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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 17:17 GMT
Lottery bid could 'save' castle
Dunvegan Castle
The lottery money would help repair Dunvegan Castle
A 25m application has been made to the National Lottery in the hope of saving a clan chief's historic castle.

John MacLeod of MacLeod, the 29th chief of his clan, is the owner of Dunvegan Castle and the Black Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye.

The dilapidated home could now be given the funding in return for Mr MacLeod giving the mountains up for community ownership.

The application is one of the largest bids ever submitted.

It is being fronted by Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise on behalf of a consortium, which includes the local authority.

The site has been owned by the MacLeod family for more than 800 years, although the castle is the result of a restoration by the 25th chief between 1840 and 1850.

Part of the deal would be that the castle would come into public ownership through some kind of community-based trust
Robert Muir
Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise

Mr Macleod caused outrage six years ago when he tried to sell the mountains, a major tourist attraction and climbers favourite, for 10m to raise the money needed to fix Dunvegan Castle's leaky roof.

The move infuriated islanders and prompted an investigation of ancient title deeds to establish whether his ownership was legal.

Under the lottery application, a grant would be used to restore the castle, tidy up the grounds and develop the existing visitor centre.

A ranger service would also be established in the Cuillins, which would be run as a form of wilderness park.

It is understood that if the bid is successful, Mr MacLeod, 60, would give up ownership of both Dunvegan Castle and the mountains but would still have residence rights.

Big employer

Separate community trusts would be set up to run them.

Robert Muir, chief executive of Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise, said the fund's response should be known in two or three months.

The overall cost of the project is estimated at about 30m.

Mr Muir said: "Dunvegan Castle is one of the most important visitor attractions in the west Highlands and it is a very big employer in terms of the local economy.

"Part of the deal would be that the castle would come into public ownership through some kind of community-based trust.

"It would not just be money for the castle but also for the visitor centre and there is also the idea of having a wilderness park."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
See Dunvegan Castle and the Cuillins



SEE ALSO:
Question over Cuillins transfer
07 Jul 04 |  Scotland
Cuillins to be gifted to Scotland
09 Jul 03 |  Scotland
Cuillins owner considers 'gift'
20 Jul 01 |  Scotland
Protest over access to Cuillins
10 Apr 01 |  Scotland
New twist in Cuillins sale
19 Jul 00 |  Scotland
Cuillins ownership fight ruled out
18 Jul 00 |  Scotland


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