Just another brick in the wall for 800-year-old Scottish castle

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BOTHWELL Castle has stood as a symbol of Scottish engineering since being built by aristocrats in the late 1200s.

But now the South Lanarkshire monument, which attracts tourists from around the world, has been given a temporary repair by Historic Scotland using modern red bricks which appear at the base of the south east tower.

Holiday guide Mike Greaves, 63, who takes visitors from as far away as America and Canada with his company Tours from Edinburgh, said: “It is very odd for Historic Scotland to use modern bricks to repair a castle.”

The first bricks were installed in 2004 as a “temporary” measure, but Historic Scotland said work is yet to be completed.

A tourist from New Zealand, who did not wish to be named, added: “I can only hope this is a temporary measure and that plans are in place to replace this eyesore with proper sandstone.

“Bothwell Castle is an historic site with visitors from abroad visiting it every year.”

Historic Scotland said the walls of the castle had crumbled because of salt crystals forming in the stone’s structure.

The cellars of the castle’s great hall have already been waterproofed as part of the project, and work on the north curtain wall will be finished in spring. Work on the south east tower is due to be completed by the end of 2014.

A spokesman for Historic Scotland said: “Bricks are a lot lighter than stone and don’t require a full scaffold. Scaffolding is a big cost.

“The engineering brick work was installed in 2004 to support the ashlar facing of the south-east tower while holding consolidation work was carried out.

“We have to make sure the building remains standing. The bricks are a short term fix.”