Fife’s rich history brought to life through augmented reality

Fri 19 Jul 19

A new augmented reality app which brings Fife’s rich, ancient past to life has launched, allowing users to trace the footsteps of historic Kings across the Heartlands of Fife.

In the Footsteps of Kings, a free app targeted at 5-13 year olds, will allow families to interact with characters and be immersed in activities at each location.

The Heartlands area of Fife extends from Glenrothes and Markinch to Aberdour, Burntisland, Kinghorn and along the coast to Kirkcaldy and Dysart. The app will guide visitors along royal paths and connect them with beautiful, ancient landmarks including Ravenscraig Castle, Lochore Castle, Aberdour Castle, Falkland Palace, Falkland Estate and Markinch Church.

Visitors will be able to learn more about their royal ancestors in a series of ‘footsteps’ which will provide augmented reality content on a smartphone or tablet. Visitors can travel between each location by cycling, driving or public transport. 

Features include firing a cannon from Ravenscraig Castle out to a pirate boat on the Forth and playing tennis with Mary Queen of Scots’ ghosts at Falkland Palace.

The project has also included an element of co-design from youngsters, following recent competitions involving Fife school pupils. The app’s lively Jester, Jess, which narrates the trail, will use the voiceover of Cerys Paton, an S4 student from Balwearie High School, while Cameron Robertson, a P4 pupil from East Wemyss Primary School, designed the Jester’s clothes.

Tourism in Fife is now worth £588m (in 2018) and supports over 12,000 jobs across the region, with international and domestic visitors increasing year on year. In the Footsteps of Kings also received £90,000 funding as part of a grant from Scottish Enterprise to keep enhancing visitor experiences across the Kingdom.  

Ann Camus, Founder of Fife Tourism Partnership commented on the launch of In the Footsteps of Kings. She said: “Fife has demonstrated its ability to adapt and embrace new technology in order to enhance visitor experiences. Over 100 businesses across the Kingdom have accredited World Host Destination status (the highest in Scotland), which is testament to their hard work and commitment of ensuring each visitor has a memorable experience.

“Tourism brings a high level of economic value to Fife which I am confident will continue with the launch of In the Footsteps of Kings, allowing walkers and visitors to enjoy everything the Kingdom has to offer.”

Councillor Ian Cameron, Chair of the Heartlands of Fife Local Tourist Association, said: “With the widespread use of mobile phones and computer games it is important to make heritage and history accessible using the latest technologies. In the Footsteps of Kings is a fantastic opportunity to bring our historic sites to life in a fun and engaging way for locals and visitors, and encourage more people to visit Fife.”

Sharon Wyness, CEO & Co-founder of AliveLab, who produced the In the Footsteps of Kings app, said: “We couldn't be more proud of the way this project has come together. Merging the newest augmented reality technology with the heritage and beauty of the historic sites in the Kingdom of Fife, has been an exciting and ground-breaking project that has also been a lot of fun.

“We hope that the mix of the traditional and digital will encourage families to visit and engage with the exciting stories that surround the area in the first project of its kind in Scotland. The app gives plenty of information on the local areas to help families enjoy everything from a cup of tea or an ice cream, to planning a mini break around visiting these wonderful sites.

“All credit to Fife Tourism Partnership for their forward thinking with this innovative project.”

Aileen Lamb, Tourism & Creative Economy Manager, Scottish Enterprise commented: “Scottish Enterprise is delighted to see this innovative new digital product aimed at increasing visitor engagement with Fife’s rich history, launched today. Our grant was awarded following a strong collaborative bid from Fife to the Scottish Enterprise Tourism Destination Development Fund. This initiative has a clear target audience and opportunity to drive new revenues into the region’s tourism sector. The use of augmented reality will allow people of all ages, but in particular the valuable family market, to become immersed in the culture and stories of the places they’re visiting.”

The app is free to download to smartphones from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon Apps. To find out more information please visit the website: welcometofife.com/jess

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