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Highland Doors Open Day 2015

18th August 2015

Photograph of Highland Doors Open Day 2015

The Highland Doors Open Days programme for 2015 has been launched, with a total of 47 North buildings - new and old - opening their doors in September this year to allow the public to see inside them and find out about their stories.

Participating buildings will be opening in different Highland Council areas over the four weekends in September, with free admission to all venues and many offering special events and activities.

Doors Open Days venues making their first appearance in the Highland programme this year include Bona Lighthouse (Loch Ness); Dalarossie Church (by Tomatin); St John the Evangelist Church (Inverness); St Michael and All Angels' Church (Inverness); Fearn Abbey (by Tain); Fingal Lodge of Freemasons (Dingwall); Berriedale Church and Cemetery (Caithness); the new Links Studio for artists (Nairn); Nairn Museum; St Paul's Church (Strathnairn); and Nevis Radio (Fort William).

Chris O'Connell, Senior Heritage Advisor at Scottish Canals, said: "The Doors Open Day festival offers the public the perfect chance to step back into the rich history of the Caledonian Canal and experience some of its 200-years-worth of stories for themselves.

"Along with our partners the Scottish Waterways Trust, we'll be inviting people to take a look inside one of Loch Ness' most iconic buildings - beautiful Bona Lighthouse. Designed in 1815 by Caledonian Canal engineer Thomas Telford, Bona was the smallest manned inland lighthouse in Britain before technology overtook it and it fell into disuse. It’s now been brought back to life as a unique holiday cottage just in time for its 200th birthday, safeguarding the rich heritage of the lighthouse for future generations to enjoy. The building really is an incredible part of the history of the Highlands and we’re delighted to be able to open its doors and allow the public to explore its many stories."

Other Doors Open Days venues making return appearances in the programme this year (some after a year or two’s absence) include historic churches, castles, museums and heritage centres; the underground Emergency Centre in Inverness; Eden Court Theatre; the Jim Savage-Lowden Observatory at Culloden; Inverness Sheriff Court in Inverness Castle; HMP Inverness; the award-winning Highland Archive and Registration Service in Inverness; MAKAR’s ecological house building workshop near Inverness; Wardlaw Mausoleum (Kirkhill); Cromarty Lighthouse; Cromarty House; the Aviemore Shed of the Strathspey Steam Railway; the Am Fasgadh stores of the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore; and the aluminium smelter power houses in Kinlochleven and Fort William.

Many of the venues will be offering guided tours or exhibitions, music recitals, talks about their history or work, or other activities. In Caithness, the Waterlines Heritage Centre in Lybster will be teaming up with the Moray Firth Partnership’s "Seafood - see here" programme for a special focus on the area’s fishing heritage. And in Strathnairn, there will be the chance to attend a Gaelic Eucharist at St Paul’s Church.

Chair of The Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Audrey Sinclair, said: "Highland Doors Open Days has gone from strength to strength with more venues being added to the programme each year. The number of visitors taking part has also risen - to around 3,250 last year. This is a great opportunity to see and learn about some of the Highlands architectural and historical gems covering a diverse range of designs and uses, past and present. There is something interesting for everyone - so why not use the programme to plan a day out with a difference?"
Doors Open Days is co-ordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust. It runs throughout Scotland every September as part of European Heritage Days, and aims to give people the chance to see inside some of the country’s most interesting buildings, many of which are not normally accessible to the general public.

For more information see and The programme in the Highlands is co-ordinated by The Highland Council’s Development and Infrastructure Service.

Further details are available in the Highland Doors Open Days programme - available from local libraries, museums, service points and visitor information centres, or online at or at

The full list of Highland venues taking part in Doors Open Days this year is:

Weekend One: 5th-6th September (please see programme for exact dates and opening times for each venue)

In and around Inverness
Bona Lighthouse, Lochend
Dalarossie Church, by Tomatin
Daviot Church
Eden Court Theatre
Emergency Centre
Free North Church
Her Majesty’s Prison, Inverness
Highland Archive and Registration Centre
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
Inverness Sheriff Court
Jim Savage-Lowden Observatory
MAKAR Workshop
Muirtown Locks
Old High Church
St Andrew’s Cathedral
St John the Evangelist Church
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church
St Michael and All Angels’ Church
Wardlaw Mausoleum, Kirkhill

Badenoch & Strathspey
Abernethy Old Kirk
Castle Roy
Inverallan Church, Grantown-on-Spey
The Strathspey Railway, Aviemore

Weekend Two: 12th-13th September (please see programme for exact dates and opening times for each venue)

Black Isle/Easter Ross/East Sutherland
Ballone Castle
Cromarty Courthouse
Cromarty House
Cromarty Lighthouse
Fearn Abbey
Fingal Lodge of Freemasons, Dingwall
Hugh Miller’s Birthplace Cottage and Museum, Cromarty
Kyle of Sutherland Heritage Centre, Ardgay
Old Parish Church, Edderton

Wester Ross
Gairloch Heritage Museum
Ullapool Museum

Weekend Three: 19th-20th September (please see programme for exact dates and opening times for each venue)


Berriedale Church and Cemetery
Caithness Horizons
Clan Gunn Heritage Centre
Dunbeath Heritage Centre
Waterlines Heritage Centre

Links Studio
Nairn Museum

Weekend Four: 26th-27th September (please see programme for exact dates and opening times for each venue)

Badenoch & Strathspey
Am Fasgadh, Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore

In and around Inverness
St Paul’s Church, Croachy, Strathnairn

Glencoe Folk Museum
Kinlochleven Powerhouse
Lochaber Powerhouse, Fort William
Nevis Radio

Pictured with the 2015 booklet which lists details of all the venues taking part are Chair of the Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Audrey Sinclair and the Council’s Archaeologist Andrew Puls.

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