Caisteal Bharraich

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Application Type

AABC Conservation

Level of Award

Commendation

Region

Scotland

Local Authority Area

Highland

Information about this scheme

The brief was to work with the local community to stabilise and consolidate Caisteal Bharraich, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, for the benefit of the community as an asset promoting the understanding and enjoyment of heritage in the local area. Part of the remit was to improve accessibility, both physically and intellectually, as the building was poorly interpreted and difficult to enter. The design approach was led by conservation principles. The consolidation works were limited to infilling voids using existing stone recovered from the site, deep packing and repointing, and using photographs to rebuild recently-collapsed stonework as close to its original position as possible. The improved access was established through five options which were assessed on their benefit, cost and impacts. The chosen option is a freestanding internal steel structure with slender sections fixed to bedrock. This gives access into the castle via a walkway above the earth floor, and then takes visitors up to a wallhead viewing platform via a spiral stair. The slim structure minimises visual impacts and the suspended walkways reduce erosion of the historic structure. The implementation of the project involved a substantial element of pre-planning due to the inaccessible site and lack of services. The majority of material, including the scaffolding, was brought to site by helicopter at the commencement and completion of works to reduce the damaging effect of vehicular traffic to and from the site. The stair was also brought to site by air and the prefabricated sections were carefully lowered into position within the restored structure. The project shows a visible sign of renewed investment and regeneration in the area which has secured the future of the monument and enhanced its benefits. It has been successful as it has opened up the building to a wider range of visitors, giving striking panoramic views from the new platform for all to enjoy.

Credits

Other

G. Brown Stonemason Ltd.

Structural Engineer

David Narro Associates

Quantity Surveyor

Morham & Brotchie Ltd.

Archaeologist

CFA Archaeology Ltd.

Landscape Architect

Land Use Consultants Ltd.

Architect

Groves-Raines Architects

Client

WildLand Ltd.

Primary Use Class

Class D2 - Assembly and Leisure