TOPICS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
Looking today at the picturesque Wellmeadow it is hard to imagine it was once merely a site for grazing livestock, and before that boggy marshland. Once drained, the marsh served as public grazing where travelling drovers and shepherds pastured cattle and sheep.
The Wellmeadow has an ancient history, deriving its name from the numerous wells that once surrounded the area, such as St Ninian's Well, named after the priest who is said to have stopped and preached there. It is reputed to have once had nine wells, or springs, but St Rory's, outwith the Wellmeadow itself, is the last identifiable public spring remaining.
In the 1920s the cattle were moved to a new Mart built at Bridgend on the Rattray side of the river and the trees and bollards placed in the Wellmeadow made it more recognisable as the landscaped area we are familiar with today. Yet the previous open expanse was not without merit, being large enough to host elaborate fairground attractions. Nowadays, for celebrations such as Braemar night, while the Wellmeadow houses some stalls, the main attractions such as fairground rides are accommodated in a car park outside the Wellmeadow.
The Fair o' Blair was held annually in July. Locals could participate in a variety of games and entertainment.Imagine locals' awe when they saw exotic amimals being paraded down the High Street when the circus came to town - and their shock when a lion ran loose into a shop neighbouring the Wellmeadow!
In more recent times the Fair o' Blair has been superseded by Braemar Night. Since 1993BLAIR LIVE's local musicians provide entertainment for the crowds.
The Fair o' Blair in the Wellmeadow