£1.9m to help Highlands heritage

Visitors having picnics outside of Braemar Castle
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has invested £1.9million to support the development of three spectacular Scottish heritage sites.

Braemar Castle, Dundreggan Rewilding Centre and Strathnaver Museum are all treasured tourism sites in the Highlands of Scotland. Unfortunately the Highlands’ rural tourism has been heavily impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19), with a recent impact survey reporting that the visitor spend is down by up to £564m.

"We applaud the hard work and commitment of the communities involved and hope it will allow them to look ahead with renewed optimism."

Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director of Scotland.

The £1.9m of funding will see new projects improve infrastructure, visitor offer, engagement and accessibility.

Caroline Clark, Director of Scotland for The Fund, said: “We are pleased to be able to support the rural economies that we have funded today. We applaud the hard work and commitment of the communities involved, particularly given the challenges they have had to face over the last year, and hope it will allow them to look ahead with renewed optimism.”

World’s first rewilding centre

Dundreggan Rewilding Centre approach visualisation copyright Threesixty Architecture
Visualisation of Dundreggan Rewilding Centre. Image credit: Threesixty Architecture

Dundreggan, a 10,000-acre estate in Glenmoriston near Loch Ness, has received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £702,300 for Trees for Life to establish the world’s first rewilding centre.

The new centre will include displays and interpretation in English and Gaelic, along with a café, classrooms, Gaelic Resource Centre and events space. Outdoor facilities will include fully accessible trails, children’s forest experience and more challenging trails.

The centre will also provide events and experiences for visitors and groups with specific needs – such as those with physical or learning disabilities, families, and schools. It is expected to welcome more than 50,000 visitors annually.

Castle upgrades

Breamar Castle
Braemar Castle

Braemar Castle, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, has received a £555,900 Heritage Fund grant to renew its harling (wall finish), which is failing to keep water out and away from the castle’s collections.

Access to the castle will also be improved with a new visitor reception and all-weather pathways. The castle’s grounds will be upgraded and used to host a range of community activities focusing on health and wellbeing. Young people will be able to get involved in Jacobite-themed outdoor learning camps, while the restored kitchen garden will be used for therapeutic horticulture.

Transforming a 1750s church

Strathnaver Museum and grounds
Strathnaver Museum and grounds

Strathnaver Museum, which tells the story of the Highland Clearances and the history of the Clan Mackay, has received a grant of £650,000 to further develop its museum - a former 1750s church.

This will include essential repairs to the building, a new annexe and layout to improve the visitor experience, and up-to-date interpretation to tell the stories of the fascinating artefacts it holds. A new archive room will also be created so that the museum can develop a genealogy service.

Find out more about other projects we've funded in Scotland and grants available to heritage organisations in Scotland.

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