Monday 15 July, 2024

Scottish history and heritage online

Rothesay Castle re-opens following conservation work

The castle has reopened to visitors following a high-level masonry programme

Rothesay Castle, which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), has fully reopened to visitors following temporary access restrictions due to a high-level masonry programme. The programme examined the impact of climate change on historic sites in conjunction with other factors. Additionally, repairs were made to the bridge that provides access to the castle.

The High-Level Masonry Programme, a result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys, evaluates the impact of climate change and other factors on historical sites. These factors include the materials used in construction, age, and physical location of the building. While this issue is not exclusive to Scotland, HES is considered one of the first heritage managers to address it in this manner, sharing results with peer organizations.

Craig Mearns, Director of Operations at HES, said: “Rothesay Castle is a wonderful site and I am delighted that we are now in a position to re-open. I know how much this means to the local community and economy”

Rothesay Castle stands out from other Scottish castles due to its early origins and distinctive circular layout. It is renowned for its strong historical ties with the Stewarts, who served as hereditary high stewards and later established a royal dynasty in 1371. Even today, the heir to the throne holds the title Duke of Rothesay.

The initial stone castle was likely constructed by Walter, the 3rd High Steward, in the early 1200s as a defence against Norwegian attacks. After being besieged and captured twice by the kings of Norway in 1230 and 1263, the Stewarts enhanced the castle with four projecting towers to help defend against future assaults, although these defences were never put to the test.

In celebration of the re-opening, Rothesay Castle will also play host to a community-led “Return to the Ramparts” event on Sunday 17 March. The event will be run in partnership with Bute BID, Achievement Bute, Bute Museum and VisitScotland (Bute), with participation from Friends of Rothesay Castle.

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