Fatlips Castle, one of the most iconic and much-loved structures in the Borders, has been restored thanks to funding from Historic Scotland, SBC’s Landfill Tax Credit Scheme and the Minto family. The Castle which sits atop Minto Craggs (SSSI) fell into disrepair in recent years, with much of the roof, parapet walls and interiors destroyed, largely due to vandalism. The Tweed Forum-managed £220,000 project has been made possible through a 70% funding award from Historic Scotland plus monies from SBC’s Landfill Tax Credit Scheme and support from the Minto family.
UPDATE May 2013 – a key Borders landmark has been preserved for future generations
The extensive consolidation and restoration of Fatlips Castle is now complete. John Munro, the building contractor, worked tirelessly, in some atrocious conditions, over the last year to get the work completed on time and to budget. The physical remoteness of the castle made the building works extremely challenging (much of the parapet stone had to be transported up the Minto Craigs one at a time by argocat) and his team deserves much credit.
The castle has been the subject of continued vandalism for decades and making the castle secure has been a challenge. With access arrangements for the castle now in place, thanks to the current Earl of Minto, it is hoped that this will reduce such negative attention. Timothy Elliot, current Earl of Minto, told Tweed Forum he was “very pleased that we have been able to secure this special place for local people to enjoy”.
“Our family has struggled with arresting the vandalism for years and I very much hope that people will appreciate the extraordinary effort and investment that has gone into making this structure stand proud in the landscape once again. Many of the original features have been restored, including the roof and parapets, and we are allowing limited access to the structure for those who are interested. The views from the top of the castle over Teviotdale are truly memorable.
This is the culmination of many years of work to build a funding package and appoint a team to carry out the works. None of this would have been possible without the support of the Elliots of Minto, Historic Scotland, Scottish Borders Council and the Landfill Community Fund.
A key is available (with a small charge to cover maintenance) from the T.B. Oliver garage in Denholm for those wishing to visit the tower.
UPDATE June 2012
After many years of planning, work has finally started on Fatlips Castle. The castle’s remote location has made the restoration work particularly challenging as there is no vehicular access. This meant that the first job was to restore the old track that had become overgrown with Rhododendrons so that the scaffold could be taken up by argocat. Work has progressed very quickly, with the scaffold ensuring that the remains of the roof could be taken down in a controlled way. Despite the arrival of gale-force winds, workers managed to rescue the roof trusses before they collapsed.
The next job was to recover as much of the parapet walls as possible. Over the years, these had all been pushed from the top of the building and some of the stonework had come to rest a long way from the castle and subsequently been buried. Whilst searching for the stone, the contractor found the old iron yett that used to adorn the entrance many decades ago. Stone masons have now been tasked with cutting new stone to fill the gaps. The next stage of the work will involve rebuilding the masonry walls in preparation for the installation of the new roof trusses.