One of the UK’s first “virtual hunting experiences” could be built in the north-east.
Maryculter House, just a few miles out from Aberdeen, is a popular wedding venue and bustling Sunday lunch spot on the banks of the River Dee.
Plans have been lodged to Aberdeenshire Council for a new wooden lodge to house an interactive hunting experience.
The virtual experience would be “in-keeping” with the hotel and be one of the first of its kind in the UK.
The concept that has already been rolled out in England. Smoky Barrels, in London invites people to form teams and wear hunting attire as they shoot virtual animals on a giant screen against a backdrop of the Highlands.
Last night, a Maryculter House spokesman said: “It’s very early days for this project but if we are successful with our planning application our aim is for it to be one of a number of exciting new elements we bring to the hotel to enhance the unique experiences we can offer our valued customers, both locally and from further afield.”
He added that it was hoped their virtual experience would offer an “alternative to traditional country sports” and would “help to ensure that we are providing something for everyone.”
Bosses also hope their iteration of the concept can be a way to boost funds and help to recover from the crippling financial impacts of lockdown.
But last night animal rights group Peta criticised the proposals.
The group has previously described Smoky Barrels in London, owned by Inverness-based company Mac & Wild, has previously been branded “near-psychopathic”.
And Mimi Bekhechi, the group’s director of international programmes said: “The last thing Scotland needs is a “virtual hunting experience”.
“Peta opposes hunting video games because they glorify violence against the defenceless, encourage callousness, and desensitise young people to the suffering of others.”
— City A.M. (@CityAM) December 12, 2019
Maryculter House Hotel opened its doors at the weekend.
Planning documents submitted to Aberdeenshire Council state: “It will be one of the first in the UK and as the hotel looks at ways of attracting new business streams as we unlock from Covid lockdown, then this experience will enhance the offering and give the business a way of adding additional potential streams of revenue to enhance business recovery.”