A farming museum has launched a new trail which encourages families to decipher a message in a bottle – with a Doric twist.
The Aberdeenshire Farming Museum in Aden Country Park, Mintlaw, has tied in spring cleaning with a bid to keep the mither tongue alive.
Launched at the beginning of the month, “Doric in a Bottle” will run for the whole season.
The Evening Express was invited along to take part in the trail – which is indoor and involves searching for letters in plastic bottles which are hidden around the farming museum.
The idea came from supervisor Pam Ross, and is inspired by the popular Police song, Message in a Bottle.
Staff at the museum, which is open from April to October, usually have a clearout at the start of each season, and have recycled old materials for use in the trail.
There are eight different bottles to search for, each with a different letter inside them.
The trail lets visitors explore the different rooms within the museum, encouraging them to search for the different bottles as well as taking in the information around the room.
Participants are given a whiteboard and a pen to take a note of the different letters collected, so no paper goes to waste.
Once all letters are recorded, they can be rearranged to spell out a well-known north-east phrase.
We tried out the trail, going round the different rooms in the museum in search of bottles.
Explaining the inspiration behind the idea, Pam said: “One of the themes of the museum is make, do and mend. To continue that tradition we would reuse what we find at the start of the season.
“We found lots of leaflets that were out of date and we had a lot of plastic bottles.
“We are trying to foster a love of Doric and to revive it. It focuses the families to go and explore the museum to find the bottles.”
Staff are hopeful that visitors will be able to connect with the Doric language, and it will also provide a fun activity for children to take part in.
As the centre receives visitors from as far afield as Germany, Austria and Norway, the word spelled out at the end is designed to be recognisable for those who may only know a little about Scottish culture.
Carla Angus, performance and events development co-ordinator at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Every year we have various trails to engage visitors.
“This year it was the staff that came up with the idea.
“We do spring cleaning and recycling at the beginning of the season and it gets spruced up.
“The Doric aspect is very important to the area.”
It’s not the first time the dialect has taken centre stage. Last year, the museum had a Doric Scrabble trail, with large Scrabble letters across the different rooms.
Carla said: “We’ll be doing other bigger events as well.
“It’s a small activity, it’s just making people aware of the culture.
“It’s also a really nice fun way to get kids interacting.
Doric in a Bottle will run until October, when the season ends.