Scottish Field – March 2023
English | 166 pages | pdf | 133.57 MB
Welcome at Scottish Field Magazine March 2023 issue
I vividly remember when I discovered that Eilean Donan – Scotland’s third most visited castle – is a pastiche, a figment ofLieutenant-Colone!John MacRae-Gilstrap’s imagination. He imagined what he thought a pile of old stones should have looked like, and then built his perfect castle between the wars. The final insult was the revelation that the iconic bridge across which Christopher Lambert walked in Highlander didn’t exist until the 1930s.
Actually, the final, final insult came when I found out that another iconic island redoubt, Castle Stalker (famous for its cinematic role in Monty Python and the Holy Grail), was largely rebuilt by Lt. Col. Stewart Allward, a solicitor from Surrey who, like MacRae-Gilstrap, reimagined what the castle should have looked like. It was those revelations, plus the sad decline of Castle Tio ram and Kinloch Castle on Rum, which heightened my interest in the fate of these old buildings. What should we do with them – let them rot until they have to be pulled down, or allow people to renovate them and (God forbid!) even live in them?
It’s a battle that has been waged energetically between prospective renovators and the conservation sector, who have no skin in the game and a general propensity towards negativity. So when Mary Miers, who founded the Buildings At Risk Register, suggested she write about the vogue for doing up Tower Houses, and the obstacles preventing this, I quickly agreed.
I think the result is fascinating – feel free to write and tell me if you agree.
Richard Bath, Editor