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Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness reopens


By Andrew Dixon

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Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness today welcomed visitors for the first time since mid-March.

The site had been closed due to the pandemic – its longest period of closure since World War II.

Following a thorough process to ready the site for the safe return of staff and visitors, those visiting the castle will be able to enjoy its historic outdoor spaces and magnificent loch-side location, as well as access to part of Grant Tower – a magnificent five-storey tower house built during the 1500s.

A number of new safety and hygiene measures are in place at the Historic Environment Scotland (HES) site. Tickets must be booked in advance, while on-site cash payments are no longer being accepted for the foreseeable future, with visitors being asked to use contactless payment where possible.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “Our historic sites are internationally renowned symbols of Scotland, and their reopening is an important milestone not only for our organisation, but for the country as a whole as we continue on our journey to recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It has taken a significant amount of planning to reach this point, and I’m very proud of the efforts of all of our staff who have been instrumental in making these sites ready to safely welcome visitors once again.

“I’d also like to thank visitors for their patience throughout this period of uncertainty, and offer reassurance that the safety and quality of their visitor experience has been at the forefront of our preparations.

“The tourism sector will be central to Scotland’s national recovery, and our historic attractions are a key part of that tourism offering. We’re also encouraging people across Scotland to visit historic sites in their local area and rediscover the rich history on their doorstep.

“We’ve already enabled access to over 200 of our unstaffed and key keeper sites across the country, and with our top three most-visited attractions set to open this weekend, we are now working to reopen a further 23 ticketed sites on a rolling basis throughout August and in to mid-September to offer access across Scotland to the heritage sites in our care.”

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