We are proud to announce the unveiling of another awesome Brick to the Past model – a minifigure scale LEGO model of Dun Deardail hillfort. The model, which was commissioned by the Nevis Partnership, is now on permanent display at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre, overlooked by the real Dun Deardail on one side and Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, on the other.
Dun Deardail is thought to have been built and occupied, perhaps over several periods, between 700 BC and AD 900 and is unusual because the stones that once made up its walls have been vitrified. Vitrification is the process by which stones are fused together at temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Celsius. It is uncertain why vitrification took place, but current theories tend to see it as either an act of aggression following capture or as ‘ritual closure’ at the end of the site’s active life, akin to the destruction of many Neolithic ritual monuments.
Nevis Landscape Partnership have been running an ambitious project to excavate the Dun Deardail. Working closely with Forestry Commission Scotland & AOC Archaeology, they aim to uncover the mysteries surrounding this ancient settlement and have got hundreds of ‘citizen archaeologists’ involved in the work. You can find out more about this on our previous blog on the project.
The LEGO version of Dun Deardail, which contains approximately 35,000 pieces, delved into this research to come up with a layout and appearance that reflects what the hillfort might have looked like early in the first millennium AD.
The model was built by our builder in the north, Dan Harris, who said:
“I've been visiting Glen Nevis and the surrounding area of years to walk and climb, so it's an absolute delight to have been able to build a model of one of its landmarks. It's great to be able to display at one of Scotland's most popular tourist destinations and I hope that the model will encourage people to get out and explore the real hill fort".
The funding to build the model of Dun Deardail was provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Highland Council Discretionary Fund.
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We are delighted to announce that Brick to the Past have been commissioned by Nevis Partnership to build a minifigure scale model of Dun Deardail hillfort for permanent display at Glen Nevis Visitor Centre.
Dun Deardail occupies a striking position on a rocky knoll above Glen Nevis and is surrounded by the often snow-capped peaks of the West Highlands. To its east it is overlooked by Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain and to its north, Glen Nevis unfolds, revealing the historic town of Fort William. The hillfort is thought to have been built and occupied, perhaps over several periods, between 700 BC and AD 900 and is unusual because the stones that once made up its walls have been vitrified. Vitrification is the process by which stones are fused together at temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Celsius. It is uncertain why vitrification took place, but current theories tend to see it as either an act of aggression following capture or as ‘ritual closure’ at the end of the site’s active life, akin to the destruction of many Neolithic ritual monuments.
Nevis Landscape Partnership have been running an ambitious project to excavate the Dun Deardail. Working closely with Forestry Commission Scotland & AOC Archaeology, they aim to uncover the mysteries surrounding this ancient settlement and have got hundreds of ‘citizen archaeologists’ involved in the work. You can find out more in this video.
Yesterday saw the unveiling of Caithness Broch Project’s LEGO broch at the Caithness Horizons Museum in Thurso. The model is a Brick to the Past creation, built by Dan Harris and James Pegrum, the former working on the broch itself and the latter the landscape it sits on.
One of the amazing things about this model is the distances it has travelled to get here. While Dan lives in Nethy Bridge near Aviemore, which to be fair is reasonably local in Highland terms, James lives in Devon. This means that a big part of a model that now resides in the most northerly town on the British mainland was created just a stone’s throw away from the English Channel.
The model is 1.4 metres square and reaches a height of about 40 cm. The broch itself is made of approximately 10,000 pieces and the whole model packs in a lots and lots of advanced building techniques. One of the greatest challenges was getting the gently tapered shape of the walls right and Dan admits that the Broch is the most challenging thing he has ever built.
The LEGO broch is just one of many outreach activities Caithness Broch Project have going on in 2017, which is Scotland’s 'Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology'. It will be at the Caithness Horizons Museum all summer but Caithness Broch Project also intend that it visit local schools and clubs to help promote brochs as one of the area’s richest historic and cultural heritage of assets.
Chairman of Caithness Broch Project, Kenneth McElroy said:
"The LEGO broch's main purpose is to encourage people to learn and engage with the archaeology of Caithness. We hope that we can make learning about the heritage of our county exciting and enjoyable.
We also hope that it will let people know about Caithness Broch Project, and what we are aiming towards. We hope to build a much bigger replica broch one day!"
We’re proud of working with this grassroots organisation and hope that our little model will in some small way contribute towards their goal of building a fully sized reconstruction of a broch in Caithness.
The exhibition opens at the Caithness Horizons Museum today and the LEGO broch will be on display at until October 16th.
You can find more about Caithness Broch Project and offer your support by visiting their website:
Phew, we do some miles here at Brick to the Past! Last month we were in Caithness, last weekend we were in Manchester and now we're back in Scotland, this time in the mountainous splendor of the Cairngorms National Park! To be fair, we have our HQ in the mountainous splendour of the Cairngorms National Park, but that's not really the point, it's all about time spent on the road! Besides, we wouldn't be writing just to tell you that we're back home safely, no, we can do better than that. So here it is - we're delighted to announce that we have another exhibition on!
Last weekend we unveiled the first iteration of our latest epic model, The Jacobite Risings: The Fight for Britain's Throne. Part of this model is a recreation of Corgarff Castle, located in the eastern Cairngorms, as it might have looked during the first half of the 18th Century. We wrote a blog about the design process back in March; a blog that's well worth checking out if you're nerdy enough to be interested in the castle's history.
So what better place for the LEGO Corgarff Castle to spend the summer than the real Corgarff Castle? Well, it's our opinion that there is no better place so that's exactly where it is and will be until September 4th.
