Quarry detonation marks Aberdeen Granite Festival

MORE than 40,000 tonnes of solid rock were blown apart today to mark the launch of one of Scotland’s most eccentric festivals.

40,000 tonnes of granite is blown up in Criagenlow Quarry, Aberdeenshire. Picture: Hemedia/SWNS

• Aberdeen Granite Festival marked by 40,000 tonne explosion at quarry

• Festival celebrates third year with detonation at Craigenlow Quarry at Dunecht, Aberdeenshire

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• Festival offers chance to discover city’s “unique granite heritage”

Aberdeen Granite Festival celebrates city's 'unique granite heritage'. Picture: TSPL

The Aberdeen Granite Festival was first staged three years ago as a celebration of all things granite to honour the stone which helped transform the city into one of the most distinctive architectural urban landscapes in the world.

And this year’s festival was launched with a bang today with the massive detonation at the Craigenlow Quarry at Dunecht in Aberdeenshire, the area’s largest operational quarry which first opened in 1882.

Jenny Brown, the Granite Festival organiser and Aberdeen City Council’s curator of industrial history, said: “This is the third Granite Festival and it is really going from strength to strength. I am delighted to be working with our industry partners again, and we have some exciting new offers this year.”

She added: “There’s a lot of enthusiasm for our native stone and its history, so we expect events to book up quickly.”

Mike Macaulay, regional director of Breedon Aggregates, operators of Craigenlow Quarry, said: “The Granite Festival provides the opportunity for the people of Aberdeen and beyond to reconnect with what was once one of region’s key industries.

“Quarries are very different places now but many of the original extraction methods are still used and the bus tours of Craigenlow Quarry will allow the public to see this firsthand.”

A council spokeswoman explained: “This year’s week-long Granite Festival starts on 20 July and offers a chance to discover Aberdeen’s unique granite heritage and learn more about the part granite plays in the city and surrounding areas today.

“Festival highlights include the chance to take a free bus tour around Craigenlow quarry and hear first hand how a modern quarry operates, an opportunity o meet the new owners of Rubislaw Quarry, and a talk on the motivations and experiences of the granite workers who crossed the Atlantic in search of their fortunes.”

Marischal College - the second largest granite-built structure in the world - is now the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council. - And Rubislaw Quarry - the largest man-made hole in Europe - still stands testament to the stone that made Aberdeen the “Granite City.” Over 231 years, a staggering six million tonnes of granite was hewn from the quarry for building projects across the globe before quarrying ceased in 1971, leaving a chasm almost 500ft deep.