The team at the Heritage Lottery Fund was delighted at the designation of 2017 as the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology and are relishing the opportunity of being a main partner. Since the National Lottery began, we’ve invested almost £835million in projects in Scotland and have seen the transformational effect this has had on the country’s heritage landscape – families and children are enjoying museums with new, modern, engaging displays; communities are uniting in exploring their local history; landscapes are being restored welcoming back native Scottish plants and species; and stunning new architecture is encouraging tourists to our shore boosting the local and national economy.

The prospect of bringing the expertise we’ve developed in partnering over 4,000 projects to the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology has been exciting.  It’s an unparalleled opportunity to encourage communities up and down the country to reap the benefits of a heritage project. Our focus is to open doors to people that haven’t considered getting involved in heritage projects before, particularly young people. We wanted to hear from communities about what’s important to them, be it songs, traditions, buildings or mountains. So, to attract a new, particularly younger audience, we developed Stories, Stones and Bones.

It’s been an overwhelming success. So much so, that we’ve had to add an additional £350,000 to the original budget of £1/2million and I am thrilled that over half the applications we’ve received were from people inspired to explore the heritage for the very first time. So far, there are 28 National Lottery funded projects happening the length and breadth of the country and that’s expected to more than double when we announce more successful applications in the autumn. Thousands of people are involved, acquiring new skills, growing in knowledge and confidence, and often improving their physical and mental health. Scotland’s communities are driving this special year of celebration, which is only right. After all, it’s their heritage and in their hands, they can keep it safe for future generations.


Orkney – Playing Top Trumps in Orkney has taken on a new twist. Cards are being developed which feature stone tools, explaining the prehistoric history of the island.

Beauly – Four hundred children from urban schools will be getting stuck into the mud in the beautiful Glen Strathfarrar. Lessons in the great outdoors will involve cutting turf to build a traditional lifestock pen.

Bennachie – Virtual reality is helping people tour a former crofting colony on Bennachie with the development of an app. Not everyone is keeping their hands clean though as two hectares of native trees are being planted too.

Aberdeen – The city’s secret historic buildings are not so secret anymore. People are learning photography skills to capture these special buildings while those that use them share their tales, all to form an exhibition which was part of the SPECTRA Festival of Light.

Dundee – Sharing stories across the ages is bringing the history of Dundee to life. Oral histories are being collected in a book of illustrated stories and poems for children aged 3-8.

Bannockburn –The medicinal qualities of plants are intriguing school children and community groups. They’re planting a physic garden and learning how soldiers would have used plants to survive in their natural environment.

Edinburgh & Borders – Young people with hearing impairment are getting the chance to have the full visitor attraction experience. Selected abbeys, castles, gardens and wild landscapes will be introducing British Sign Language walks for the first time.

Glasgow – A community dig at Hampden may alarm some but not a group of young people working with Alzheimer Scotland. They’re exploring the sporting history of Cathkin Park where the first Hampden opened in 1884.


Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland