Perthshire’s Abercairny Estate backs Scottish film studio project

Abercairny Estate in Perthshire
Abercairny Estate in Perthshire
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It has been home to the same family for more than 700 years and has links to William Wallace, Queen Victoria and a 12th century Flemish warlord – now, a vast swathe of the Perthshire countryside is being lined up to play host blockbuster movies and lavish TV dramas.

The Abercairny Estate, near Crieff, is set to become an official partner of Scotland’s first purpose-built film studio development if the scheme gets the go-ahead.

Daniel and Anna Moray Parker hope Abercairny will lure film-makers

Daniel and Anna Moray Parker hope Abercairny will lure film-makers

The proposed link-up would offer a vast range of outdoor locations to any companies using the Pentland Studios development, which is earmarked for a 106-acre site in Midlothian.

It is already due to see six sound stages up to 70 ft tall created for indoor filming, as well as well as a 50,000 sq ft creative industries hub, 50,000 sq ft of workshop space and a film academy.

But the Pentland Studios team are now proposing to create additional facilities on the 10,000-acre estate to make it one of the most attractive options for outdoor shooting.

They believe the combination of its central location, around 90 minutes drive from Midlothian, with the wide variety of historic landscapes and buildings it offers will provide a huge boost to the appeal of Pentland Studios.

The Abercairny Estate has been the home of the Moray family and the Murray clan, who are descended from the 12th century Flemish warlord Freskin.

The Moray surname derives from his acquisition of the ancient kingdom of Moireabh, in north-east Scotland.

The earliest records of Abercairny date from the 13th century when it was the property of the 3rd Earl of Strathearn. In 1320, the 7th Earl gave the estate to his daughter, Mary, on her marriage to Sir John Moray of Drumsargard. It has been retained by successive generations of the family ever since.

The most celebrated member of the Clan Murray was Andrew de Moray, who joined forces with William Wallace to lead the revolt that culminated in the victory against Edward I’s English army at the Battle of Stirling Bridge.

Abercairny Estate, which was visited by Queen Victoria in 1842 when its former mansion house was under construction, boasts its own parklands, two lochs, woodlands, terraces, lawns and a walled garden dating as far back as the 18th century.

Others features on the site include a 19th century stable block, two 19th century lodges and a “Doocot” thought to date from the 17th century.

Daniel and Anna Moray Parker, the couple who currently own the estate, already hire out the buildings on the site for weddings, private parties, ceilidh dances and product launches, telling potential clients: “You can let your imagination run free.”

Their website states: “We believe Abercairny has a charm and romance all of its own.”

Jim O’Donnell, development director of Pentland Studios Ltd, the consortium pursuing the Midlothian development, said the proposed partnership with Abercairny Estates had emerged from “constructive criticism” over the location for the studio, which was chosen 28 sites across Scotland.

He added: “We are in quite advanced talks with the Abercairny Estate at the moment. We’re working up a partnership agreement where

we would invest money to create the basic infrastructure and utilities required by film and television crews to much it more attractive for anyone to shoot there.

“We will still have two backlots for outdoor filming, but the idea would be that if someone was using Pentland Studios and wanted to have a couple of days of location shooting with a Highland backdrop then that is where they would go. It has lochs, glens, mountains, moors, trees and even standing stones.”

A spokeswoman for Abercairny Estates said: “We can confirm we are in discussion with Pentland Studios Limited over the potential filming opportunities that may be available here.”