Fife castle remains closed after inspections reveal structural issues

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Hopes that Kirkcaldy’s historic Ravenscraig Castle would re-open soon have been dashed after inspections revealed structural problems with the access bridge.

The landmark building has been closed for a significant period of time as checks were carried out as part of a major Scotland-wide programme by Historic Environment Scotland (HES).

And while other historic buildings, including Aberdour Castle, are set to re-open for the summer season, the gates to Ravenscraig will remain behind barriers.

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HES said it had no definitive timetable for the castle’s re-opening, but it continues to be a magnet for youths scaling its walls and, in some cases, causing further damage. Barriers blocking access to the main bridge have been pushed aside, and youths have been seen on the remains of its roof.

Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy remains closed to the public (Pic: Fife Free Press)Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy remains closed to the public (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Ravenscraig Castle in Kirkcaldy remains closed to the public (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Ravenscraig, which dates back to the 15th century, was one of many castles and historic landmarks closed to allow checks to be carried out.

It was originally planned in the first batch of inspections, but pushed back to allow part of the site to be inspected by rope access and for the protection of nesting birds at the castle. The main access path leading from behind The Kyles was, for a time, blocked off to allow work to take place.

In 2021, Ravenscraig Castle suffered more vandalism as it became a meeting point for people at night. People climbed to the top of the East Tower – some 45ft from the ground – to throw stonework taken from the castle walls, a window grill on the first floor was forced open with stonework damaged as a result, and wall-head stones thrown from the East Tower.

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A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said: “There is currently no exact timescale for reopening the property although we ideally hope to have some public access this year.

“Inspections at the site have taken place, with works completed to ensure the castle is safe from any risks of falling high level masonry.

“However, the inspection did find structural issues with the access bridge, meaning for safety reasons, this cannot currently be used by the public. We will however, be looking this year at further surveys and options for repair or replacement of the bridge.

“We also aim to complete works this year on new staircases at the castle, to allow access without use of the drawbridge, and giving access to the interior for the first time in many years. We are also in contact with Fife Council on opportunities for developing the visitor offer at Ravenscraig Castle.”