Tour guide app re­veals kid­nap and slav­ery tales

His­tory: En­gi­neer’ s smart­phone guide to city

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL | NEWS - BY JAMES WYLLIE

While the Green in Aberdeen is home to charm­ing shops and im­pres­sive street art, it is also the heart­land of one of the murki­est pe­ri­ods in the city’s his­tory.

In the mid-1700s as many as 600 chil­dren were kid­napped off the streets and sold into slav­ery, with many van­ish­ing from the city cen­tre.

The most fa­mous of them, Aboyne boy Peter Williamson, was known as In­dian Peter after a brush with Chero­kee In­di­ans.

He even­tu­ally re­turned to Scot­land and made a liv­ing sell­ing his book about the or­deal.

The story is now be­ing told, step by step, as part of a series of self-guided walk­ing tours.

De­vel­oped by Robert Gor­don Univer­sity en­gi­neer­ing man­ager Bryan Atchi­son, they only re­quire a smart­phone with a GPS sig­nal, us­ing it to

“They can now take the chance to ex­plore Aberdeen”

track a per­son’s lo­ca­tion and play them the rel­e­vant clips as they walk around the city.

He said: “I’m from an in­ter­na­tional fam­ily so we have done lots of tour­ing in Scot­land. A num­ber of times I’ve been some­where and thought: ‘I won­der what that is,’ or ‘What’s the story be­hind this?’

“Tele­phone tech­nol­ogy has pro­gressed to the point that hope­fully the gen­eral public will want to use this sort of thing.”

So far Mr Atchi­son has created three routes in Aberdeen.

Along­side his guide to piracy and slav­ery, he has de­vel­oped a Union Street tour highlighting the city’s gran­ite her­itage and a guide to RGU’s Garthdee cam­pus.

He said: “There is a wealth of things we can do.

“There are an­other two or three ideas I’d like to do from a walk­ing per­spec­tive, and then I want to look tours.

Mr Atchi­son added: “Scot­land has unique as­pects in its cul­ture, his­tory and her­itage and has been voted the world’s most beau­ti­ful coun­try in 2017 by the Rough Guide.

“The Scot­tish north-east is part of this growth in tourism. Thou­sands of peo­ple come to visit Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire at­trac­tions.

“A huge num­ber of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents and their fam­i­lies come every year and they can now take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore Aberdeen, as well as RGU.”

For more in­for­ma­tion visit aberdeen. at driv­ing

Pho­to­graph by Kenny El­rick

WALK­ING GUIDE: Bryan Atchi­son has launched an app giv­ing a tour of the city.

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