Banchory Lodge Blog by 24 Keys

24 Keys wrote this blog on behalf of Banchory Lodge for the AGCC website…


You might not think that a hotel in Royal Deeside and ceramic fish go together but at Banchory Lodge that is exactly what happened this summer when the hotel launched Scotland’s largest art installation this year – the River of Fish Festival.

When the Heckleburn Quines approached us, they were renowned artists and ceramicist that were also involved in the Wild Dolphin exhibition, so we wanted to fully support the venture.  The plan was for them to get the community involved and create 150 ceramic fish of all different sizes.  Then tour Royal Deeside with the finished exhibition and sell them at an auction to raise funds for The River of Dee Trust and Banchory Sports Village.  Due to our location on the banks of the River Dee we were asked to kick the tour off  – it seemed a bit of a no brainer.

It was a true community project.  Local Banchory schools were involved in creating some of the smaller ceramic fish or scales for the larger fish.  At the Banchory monthly market the Heckleburn Quines took a stall to allow people to take part too.  So, it was all happening right on our doorstep.  We even invited the schools down to the hotel to see the display when it was in place.  We also held the launch party for the Banchory Sports Village and the River of Dee trust.

However, as a country house hotel with guests 7 days a week, 24 hours a day it was not an easy operation and we had to consider the logistics of it.  We got our PR company, 24 Keys behind it to help write press releases and get it coverage across Scotland.  They were instrumental in getting STV to cover it live on the six ‘o clock news.  That was quite amazing and we wondered how we would cope with the demand of people who wanted to see the exhibition.

We forged ahead putting on a special fish pie for guests during the 7 days it was at Banchory Lodge as well as promoting it heavily on our website and by e-newsletter.

In the end of the day, over 220 fish were installed on the lawns to make it look like the fish were actually jumping out of the river.  We even got our designer, Bryce Thomson, to create our own ceramic fish to be part of the exhibition.  Thereafter, we bought it as part of the fundraiser but also so that we could display it at the hotel for guests to see.

The event was rounded off with an auction of all the fish at Woodend Barn on 8th October.  Over £3000 was raised for the local community projects and we are very proud to have played a fundamental part of what turned out to be, an extremely special exhibition.

Carol Fowler, Director, Banchory Lodge

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