£144,000 cash boost for Braemar Castle

Braemar Castle.
Braemar Castle.

Braemar Castle is to receive more than £140,000 from the Scottish Government to help develop its tourism potential and boost educational opportunities at the site.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, announced the funding as part of more than £1m awarded to six buildings through Historic Scotland’s Building Repair Grants Scheme.

Built from 1628 for the Earl of Mar as a stronghold and hunting lodge, this L-plan tower was extensively damaged by fire in 1689, to prevent its use as a government barracks during that year’s Jacobite uprising.

It was not repaired and re-occupied until 1748 when the Hanoverian Government reinstated it as a barracks and added the defensive curtain wall, before it was returned to domestic use in the mid 19th century.

Braemar Castle, located in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, is A-listed and of national importance.

The project is being driven by Braemar Community Ltd, a trust formed in 2004 with the aim of ensuring the viability of the town through sustainable development.

The Trustees want to develop the castle’s potential as a tourist attraction and local education resource, and to open the unused upper areas for special events and conferences.

Cabinet Secretary Ms Hyslop said: “This grant will help secure the future of a unique building.

“Our heritage lies at the heart of our identity, and contributes substantially to our reputation at home and abroad.

“In tough economic times, maintaining our historic environment ensures valuable sites such as Braemar Castle will continue to play a key role in their communities from helping to maintain skills and jobs in the traditional building trades through to maximising their tourism potential.”

Around three-quarters of the local community are members of the trust, and the acquisition of the castle attracted a team of volunteers offering skills and guiding services for the property.

The recent re-opening of the castle has increased visitor numbers to the town, and the trust now plans to further preserve the property to ensure wider public, economic and educational benefits.

Chairman of Braemar Community Ltd, Simon Blackett, said: “This funding will help safeguard the castle for future generations to enjoy, allowing us to carry out urgent repairs to the roof and move forward in developing a sustainable visitor attraction and educational resource.

“The community are committed to the castle and have worked hard to get this far, it’s encouraging to see that effort recognised and acknowledged by the Scottish Government.”