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Crown Primary School pupils are first to meet Inverness Castle character


By Philip Murray

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Primary 6 pupils from Crown Primary School meet ‘Young Flora’ during their visit to Inverness Castle and learning about the Highlands of the past, as well as giving a look into the future for Castle Hill, from the information now surrounding the castle. Picture: Alison White.
Primary 6 pupils from Crown Primary School meet ‘Young Flora’ during their visit to Inverness Castle and learning about the Highlands of the past, as well as giving a look into the future for Castle Hill, from the information now surrounding the castle. Picture: Alison White.

YOUNGSTERS from a city primary school have become the first to come face-to-face with a new mascot who will play a big role when Inverness Castle opens to tourists.

Pupils of Crown Primary in Inverness were invited to Inverness Castle this week to learn more about plans for the historic building’s transformation into a "world-class" visitor attraction.

The pupils were also the first people to officially meet “Young Flora”, the animated character who is going to accompany visitors and feature throughout the reconstruction period at the castle and beyond.

Crown Primary head teacher, Miriam MacDonald, said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the pupils from the school. Our pupils can see the castle from the school every day, and they will be able to see the attraction develop and grow during their time at Crown Primary.

“The children will only have known the building as the court – therefore being here today, to see it turning back into a castle and becoming a visitor attraction will be something I am sure they will remember for a long time to come.”

As the work completes to surround the castle with information and imagery telling the story of the building’s past, present and future, the pupils were able to look round the location before the more substantial developments begin.

Fiona Hampton, director of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands project, explained: “Although the castle grounds are now in the process of being secured to allow the works to begin, the building is now surrounded by designs offering people who visit an insight into the project.

“The castle will be wrapped by stories for all ages, told with help from the ‘Young Flora’ character. People visiting the location will be able to learn about the Highlands of the past, as well as giving them a look into the future for Castle Hill.

“During their tour of the Highland stories, the pupils saw the famous statue in front of the castle installed around 120 years ago depicting the Jacobite heroine, Flora MacDonald. Flora stands at the top of the hill in front of the castle, gazing lovingly in the direction that her Bonnie Prince landed and from where he also left.

“For this reason it was great to see the Crown school pupils really engaging with the ‘Young Flora’ character during their visit today. They are the future of the Highlands so it is important they get involved in the project, even at these early stages.

Fiona Hampton concluded: “Judging by their excitement, I think they enjoyed themselves and approved!”

Highland residents and visitors alike are encouraged to take time to visit the location to meet ‘Young Flora’ and learn about the history of Castle Hill as they walk around the area being transformed through this project.

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million of Scottish Government and £3 million of UK government investment through the city region deal.

It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid -19 pandemic. The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and “must-see” attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m of investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

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