Dumbarton Castle is set to reopen by early spring following the completion of high level masonry inspections.

Access restrictions were put in place at the start of last year, as a safety precaution while Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which manages the site, introduced new measures to manage the impact of climate change on its heritage assets.

The High Level Masonry Programme, which is the result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys, assesses the impact of climate change on sites as well as the scale of deterioration caused by factors including the materials used in the building’s construction, its age and physical location.

HES said it is thought to be among the first heritage managers to approach risk assessment in this way, and will share its results with peer organisations.

The tactile inspection of Dumbarton Castle, which took 20 working days, was completed late last year. Now, necessary repairs and checks are being carried out before the site reopens in March 2023.

Access restriction will remain in place at the Spur Battery, which will exclude access to the Spanish and Bower Batteries.

Ground level restrictions also remain in areas around the base of the Rock, however, this is managed as part of routine rock risk and is not part of the High Level Masonry Programme.

The majority of the 800-year-old site will be open to visitors by Spring, including The Governor’s House, the Guard House and Portcullis Arch, the remains of the White Tower which are on top of the highest point of the site, the French Prison, Wallace Tower, the Magazine and Crane Bastion.

HES has completed similar inspections at 25 sites across the country since May, with a further 13 due for completion by Spring 2023.

Dumbarton Castle will be the latest site to reopen as part of the prioritised programme of inspections, following sites such as Doune Castle, Burleigh Castle, Dundonald Castle and St Andrews Castle which reopened after their surveys were carried out.

Craig Mearns, Director of Operations at HES, said: “We are working as quickly as we can to reopen our historic sites, and we appreciate the public’s patience while we undertake these necessary inspections and subsequent repairs.

“We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the iconic site as soon as we have carried out the final checks and implemented any additional safety measures.

The site will announce more specific opening details on its website and social media channels.

Back to top