DOORS OPEN

Every September in Scotland some of the countries best kept secrets are revealed when the Doors Open on many Buildings normally closed to the PublicSo whether you’re visiting for the first time or holiday here's a  chance that you’re never far away from an exciting new discoveryOrganised by the Scottish Civic Trust this month-long festival sees hundreds of architectural gems fascinating museums historic sites and other hidden treasures open their doors to the public on Saturdays and Sundays throughout September with different regions revealing some of their finest buildings each weekend. You’ll also find expert tours guided walks exhibitions and other activities on offer all completely free. Please note booking in advance is recommended for many of the guided tours and opening dates and times should be checked before you goIt is a brilliant way and time to visit these places and well worth doing your homework so you get the best of what is available throughout the monthGreat Places like Caithness Horizons Museum and Art Gallery which is home to many permanent and temporary displays.  The museum covers The Pictus Vikings the Dounreay Nuclear Research Establishment and our latest display - the Flow Country


Castle Roy another great place is the oldest masonry fortification in Scotland dating from 1200 and is a very rare example of an unaltered building of its type.  It will remain the most accessible fortress when it opens to the publicThe site is currently undergoing a consolidation that has lasted over 24 years.  However the end is in sight and the Castle Roy Trust is keen to open its doors show the work being carried out and explain its historyAs a building site visits have to be supervised but all are weclome including children and dogs
Wardlaw Mausoleum is the burial place of the Lovat Frasers and was erected in 1634 on the gable end of the medieval Wardlaw Parish Church. Built by William Ross its notable features include a monument to Thomas 11th Lord Lovat and the buckle quoins in the east corner below the belfry which is dated 1722. There are also six lead coffins in the crypt including one which until recently was thought to belong Simon 12th Lord Lovat "The Old Fox" beheaded in London after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.  During the works a fine quatrefoil window thought to have been dedicated by Euphemia Fraser in 1341 was exposed in the west gable. Guided tours will be available which don't need to be booked in advance
Ballone Castle was built in 1590 on the cliff edge above the raised beach and has dramatic views out across the Moray Firth. The Dunbars from Morayshire built the original Z plan castle which was extended in 1623 by the MacKenzies to create a brew house and bakery. After the 1745 rebellion it was soon roofless and by the mid-19th century had lost most of its fine details.It was bought in 1990 by Lachlan and Annie Stewart who set about restoring it as their family home creating a fusion of authentic medieval with ANTA's 21st century Scottish contemporary aestheticThere will be guided tours every 40 minutes which do not need to be booked.  The garden will also be open and there will be an exhibition showing photos of the restoration work



The whole idea behind the Open Doors Day is great and makes a fine end to the Summer before the Dark Winter nights draw nearThere are plenty places of interest open during the month of September the list is nigh on endless so it is well worth checking out what is near you. Plus its Free with many having guided tours so lots of information will be readily availableCheck out the Main Website

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