Earth Hour and Excavations

Earth Hour

This week, we had a very cute visitor in the Visitor Centre! No, it wasn’t FODC chairman Roy, but a cuddly Panda from the World Wildlife Fund –  here to raise awareness of ‘Earth Hour’. ‘Earth Hour’ will be held on Saturday 25th March at 8.30pm, and is run annually by the WWF. Last year, people in 178 countries turned out their lights for an hour, to support our beautiful planet! Let’s join in this time.

All HES properties will promote this important initiative – Edinburgh Castle will turn a spectacular green and then fade to black when the time comes! Our busy little Panda will visit sites across Scotland for photo opportunities, and is now making his way to Glasgow Cathedral.

End of Survey

On Saturday and Sunday last week, we followed up a wonderful week with our schools, by hosting a special weekend for local families. Despite the notoriously unpredictable Scottish weather, we gave people the opportunity to meet top archaeologist Adrian Cox and learn lots more about Castle Hill.  

Adrian stressed that Dundonald Castle’s status – as a scheduled ancient monument – means that it’s a place of significant national and international importance. It’s something that’s there for us to fully explore and enjoy, but also to take care of for future generations.

We learned a lot more about about the hillside’s 3000 years of ancient settlements and fortifications. The fiery destruction of the Dark Age settlement fused its remanants to the tough, volcanic geology of the hill, so we know that the blaze must have been been really fierce, and seen – symbolically – for hundreds of miles in all directions. Our Castle’s unique vantage point and location are very revealing and underline its historic importance.

Walter Stewart’s huge Norman fortess followed and, in the 13th century, would have stood on a scale to rival the most impressive castles that you can still see in England and Europe. Adrian walked us around what would have been its footprint and explained how some of its architecture remains as part of our Castle today.


We can’t believe that we welcomed over 500 visitors during survey week, with lots of information and innovative educational activities for everyone. Thank you all! We said goodbye to the lovely Susan and Alastair of Rose Geophysical, but we hope to see our new friends again sometime soon.

We can now tell you that your wonderful support means that excavations will start in September. We’re thrilled that local families will experience a year they’ll never forget. Here’s hoping for sunny, blue skies and lots of great memories.

The geophysical images that Susan and Alastair produce are invaluable for targeting the best areas for new discoveries. We’ll be able to share much more at our ‘Dig It at Dundonald’ launch picnic in June – we hope you’re keen to get stuck into some community archaeology!

Become a Friend of Dundonald Castle

As usual, staff and volunteers from our charity – Friends of Dundonald Castle – have been amazing this week. We could not do what we do, or make such great progress, without the solid foundation of their hard work and support – please help them in any way you can!

If you would like to help as a volunteer, through a donation, or by supporting the charity as a member, please get in touch at 01563 851489 or