Dunnottar Castle begins search for new custodian

Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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ONE of the world’s most iconic castles, which guarded the Scottish crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell and his army, is looking for a custodian of its own.

The successful applicant could switch their office block for Dunnottar Castle – perched on a clifftop 160ft above the North Sea and reachable only by navigating a narrow strip of land.

Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The ruined fortress, just outside Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, dates back to the early Middle Ages.

In the 17th century it was where the Scottish crown jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland, were hidden from Cromwell’s invading army.

The castle has also played host to Mary, Queen of Scots, James VI and Charles II over the years.

More recently, it was used as the set of the 1990 film version of Hamlet, starring Mel Gibson.

Now Dunnottar is visited by more than 80,000 people from all over the world every year and needs a new castle deputy to help look after it.

The post was first advertised about a week ago and has already attracted interest.

The castle’s newest recruit will be tasked with opening and closing the castle, cleaning the castle toilets, collecting entrance fees and making sure visitors stay safe on the clifftop.

It’s a job that doesnt come up very often, explained custodian Jim Wands, who will be working alongside the successful applicant.

“It’s a fantastic job. It’s brilliant. To say it’s the best job I’ve ever had is an understatement. There is something new to do every day. I love it.

“You’re working in one of the most iconic castles in the world. It’s pretty good.

“The castle looks different every day, it’s just stunning,” said Mr Wands, who admitted the view still stops him in his tracks.

“It’s something special. Everyday you can see something different in it.

“Last year there were 89,000 visitors to the castle. There is so much more to it than the view from the cliffs.”

Explaining what a custodian does, he said: “It’s trying to make the castle the best visitor experience you can when people visit.

“It ranges from property maintenance to health and safety, opening the castle to shutting the castle. It’s so varied. It’s like no other job.”

He added: “There are 272 steps into the castle. It is quite physical, you go up them three or four times a day.

The job description for the role of Deputy Custodian states: “Dunnottar is one of Scotland’s most iconic castles and is currently graded as 4 star by VisitScotland.

“Its importance in Scotlands history spans the ages.”