It's rare that we can say with confidence that the venue is more impressive than the LEGO model we have on show. Which isn't to talk the model down, the model rocks, but Corgarff Castle must be one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland and is well worth a visit in its own right. So what we have is a great opportunity to not only visit an amazing historic building in an amazing landscape, but it's also an opportunity to see some amazing LEGO at the same time. The model is packed with details from the period of the last Jacobite Rising in 1745 as well as a ton of other features including an impressive collection of local wild animals - see if you can spot them all!
Corgarff Castle is owned and managed by Historic Scotland and is open Monday to Sunday between 1st April to 30th September.
LEGO Corgarff Castle will be on display until the 4th of September 2017, so that in our opinion, is the best time to visit!
Tickets are £6 for adults, £3.60 for children and children under 5 and Historic Scotland members go free. The price of seeing LEGO Corgarff is included in this price.
Find our more and buy your tickets at:
Thursday saw us traveling to Thurso, the most northerly town on mainland Britain and the home of the superb Caithness Horizons Museum. Our mission was to deliver and set up the now well publicised LEGO broch for Caithness Broch Project, a task which we of course delighted in, because a). it meant that we got yo visit a museum, and b). it meant that we got to play with LEGO. The LEGO broch will now form part of a summer exhibition on, you guessed it, brochs, before being taken on a tour of local schools as part of Caithness Broch Project's exciting outreach program.
We won't give you a full look at the model just yet, there will be a proper press release issued by Caithness Broch Project that will do that. In the meantime, please enjoy our little teaser... and to see more, visit the museum!
Our models are massive and this means they only have a limited lifespan and are taken apart so that the parts may be recycled. They are never completely dismantled though because we like to keep parts of them so that they can be rented out and taken to other shows.
From England 793 we are keeping the island monastery built by Dan Harris and it is available to rent along with a number of other models. We call this part of the model 'Legofarne'.
The island is based on the famous Anglo-Saxon monastery at Lindisfarne in Northumberland, which was founded in the year 635. It was here in 793 that the first Viking raid is said to have taken place; famously the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reads:
You may also be interested to know that we have a range of other historic models available covering many eras of British History. Ask us about the packages we could provide you.
All photographs are © Brick to the Past and Andrew Whyte, 2016.
Yesterday was the final day of the Bricks in Time exhibition at the Rheged Centre and so we were back on site to do the take down. The exhibition was a great success attracting over 25,000 visitors between July and September. We're incredibly pleased to have been part of the event and really happy that it was enjoyed by so many people.
The ancient Britain section.
We were lucky enough to have a quick wander around before everything closed and despite being a little bit dusty, the models still looked great. It was also great to be able to chat to a few visitors; it's always interesting to hear what people like and notice about models... plus who doesn't like a bit of praise?
While it was sad to see our models taken apart once more it won't be long before they're up again, because in just a few weeks we'll be at the Great Western Brick Show in Swindon. The show is on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October and is well worth a visit - we hope to see you there!
And so things come to an end... but not for long.
We are delighted to announce that Brick to the Past have been commissioned by the Caithness Broch Project to build a minifigure scale Lego Broch for permanent display at the Caithness Horizons Museum. The model will also be taken around schools in Caithness and used for discussing Brochs in more detail with local children, as well as other aspects of Iron Age life.
This project is just one of many outreach activities Caithness Broch Project have planned to coincide with the Scottish Government's 'Year of History Heritage and Archaeology' in 2017.
For those unfamiliar with Scottish Iron Age archaeology, a broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland and mostly in northern Scotland. Caithness, Sutherland and the Northern Isles have the densest concentrations, but there are also a great many examples in the west of Scotland and the Hebrides.
Caithness Broch Project is a registered charity (SC046307). The aims of the Project can be divided into several achievable targets:
Check out their website and support them on social media:
Bricktastic sadly over, Monday morning saw us leaving Manchester in convoy and making our way north to the Cumbrian town of Penrith. Penrith is home to the Rheged Centre where our models would be built once more to become part of the Bricks in Time exhibition, curated by Bright Bricks. Not only would we be contributing our Bricktastic models to this event, we would also be adding an Iron Age village, Romano-British villa, mosaic of the emperor Hadrian, Norman keep, and Sir Frances Drake’s ship, The Golden Hind.
We would not however be setting up until Tuesday and so with some time to kill we decided to go on a road trip into the Lake District. The British summer delivered its usual mixture of rain and lukewarm temperatures but we still managed a short walk and a cheeky ice-cream. The trip also turned into an impromptu photo shoot as new mugshots were needed for our website; this activity was more popular with some than it was with others, but I think we can safely say, the camera loves our Lego models more than it loves us.
Tuesday morning brought some bad news when we discovered that Simon Pickard’s Iron Age village had been seriously damaged in transit and so what was meant to be a five minute job turned into 10 hour one as he endeavoured to re-build it; we blame the northern cattle grids. Owing to its complex structure this was no mean feat and Simon demonstrated superhuman levels of patience in completing a task that would send lesser mortals into fits of Hulk-like rage. Thankfully, the rest of our models went up reasonably quickly giving us time to lavish extra attention on the placement of vegetation and minifigures, an activity that by contrast, fosters zen-like calm in our builders. Rheged is undoubtedly a gorgeous venue and it was wonderful to see our models laid out so cleanly and lit so beautifully; we are massively excited to be on display here.
The exhibition will run from Saturday 9th July to Sunday 4th September 2016 and if you love history and you love Lego then be sure to make time for a visit. Tickets are £2.50 per person and 3’s and under go free. Read more about it on Rheged’s website:
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