AN EMERGENCY fund has been launched to prevent one of Scotland’s greatest towers from crashing to the ground.
The Glenfinnan monument in Lochaber has stood proudly for 200 years, after being built as a memorial for the men who died in the 1745 Jacobite uprising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The 60ft structure is hugely popular and attracts thousands of tourists a year – but now it boasts an obvious 11-inch tilt.
Its westward lean, which was first registered in 1929, has been getting gradually worse over time.
And now, a public appeal for £150,000 has been issued to prevent it turning into Scotland’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The National Trust for Scotland, which took the monument under its wing in 1938, has given various assurances in the past about its stability.
But gradual flooding of the adjacent loch and river Shiel over many years has undermined the foundations.
Glenfinnan property manager Kirsteen Nielson said: “The Glenfinnan monument has been standing proudly here for 200 years, marking the raising of Charles Stuart’s standard all those centuries ago.
“It is a place of gathering to this day.
“Any structure of this age and significance needs ongoing care, conservation and repair that’s the case with the Glenfinnan monument.
“The ravages of time and weather have taken their toll. We are working to raise £150,000 to support our programme of conservation works at the monument which will help it stand tall for years to come.”
The fundraising will support a range of conservation works including repairs to the monument and the statue’s stonework, re-pointing of the boundary wall and repairs to iron work and the original marble information sign.
The funding will also help the trust with the monitoring of the lean to establish whether remedial actions needs to be taken in the future.
The tower, designed by James Gillespie Graham, was built in 1815 once the Jacobite cause was no longer a political threat.
It is surmounted by an anonymous Highlander, wearing traditional Highland dress.
Hundreds of Jacobite enthusiasts gather at the tower each year on 19 August to remember the rising of 1945.