New Saltire fails to end row over castle flags

Campaigners want the Saltire to fly highest on the castle

HISTORIC Scotland say they will install a new Saltire in Edinburgh castle in a bid to quell a row over which flag should fly highest in the landmark.

Campaigners have been trying for years to raise the Saltire to the top of the castle, but they say they are unhappy with the new proposal.

The Union flag currently has pride of place at the highest point in the castle, but Saltire Scotland wants to install another flagpole so the Scottish flag is even higher.

Now Historic Scotland, who manage Edinburgh castle along with many other historic sites around the country, say they will put a new Saltire by the One O’Clock Gun.

This means it will be 100ft below the current Union flag, and the ‘halfway’ measure has been slammed as wasteful.

The castle is the symbolic home of the British army, a fact which has derailed previous bids to simply replace the Union flag with a Saltire.

Mark Hirst, of Saltire Scotland, said: “Historic Scotland and the culture minister have taken the absurd decision to obey Army law on flag flying even though they are not legally subject to it.

“This proposal demonstrates they are committed to relegating the Saltire, our national flag, to what the MoD has described as the ‘subservient position’ on Scotland’s most iconic landmark.

“Given it will be virtually indistinguishable from the surrounding buildings people will be entitled to ask, what’s the point?

“Instead of flying the Saltire from a new flag pole it might be more appropriate if they were to hoist the white flag.”

Emma Boon, the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “This halfway measure means no-one gets what they wanted yet taxpayers still have to fork out thousands of pounds.

“There’s no room for both the Union flag and the Saltire to fly at the same height.”

Historic Scotland say the new flagpole will allow tourists to have their picture taken while they are framed by the flag and the vista of Edinburgh the castle offers.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “We are working on a planning application to install an eight metre high flagpole on the north side of Edinburgh Castle which would be visible from Princes Street and elsewhere and we believe it would be an enhancement to what is one of the best city skylines in the world.

“It will also allow visitors to be photographed at the flagpole with the city in the background which has not been possible before.”