Page last updated at 00:06 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 01:06 UK

Masons carving out castle niche

The stonemasons are working on new cannons for the castle

One of the biggest stone-carving projects undertaken in Scotland is about to be completed at an Aberdeenshire castle.

Twenty apprentice masons have been painstakingly working on 23 new decorative cannons for Craigievar Castle near Alford.

It is part of a £1m programme of restoration work being carried out by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

The experienced masons teaching the apprentices said it was a dying skill.

One apprentice told BBC Scotland: "It's great, because it's going to go down in history, it's a one-off opportunity."

Work will begin next week to attach the cannons.

The new-look castle will be revealed before the end of the month when the scaffolding comes down.

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