Manning a boat for Mary Queen of Scots' hideaway and other summer jobs for history lovers

A young Mary Queen of Scots was taken here for safety and Robert the Bruce is said to have found solace in this beautiful and once holy spot.

Now, Historic Environment Scotland is looking for someone to ferry visitors to Inchmahome Priory, which sits on an island in the Lake of Menteith in the Trossachs, as the attraction gets set to open again for the season.

The boat steward vacancy at Inchmahome is one of dozens of positions being offered across the country by HES as historic sites come to life for visitors once more.

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Stewards are also being sought for Jedburgh Abbey in the Borders, Corgarff Castle in Aberdeenshire, Urquhart Castle by Loch Ness and Skara Brae in Orkney, among others.

Inchmahome Priory on the Lake of MenteithInchmahome Priory on the Lake of Menteith
Inchmahome Priory on the Lake of Menteith
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A spokesperson for HES said the steward’s role at Inchmahome was “different” to other similar roles at properties within its care.

"The priory is located on an island in Scotland’s only lake, and the candidate will be responsible for transporting visitors to and from the island,” a statement said.

Inchmahome was established in 1230 by a small community of Augustinian canons, whose founder and patron was Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, who had a main residence on the nearby island of Inch Talla.

The island sanctuary functioned for over 300 years. Robert the Bruce visited three times as king, and Mary Queen of Scots visited once, in 1547, aged four. She was taken there with her mother Mary of Guise following the defeat of the Scottish army by the English at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh and stayed for three weeks.

The battle of Pinkie Cleugh was fought during the War of the Rough Wooing ordered by Henry VIII to bring an end to the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France and attempt to enforce the Treaty of Greenwich to secure the marriage between Mary and his son, Edward. Mary was just four years old when she was hidden away at the priory.

In 1560, the Protestant Reformation effectively brought monastic life at Inchmahome to an end with the island and priory beginning a new life as a tourist attraction in the 1800s, largely due to the popularity of the works of Sir Walter Scott.

The island is also famous for its natural beauty and heritage with three Spanish chestnuts on Inchmahome listed among Scotland’s top 100 trees.

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The recruitment drive by HES follows a challenging spell of hiring at the organisation given the impact of the pandemic. Meanwhile, a widespread repair programme which was launched in full following lockdown led to access being restricted at more than 70 sites. HES said 53 properties were now accessible with the remaining properties to be inspected by the beginning of April.

A statement added: “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we face some issues with recruiting enough staff to fill all of our available positions, an issue that the wider tourism industry faces as a whole. We therefore have a varied recruitment drive, including newspaper adverts, social media activity and open days in some regions, to ensure that our opportunities are highlighted to the right people, as well as offering a wide range of roles.”