*Mountain of Debt 2 2002-07-09Posted by clype in Scotland.
One of Scotland's best known mountain ranges and most historic castles could become national assets.
Clan Chief John Macleod of Macleod has confirmed he is in negotiations over the future of the 'Cuillin mountains' and his clan seat 'Dunvegan Castle', on Skye.
Under the proposals, the mountains would be handed over to the people of Scotland to become national property while the castle would be transferred to a charitable trust.
The announcement came after Mr.Macleod put the mountain range on the market for 10 million GBP three years ago to raise funds to carry out repairs at the castle, Scotland's oldest continually inhabited home.
If 'Dunvegan Castle', the residence of the Macleod chiefs for 800 years, was to be transferred to the control of a charitable trust, such a body would be responsible for raising the funds needed to renovate it.
The prospect of the deal going through is central to a set of prospective property transactions being studied jointly by 'The Macleod Estate', 'Highlands and Islands Enterprise' ('HIE') and 'Highland Council', in association with 'The John Muir Trust'. Mr.Macleod said:
'I should be giving up properties which have been associated with my family for many centuries, and that is not at all easy.
'But the possibilities I am now discussing… seem to me to hold out an excellent prospect of securing the long-term future of the Cuillin, and of Dunvegan Castle'.
'HIE', in collaboration with 'The Macleod Estate', is taking steps to establish the cost of a castle refurbishment programme. 'HIE' said the repair bill could be in excess of 10 million GBP and funding contributions are likely to be sought from a range of heritage bodies. 'HIE' chairman Mr.James Hunter said:
'"Dunvegan Castle" is of importance historically and, as a visitor attraction, it's of huge importance economically to the Dunvegan community, indeed to Skye as a whole.
'Of even greater importance, however, are the "Cuillin"'.
In keeping with common practice, Mr.Macleod and his family would retain rights of residence in one part of the castle, should it become a major tourist attraction.