Tuesday, 1 April 2008
Gibson looks forward to 'auspicous day'
Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson said he will be happy to witness the unveiling of the stone on the Skara Brae Timeline which commemorates the first journey into space by a Russian.
It was an intervention by Mr Gibson with Historic Scotland last year which has lead to next week's prestigious ceremony and will see dignitaries from Russia in attendance.
Mr Gibson was first contacted by tour guide Bob Miller and Russian documentary film maker Alexander Korobko to petition Historic Scotland for an inclusion of a stone to recognise the fact that Russia and Yuri Gagarin were the first in space.
After an exchange of views with Historic Scotland HQ in Edinburgh they relented and said that a new stone would be placed on the timeline.
Mr Gibson said:
"This will be an auspicious day and I am looking forward to seeing the stone unveiled. Credit goes to Bob and Alexander for their determination and to Historic Scotland for recognising the immense achievement of the pioneering Russian space programme.
"The stone will be set equally and proudly alongside that which marks the first man on the moon. I am sure that the increasing numbers of visitors to Skara Brae will be proud and content to see a stone which represents their nation as they make their way to the village itself."
Note to editor:
Copy of photo of Bob Miller, Rob and Alexander Korobko (CEO Russian Hour TV) at Skara Brae pointing to the space where the stone is likely to be.
Below is PR from last year on the issue:
Immediate Use Sunday 12th August 2007
Skara Brae timeline should include Russian space dateline
Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands has approached Historic Scotland HQ to back an addition to the Skara Brae timeline that recognises that the first journey into space was by a Russian.
He explained, “I have been approached by several parties in Orkney to try and get Historic Scotland HQ in Edinburgh to give the go-ahead to alter the Skara Brae timeline to recognise the feat of Yuri Gagarin as the first man in space.”
“The US moon landing has been placed on the timeline as a critical modern date but this has prompted Russians to suggest the inclusion of the first trip of man into space achieved 12 years earlier by a Russian and by Russian technology as equally worthy of note.”
“Increasing numbers of Russian visitors come to Orkney and they feel that their country’s achievement (of putting the first man in space) should be recognised on the timeline display at Skara Brae. The willingness by Russians such as satellite TV producer Alexander Korobko to pay for a new display board to include this fact makes sense. Of course I realise that any number of key dates could be suggested, however I believe recognition of the earlier Russian space achievement is perfectly sensible.
“I approached Historic Scotland for a speedy decision bearing in mind that it would be achieved at no cost, it has local support and that it offers sensitivity toward our Russian visitors who may well arrive from cruise ships in numbers that exceed Americans who visit Orkney's ancient heritage.”
“Ten days ago I was assured by their Inspectorate Liaison Officer, Victoria Ball, that she has asked their Properties in Care division (who are responsible for Skara Brae) to look into my suggestion. She said they would reply as soon as they are able when I pointed out that I shall be visiting Skara Brae on the afternoon of Wednesday 15th August.”
Mr Gibson has also had a short discussion with the Scottish Tourism Minister Jim Mather who indicated his support for the inclusion of the Russian achievement in the timeline.
Victoria Ball, Inspectorate Liaison Officer, Historic Scotland - 0131-668-8931
Note to editor:
A report on this subject appeared in the Observer 12/08 link is below or See “The Observer” in Scotland 12.08.07 page 22.