World-famous Eilean Donan Castle to undergo repairs

THE iconic Eilean Donan Castle - a massive tourist attraction and famous for a host of films - is to have major maintenance work done.

Eilean Donan Castle near the Skye Bridge. Picture: Robert Perry
Eilean Donan Castle near the Skye Bridge. Picture: Robert Perry

The operators of the castle at Dornie, near the Skye Bridge, are aiming to protect the historic building for decades.

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Eilean Donan undergoes major restoration work

They say the repairs ‘to enhance and protect the castle’s heritage’ will make it a much safer environment for the thousands of tourists who visit every year.

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The work will focus on two areas of the second level of the category A-listed building, the courtyard and an external building.

The courtyard is used by visitors on daily tours and large events such as weddings, but requires a new roof to stop water leaking into the vaults below where the toilets are located.

New Caithness slate slabs are to be used to replace existing stonework, while the wall is to be increased in height.

Meanwhile, at a separate “external covered area”, scaffolding will be erected so that rotten timbers can be removed and replaced with a new wall plate, while leadwork is also to be checked and replaced where necessary.

Plans for the maintenance work have been lodged with Highland Council.

A design statement states: “All proposed repair and maintenance works to Eilean Donan Castle are to be carried out in a respectful and well-considered manner in order to enhance and protect the castles heritage.”

It adds that the work aims to make “minimal impact on the castle’s existing aesthetics through careful architectural detailing”, to “create a safer environment for the general public and future visitors” and to “help maintain the longevity of Eilean Donan Castle”.

As one of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world.

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The castle has featured in films such as Highlander, Braveheart and Bond epic The World is Not Enough.

Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail.

Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and rebuilt as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries.

Partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719, Eilean Donan lay in ruins for the best part of 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911 and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory. After 20 years of toil and labour the castle was re-opened in 1932

Eilean Donan Castle is owned by the Conchra Charitable Trust.

Local MSP Kate Forbes has backed the plans.

She said: “Without a doubt, Eilean Donan Castle is one of Scotland’s most iconic sites and it’s little wonder it’s a very popular tourist attraction in the Highlands.

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“With the castle being an A-listed building, careful consideration and due protocol must be properly followed, but my reading of the proposed plans is that they will create a safer and more pleasant environment for visitors, and are therefore to be welcomed.”