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Newsletter January 2024

Notes from our Chairman

Here we are in 2024. Happy New Year everyone! In recent years January has presented us with some challenging weather and this year was no exception as we had to postpone our inaugural event - that "walk down Union Street" was just going to be too wintery, even from the shelter of Haddo Library. We have also made some modifications to the events listed on the programme card. Our talk on the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will now take place in March and instead, in February, we will have the opportunity to get some more insight into the historic collection of textiles at Haddo, focusing on items that we often don't notice, or may not even get to see. More details are given later in the newsletter. In April, of course it will be our AGM. If you enjoy your membership of the Members' Centre and take pleasure in the talks, visits and social events, please, please consider volunteering for the Committee and help ensure that our enjoyable activities and support for the NTS continues.

Patricia Shaw.

Polar Diversity and Climate Change.

Photograph of penguins in AntarcticaDid you know that there is a Doomsday Glacier? Antarctica's Thwaites glacier is known as the "Doomsday glacier", due to the serious risk it poses during its melting process. It has dumped billions of tons of ice into the sea, and its demise could lead to irreversible changes throughout the planet. Scientist are studying it closely in an attempt to determine how the protective ice shelf around the glacier might be prevented from shattering in the next 5-10 years and causing a catastrophic rise in sea levels. Frightening stuff! None of us can have failed to recognise the changes in our weather over the last few years. Climate is changing, temperatures are rising (although it may not seem like that in Aberdeenshire!) and weather patterns are becoming increasingly erratic. Polar regions are hotspots of climate change. Sea ice recession, increased iceberg scouring and increased inputs of glacial melt water all have major impacts on biodiversity. Photograph of diver underwaterOur speaker, Prof. Frithjhof Kuepper, Chair in Marine Biodiversity at the University of Aberdeen, has dived in waters around the world studying biodiversity and ecology of aquatic and marine plants and algae. Changes in the diversity of these species, which sustain the basic food source for many other species, have a huge impact on the survival of higher animals, fish and mammals. Understanding how they are changing and why, is important to understanding how we might mitigate the impacts and prevent future damage. Prof. Kuepper also described a project he and the University are involved in to offer practical help and advice to native ethnic groups in the Arctic to develop best practices for waste treatment and disposal. Illustrated by some spectacular photographs taken on some of his expeditions, Prof. Kuepper's talk encouraged all of us to think of our responsibilities and what we might do to minimise the effects of climate change.

Carols for Christmas.

While we had some freezing weather on 3rd December for our Carols for Christmas it didn't seem to put anyone off coming. It was lovely to see new faces and old friends. This is always a popular event, an opportunity to introduce the Members' Centre to a wider audience and the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season. The Fyvie Community Choir were in fine voice ably accompanied by organist Allan Bicket and talented young musicians Erin Currie (Clarinet) and Isla McKeown (Flute) provided Festive musical entertainment. Prof. Tom Greggs led the worship and thought-provoking readings. All this and a chance to join in with some of the best known, best loved Christmas Carols - pure Christmas joy! Not forgetting the mince pies and shortbread in the Library afterwards. Yum!

What's Coming Up.

30th January 2:00 pm in Haddo House Library - A Virtual Walk Down Union Street - Bill Diack

Please note the change of date and time for this talk, which had to be postponed because of inclement weather. January is a bit chilly for a walk down Union Street, but this is one you can take from the comfort of Haddo Library and you will still see more than you ever have before as Bill points out features and historical detail that most of us will have missed.

22nd February 11:00am in Haddo House Library - Silk, satin, cotton and wool: Haddo's hoard of household textiles

We don't often get the chance to get "up close and personal" with most of the items in the fabulous collections at our local properties. This talk will take a closer look at some of the amazing textiles at Haddo House, some of which are displayed for all to see but many that are not. Regional Curator, Emma Inglis, will share some of their lesser-known histories, as well as giving an insight into the challenges of researching and displaying these fabulous yet fragile links with the past.

22nd March 11:00am in Haddo House Library - The work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's mission is to ensure those who died in service, or as a result of conflict, are commemorated so that they, and the human cost of war, are remembered for ever. They care for 23,000 war memorials and war cemeteries around the world commemorating 1.7 million Commonwealth casualties. This work covers the distinctive headstones, the buildings and monuments associated with them and the detailed horticultural work to the grounds they stand in. Elaine Edwards, CWGC Public Engagement Co-Ordinator (Scotland N&E) will be here to tell us more about their work and their archives.


25th April 7pm in Haddo House Library - AGM followed by a talk on the development of Ellon Castle Gardens

Graphic of Kitchener's recruitment posterYour Members' Centre Committee has worked hard to develop a diverse and entertaining programme of activities for everyone to enjoy and to raise funds to support the NTS. We really need people to come forward to help sustain this. Please give careful consideration to volunteering for the Committee so we can continue to deliver great events, talks and visits into the future. Talk to any member of the existing Committee or drop an email to ne.aberdeenshire.mc@gmail.com in time for the AGM. The business part of the meeting will be followed by a talk given by John Webber and Alison Lyons on the development of Ellon Castle Gardens. Many of you will have visited Ellon Castle Gardens and heard the talk given by the late Alan Cameron on the history of the garden. John and Alison will focus on the planting in the garden and the ongoing development plans.

Current Opening Hours for our Local Properties

Haddo House - House and Shop
1 Jan - 1 Feb, closed:
2 Feb - 29 Feb, Fri - Mon, 11.00 - 16.00 (last tour at 15.00).
Courtyard Cafe - 5 Jan - 29 Feb, Thu - Mon, 10.00 - 16.00.

Fyvie Castle - Castle, Shop and Tearoom
1st Jan - 31st Mar, closed.
Grounds and Garden - Open (weather permitting) 1 Jan - 31 Dec, daily, 09.00 - dusk.

Pitmedden Garden - Garden, Museum Shop and Tearoom
1st Jan - 28th Mar, closed
Grounds - Please note Pitmedden Garden car park is open daily between 9.30am - 4.30pm. The car park is locked/secured overnight.

What's on Locally

Fyvie CastleSaturday 27th January, 10:30amWinter Birds Walk

What's on Elsewhere

Castle FraserDaily at 11:00amBehind the Scenes Tour of the Castle
Crathes CastleMonday 5th February at 10:00amBehind the Conservation Curtain
Crathes CastleMonday 12th February at 10:00amKid Castle Tours and Crafts@Crathes

More details and tickets for all these events are available from each property's webpage (under the "Events" heading) on the NTS Website. Please check the website in case opening times or event details change.

Thank You! As always we would like to thank Mackies of Scotland for their help with the postage of our Newsletters.

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