Volunteers sought to capture the 'sound of music' on Bennachie

Volunteers sought to capture the 'sound of music' on Bennachie

One of Scotland's most famous hills is set to come alive with the sound of music later this month.

Members of the public will be invited to take part in a unique music event on Bennachie, hosted by academics from the University of Aberdeen.

Attendees will be given recording equipment and asked to capture sounds they discover as they spend time on the hill in the morning – from wind in the trees, a stream, birdsong or just general soundscapes.

The emphasis will be on listening to the soundscape of the hill and how, though it may seem quiet, there are in fact a multitude of sounds to be heard.

Professor Peter Stollery from the Music Department at the University will then lead the group in developing a sound map of the hill before transforming the sounds into musical compositions which aim to reflect the nature of the hill and what those sounds mean to the group.

Professor Stollery said: “People often say how wonderful the view is on Bennachie. I think that sound, as well as other senses are often forgotten about in circumstances like these so this day is about listening to the sounds on Bennachie and then working with them.”

The event – which takes place on Saturday June 16 from 10am – 5pm – is part of a wider project to build a greater insight into the archaeological past of Bennachie.

Led by archaeologists from the University of Aberdeen in conjunction with the Bailies of Bennachie, a series of events have taken place on the hill over the last two months which have aimed to equip community members with the knowledge and skills they require to undertake their own work into the history and heritage of their local area.

Activities have included archaeological digs on the hill, an oral history day with the chance hear and share stories about Bennachie, and an event hosted by the Royal Commission where locals were offered the chance to learn methods for recording old buildings.

It is hoped the project – which is funded by a grant of £20K from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – will result in an exciting new heritage project for the hill and its surrounding landscape.

The music event is free to attend but booking is essential – contact bennachielandscapes@scottish-heritage.org.uk  to confirm attendance.

Attendees should meet at the Bennachie Centre, and under 16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Other events taking place as part of the project throughout June are:

  • Saturday June 2, 4pm, Oyne Primary School who has been working on the Bennachie Landscapes Project will have an exhibition at their school showing the results of their archaeological and documentary research into the history of their parish which they have been undertaking in April and May. This exhibition is open to all and there is no need to book.


  • Thursday 7 June, 5.30 – 8pm, Keig Primary School have also been working on the Bennachie Landscapes project and have an exhibition at their school of their research into their parish during April and May.  This exhibition is open to all and there is no need to book.


  • On Saturday June 9, 10am, members of the local community interested in recording the oral history of the area will have the chance to attend a training day where tips on obtaining and recording anecdotes and stories will be offered. This will be followed by an event on Saturday June 23, 10am – 5pm, where people are invited to come along and share their stories of Bennachie. Members of the Bailies of Bennachie from across the globe will also link into the event via the internet.


  • From June 18 – 27 there will be the chance to see how historic documents are used to shed light on the landscape and social history of the North-east of Scotland by delving into the archives at the new University of Aberdeen Library.


For more information on these events and how to get involved in the research on Bennachie, contact Colin Shepherd, colin@scottish-heritage.org.uk.