‘Lost’ village team earn top awards

Councillor Iris Walker with some of Ballater's Heritage Hero children
Councillor Iris Walker with some of Ballater's Heritage Hero children

Ballater youngsters and adults honoured for efforts on Loinmuie Project

The 23 youngsters and three adults have been awarded Heritage Hero status - 18 of them gold awards - by Archaeology Scotland for the Loinmuie Project - a forgotten community of Glen Muick.

The initiative led to hundreds of descendants of the people who lived there more than 200 years ago being traced.

Over 18 months, the children of Ballater Library’s two craft clubs investigated the ruined community of Loinmuie, building a model with long houses, peat stacks, a well, a chapel, runrigs and sheep.

Sixth and seventh generation descendants of the known families were traced and invited to the library to talk about their ancestors before the settlement fell into decay in the mid 1800s.

The lost village also had rich legends associated with it and the children looked at these and incorporated them in their overall presentation, which was in Ballater Library window for many months and is now on display at Spittal of Muick Visitor Centre.

The children’s part of the Loinmuie Project has drawn to a close with a special ceremony held earlier this month at which they were given Heritage Hero Awards ranging from detective (3) to silver (5) and gold (15).

Librarian Sabine Muir and craft club volunteers Thelma van Tienen and Joan Anderson were also presented with Heritage Hero Gold Awards for their work with the children on the Lost Village, which was part of the Scottish Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

The awards scheme is administered by Archaeology Scotland which was supportive and helpful towards the Loinmuie project from the outset.

Commenting, Sabine Muir said she was extremely proud of the work done by the children, many of whom had other commitments and were not able to attend craft club regularly.

The adults hoped the youngsters had done enough for Detective or Bronze awards and were delighted when so many gold and silver certificates were issued.

The presentations were made by Aberdeenshire Councillor Iris Walker, who is the great-great-great-great-great granddaughter of Granny Jean Riach, who was still living at Loinmuie in 1841 along with three extended families of Stewarts and Riachs.

Also present at the ceremony were Loinmuie descendants Elma Walker, Frances Johnstone and Frances’s 14-year-old grandson Ross, an eighth generation Loinmuie Riach.