An Aberdeenshire community has come together to create a fairy trail for its local youngsters – and businesses.
Several groups have teamed up to create the trail in Kemnay to keep kids occupied over the summer holidays.
They also hope it will give local businesses, which have been badly hit by the pandemic, a boost by bringing visitors to the village.
Organiser Louise Graham said: “I have been on a few other fairy trails with my daughter, who is seven, and they’re always a great way to find new places to shop and get something to eat.
“I thought it would be a great way to encourage people to visit Kemnay so they can see what we have to offer.”
‘An amazing response’
Kemnay Primary, the Rainbows and the local Knit and Natter Group are among the groups who have been hard at work creating the trail.
Kemnay House will be putting fairy items around the woods and the Littlewood Court sheltered housing complex are getting involved too, while local residents have said they’ll make their own fairy house or pictures to display in their gardens or windows.
Ms Graham added: “It’s something fun to do with the kids and so many people are excited to take part.
“We’ve also had an amazing response from local businesses who have all said they will do something. We’ve got the medical centre, nursery and village hall on board, as well as Cafe 83 and the Kemnay Farm Shop.”
It is hoped the trail will be running for the start of the school holidays. Participants will be able to tick off all the fairy houses they spot as they go through the village.
Ms Graham added: “We think a lot of people will still be staying local, or taking staycations or day trips, so the fairy trail will hopefully draw people to the village. It’s a great thing for families to do.
“Kemnay has so much more to offer including lots of local walks for people to enjoy and the Kemnay Steens which were created by artist James Winnett to reflect the local history.”
Children’s ideas ‘brought to life’
Pupils at Kemnay Primary School are “delighted” to be involved in the project and have been working to create their own “individual” fairies.
Deputy head Caroline Anderson said: “What started as a Friday afternoon craft suggestion by some of our P2 pupils has captured the imagination and creativity of lots of the children from across the school.
Meanwhile, Kemnay Rainbows have been hard at work transforming bird boxes into fairy houses.
Leader Pamela Grant said: “We’re always looking for good activities to do and Louise came up with the idea of making fairy houses for the trail.
“It was very successful for the most part and everyone had a lot of fun.
“These will be community boxes put up in the trees around the village and then can be used as bird boxes after the trail.”
Something new for the knitting group
The Knit and Natter group has also been creating items to feature in the fairy trail. The group of 29 from across the north-east has continued to meet online throughout the pandemic to knit and crochet for charities.
Fairley Taylor, from the group, said: “We always knit scarves, blankets and hats for premature babies, so I suggested we do fairy people for something different.
“The ladies have been busy since the end of last year making fairies, houses, bunting, trees, elves, gnomes and lots more. So, when we heard that there was going to be fairy trail, we decided to join in.
“Some of the fairies will be distributed to the sheltered housing complex and other places around the village.”
‘Re-launching’ the village
Kemnay was awarded £5,000 from Aberdeenshire Council as part of the Town Centres Phoenix Fund which will help 25 towns “relaunch” following lockdown.
Robert Mackay, from the Phoenix Fund Kemnay Committee, said: “We hope to promote a sense of wellbeing and especially to highlight the benefits of enjoying the outdoors and nature in our fantastic village.”
Some of the money from the fund will go towards the fairy trail and it will also be used to develop three new walking maps of Kemnay, which are expected to launch on June 19.
Other ideas for the cash include planters and hanging baskets to add a splash of colour, freestanding hand sanitisers, and potentially, Happy to Chat benches to combat loneliness.
Kemnay locals still have time to get involved in the fairy trail and can join the Facebook group for more information.