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Kirkwall app launched

A new digital app exploring Kirkwall’s heritage has been launched.

A smartphone app, aimed at encouraging locals and visitors alike to explore one thousand years of the history and heritage of Kirkwall, has gone live this week.

The Kirkwall Heritage App tells the story of more than 100 buildings and sites of interest in Kirkwall and their role in the development of the town over the last millennia.

It has been developed through the Kirkwall Townscape Heritage Initiative (KTHI), a £3.5m scheme led by Orkney Islands Council — supported by funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the council — aimed at enhancing Kirkwall’s historic town centre.

Creation of the app follows months of consultation and research by local consultant Aquatera, which was appointed to carry out the project, with heritage app specialists AT Creative developing the programming. The app is free for both Android and Apple devices.

The app offers five different trails to follow around the town, including two for peedie folk featuring Erlend the Curlew, who was originally created by pupils at Glaitness Primary, in conjunction with local illustrator Britt Harcus last year. Users can collect “badges” as they visit buildings or sites of interest in the app, and can also compare today’s street view with historical images at key locations in the town.

The Kirkwall West and Orphir councillor, John Richards, said: “Encouraging an understanding and appreciation for Kirkwall’s built heritage, right from a young age, is one of the key aims of the KTHI — these are hugely important factors in the long term success of conservation of our townscapes.

“On behalf of Orkney Islands Council I’d thank everyone who has contributed to this app, especially members of the public who took part early on in the process through the ‘Story of Kirkwall’ consultation events. We’re also indebted to members of the Orkney Heritage Society for their invaluable expertise and assistance, and the Kirkwall and St Ola Community Council, Kirkwall BID and Orkney Tourguide Association for their input and support throughout the life of the wider KTHI.

“Our hope is that local people will embrace the app and make use of it to access stories and information about their unique town.”

Kirkwall Heritage app can be downloaded from Googleplay or AppStore.

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