Castle reopens after major repair and renovation project
DUNOLLIE Castle has re- opened after renovations costing £260,000.
Collapsing masonry had necessitated urgent repairs to the 13th- century MacDougall clan seat. The social enterprise Dunollie Projects, to whom the castle was gifted by the MacDougall of Dunollie Preservation Trust in 2013, had to raise the cash to make the ancient vantage point of the Kings of Dalriada safe for visitors.
The team behind Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds closed the building while they found funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, visitor donations and the Clan MacDougall Society of North America.
The work to remove ivy, stabilise walls and build three new interpretive cairns was completed last week.
Staff and donors celebrated as Oban High School volunteers at Dunollie cut the ribbon into the castle vault on Friday, to the tune of Rosalie MacDougall’s Welcome to Brisbane, played by clan piper’s son Donald MacDougall.
‘Look at it: it’s fabulous,’ said Jane Isaacson, Dunollie’s sustainability development manager. ‘It’s the heart of Dunollie. It’s been difficult while it was closed. It’s been a huge job to get the funding.’
Robin MacDougall Morley, son of the current chief, Morag MacDougall of MacDougall, added: ‘We’re impressed. This is the biggest change I’ve known.’
Oban High volunteers Harry Johnston, Toby MacFarlane-Barrow, Lorn MacFarlane, Katrina Pick, Alan Kerr, Nicola MacCallum and Caitlin Cook and, above, Melanie Davies, community engagement officer, gets a bird’s eye view of the work.