Outlander ‘Castle Leoch’ granted funds for restoration

Castle Leod is widely believed to be the inspiration for a famous Outlander castle. Picture: wikicommons/geographic.co.uk

Castle Leod is widely believed to be the inspiration for a famous Outlander castle. Picture: wikicommons/geographic.co.uk

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A HIGHLAND castle that inspired time-travelling TV blockbuster Outlander has been awarded funding for its restoration.

Castle Leod in Strathpeffer, Easter Ross, provided the setting for the fictional ‘Castle Leoch’ in the Diana Gabaldon novels which were transformed into a hugely popular TV drama.

Outlander has been credited with boosting Scottish tourism as fans of the show flock to castles and locations used for filming.

The drama, adapted from American author Gabaldon’s best selling series, has a worldwide audience and generated millions of pounds for Scotland’s creative and tourism industries.

The shows feature Scottish actor Sam Heughan as 18th-century Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser and time-travelling Second World War nurse Claire Randall Fraser, played by Caitriona Balfe, with much of the action based around the time of the Jacobite Rebellion.

Writer Gabaldon is a patron of Leod castle which has now won a grant of £13,680 as part of the third phase of a project to open up the 16th century building to the public.

The castle is recognised as being of national and international importance due to its architectural quality and the survival of historic features.

READ MORE - Diana Gabaldon: I helped Outlander stay true to Scotland

The funding will be used to carry out repairs, set up a visitor centre and study room, and refurbish the disabled toilet.

The new visitor centre will allow the castle to increase its opening hours and days.

Scottish heritage: Scotland’s people, places and history

The castle is one of seven projects who will share a total of £576,460 through Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) Building Repair Grant Scheme.

Other schemes include affordable housing in one of Glasgow’s most deprived areas, and a health and well-being centre in Paisley.

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Martin Fairley, Head of Grants at HES, said: “The purpose of Building Repair Grants is primarily to assist with the repair and reuse of important historic buildings and sites, but also to ensure that the end use is something which the wider community benefits from.

“Amongst the beneficiaries of the latest round of funding there is a former school in North Glasgow, disused since 2013, which is going to be converted into affordable houses.

“We also have a former Sunday school in Paisley which will eventually become a health centre, helping people to stop smoking, offering health checks, as well as dietary, alcohol and drugs advice.

“And we are able to fund vital repairs to a community centre which has served the people of Aberfeldy for nearly 30 years.”

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