On Friday 10 June, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will announce formally that it supports a Tarbert & Skipness Community Trust (TSCT) project designed to interpret and improve access to Tarbert Castle.

Works, Tarbert Castle, 18.4.11
Tarbert Castle, 2011, showing stone consolidation work

HLF is awarding £16,000, towards a £20,000 project which will allow the history of the medieval Castle to be accessed more easily and fully interpreted for its visitors.  The funding organisation uses money raised through the National Lottery to sustain and transform a wide range of heritage sites and habitats in order that present and future generations can use, learn from, and enjoy them.

As a result of the efforts of residents, local businesses, and pupils and staff of Tarbert Academy, the necessary £4000 match funding has been raised in the community.

The Community Trust is in the process of formalising a Junior Section, the members of which will contribute content to interpretation panels at the Castle.  Tarbert Conservation Initiative (TCI), TSCT’s in-house volunteer conservation workforce, will carry out some of the project by means of workshops focussing on the subject of Rubble Stone Building.

The timescale of the newly-funded interpretation project will dovetail with the completion, by Autumn 2012, of the Castle’s existing major Stone Consolidation Contract, and will be the final stage of TSCT’s 5-year strategy, which is  designed to save, protect, and open up Tarbert’s local heritage by providing good access and an irreplaceable learning resource for future generations.

TSCT director Robert McPhail, June 2011
TSCT director Robert McPhail

Community Trust director Robert McPhail, who has managed the Castle project from the outset, said: “I’m delighted that this vital element in the project has now been funded  –  thanks to HLF and the community.  This funding package is another endorsement of our Tarbert Community Plan objectives and ideals”.

Colin McLean, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: ”We are pleased to support the Trust’s remarkable efforts in securing the future of Tarbert Castle.  Its involvement of the broader community, and of young people in particular, is an excellent way of ensuring that, for generations to come, the castle will be used and well cared for”.

Tarbert Castle is linked inextricably to King Robert the Bruce, who, in the early part of the 14th Century, according to leading architectural historian Professor Frank Arneil Walker of Strathclyde University, ordered the castle’s second phase of construction.

The Heritage Lottery Fund invests in every part of the UK’s diverse heritage, from museums, parks, and historic places, to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions.  Across the UK, it has supported 33,900 projects, and has allocated £4.4 billion.

Images © Mid-Argyll & Kintyre News 2011
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