On Sunday (01/08) Castle Sinclair Girnigoe will open to the public after a ten-year long restoration. The £700,000 facelift will try to help preserve the castle’s archeological and historical importance, and there are a further two phases planned, making the restoration a multi-million pound project which intends to turn Castle Sinclair Girnigoe into a major tourist attraction.
The 15th century Caithness castle, just north of Wick, was a former stronghold for Clan Sinclair and has lain in ruin since the late 1600s. It is expected that about 100 Sinclairs from all around the world will attend the opening as well as an international Sinclair clan gathering.
The marketing manager at North Highland Tourism, Jill McNicol said, “We have such a strong sense of heritage here in the north Highlands. We aim to use Castle Sinclair Girnigoe to make our offering to visitors even stronger, boosting the economy of this beautiful area.”
The charity Clan Sinclair Trust owns Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, and even though the work on the building has been backed by the likes of Historic Scotland, and the World Monuments Fund, it still had to rely mostly upon private donations to be able to afford the necessary work. The Chief of the Clan Sinclair, and the trust’s chief executive, Malcolm Sinclair, 20th Earl of Caithness, said, “It will be a wonderful day for Clan Sinclair and for the people of Caithness. This is one of Scotland’s finest castles and an icon in the county. We have worked tirelessly to preserve it and I cannot wait to see the pleasure it brings to visitors once open.”
Once restored, it will be one of the few castles in the country open to the public which is accessible for the handicapped.
John Thurso, MP for Sutherland and Easter Ross will carry out the opening by the firing of a volley and the drinking of a dram.