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Sign of the time: Oldest sundial returns after restoration

The 400-year-old timeteller was first installed in Drummond Castle's gardens in 1630.

The oldest sundial of its kind in Scotland has been restored and returned to its rightful place.

Drummond Castle's obelisk sundial has withstood almost 400 years of Scottish weather but was starting to deteriorate.

Leading sculptor Graciela Ainsworth has spent two years carefully restoring the complex sundial, which measures time in 131 different ways.

The sundial was first installed in 1630 having been designed and created by John Drummond, the 2nd Earl of Perth, and John Mylne, Master Mason to the Scottish Crow.

It has long formed the focal point of the gardens at Drummond Castle, in Perthshire, and was said to have been badly missed by visitors.

Sebastian Miller, managing trustee of The Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle Trust, said: "This wonderful sundial has been the centrepiece of the gardens for almost four centuries.

"We have been monitoring it for a number of years and decided if we didn't act promptly we would lose some of the intricate stone carving.

"The painstaking restoration work undertaken by Graciela Ainsworth, with the knowledge and assistance of Alistair Hunter, has brought the sundial back to life.

"Its absence from the garden has not only been noted by many visitors, but has also brought its historical value as an extraordinary scientific instrument to worldwide attention.

"We are all very excited to see it restored to its rightful place in full working order."

As well as being historically significant, the sundial is extremely complex with 68 facets and 85 shadow gnomons, with special shadows for the summer and winter equinoxes.

Drummond and Mylne created it using a guide written 100 years previously and their own imagination.

Mylne went on to create sundials across Scotland including one at Holyrood House in Edinburgh made for the Scottish coronation of Charles I.

Drummond Castle Gardens has featured in films including Rob Roy starring Liam Neeson, and more recently doubled as Versailles in the TV adaptation of Outlander.

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