Day Out – Scottish Crannog Centre, Kenmore, Loch Tay

If you fancy dressing your child as prehistoric man and then laughing with/at them then read on.

History shouldn’t be boring for kids as it’s about great stories and exciting tales so it should be right up their street.  The Scottish Crannog Centre in Perthshire tells the story of us, of man, giving a glimpse into how we lived a sophisticated and civilised life 2,500 years ago. I can barely remember the days before the internet so life over two thousand years completely escapes me, but what makes this centre excel is that they didn’t just talk about a crannog (or iron age loch dwelling), they only went and bloody built one. Based on the excavations and discoveries by the Scottish Trust for Underwater Archaeology they built a replica which sits on the loch looking absolutely beautiful – a grand design all to itself.

 

When you arrive at the centre you’re welcomed into an exhibition area. It was admittedly a bit of a holding pen for my enthusiastic offspring but they liked pressing the big buttons that lit up the 2,500 year old wooden staves.

Mr Toddler weirdly balked at the wonderful children’s dressing up boxes, I’m sure your average child would jump at the chance to dress up as prehistoric Perthshire dude. Thankfully the tour guide, himself in period costume, encouraged our young upstart to wear fancy dress, and like most kids he obeyed a complete stranger rather than his own mother, and I had my chance to laugh long and hard at my prehistoric toddler as we wandered up to his new crannog dwelling.

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Prehistoric toddler

It is simply mind boggling to think that the remains of eighteen crannogs were discovered in Loch Tay alone, and across Scotland these buildings date back as far as the Neolithic period 5000 years ago. Several canoes and logboats have also been discovered revealing that water travel, be it solo sailings, water-taxis or some form of ferry, was the norm.

Inside the crannog was dark and atmospheric. Our guide, a young archaeology graduate, helped build the crannog so he could chat with real knowledge about the process. I’m more interested in the social side of things: looms revealed how material was woven, dried grain hanging from the roof revealed the diet of the inhabitants, you could piece together a pretty normal lifestyle really. Mr Toddler did get restless during the guide’s talk which lasted a good half hour but for us it was worth it.

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Back onshore we received demonstrations of woodturning and stone drilling. Yet again Mr Toddler didn’t last through the demonstrations but everyone was very understanding.  Attentive Mr Baby meanwhile is now an expert on prehistoric stone drilling. Unsurprisingly, my children liked starting fires- go figure.

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I’m a firestarter, a mini firestarter.

We rounded off the morning with an Iron Age coffee at the rustic outdoor cafe before joining the twenty-first century again.

The Lowdown – We drove from Aberdeen to Perthshire, staying at the Moness Resort, near Dunkeld which offers both self-catering and four star hotel accommodation. The Scottish Crannog Centre was a short drive from the hotel, click here for guidance on finding the centre.  Supervision of small children is required as you cross the bridge into the crannog but this is kind of obvious. Tots2Travel received free entry to the centre and Mr Toddler is desperately grateful that he and his tiny brother now know how to start fires.

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23 Comments

  1. Reply

    Rashminotes

    July 10, 2016

    So insightful and interesting for adults and kids alike:)

  2. Reply

    From Pennies to Pounds

    July 10, 2016

    Aw, looks like a great day out. Can you believe, I’ve never been to Scotland! Definitely need to make a trip up there with my little one 🙂

  3. Reply

    Traveling Rockhopper

    July 10, 2016

    Looks like a great place! 🙂

  4. Reply

    Cathy Glynn

    July 10, 2016

    What a fabulous day out. Grace loves visiting places like this and exploring x

  5. Reply

    Kara Guppy

    July 11, 2016

    My kids are studying the iron age at the moment and the school had just built its own roundhouse. Shame this is so far away as they would love this

  6. Reply

    Rachel

    July 11, 2016

    This is fascinating, what a great visit and it looks so peaceful too x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 14, 2016

      It was actually nice with the rain coming down softly – it was smirr (not sure if you know that type of rain) but my favourite type.

  7. Reply

    Grant - Looking for the Postman

    July 12, 2016

    What a brilliant idea! I’ll be checking this out. Hadn’t even heard of it before. Thanks for the heads up!

  8. Reply

    Cultural Wednesday

    July 13, 2016

    Make your children dress up and then laugh at them, now that is an inspired marketing tag if ever I saw one! Sounds like a great day out

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 14, 2016

      Children are so funny. I spend half my time laughing at them 🙂

  9. Reply

    susannabritmums

    July 16, 2016

    Thanks for this – we’re in Scotland a lot and shall visit!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      July 18, 2016

      Great! It’s really different and we loved the history. As I mentioned it’s quite a lot of listening for very little ones but it’s worth it. Great scenery too.

  10. Reply

    Nell (the Pigeon Pair and Me)

    November 4, 2016

    These kinds of places really bring history to light – you can’t beat a reconstruction for teaching children about how we used to live. I must visit when we next go to Perthshire to see our relatives. Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      November 4, 2016

      It was good for adults too – I liked the natural dyes and my husband liked starting the fire – so a good experience for us all.

  11. Reply

    WTMluggage

    November 4, 2016

    I didn’t even realise this was there-must go for an explore some time 🙂

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      November 4, 2016

      Adults can dress up too but not compulsory 🙂

  12. Reply

    daisythebus

    November 4, 2016

    Very interesting, and it is great to see a place like this succeed. I say that because a very similar park was built near my childhood town of Omagh in Northern Ireland in the mid-nineties, complete with a replica Irish round tower and crannog (the “Ulster History Park”). It didn’t attract anywhere near the number of visitors that it needed to justify the investment required to maintain it, and it closed down barely ten years later. Such a shame. In a way I think it was perhaps ahead of its time; I get the (happy) feeling that this sort of “museum” has become more popular in recent years. Great read – thanks!

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      November 4, 2016

      Quite possibly. I went to one in Southern Ireland as a child, no idea how it’s faring now. The Scottish centre seemed busy, lots of school trips too which was good to see. They do a good job.

  13. Reply

    Stephanie Robinson

    November 4, 2016

    Loving the idea of learning by experiencing 🙂 #culturedkids

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