Game of Thrones and Outlander castle among historic Scottish buildings at risk of falling masonry

Some of Scotland's most important historic sites have been closed to the public after inspectors identified a potential risk of falling masonry.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 4:45 pm

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Iconic sites including which are now no-go areas include Doune Castle in Perthshire, where scenes from Outlander, Game of Thrones and Monty Python and the Holy Grail were filmed.

The ancient pile has starred as Winterfell – home of the ‘King in the North’ – in a pilot for Game of Thrones, played the fictional Castle Leoch in Outlander and was given at least three parts – Camelot, Castle Anthrax and the Castle of Aarrgh” - in the Python movie.

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Out of bounds: Doune Castle

It joins Linlithgow Palace, St Andrews Cathedral, Craigmillar Castle and Jedburgh Abbey among nearly 20 properties across Scotland that have been "closed or partially closed" following inspections by teams of masonry and structural integrity experts.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said: "Planned inspections recently carried out at some of our properties identified a potential safety risk to visitors and staff from unstable masonry at high level.

"We have therefore taken the decision to close or partially close some sites as a precautionary measure until inspections can take place.

Closed: Craigmillar Castle

"Where we are able to safely maintain access to sites we will do so with reduced ticket prices to visitors while inspection work on site takes place. However, some areas of these sites will be closed to visitors."

The affected sites include Jedburgh Abbey; St Andrews Cathedral; Arbroath Abbey and Abbots House; Melrose Abbey; Kelso Abbey; Dryburgh Abbey; Caerlaverock Castle; Tantallon Castle; Doune Castle; Linlithgow Palace; Craigmillar Castle; Dirleton Castle; Maybole Collegiate Church; and Dundonald Castle.

Inspections are also being carried out at some sites, which are currently closed, including Dunkeld Cathedral; Crichton Castle; Bothwell Castle; MacLellan's Castle; and Rothesay Castle.

No go: Linlithgow Palace

HES said any visitors with pre-booked tickets to the sites had been contacted, and apologised for "any inconvenience this may cause".

They added: "We know how keen visitors and members are to access sites however the safety of our visitors and staff is our first concern and we are prioritising a programme of further inspection works at these sites.

"We are also continuing to reopen a number of other sites to our members and visitors including most recently Edzell Castle and Dundrennan Abbey and will be announcing more sites over the upcoming weeks."

Threat: Dirleton Castle

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No visitors: Melrose Abbey