National Trust for Scotland plans castle restorations

The National Trust for Scotland wants heritage and conservation bodies to join forces to share responsibility for running and promoting historic attractions and help it to “fill the gaps” in its portfolio by rescuing other sites. It has called a major summit for later this month.
A new five-year strategy for the organisation, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, is expected to begin moves to ensure NTS does not “overlap” with the likes of Historic Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and the RSPB.

Although its main focus is on 130 flagship sites, NTS is also responsible for 200,000 acres of countryside, 46 of Scotland’s Munros, seven nature reserves, 248 miles of coastline and 16 remote islands, including Canna and St Kilda.

In future, NTS is expected to focus more on “heritage of national importance”. Rundown castles, neglected islands, old cinemas and concert halls, as well as the highlights of Scotland’s industrial heritage, including factories and even giant cranes, are expected to be targeted for restoration under the five-year strategy.

Trust chairman Sir Kenneth Calman dispelled fears that the organisation was to embark on “asset-stripping” in the wake of its well-publicised financial problems.
The charity insists it has no plans to dispose of any of its major sites of national significance, insisting it will shed properties only if they are found to be of no heritage value.┬áNational Trust for Scotland will see it become more commercially minded, intervene to save threatened historic sites and “sweat” its existing assets to make them generate more money.

Edinburgh Castle stays top of visitor attractions

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle remains the most popular visitor attraction in Scotland according to figures released by Historic Scotland .Edinburgh Castle had more than 580,000 visits in the four months to the end of August, a 7% annual rise. Stirling Castle was the second most popular of Historic Scotland’s sites – with over 228,000 people over the same four months. The top 10 attractions also included Skara Brae, Iona Abbey and Fort William. All saw a rise in visitors over the year before.The main reasons for the increase are the Year of Homecoming and the fact that the weak pound made Scotland an attractive holiday destination for Europeans.

Kari Coghill of Historic Scotland said: “Our attractions enjoyed a good summer right across the country. The 2009 Year of Homecoming campaign was clearly a major help as it brought the whole of our tourism industry together to focus on the common goal of attracting visitors by promoting all that’s best about Scotland.
At the same time we obviously benefited from the fact that a weak pound made Scotland an attractive destination for Europeans. But we have also been doing a huge amount to market all that Historic Scotland has to offer, and the good value it provides, and that has seen our membership numbers pass 100,000 for the first time.” Historic Scotland is one of 2 main agencies in charge of Scotland’s castles , the other one being the National Trust for Scotland. more Edinburgh Castle pictures