ONE of Scotland’s most photographed castles is in need of extensive repairs to its ancient stones and timbers, it emerged today.
The world-famous Eilean Donan castle, which dates from the 13th century, gets over 450,000 visitors per year and is also used as a wedding venue.
One area of the A-listed castle in dire need of maintenance is the anicent courtyard, frequented by tourists on daily tours, but is in need of a leaky roof being repaired.
Caithness slate will be used to fix the roof, according to the design statement, with a wall to be increased in height for “health and safety”.
Scaffolding will be put in place to as the new slates are installed on the roof and repairs are carried out.
Elsewhere another extrenal area is to be repaired, with “rotten timber” beams to be replaced with a new “wall plate”.
Castle Keeper David Win said today (wed) that no final costing is available currently as there are still certain aspects of the project to be agreed upon.
He added: “We are delighted to be continuing with the on-going programme of restoration and conservation at Eilean Donan.
“As simply temporary custodians of the castle, we feel it is critical to safeguard the fabric and structure of the building for the generations to come.”
The design statement lodged with Highland Council by the Conchra Charitable Trust, the owners of the castle, read: ” In order to protect the longevity of the castle, repair and maintenance work are required to be under taken.
“The repair and maintenance work focuses on two specific areas (The Courtyard and the External Covered Area) on level two of the castle.
“This courtyard level undergoes extensive use on a regular basis with visitors participating in daily tours of the castle and large events such as weddings occurring frequently throughout the year.”
The plan added: “The proposed work at Eilean Donan Castle has been carefully considered and approached in a respectful manner to enhance and protect its built and cultural heritage.
“The proposed works are of importance aiding the longevity of the castle of for future generations and visitors to the area.
“The works will enhance the visitors experience within the castle creating a safer and more pleasant environment.”
Local MSP Kate Forbes has welcomed the new plans saying: “With the castle being an A-listed building, careful consideration and due protocol must be properly followed.
“Without a doubt, Eilean Donan Castle is one Scotland’s most iconic sites and it’s little wonder it’s a very popular tourist attraction in the Highlands.
“But my reading of the proposed plans is that they will create a safer and more pleasant environment for visitors and are therefore welcomed.”
The picturesque castle frequently appears in photographs, film and television and sits on a tiny island known as Eilean Donan.
Eilean Donan, which means “island of Donnán”, is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in 617.
The castle was founded in the thirteenth century, and became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies the Clan Macrae.
In the early eighteenth century, the Mackenzies’ involvement in the Jacobite rebellions led in 1719 to the castle’s destruction by government ships.