Volunteer tour guides are needed to show visitors what are arguably Forres’ two most impressive attractions – the Tolbooth and Nelson’s Tower.
Having been forced to remain closed for almost two months since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, plans are now in place to open both sites throughout the next tourist season.
George Alexander is the chairman of the Forres Heritage Trust, which took over control of the Tolbooth from Moray Council in 2014 and also looks after Nelson’s Tower.
He said: “I’ve spoken to people who have lived in Forres all their lives and have never been in either building.
“It’s really a shame because they are both fascinating.
“Visiting Tolbooth takes about an hour on its own as there is so much to see.
“I would recommend everyone to get involved as a volunteer.
“You will learn a lot about your own city and you will also meet many interesting people – there are visitors who come to Forres from all over the world.”
A building of major civic importance is believed to have stood at the Toolbooth site for at least 800 years.
However, the foundation stone for its current incarnation was laid in 1838, when it acted not only as a city court, but also as a police station and police cells as well as a council office.
To highlight this history, the Heritage Trust has now created a new tour which highlights the newly refurbished courtroom as well as the parapet around the clock tower – which has never been open to the public previously.
George said: “We’ve done a lot of work to get people allowed up there.
“You have a great view of Forres which is different from the top of Nelson Tower because you are right in the middle of the city center amongst the rooftops.
“We’ve already taken a few people on the parapet on a trial basis, and the feedback we’ve received has been really positive.”
Meanwhile, the cornerstone of Nelson’s Tower on Cluny Hill was laid in 1806, the year after the Battle of Trafalgar.
Therefore, as a tribute to Britain’s most famous admiral, it predates its cousin in London’s Trafalgar Square by more than 35 years.
Training and support will be provided to all volunteer tour guides.
To discuss and learn more about the role, email [email protected]