Restoration project at Deeside church

Tullich Kirk, east of Ballater,  dates to the 15th century
Tullich Kirk, east of Ballater, dates to the 15th century

A 600-years-old Deeside church is to be restored as part of a £250,000 heritage project.

Repairs will get under way this autumn to Tullich Kirk, east of Ballater.

The church was home to an important collection of carved symbol stones, including a class-1 Pictish stone and font. These were removed in the 1990s for safe keeping and conservation.

The scheduled monument, an important early Christian site, dates to the 15th century but has elements dating back to the 14th century.

A purpose-built display shelter will also be created to house the large collection of carved symbol stones, which will be conserved and returned to the site.

Two smaller symbol stones have been installed in the newly-restored Ballater Old Royal Station, recently opened to the public by Aberdeenshire Council after it was rebuilt following a devastating fire.

The installation includes a video featuring 3D laser scanning of the Tullich Kirk site, developed in partnership with Robert Gordon University.

Local councillor Peter Argyle, chair of the infrastructure services committee, said: “Deeside has a fascinating history, with settlements dating back thousands of years and many of the visitors who come here want to be able to see and feel connections with the past.

“This project will further enable people to get close to and appreciate the history of our ancestors in this area, what life may have been like for them and what was important to them.

“Winters here can be very hard and Tullich Kirk and the symbol stones have weathered a great many of them, meaning they really need the attention this project will provide to ensure they are there for the benefit of generations to come.”

The project is funded by Aberdeenshire Council in partnership with Wolfson Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Cairngorm LEADER (local action group) and Historic Environment Scotland.

LDN Architects have been appointed to develop a repair scheme for the church and also to design a contemporary display for the symbol stones.