Castles, museums and distilleries continue to reopen

MORE of Scotland’s historic landmarks have announced dates for reopening as the coronavirus lockdown continues to ease.

Blackness Castle will reopen on Monday, followed by Inchcolm Abbey, Huntly Castle and Melrose Abbey on Wednesday, and Elgin Cathedral and Caerlaverock Castle on Friday.

Doune Castle, Dunstaffnage Castle and Linlithgow Palace will then reopen on 26 August, followed by Skara Brae, Tantallon Castle and Glasgow Cathedral on 28 August.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which runs the sites, expects to reopen a further 10 locations in September.

The government agency said all the tickets for Edinburgh and Stirling castles were sold when they reopened at the start of the month, with 97% of tickets sold for Urquhart Castle at Loch Ness.

Alex Paterson, chief executive of HES, said: “I am very pleased that we are on track to open 23 ticketed sites by mid-September, and this is all down to the efforts of all of our staff to ensure these historic sites are ready to safely welcome visitors once again.

“We hope the reopening of these iconic sites will help to further demonstrate that Scotland’s tourism industry is open for business, and we thank everyone who has already helped kick start the tourism industry by visiting Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart castles since they reopened at the beginning of this month.”

Birthday present for Sir Walter Scott

Meanwhile, Abbotsford – the historic home of Sir Walter Scott – will reopen on Saturday to mark the author’s birthday.

Giles Ingram, Abbotsford’s chief executive, said: “We have had a phased re-opening of the Abbotsford estate, starting with the walled gardens, the café, shop and five-star accommodation in July.

“It’s now wonderful to be able to complete the final phase and welcome visitors back to the historic house and chapel.”

He added: “At the moment we can only open the house four days a week, but we hope we will be able to increase this.

“We are also planning to extend our season this year and keep the house open through December, with Christmas celebrations for visitors and the local community.”

Ewing toasts Glen Ord’s reopening

Fergus Ewing, the Scottish Government’s rural economy secretary, marked the reopening of Glen Ord distillery’s visitors’ centre at Muir of Ord with a tour.

Glen Ord is home to The Singleton malt whisky and is owned by Diageo, Scotland’s largest whisky maker and the owner of brands including Bell’s, J&B and Johnnie Walker.

The company is reopening 12 of its visitors’ centres in phases.

Ewing said: “It’s great to be able to get back out and enjoy visits like this again, and I very much welcome the opportunity to mark the reopening of Glen Ord distillery for visitors.

“It is an example of some of the fantastic attractions that Scotland has to offer as our tourism sector slowly and carefully starts to resume activity across the country, with the vital economic benefits that brings.”

Read more stories about Scotland’s businesses bouncing back from the coronavirus lockdown on Scottish Field’s news pages.