Work has begun on a £2.5 million heritage centre in Royal Deeside, but more than half the funds are still needed before completion.
In June, planning permission was granted for a Highland games centre at Braemar – the first purpose-built attraction of its kind.
Incorporating a gallery, exhibition hall, cafe and gift shop, the centre will tell the story of royal links to the village and of the early beginnings of Highland games across Scotland.
President of Braemar Royal Highland Society David Geddes helped staff from building contractor Gordon Mitchell start with the ground clearing in the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.
It is hoped the facility will be completed in time for next year’s gathering on September 1. And Mr Geddes appealed to fans of highland games to get behind the project and plug the £1.5m gap in funding.
Significant backing has already been secured with £250,000 from the Duke of Rothesay’s Dumfries House Trust and £500,000 from local hotelier Iwan Wirth.
Mr Geddes, who said the attraction will help “preserve Highland traditions”, expressed delight at the news a further £250,000 had also been committed from the Braemar Royal charity, meaning there is a £1.5m shortfall in the project total.
Donations can be made via www.braemar gathering.org