Gatehouse of Fleet in the Dark Ages

The Gatehouse Development Initiative is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) All Our Stories grant, it was announced today. This exciting project, Gatehouse of Fleet in the Dark Ages, led by the Gatehouse Development Initiative, has been given £7,900 to make the most of the exciting discoveries made by the Galloway Picts Project at Trusty’s Hill.  It is very important for the community of Gatehouse of Fleet and the wider area, which are so dependent on tourism, to be given the chance to tell the full story about this newly discovered Dark Age royal stronghold to local people and visitors.  It is also a golden opportunity for the local school children to learn about and celebrate their local heritage.
All Our Stories, a brand new small grant programme, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story – has been designed as an opportunity for everyone to get involved in their heritage. With HLF funding and support, community groups will carry out activities that help people explore, share and celebrate their local heritage.
The popular series presented by historian Michael Wood and supported by a programme of BBC Learning activities and events got thousands of us asking questions about our history and inspired us to look at our history in a different way through the eyes of ordinary people.
The programme and HLF All Our Stories has proved a real hit and now Gatehouse of Fleet in the Dark Ages is one of hundreds of successful projects around the UK to receive a grant.   The Gatehouse Development Initiative undertakes projects to benefit the local economy and environment.  The GDI will work with GUARD Archaeology Ltd to produce a series of high quality information panels to be displayed at the Mill on the Fleet Exhibition Centre.  The GDI will be helping to organise an event in Gatehouse for the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society to make a full report on the Galloway Picts Project findings to the local community. The GUARD archaeologists will also be organising a training day for local volunteers willing to lead guided walks around Trusty’s Hill.
Working with an experienced artist and writer, Gatehouse school children will take part in an exciting school project inspired by Trusty’s Hill, kindling their enthusiasm for their local heritage and providing a memorable learning experience.  This part of the project will be led by the National Scenic Area Officer, who has been working with the local communities to raise awareness and understanding about our outstanding landscapes.

TV presenter and historian Michael Wood, said: “We British love our history, and no wonder: few nations in the world, if any, have such riches on their doorstep, and so much of it accessible to all of us. It is really tremendous that the people of Gatehouse of Fleet have been inspired to get involved to tell their own story and to dig deeper into their own past. It’s brilliant that so many people are being given the chance to get involved through the All Our Stories grants. Having travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles this last year filming The Great British Story, I am certain that fascinating and moving stories will be uncovered which will not only bring to life the excitement of local history, but will illuminate and enrich every community’s connection with the national narrative.”

Commenting on the award, David Steel said:  “Trusty’s Hill was a very important site in Dark Age Scotland.  It is excellent news that we have been awarded this grant to make the most of the discoveries and provide another reason for people to visit Gatehouse and for us all to learn more about our great local heritage."

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for Gatehouse of Fleet in the Dark Ages as they embark on a real journey of discovery.”