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Culture Minister launches Scottish Castles website

10 September 2009

Details of Scottish castles and tower-houses that are suitable for future restoration and reuse are to be listed online for the first time, Culture Minister Michael Russell announced today.

The initiative is being led by Historic Scotland and aims to encourage financial investment in the refurbishment of Scotland’s built heritage during the economic downturn. It will also provide advice on the consent process, good practice and previous projects with the aim of revitalising existing buildings.

Michael Russell said: “We have a great tradition in Scotland of successfully bringing these historic buildings back into use. It requires investment, determination and an understanding of the character, history and archaeology of the building.

“This register will show some of the types of properties that Historic Scotland believes can be sympathetically restored and will give the owners access to the most recent guidance on how to go about this. I am delighted to announce that the first castles and tower houses on that list are published today and am sure that as the project continues more and more people will benefit from the advice and guidance it will provide.”

The main aims of the project are:
  • The preparation, maintenance and publication of an online register of castles and tower houses which demonstrate the characteristics that would enable a successful scheme for restoration to be developed
  • A guide to castle and tower-house restoration drawing on successful past projects, showing best practice and acting as a resource pack for prospective owners and developers
  • A publication outlining the history of castle and tower-house restoration in Scotland
  • Identification of exemplary projects to encourage further development of craft-skills, best practice and to foster public understanding of the history of Scottish castles and tower-houses, their conservation and/or their restoration.

The Minister added: “This project will support and encourage those people who are inspired to take on the challenge of repairing and reusing our wonderful architectural legacy. It may be that their vision is to create a home, business or heritage attraction, but whatever the end use, this website will allow them to benefit from the expertise of others.”

Last month Historic Scotland announced that conservation architects Simpson and Brown had been appointed to co-write the restoration advice.

The initial register of 17 sites can be found at  The register will be updated as the project continues.

Notes for editors

  • Images of the Minister launching the Castle’s Initiative at Barholm Castle are available on request.

  • The project is supported by a Scottish Castles Initiative’s external reference group which includes  Marc Ellington (Chair and Historic Scotland Non-executive Director); Mia Scott (Association of Preservation Trusts); Carol Swanson (Association of Local Government Archaeology Officers); John  Hunter (Scottish Castles Association); Geoff Stell (Castle Studies Group); Ben Tindall; Lachie Stewart; and Andrew Wright

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament. For more information visit

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations

For further information

Lisa Nicholson
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852 or 07500 065 438