Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Kiltmaker uses mini tank course to fund castle restoration

After decades languishing as yet another restoration project that didn’t have the money needed to turn it into reality, A-listed Duntarvie Castle near Winchburgh in West Lothian looks set to make the transition from “I wish” to “I can“.

Historic Scotland Data Website – Listed Buildings: DUNTARVIE CASTLE

In a welcome move that flies in the face of most criticism that it is not willing to move to help restorations move forward, Historic Scotland has granted Geoffrey Nicholsby  permission to build a miniature tank obstacle course around the ruins of Duntarvie Castle, and create an innovative tourist attraction. Most stories I find in the news grouse about how Historic Scotland doesn’t move forward, and baulks change.

The same vision cannot be said of Newton Community Council, which is reported to have opposed the proposal, on the basis that the activity was not appropriate for the grounds of a historic building.

While Historic Scotland now seems to appreciates the huge amounts of money that disappear into a money-pit project such as a castle restoration, its spokesman said:

“In our comments to the local authority we noted the impact this development would have on the historic setting of Duntarvie Castle. However, having considered all elements of the proposal, including the potential to cross-fund the restoration of the castle, we recognised the merits, in principle, of such a proposal.”

And Linlithgow ward councillor Martyn Day congratulated the businessman for investing in the fabric of Duntarvie Castle, and said:

“The idea’s another outdoor leisure activity and it’ll help boost tourism. It can only be good news and it’s a stone’s throw from Edinburgh, which is a good place to have that kind of business. I hope it works.”

The absence of a quote from the community council probably says enough.

Via Kiltmaker unveils mini tank obstacle course – Latest news – Scotsman.com

And Tank play park at Duntarvie Castle in West Lothian gets go-ahead

I’m not sure why there seem to be so many adverse comments about this. The remains have looked pretty much as seen below for some years, but unlike many ruins, this one has been fenced and supported by scaffolding for some time. Most lie open, and end up vandalised and fire damaged.

Who am I kidding? I know fine well why the adverse comments fly… jealousy and envy. The owner is a successful kiltmaker and businessman – and that’s just not allowed.

Duntarvie Castle

Duntarvie Castle 2011 © M J Richardson via geograph

The owner plans  to have the project up and running on the 8-acre site by summer 2014, beginning with four of the mini-tanks – which cost £10,000 each – and later increasing the number to eight. Visitors will be able to drive the tracked vehicles, known as Funtrak Panzers, around terrain including river crossings, mud, humps and corners, and some of the tiny tanks will be fitted with laser guns and detectors. A successful shot resulting in disabling the drive on an opposing tank. Stationary targets will also be situated around the course.

Although small, the tanks still weight about half a tonne, and  a special track is to be laid to stop the ground being damaged.

The plan is to divert half of the profits from the course into work on the castle, and first job is to render the structure wind and water-tight, a task estimated to need about £1 million.

The tanks:

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April 17, 2013 - Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , ,

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