AN estate owner who plans to build a new village in the Cairngorms is to speak at a conference celebrating his cousin - who created a town in the Highlands exactly 250 years ago.
The plans to build a new 1500-home community in the Cairngorms National Park will be the focus of the event, which is being staged as part of a festival celebrating the anniversary of nearby Grantown.
Johnnie Grant, owner of the Rothiemurchus Estate where the new village is set to be situated, will be the guest speaker on the project.
The conference is being held as part of Grantown 250: The Strathspey Seven Festivals to celebrate the laying of the first stone of the town which has since become one of the best preserved planned towns in Scotland.
And Johnnie Grant’s appearance at the conference is fitting as it was his distant cousin James Grant who founded Grantown on Spey back in 1765.
Mr Grant said: “I will be discussing how An Camas Mòr, the new community planned to meet the Aviemore and Vicinity Community Council aspiration for meeting future needs for housing, community facilities and space for jobs and recreation in an affordable way.
“We will consider if it is possible, with all the constraints, to build a new town in this century as good as Grantown.”
Bill Sadler, of the Grantown Society who are organising Grantown 250 said: “The conference “New Grantown in its Scottish Settings will provide a significant contribution to the understanding of the growth of the modern Highlands.
“The speakers are all recognised authorities and will provide both an interesting and informative day for an audience interested in tourism, planning issues and the development of the Highlands and North East Scotland.
“Of special interest will be the comparison between the planning of New Grantown, illustrated by James Grant of Grant’s sketch on a scrap of paper and the current extensive and detailed planning of An Camas Mor Strathspey’s second planned town.”
The one day event will also look at how James Grant founded Grantown, how planned towns across the region re-shaped rural landscapes, the role inland resorts play in Scotland’s tourism and much more.
Grantown 250 will be launched by the formrmer frontman of Scottish folk rock band Runrig Donnie Munro.
The singer will perform at a banquet on June 20 to mark the start of the festival in the grounds of Castle Grant.
Mr Sadler added: “It is remarkable that Donnie Munro has agreed to come and kick off our festival. We are very lucky to have him on board. What a way to begin what is sure to be a very exciting week.”
“We are also thrilled that we are able to use the grounds of Castle Grant. It is a marvelous setting and has been used all throughout its history to host some wonderful parties and events.
“For example at the coming of age of the Countess, Lady Seafield in 1927 when close on 800 tenants, feurs, employees and townspeople gathered at Castle grant garden fete and the next day when some 750 children were entertained in the Castle grounds preceding a dazzling display of fireworks.”
Heather Fraser who is organising the event at the Castle said: “It is sure to be an amazing day and as well as the evening banquet which will include a three course meal and of course the entertainment from Donnie Munro, finishing off with a fantastic firework display we also have an afternoon event for the whole community.”
She added: “The afternoon event is a free family fun day and will include clowns, magicians, fun games, a bouncy castle and food.”
Last year, Castle Grant was repossessed from disgraced former Rangers owner Craig Whyte.