Historic Fife castle remains out of bounds as inspections continue

A call has been made to ensure Fife’s historic landmarks can be re-opened to the public as soon as possible.
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Aberdour Castle will have its inspection in October - but partial access may be possible before then.

Claire Baker, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, welcomed the news following a recent visit.

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It came as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced the re-opening of Scotstarvit Tower in Cupar after a two-year closure because of the pandemic.

Fences block the path to Ravenscraig Castle (Pic: Scott Louden)Fences block the path to Ravenscraig Castle (Pic: Scott Louden)
Fences block the path to Ravenscraig Castle (Pic: Scott Louden)

But a number of other historic sites – including Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy - remain out of bounds to the public.

And it may be some time before they get to explore its ruins once more.

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The path leading to the castle, which sits behind The Kyles, has been blocked off while inspections continue.

Aberdour Castle (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Aberdour Castle (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Aberdour Castle (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
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A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “Public access is currently restricted at Ravenscraig Castle as a precautionary measure until we carry out a high level masonry inspection.

"The site was originally planned into the first batch of inspections that have just finished, however, it has since been moved into the next batch to allow part of the site to be inspected by rope access and for the protection of nesting birds on the site.

"The inspection is now scheduled for early autumn.”HES said that because of the castle’s location, with its steep slopes and moat, safety reasons meant the whole perimeter has had to be fenced of – including the main access path.”The spokesperson added: “We are also currently exploring a joint project at the castle with Fife Council, looking at future opportunities to provide access to the interior, as well as the exterior of the site.”

While Ravenscraig remains out of bounds to the public, there is good news at Aberdour which has been welcomed by Ms Baker – but she also raised concerns budget cuts to HES would impact its programme of inspections and repairs.

Ravenscraig Castle. (Pic: Scott Louden)Ravenscraig Castle. (Pic: Scott Louden)
Ravenscraig Castle. (Pic: Scott Louden)
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The recent Spending Review indicated that its funding will be cut by £13m over the next five years and is expected to be made up through increased HES income.

Ms Baker said: “I welcome the news that the high level survey at Aberdour will be carried out in October and the potential for partial access will be looked at before then.

“I was also pleased to hear about progress at other important Mid Scotland and Fife sites, including St Andrews Cathedral which is expected to have partial access in place in time for the Open Championship.”But she added: “There is still a lot of work to be done and a number of sites are not yet scheduled for inspection.”

Ms Baker said the heritage sector was a key part of Fife’s tourism strategy and added: “It is important that the inspection and repair programme be completed in full, but without unnecessary delay so those communities are not missing out on related benefits. I am urging the Scottish Government to ensure support is in place for this.

Meanwhile, the doors to Scotstarvit Tower have reopened.

Visitor access to the site, including the interior of the tower, is possible when the nearby Hill of Tarvit Mansion is open - but access to the parapet is still not yet permitted.