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September Gets Set to Go Down in History

Press release   •   Sep 01, 2017 11:46 BST

Riddell Tower part of Lighting the Borders. Credit: Sam Cornwell

From the Iron Age to the Roman Empire, from Vikings to Jacobites, from epic battles to great escapes, September will be a month of historic proportions with a jam packed calendar of events celebrating Scotland’s 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Borders Heritage Festival will kick-start the September celebrations with their opening weekend set to acknowledge the region’s spectacular heritage through light, music, storytelling, theatre and performance. Lighting the Borders (1-3 Sep) will use a variety of lighting at a range of historical sites including Neidpath Castle, Duns Law, Riddell Tower and Hume Castle, to form a chain of light across the landscape at dusk each evening.

The opening weekend will continue with Mary Queens of Scots Festival (2 & 3 Sep) set to take place in Kinross. The event will commemorate Mary’s life as Kinross poignantly marks the 450 year relationship with the Castle on Loch Leven Island where she was held captive and where she spent some of her most troubled years, and the end of her reign in 1567.The programme will include living history encampments, music, food and drink as well as children’s entertainment.

And the action doesn’t stop there! Longboats, re-enactments and hearty feasts can only mean one thing – Vikings! Follow the Vikings (2, 3 & 9 Sep) gives the opportunity to experience Viking heritage on a scale never before seen in Shetland. Largs Viking Festival (2 – 10 Sep) will enable attendees to interact with the Vikings in the festival’s living history Viking Village, finding out what life was really like.

Saturday 9 Sep will see Scotland’s equine heritage celebrated at HorsePower at The Helix Park, Falkirk. Set against the backdrop of Andy Scott’s magnificent Kelpies, the programme will include innovative, imaginative activities and shows throughout the entire day including live demonstrations of working horses.

If archaeology is your thing then September is the month for you! Get your hands dirty with Scottish Archaeology Month (1 – 30), promoting hundreds of events taking place across Scotland. From archaeological digs to Viking exhibitions to heritage workshops, the month allows everyone to get involved and unearth the amazing archaeology right on our doorstep.

Dig it! continues their year-long celebrations of Scottish archaeology with Scotland in Six – Hidden Gems. After a public vote, Govan Stones, Ardrossan Castle, The Howff, James Watt Cottage, Campbeltown Picture House and Lincluden Collegiate Church came out on top as Scotland’s lesser known sites of historical importance. Definitely ones to add to the bucket list! Events will be held throughout September to celebrate these attractions.

Unlock the mysteries hidden behind closed doors with Doors Open Days. This annual event gives visitors the key to some the country’s best-kept secrets, offering access to places that are often closed to the public on Saturdays and Sundays throughout September, with different regions revealing some of their finest buildings each weekend.

Capture the Scotland of old as St Andrews Photography Festival (1 – 30) celebrates over 175 years since the discovery that changed the way we view and document the world all in the home of Scottish photography, St Andrews, with exhibitions, talks, and fringe events.

Hosted in the largest military fort in the UK, Fort George, the Highland Military Tattoo (8 – 10 Sep) brings together top military performers, talented young local performers and some of the world's finest re-enactors.

Rounding off the month is a three day festival, set to take place in Stirling, History Live (29 Sep – 01 Oct) will showcase Scotland’s rich and diverse history and cultural heritage in the heartland of Scotland’s historic past. From the exciting opening concert at the Church of the Holy Rude to tours of buildings not previously open to the public such as Bannockburn House, the action packed weekend is the perfect way to end a spectacular September of historical events.

Marie Christie, Head of Development, VisitScotland Events Directorate said:

“From World Heritage Sites to ancient monuments, cultural traditions to our myths, stories and legends – Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 is shining a spotlight on some of our greatest assets and icons as well as our hidden gems”

“The historic environment forges connections between people and the places where they live and visit. This September, locals and visitors alike will have an opportunity to enjoy more great events that celebrate and bring to life Scotland’s past. From archaeological digs to battle re-enactments, heritage festivals to musical performances, there has never been a better time to shine a light on our unique history and to celebrate Scotland’s people, distinct culture and traditions, and historic landscapes.”

Other highlights across the month include; Angus Heritage Week (1 – 10 Sep), Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (2 – 17 Sep), The Battle of Pinkie 1547 (16 & 17 Sep), Big Roman Week (16 – 24 Sep), Jura Music Festival (22 – 24 Sep), Clydebuilt Festival (23 & 24 Sep) and Highland Archaeology Festival (30 Sep – 15 Oct).

Notes to Editors

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    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
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  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017