WINTON Castle in East Lothian is using the quieter months during the coronavirus pandemic to restore its 400-year-old chimneys.
The 20 chimneys – each standing as tall as an African elephant – were comissioned by George Seton, 3rd Earl of Winton and 10th Lord Seton.
For the six-month restoration project, Niall Braidwood, a sonservation architect with property consultancy firm Ogilvy Chalmers, has brought in Edinburgh-based stonemasons Scott & Brown as the main contractor.
Sir Francis Ogilvy, the owner of Winton Castle, said: “Even the chimneys created by the King’s master mason need some tender-loving care – perhaps all the more so since the ones at Winton Castle have an ornate rope design making them uniquely intricate.
“Fashionable as status symbols, the chimneys were intended to impress, but now four of them need to be dismantled for restoration work and rebuilt.
“This project has been planned for a long time, with detailed research into all elements of the work.
“If we’re to find a silver lining to the serious limitations the pandemic imposes on hospitality business, getting this done now offers one.”
Sir Francis added: “Winton Castle has already reopened for small events – since the summer we’ve been running some socially distanced meetings, garden parties, micro-weddings and outdoor activities for clients, all within the guidelines.
“This much-loved castle hopes to open its doors again for larger events next spring or summer in its best state ever – ready to play a part on the national hospitality stage, as it has done since its early days for the Earl of Winton.”
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