Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has awarded £68,500 funding to Historic
Kilbride from its Covid Recovery Fund to support Scotland’s historic environment
sector from the impacts of the pandemic.
This funding will enable Friends of Kilbride to undertake Phase 3 of its programme of
restoration and renovation of the Kirk and Session House in Lerags Glen. This will
involve removal of the root bore of a large and invasive sycamore in the northwest
corner of the Kirk, and consolidation of the north wall, session house, and wall
heads. The sycamore root bore, from a tree felled ten years ago, has been identified
as presenting the most serious threat to the stability of the extant buildings, and at
present it is not possible to access either the session house or the north side of the
Kirk because of the danger of falling masonry.
The project follows on from Phase 2, in which the west gable wall was rebuilt and the
West door made safe. This was made possible by generous grants from the Caraig
Gael Wind Farm Community Trust and the Clan MacDougall Society of North
America. During those works, which took place in the summer, a trench was opened,
which revealed that the original cobbled floor of the Kirk is intact. It cannot, however,
presently be exposed and restored because of the ongoing risk of damage posed by
the sycamore root bore.
The works will be undertaken in early 2021 by stonemason Michael Hogg and
TreeWorks Oban. The project will be supervised by consultant architect Shauna
Cameron and consultant archaeologist Dr Clare Ellis of Argyll Archaeology.
Seymour Adams, Chair of Friends of Kilbride, said: “We are delighted to receive this
generous grant from Historic Environment Scotland, which recognises both the
importance of the ruins at Kilbride and the success of the first two phases of our
conservation programme. By the time the site reopens to the public in the spring,
local craftsmen will have transformed the visitor experience of Historic Kilbride,
despite the Covid 19 pandemic.”
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive at HES, said: “From museums in the Highlands to
historic venues and buildings in central Scotland and the Borders, we are pleased to
support a diverse range of projects the length and breadth of Scotland as part of the
Historic Environment Recovery Fund. By helping to protect jobs, reopen historic sites
and maintaining investment in traditional skills training and apprenticeships, we hope
to support the wider recovery of the sector and Scotland’s economy.”