Dumfries and Galloway’s ‘Heritage Angels’ Crowned at National Ceremony

A project to build a full-scale reconstruction of an Iron Age roundhouse in Dumfries and Galloway was among heritage projects honoured in the capital this evening (Monday 16th October), as the winners of the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards 2017 were revealed.

Hosted by author and broadcaster Vanessa Collingridge at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, the ceremony saw The Whithorn Trust scoop the award for Best Rescue, Recording or Interpretation of a Historic Place.

The Whithorn Trust works to promote the remarkable history of Dumfries and Galloway and acts as a champion for archaeology in the region.

Their winning project involved the full-scale reconstruction of an Iron Age roundhouse based on evidence from the mid to late 4th century BC, at the exceptional archaeological site of the Black Loch of Myrton.

The roundhouse project involved local craftsmen, unemployed people and volunteers, offering opportunities to learn about a number of traditional skills including ancient blacksmithing and smelting, ceramics, rope making, knapping, thatching, bark stripping, and hazel harvesting and weaving.

The roundhouse project has created not only an exciting new visitor attraction but also a community venue that can be used in a variety of ways, contributing to regeneration of the area.

Launched in 2014 with funding from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation (ALWF), and run by the Scottish Civic Trust in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland (HES), Archaeology Scotland and the Scottish Government, the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards celebrates both groups and individuals who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote, protect and, in many cases, rescue Scotland’s heritage.

John Pelan, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, said: “The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards have been a joy to deliver. The judges had an extremely difficult job to choose four winners from each of the categories, and all the shortlisted groups and individuals deserve huge praise for their achievements in rescuing, recording and celebrating Scotland’s historic buildings and places.
“In the end, those nominees who demonstrated the best evidence of sharing of skills, overcoming adversity and creating a legacy made it to the top. Congratulations to all the nominees, and particularly to our four winners.”
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of HES, said: “Heritage projects across Scotland play a vital role in protecting our historic environment. At HES we work closely with a diverse range of groups, individuals, volunteers and professionals, supporting the work they do through investment, as well as sharing our guidance and expertise.
“The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards is an opportunity to celebrate the positive difference these heritage projects make to communities all over Scotland – from restoration work that gives new leases of life to historic buildings, to research and recording that shapes our understanding of the history of local areas.
“The dedication and enthusiasm shown by this year’s winners and nominees is inspiring, and I’d like to congratulate all the projects honoured this evening, wishing them continued success in their endeavours.”

The Scottish Heritage Angel Awards run parallel to Heritage Angel Awards in England and Northern Ireland. This year, an overall winner from the three award schemes will be selected and crowned at the London ceremony on Monday 20th November.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose charitable foundation helped found the Heritage Angel Awards, said: “Congratulations to all of the Scottish Heritage Angel Awards winners! They all deserve to be celebrated for their significant roles in saving Scotland’s heritage and for the time, enthusiasm, skills and energy that they have dedicated to this important cause.
“They will now go on to be considered alongside the English and Northern Irish winners to be crowned overall UK winner. I’m delighted that the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation is able to support this opportunity to put heritage heroes in the spotlight.”

Full details of the 2017 Scottish Heritage Angel Award winners can be viewed at www.scottishheritageangelawards.org.uk.

Images courtesy of Hazel Smith

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