12th century Scottish castle falling down

The remains of Red Castle perches high above the sea
The remains of Red Castle perches high above the sea
0
Have your say

A 12th century Scottish castle that was once home to King William the Lion is in danger of falling into the sea due to recent storms.

The Red Castle, precariously perched on high ground overlooking Lunan Bay a few miles south of Montrose was last used as a dwelling house in the early 18th century and has now fallen into ruin.

The castle always looks precarious up on that cliff and it looks like it could slip down the hill at any time

Chris Banks

Over the centuries, the north-easterly storms have battered the castle eroding the hill it stands on eroding its base causing parts of the structure to fall onto the beach below.

Now a 100 feet long and 3-4 feet high fissure has appeared in the ground 20 feet below the foundations prompting fears that the ancient red sandstone castle will finally lose its battle with elements.

Chris Banks, 72, lives in nearby Farnell and regularly walks his dogs on the beach in front of the castle. He said: “I come here every day with my wife and friends to walk our dogs weather permitting.

“I’m aware of the coastal erosion on this part of the coast but recently it seems to have got much worse. The crack that has opened up below the castle is new. The castle always looks precarious up on that cliff and it looks like it could slip down the hill at any time. It’s a shame something can’t be done to save it.”

The castle overlooks Lunan Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland. Lunan Bay has attracted many visitors throughout the ages, from Viking armies in the 10th century to generations of holidaymakers today.

Vicky Whitecross, 48, from Montrose is a regular visitor to the area. She said: “I have been coming here for years. The castle looks so dramatic perched up there.

“I noticed a while back that the land under the corner of the castle had disappeared causing even more of the stone to fall away. Now that crack in the ground that has opened up makes it look dangerous. I wont be walking on that part of the beach again. It is such a shame.”

Retired head of Angus Council Cultural serviced and local historian Norman Atkinson has watched the condition of the Red Castle deteriorate over the decades. He said: “Over time the River Lunan biting into the base of the castle and the storms here on the coast have continually exposed the land on which the castle sits.

“There were attempts to safeguard and restore the castle in the past. However, it would be very expensive for the landowner or anyone to take that on. There were grants available for this sort of project but they have all been cut back.

READ MORE: Six abandoned communities of Scotland

“It’s very sad to see what was an imposing Scottish castle with such a rich history left like this. One day it will simply fall down the hill.”

Historic Environment Scotland have scheduled the Red Castle as a monument of national importance.

A spokesman for Historic Environment Scotland said: “We regularly monitor the situation at Red Castle, and are aware of the condition of the monument and eroding cliff face.

“One of our Field Officers inspected the site just a few weeks ago, where they found that there had been no obvious change to the condition of the monument since our last visit in 2013.

“We are happy to work with all interested parties to ensure the sustainable management of the site and its surrounding area in the long term.”

The owner of the land on which the castle sits was unavailable for comment.

A few miles north of the Red Castle, the owners of the 450-year-old Medal Course at Montrose Golf Links are also fighting a battle against the storms that batter and erode Scotland’s east coast.

The historic course lost its original sixth tee in 1994 to the North Sea, and storms over the last two years have accelerated the disintegration of the sand dunes putting the other coastal tees under threat.

Scottish heritage: for stories on Scotland’s people, places and history >>