Media release: Carbisdale Castle counts cost of the Big Freeze


CARBISDALE Castle, SYHA Hostelling Scotland’s flagship hostel has fallen victim to one of the coldest winters on record – forcing the Grade B-listed hostel to be closed for repair.

During the exceptionally cold spells rainwater conductor pipes froze on the west wing of the historic building.

These frozen pipes then prevented water draining away from the roof when the thaw came, resulting in seepage through into ceiling areas, causing severe damage to the castle’s ornate plasterwork.

Chief executive, Keith Legge, said: “Most of the damage is in the west wing, which is where the kitchens and event areas are situated so we have no other option but to close until repairs are completed.

“Our insurers and contractors are in the process of fully assessing the level of damage but we know that this will involve excessive specialist plasterwork restoration.”

The castle, one of Hostelling Scotland’s most popular venues, was almost fully booked.

Managers have been busy contacting guests including school groups and wedding parties to break the news.

“It is incredibly disappointing for our guests, especially those that have booked group events months in advance.

“We have managed to relocate two wedding parties to our Loch Lomond hostel and are doing all that we can to help find alternate venues and accommodation for all our guests either within our own network or with other operators.

“Our main focus at the moment is to ensure that the castle is restored sympathetically and that guests who have been inconvenienced as a result of the damage are looked after and helped to find alternative venues and accommodation.”

Hostelling Scotland awaits further clarification from contractors on exact timescales for the repair works but the charity hopes to reopen Carbisdale Castle in time to make the most of the summer season.

The castle, built for the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland in 1906 has a large collection of art including 19 Italian marble statues dating back to 1857.

The collection has been placed into protective storage for the duration of the works.

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Contact: Ann Confrey
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