Iron Age crannog to be rebuilt on Scottish loch following devastating fire

Loch Tay will be bustle with Iron Age-style life once more with a replica wooden crannog, the kind people lived in 2,500 years ago, to be built on the water again following a devastating fire.

The Scottish Crannog Centre has been given the go ahead to rebuild the Crannog roundhouse and develop a new Iron Age village on the shoreline at Dalerb, over the water from the centre’s existing site, along with a museum and cafe.

More crannogs are expected to appear on the loch in time as the project develops.

Perth and Kinross Council have awarded planning consent to allow the project to proceed, just over a year since the fire destroyed a replica crannog in just six minutes.

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Cause of Crannog Centre fire on Loch Tay 'may never be known'

The materials used to build the new museum will come from within walking distance of the site, with reed from the Tay and timber from nearby Drummond Hill.

Museum director Mike Benson said it was hoped to welcome visitors to the new site at the beginning of the next tourist season.

Mr Benson said: “We are doing what the Crannog dwellers 2,500 years ago would have done, thanking our lucky stars no-one was hurt, packing up our treasured belongings, and moving to build a new home, one which has more depth and a deeper sense of belonging in its landscape and community. The aim is to have 1,000 fingerprints and 1,000 voices over all we do.”

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The crannog at the Scottish Crannog Centre at Kenmore burnt down last year - with a new replica to be rebuilt, along with an Iron Age village, on the other side of Loch Tay.

The redevelopment is set to launch new learning in traditional skills and building methods and train a new generation of craftspeople.

The existing site at Kenmore will close on December 18, but will remain open every day for tours until October 31. Events on the crannog calendar include the Celtic Autumn celebration on October 8 and 9 and the annual Samhain celebration on October 31.

This weekend, the Crannog Centre will celebrate the news of the planning permission as part of their Rise and Shine event, which brings together artists, musicians and performers from across Scotland and the world.

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Staff celebrating the news of the redevelopment of the Scottish Crannog Centre. PIC: Contributed.

Earlier, Mr Benson said the cause of the fire in June last year will likely never be known given the intensity of the blaze and the destruction it caused, with police and fire services ruling out suspicious circumstances.

CCTV images of the night showed an “orange dot” appearing on the screen, with the crannog destroyed within the next six minutes.

The fire led to a huge public response. A crowdfunder led by local businessman Jonathan Morley raised £50,000. Tens of thousands of pounds came through other donations, with the Scottish Government giving the Crannog Centre an added £51,000 to help the recovery from the fire.

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Originally, it was thought there were at least 17 crannogs dotted up and down the water at Loch Tay, with it known people settled on the water from around 370BC.

Built from alder with a life span of around 20 years, the structures simply collapsed into the loch once they had served their purpose.

The crannogs were probably considered high-status sites, which offered good security as well as easy access to trading routes along the Tay and into the North Sea.

It is believed 20 people and animals lived in a crannog at any one time.

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