Scotland’s heritage narrated by new digital storytellers

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Martin Bazley

Great Escapes Moray – an app for iPhone/iPod touch

The Learning Team at the National Library of Scotland (myself and colleague Beverley Casebow) have been working with schools and community volunteers in Moray (north east Scotland) to create an insider’s guide to the area. Using the Library’s collection of 19th century ‘Handbooks for Travellers’ as inspiration, we wanted the app to reflect the unique voices and cultural heritage of the region as well as highlighting the area’s key historic industries – fishing, weaving and whisky.

Through the Library’s collections of archive film, historic maps, manuscripts and images, students and volunteers have chosen 20 “points of interest” to create an insider’s guide to this stunning area of Scotland proud of its historic associations with Macbeth, Vikings and the Picts.  From a lighthouse designed by Robert Louis Stevenson’s family to early dinosaur footprints on the Moray coast to the magnificent ruined cathedral in the centre of Elgin, it’s all brought to life by local students and community members.

It’s been a great outreach project for the wider community too as students have enlisted the help of older residents to recall the once bustling fishing port of Lossiemouth, the local Doric ‘Gaelic’ dialect and an interview with a Prime Minister’s granddaughter. We’ve also used the students’ own photography and artwork in the app so it’s a real example of a cross-generational, cross-curricular, multimedia project to coincide with the 2012 Year of Creative Scotland. We’ve been thrilled that it has also allowed the students & volunteers to discover their unique digital storytelling voice and provided the perfect platform to make our historic collections relevant to a 21st century audience. The app will be available free on the App store at the end of March 2012.


  1. I have just downloaded the app, hot off the press and look forward to using it. I think these kinds of apps would be very popular for those planning visits and holidays to the area while also being useful to school and college pupils. However I was not able to find it just searching for ‘scottish’ or ‘Scotland’ ‘heritage in the App Store and wonder whether you are able to add keywords or tags to make it more discoverable?

    • Hi Tehmina, thanks for your comment. I’ll certainly look into adding the extra tags. We think it’s a good example of a cross-curricular project as it gave young people (and older members of the community) a chance to discover and interpret their local history.