Tourism potential of crumbling castles to be investigated
October 26 2020
A report by the Scottish Tourism Recovery Task Force has recommended the trial of a new initiative to replicate the Spanish Parador hotel network, as part of measures to boost the struggling leisure and tourism sector.
The Parador system sees historic buildings repurposed as centres of culture and history to provide a more authentic visitor experience while safeguarding landmark palaces, castles and fortresses found off the beaten track.
Operated by the state-run Tourism Paradores the network is known for combining high standards of food, accommodation and service, attracting visitors and providing much-needed income for maintenance and upkeep.
Welcoming the initiative architect Alan Dunlop said: "If Scotland could replicate such an initiative it could be incredible, creating tourism opportunities which could lead to the opening up of ancient routes and possible restoration of many of our abandoned castles and tower houses, from the Scottish borders, through Perth and Kinross, Fife and Moray.
"Of course, many of the castles and tower houses like Baltersan Castle in Ayrshire; Blairfindy Castle in Moray; Pittairthie Castle in Fife and my favourite the spectacular Keiss Castle in Caithness in are in such a ruinous condition that they are probably beyond restoration but Collarnie Castle in Fife; Earlston Castle in Dalry; Fairburn Tower near Muir of Ord, Castle Tioram on Loch Moidart and particularly Donnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire are not.
"Even our more important contemporary buildings, like the Bernat Klein Studio on the borders and now deteriorating fast would make a stunning small luxury hotel."
The Scottish Government will now consider the recommendations, which will require a combination of public private-finance to get off the ground and operate in tandem with accommodation already operated by the National Trust.
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