The community of Braemar is celebrating as scaffolding goes up and £100,000 worth of work is about to get underway on the first phase of repairs to the roof of Braemar Castle.
The local community took over the operation of the castle in 2007 on an “improving” lease from Invercauld Estate.
Closed for a number of years, the building was in need of considerable work both externally and internally. Minor restoration and renovation work by the community made it possible for the castle to re-open to visitors in 2008.
Since then, volunteers have acted as guides, operated the shop, looked after the courtyard garden as well as general admin and organising events such as the annual Jacobite Day.
However, major work is required to conserve and restore the Castle and since re-opening, the community has been both raising and pursuing funding.
In August the local fund-raising target of £20,000 was reached which has allowed funds, already pledged by Historic Scotland and the Cairngorms Leader Fund, to be released so that work can now begin on the priority repairs to the leaking roof.
Chairman of Braemar Community Ltd, Simon Blackett, says: “This is an exciting and significant achievement for the community. The people of the village and the Friends of Braemar Castle have worked hard to get to this stage.
We still have a long way to go to bring the castle up to standard but we’re confident that with the enthusiasm and commitment shown so far, we will get there.
We want to make sure that the castle continues to attract visitors to Braemar and that everyone can enjoy the many fun learning opportunities the castle offers.”
Historic Scotland has agreed to release £33,000 of the £144,600 already pledged; the Cairngorms Leader Fund will provide £45,000 with community fundraising making up the balance.
Mr Blackett said : “At present, we are actively pursuing further funding so that we can make full use of the outlay on the scaffolding and complete all the work feasible from this platform.
We welcome any help and donations can be made at www.braemarcastle.co.uk.”
The castle will continue to be open to visitors while work is underway.
Opening hours are from 10 until 4 at weekends.
“Visitors will now be able to see visible progress to the outside of the building and be able to appreciate that it is more than just the community who believe this iconic building should have a future,” Mr Blackett added.