Castle webinar goes down well

There was huge support from all sides present for the castle becoming visitor accommodation once more.

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An interested audience of nearly 80 people from all over the UK, the USA and Europe joined the recent webinar concerning the future of Kinloch Castle.

During the afternoon, Simon Montgomery from Historic Environment Scotland demonstrated how the castle is architecturally interesting and has been misunderstood as Scots Baronial.

He was followed by heritage surveyor Hugh Garratt who explained the quality of the architecture by Leeming and Leeming has led to the castle surviving up to now but that it cannot survive much longer without restoration.

Chris Donald from NatureScot showed how special the Isle of Rum is from a natural history point of view, with Denis Rixson of Highland Council and Isle of Rum Community Trust giving an overview of the archaeological and historical significance.

VisitScotland chairman Lord Thurso spoke of the impact Covid has had on the view of tourism in Scotland and why things need to change, leading onto his experience of creating quality hotels. He spoke of the millennials who regard efforts to reduce climate change and environmental impact as being major factors in their choice for holiday destinations.

Toby Fichtner Irvine from Gallanach Lodge on Muck spoke of the importance of the high quality of stalking on Rum and the lack of enough suitable accommodation as well as the suitability of the castle to provide this.

Kate Forbes MSP gave her views on the need for repopulation of the island, which requires more housing and employment opportunities but again major points are climate change and environmental damage.

The series of short talks ended with a view of the Rum National Nature Reserve as an outdoor laboratory and how it has achieved that over the years, by Professor Josephine Pemberton FRS of Edinburgh University and the Rum Deer Study.

NatureScot has no further use for the castle. It was clear there was huge support from all sides present for the castle becoming visitor accommodation once more and going out of NatureScot control.