The “Bridge That Connects…” – Highlights of the Year

Look back on the highlights of the “Bridge That Connects Communities 2,500 Years Apart” project from the past year!


2019 has been a year filled with music at the Scottish Crannog Centre; with help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund we have been able to bridge an audible gap between our community and the community that lived locally around 2,500 years ago.

The last 7 months have been especially instrumental in learning about Iron Age music and what that may have sounded like – here are a few highlights from this season:

Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir helped open the Crannog Centre for its summer season

In April, the Aberfeldy Gaelic Choir helped the Crannog Community spring back to life after a cold winter by singing traditional, local hymns at our Opening Day on March 30th. Beginning outside on the site, they sang a selection of tunes gathered from the local landscape and its heritage, before they moved into the crannog to sing some soft melodies around the fire. It was a fantastic way to open and set the standard for the musical performances that would follow during the course of the season.

Our annual Midsummer Music event was a huge success

The event, held on the Summer Solstice of June 21st, was a sold-out affair with over 100 visitors joining the Crannog Community to celebrate the longest day of the year with music on the crannog, as well as school band The No Marcs playing their modern tunes on the site – there was even an impromptu ceilidh coordinated by our American attendees! Local band Tatha gave us renditions of local Tay laments before our special guest Hannah Rarity, the 2018 BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, sang some of her favourite Scottish tunes around the crannog fire.

Barnaby Brown joined us for a week-long residency

Kenmore Primary School and Aberfeldy Ukulele Band got hands-on with historic music expert Barnaby Brown making lyres from everyday items as part of his week-long residency at the Crannog Centre in September. Taking inspiration from the possible lyre bridge piece found on the excavation site of Oakbank Crannog, Barnaby and the two groups spent time whittling wood, foraging for old biscuit tins and piecing them together with hazel and strings in order to produce working 7-stringed lyres. Both groups had a great time working alongside Barnaby to create instruments that can now be played alongside the world’s oldest known song, which he was also able to teach them as part of their workshops during the week. The end of his residency was celebrated with two intimate performances by firelight in the crannog, both performed by Barnaby (with the help of some audience participation). Both the Crannog team and the local groups who attended the performances were able to gain a huge insight into what evenings of music and storytelling may have been like in Prehistoric Scotland when the crannog dwellers were living on the loch.

The “Bridge that Connects…” exhibition opened to the public

On October 5th, the culmination of the year’s work and research came together to become our brand-new musical exhibition display. Thanks to the help and collaboration of Dr John Purser and Dr Graeme Lawson, the Crannog Centre was able to analyse two significant archaeological finds that point towards evidence of music on the original crannog site and put them on display for the very first time. The grand opening ceremony was attended by many local community groups who were able to get the first viewing of the display. Music was then performed in the crannog by award-winning singer Maeve Mackinnon, accompanied by Dr Lawson and his lyre.

It has been a fascinating season at the Scottish Crannog Centre, and thanks to the funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund we have been able to set a fantastic precedent for future projects and what they can become.

Please enjoy a selection of photos from the year below and watch the video from our Grand Opening on October 5th!