Winter Talks Programme 2023-24

We plan to run a mixed programme of live talks in the hall with one on-line talk via Zoom in January  when travel can be difficult. If the Covid19 situation changes and the regulations about indoor meetings make this impractical we will hold as many talks as we can on-line via Zoom. Our Talks are open to all and are held in the MacRobert Hall, The Square, Tarland,  on the second Thursday of the month, except for December when it’s on Thursday 7th. The talks begin at 7.30 pm and entry is £5.00. Doors open from 7 pm.  The MacRobert Hall now has an Induction Loop System for hearing aid users.

12th October 2023  – James Scott Skinner

Paul Anderson, our well known fiddle player, is leading a campaign to have a statue erected in Banchory to honour the famous composer James Scott Skinner. Over 600 of his compositions were published, among the best known being “The Bonnie Lass of Bon Accord,”  “The Music o’ Spey,” and “Hector the Hero.” He made over 80 recordings. Paul will tell us about Scott Skinner’s life history and compositions and will play a few of his tunes. The proceeds from this talk will be donated to the statue fund.

9th November 2023 –  Duncan Reid -Surgeon and Bodysnatcher

Born in 1806 in Smiddyhill, Migvie, Duncan Reid went on to become a well-established Aberdeen surgeon, appointed as medical officer to the prison, and chair of the Aberdeen Medical Society. Yet family lore suggests he was acquainted with the darker side of life as a resurrectionist or bodysnatcher. Elaine Petrie went in search of the facts to see what she could find out about his life and whether the rumours were true.

7th December  2023 – The History of Skiing on Deeside

Simon Blackett will look at the history of recreational skiing mainly in Deeside and the early attempts at setting up clubs and ski areas, most of which are now history. We also look at early photos and stories from Glenshee. Hopefully some of the members will have memories of those exciting early times!


8 February 2024  – Echoes From Cromar’s Past – an editor’s selection of local history stories

Peter Craig, the editor of our annual magazine, Echoes from Cromar’s Past, will return to present, and expand upon, a second selection of his favourite stories from past editions. We are now on Issue 28 so there are plenty to choose from and there is bound to be something of interest to everybody.

14th March 2024 – Are We Nearly There Yet?

Bruce Keith makes a return visit with another talk, “Are we nearly there yet?”, about Scottish milestones. It’s not just distance markers, but early measurement systems and maps in Scotland and the 18th and 19th century travellers whose journals laid the foundation of the Scottish tourist industry. Bruce also celebrates the “Top 50 Scots” -the sportsmen and women who have gone the extra mile in terms of speed and endurance to set new world records. So, something for everyone!

11th April 2024 – It was a’ for our rightful King – Jacobites in Deeside

 Maureen Kelly has carried out detailed research on  how the struggles of the Jacobite uprisings impacted the lives of local people in Deeside. The King may have been ‘over the water’ and  his cause lost forever, but local communities bore the brunt, and hold the memory.

On-Line Talk by Zoom only. There will be no-one at the hall on this evening

11th January 2024 – Why I’m an Archaeologist and Why I’m Not

Curl up in front of the fire for this light-hearted online talk by Adam and Simon Welfare. The brothers revisit their childhood adventures in archaeology: as ‘curators’ of their own museum, where the star exhibits included a prehistoric axe-head, a ‘pharaoh’s’ sandal, a squashed ‘bun penny’, mosaics from a Roman villa and an ‘Iron Age’ skeleton called Charlie. Was this why Adam became a professional archaeologist, the expert on recumbent stone circles like Tomnaverie, and why so many of the programmes Simon made in his career as a TV producer investigated the riddles of the past, such as the age of the ‘Rude Man’ of Cerne, a lost city of the Maya, and the mysterious Skull of Doom?