un­der­went a huge restora­tion project – and has just been ad­ver­tised at a sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced price of £800,000.

Sit­u­ated near Kin­tore in the heart of Aberdeen­shire, the grand nine-bed­room home has been on the mar­ket for around three years.

Sell­ing agent Gal­braiths has blamed the eco­nomic down­turn or even the new land tax for the longevity of the list­ing, but con­firmed in­ter­est has been “ex­tremely high” in re­cent months.

BY KIERAN BEAT­TIE

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