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September date for Merlin study release

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By Christie Breen
September date for Merlin study release

INITIAL plans to establish a centre detailing the legend of Merlin and its connection to upper Annandale will be completed by September.

The Arthur Trail Association secured £30,000 of funding from various sources for a feasibility study on their vision of a multi-million pound Dark Age Centre at Beattock and Moffat, which will reveal the true story of the real man behind the Merlin legend, who lived and died locally in the sixth century.

That study will recommend a development strategy and organisational systems and structures, as well as recommendations on research, analysis, concept designs and costs.

Robin Crichton, chairman of the Arthur Trail Association, attended Tuesday’s meeting of Moffat and District Community Council to give an update on the study and provide more context for residents. He said: “We have been working on this project for quite a long time and now the feasibility study is due to be completed by September.

“The whole idea of the Merlin centre is to get people off the motorway and explore this beautiful area we have. And bring this legend back to its real historical roots.

“We wanted to create a completely unique experience unlike anything else in the world and create a must-see visitor attraction with international and pan-generational appeal.

“This is a two pronged plan because there is the history and the legend of Merlin. If all goes to plan we would put the historic side of trail at Beattock near the railway, and there would be a reconstruction of a sixth century farm. Then the legend side of Merlin would be at a site in Moffat, this would be bring together every Merlin legend from around Europe and have it in one place, including the stories from Wales and Brittany in France.

“The plan is to incorporate new technology like virtual reality to create an immersive experience which will hopefully draw 200,000 visitors to the area, create jobs and benefit the area’s economy.”

MDCC have previously come out in support of the Merlin centre plans, with chair Liam O’Neill reiterating this week that community council will continue to support the project. He said: “This have given us more insight into the grandeur of the project and it is very impressive, and if it brings in 200,00 people it is certainly worthwhile.”

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