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Exploring Dufftown, Scotland with Anne Jan Zandstra

At Gesso, we know that everyone has a unique story to tell, and our creator platform provides the tools to make these stories heard. We recently spoke with Gesso creator Anne Jan Zandstra, who wanted to publish immersive audio tours about Dufftown, Scotland's rich history.

Black and white archival photos of Dufftown Scotland including Balvenie Castle, Dufftown from Glenrinnes Road, the Tower, and Auchindoun Castle.

When the world halted due to the pandemic, Zandstra had to pause his business and wanted to expand on his existing interest in history. He had always held a fascination for Dufftown's local history and saw an opportunity to create a richer experience for tourists. "I spoke with a few people that thought it would be great for tourists when they could read about certain sites and buildings in Dufftown while they are here," he shared.

Zandstra soon found himself in a deep dive into the history of Dufftown. From the old Clock Tower to Gordon's Cross, he scoured old newspapers, books, and the Scottish National Archives, gathering a trove of stories. All this data started overflowing, prompting him to build a website,, to house these historical gems. “I got addicted to finding stories and debunking some of the old folklore. I gathered so much information that I'm still processing.”

Turning these stories into more immersive experiences presented its own set of challenges. Zandstra initially sought help from a local college and a former colleague and tried using a system that relied on bluetooth beacons, but those efforts didn't pan out. "After two years, I found Gesso. A bit hesitant at first about how it would perform, I gave it a chance. And I'm really happy with it!" he said.

Zandstra ended up creating two experiences for visitors: the Dufftown & Mortlach Heritage Trail and a guided audio tour using Gesso’s creator platform. His goal was to provide a richer, more immersive way for tourists to explore the town. He emphasized, "Whenever I visited sites I loved to have an audio guide with me as well. It just adds to the experience… it takes you a bit further into the story. I hope this will make it more interesting for our visitors."

When we asked Zandstra for advice he would give other creators looking to publish their own audio walking tours, he stressed the importance of preparing well in advance, fact-checking, quality audio, and route planning. “Make a route that aids the stories and links them together where you can… test and let someone else test it for you once again.” You can experience the full Dufftown & Mortlach History Walk here.

We're excited to see the innovative ways creators like Zandstra use Gesso to share their audio tours with locals and tourists alike. Join Gesso’s creator platform and share your unique stories with listeners around the world.


Gesso is an audio storytelling platform for creators of all backgrounds. Create an account and publish your own audio walking tours in any city. It’s as easy as dropping pins on a map.

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