Grant will help open up historic kirk’s crypt to public

Christmas magic at St Conan's Kirk.

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Heritage funders have awarded St Conan’s Kirk up to £5,000 towards allowing public access to its crypt.

Money from the Architectural Heritage Fund will help pay for planning permission and professional fees as part of a project to open up the Bruce Chapel basement room as an education facility for groups and visitors and to provide a new toilet area.

Earlier this year the kirk at Lochawe, recognised as one of Scotland’s most unique architectural attractions, celebrated a £100,000 funding boost from Our Heritage National Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland to help secure its future.

That funding will help with essential roof repairs expected to be completed by this spring. Additionally, a programme of heritage activities, exhibitions, events and guided tours during the repairs will help people find out more about St Conan’s and how the award will safeguard Scotland’s national heritage.

Organisers of this year’s Christmas tree festival hailed it the biggest and best in Scotland after 62 trees went on display, attracting a record number of visitors.

One of the festival organisers, Liz MacKay, joked that, with bumper numbers of people wanting to display a tree, they needed more room.

‘Once we get the crypt refurbished, we’ll be able to extend into there,’ she said.

In 2016, grade A-listed St Conan’s was voted one of the top 10 Scottish buildings of the past 100 years in a public poll.

Designed and built by Walter Douglas Campbell, the kirk’s highlights include the Bruce Chapel, which contains a bone fragment belonging to Robert the Bruce. The church was gifted to The St Conan’s Church Trust in 1884 and is now supported by the Friends of St Conan’s Kirk SCIO, which was formed in 2014.