Bright future for former PoW camp
A project to convert huts into self-catering accommodation is the latest in a long line of community initiatives to preserve Perthshire’s historic Cultybraggan Camp
A former prisoner of war camp in Scotland is to be given a new lease of life, thanks to an ambitious community-led project.
Residents of the Perthshire village of Comrie plan to convert part of the nearby Cultybraggan Camp into self-catering accommodation.
Originally built to house German prisoners during the Second World War, 10 of the surviving Nissen huts on the site will be furnished to make them suitable for visiting families, individuals or school groups.
To make the project become a reality, more than £600,000 has been supplied by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and SSE.
A shortfall in cash is currently being subsidised by the sale of shares, which are available to buy until 27 November. At the time of going to press, an additional £22,875 had been raised by 112 backers – enough for the project to go ahead even if the final target of £35,000 is not reached.
“We are asking the community, both locally and further afield, to participate financially in what we trust will be one of many community-based projects,” said Comrie Development Trust chairman Bill Thow.
“I am also delighted that two objectives that are often in conflict here can coincide: the investor will potentially receive a return, but also provide the means to restore a significant part of the camp.”
Following the Second World War, Cultybraggan was retained by the Army and used to train regular soldiers, territorials and cadets before closing in 2004.
The camp was then purchased three years later by the Comrie Development Trust on behalf of the community, and has since been used as a home for several local businesses. There is also an orchard and allotments on the site, as well as a new visitor centre, which opened its doors in 2014.
However, it is hoped that the self-catering project can help the camp become a major heritage attraction and draw tourists with an interest in military history.
Roddy Brown, chairman of the Scottish Military Vehicle Group, was “delighted” to be supporting the initiative.
“This historically interesting site offers an opportunity to save an important physical record of 20th-century military history,” he said.
“We believe that if sensitively preserved and carefully maintained, Cultybraggan has an enormous potential to provide a wide combination of practical and recreational uses, while also preserving a knowledge of the activities of the many thousands of former prisoners of war, service personnel and cadets who passed through its gates over the years.”
10 of the original Nissen huts at Cultybraggan will be converted into self- catering accommodation