Stonefest ready to rock at Rockfield

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Oban’s Rockfield Centre has come up with a rock solid way of celebrating all things stone later this month.

Top  experts working with stone will be heading to the centre over Friday September 20 and Saturday September 21 to show and share their skills, giving visitors the chance to get hands-on during a packed programme of events.

Support is coming from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise with the launch of the Argyll and Islands Traditional Buildings Forum by John McKinney.

Gordon McNab, chairman of Oban Communities Trust, said: ‘This is an amazing opportunity to have some of the leading experts in the field of stone come to Oban.

‘The great thing is there is the chance to actually participate in activities and get hands-on with the traditional skills that have been the backbone of our built environment. Both HES and HIE have been instrumental in breathing new life into the Rockfield Centre and this will be demonstrated
over Stonefest.’

Activities for all ages on both days in the centre’s car park will include roofing and slating, stone carving and dressing, dry-stone walling and building masonry.

In the huts, children’s activities will include Lego building, print-making with Art Explorers, mini dry-stone walling, soap carving, panning for gold and playing giant Jenga.

Eleanor MacKinnon, project facilitator for the Rockfield Centre, said the weekend will also be telling the story of the Scottish stonemasons who built the White House in Washington.

‘Not many people know that around a dozen Scots travelled from Edinburgh to the United States in the 1790s to help create the original presidential mansion, such was their world-renowned expertise,’ she added.

The Friday afternoon will see presentations from Neil McAllister of GLM, Paul Everett from the British Geological Survey and Marcus Paine, who is the president of the Stone Federation of Great Britain.

Rockfield Centre Heritage Collection will also be showing the Ragged
School alphabet stone which will be replicated over the two days as part of the carving demonstrations.

Exhibitors from nearby will also be showcasing what are they doing with stone and who is conserving it.

Opening times will be 10am to 4pm on the Friday and 10am to 3pm on the Saturday.

Thanks to Rockfield contractors TSL, there will be short tours of the lower
floor of the centre’s main building being refurbished. Tours will be between 11.30am and 3pm on both days, for a maximum of 10 people per tour,  on a first come, first served basis. Tea, coffee and cake will also be available.