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A new campaign capitalising on the renewed global appeal of Bonnie Prince Charlie, sparked by Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, has been given a £40,000 boost by VisitScotland.
National Museums Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Royal Collection Trust and The National Trust for Scotland have joined forces to create a new trail of 25 properties and attractions throughout the country whose history is intertwined with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.
The announcement comes on the 229th anniversary of Charlie’s death (January 31, 1788) and at a time when the historical figure plays a major role in the hit television series Outlander.
A new website – www.jacobitetrail.co.uk – has been created for the campaign and can be downloaded now, with a range of further resources to be added in the coming months.
Local locations highlighted in the online trail include Dunstaffnage Castle, by Dunbeg, where Flora MacDonald was briefly imprisoned after helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape Scotland following the defeat at Culloden; Glenfinnan Monument, where the Young Pretender came ashore on August 19 1745 and raised the Stuart standard, beginning the final Jacobite Rising which would end at Culloden; and Fort George, which was established in the aftermath of Culloden to house government soldiers.
Through a combination of creating online videos, media promotions and blogger activity, the £40,000 match-funding from VisitScotland’s Growth Fund will allow the campaign to reach a greater digital audience across the UK, while also tying in with the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
A key part of the campaign takes place from June 23 to November 12 when the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh will host the biggest exhibition on the Jacobites in more than 70 years. This will include, Charlie’s shield, sword and his travelling canteen.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: ‘Scotland’s history and culture is one the top reasons for visiting Scotland and 2017 offers huge opportunities for the tourism industry and collaboration across sectors. Bonnie Prince Charlie is one of Scotland’s most enduring historical figures and we are delighted, through the VisitScotland Growth Fund, to support this collaborative campaign that will help visitors follow in his footsteps.’
David Forsyth, lead curator of the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites, said: ‘Our exhibition will present the best material there is – real objects and contemporary accounts and depictions – to present the truth of a story which is even more layered, complex and dramatic than the many fictional and romantic interpretations which exist in popular culture.’
Stephen Duncan, director of commercial and tourism for Historic Environment Scotland, said: ‘It’s great to be working collaboratively with other heritage partners on this campaign to get tourists and local visitors following in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
‘We’ve seen a huge increase in footfall to our properties in the wake of the ‘Outlander effect’ and in Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology we’ve got the perfect opportunity to build on this further by sharing the Jacobite stories associated with them far and wide.’
Deborah Clarke, Senior Curator, Royal Collection Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to partner with National Museums Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, The National Trust for Scotland and VisitScotland on this exciting campaign.’
Growth Fund applicants are required to align their marketing with VisitScotland’s strategies and campaigns, including the global Spirit of Scotland campaign. They are also encouraged to think about how they can take advantage of Scotland’s Themed Years, with 2017 being named the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
For more details, visit www.jacobitetrail.co.uk or visit www.visitscotland.org