Great news from our members at MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust:
“Scaffolding has re-appeared on Dunollie Castle Ruin over the last couple of weeks, meaning an exciting conservation project is about to begin.
The third phase of consolidation works will commence on 24th February, to repair and point the northwest and northeast walls of the ruin. This will make the structure safe and provide public access to the upstairs of the tower. Once all four walls have been secured, a second flight of ancient stairs hidden within the upper walls will be opened, leading visitors up to a new viewing platform at second-floor level.
Sustainability & Development Manager, Jane Isaacson, is co-ordinating the project, “We are delighted to be working with CP Architects of Oban. Iain Campbell, CP, has put together a great team including conservation architect Paul Barham of Barham Glen, Ben Adam of David Narro conservation engineers, Tommy McQuade of Morham & Brotchie and archaeologist Roddy Regan. Gary Simpson of Heritage Consolidation Ltd and his team of stonemasons who worked on the previous two phases, will be returning to carry out the physical works.”
In 1998 Dunollie Castle, along with Gylen Castle on Kerrera, was gifted for safekeeping to the charity ‘The MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust’ (DPT) by the MacDougall family. In 2013, falling stones demanded the closure of the castle for public safety and the charity has been working hard since then to preserve this important monument. £750,000 was raised from grants and donations to invest in the first two phases of works to prevent further collapse. In 2014 the castle compound was reopened safely to the public, followed by the vaulted basement in 2016.
As the only scheduled monument in Oban, Dunollie Castle is significant in the heritage of the Argyll area and is enjoyed by many, from international visitors tracing their ancestry, school groups learning about local history or a fond sight for locals passing on the ferry.
Gillian Campbell DPT’s Marketing Manager said, “This is a very exciting time for Dunollie. Since the castle structure was closed in 2014, people always ask to see the inside of the castle. It will bring a new experience for community groups, locals and visitors who can remember exploring the ancient ruin many years ago”.
Over the last year, DPT has been actively working on fundraising to ensure this important stage of works would go ahead, with Phase III coming to an overall cost of £224,000. The Trust was thrilled with the recent news of an award totalling £141,605 from Historic Environment Scotland, and through efforts of the Dunollie team over £30,000 has been raised to date with donations from visitors to the attraction as well as generous contributions from The Clan MacDougall Society of North America.
DPT are now undertaking the final fundraising push to hit the £224,000 target. Local business are invited to join the “Save Our Skyline” Campaign, where they can book an advertising banner on the herras fencing around Dunollie Castle and have the opportunity to be seen by the 22,000 visitors who visit the site annually. The team at Dunollie will be hosting the popular “Behind The Scenes” Castle Tours for selected dates throughout March & April, giving visitors the opportunity to meet with the conservation team and find out more about works on the monument.
A Skyline Fundraiser Dinner will be taking place in The Royal Hotel on Saturday 7th March 2020. Tickets include a delicious 3 course meal prepared by local chefs Colin Felgate and Michael France, a display of Dunollie’s new textiles range by Oban High School Pathways Students, an auction, raffle and live music from ‘The Boogies’ and ‘Creel’ bands. Dunollie’s ‘Save The Stones’ campaign will also run until the end of May, where supporters can sponsor a stone at the castle for as little as £5.
If you would like to find out more about conservation works or how you can help fundraising efforts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets for Skyline Castle Fundraiser Dinner are on sale now www.dunollie.org/events.”
Find out more about Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds here: Dunollie.org