Brief history of KCFA

Professor Ewan Macdonald OBE Chair Kinloch Castle Friends Association

How KCFA was formed

Kinloch Castle Friends Association was first established as a membership organisation on 26 July 1996 at Kinloch Castle on Rum in Scotland. The founders were Dr, now Professor Ewan Macdonald OBE, the original and current Chairman, and George Randall, for many years the Secretary. George moved from Cumbria to the United States of America in 2001 but has recently returned to the UK and is still an enthusiastic researcher concerning the Castle. Check out his Blog Art Treasures of Kinloch Castle

The island of Rum, including the Castle, is administered by NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage). However, in 1996 it was obvious that SNH, despite every effort over the years on their part, did not possess the funding to maintain the 100 year old building, a role which was not officially part of their mandate. George and Ewan decided that a “Friends” organisation, to work in partnership with SNH, could stimulate interest, help provide funding, and provide a valuable human resource for the future care of the Castle, contents and policies. They realised that the educational and research potential at the Castle was an important part of Scotland’s non-natural heritage and should be conserved for casual visitors and serious students alike. Thus the Kinloch Castle Friends Association (KCFA) was born.

The Association became registered as a Scottish Charity with the Number SC 030201 in 2000. Through hard work of members, the KCFA has grown into an important influence on the management of the Castle. The KCFA is regularly consulted on various matters appertaining the Castle. Since the setting up of the Isle of Rum Community Trust we have worked with the Rum Community and see the survival of the community as being linked to that of the castle.   In 2017 Professor Macdonald was invited and agreed to become a member of the Trust. 

The Savill’s report of 2016 made it clear that one way forward for the Castle was for the creation of a Community Interest Company or Building Preservation Trust. The KCFA AGM of 2017 unanimously agreed that the KCFA committee should investigate this. Following an unsuccessful asset transfer bid in 2019, the KCFA committee are still working toward the rescue of the castle and are now seeking funding  with which to buy the Castle and to reopen it initially for Bed, Breakfast and evening meals with bar and bistro and then gradually to bring more rooms into use, and to generate more visitors and employment. The package includes all the Castle policies which includes the walled garden, the gazebo, the dairy and the former racquets court. It is also hoped that KCFA or a body set up by KCFA can also use the former steading/byre building which again is of no further use to NatureScot. It has always been the intention of the KCFA that the Castle should offer accommodation but that any other employment opportunities such as outdoor activities etc would be provided by other bodies and therefore enlarging the employment opportunities not just within the castle but on Rum. The socio-economic opportunities have always been paramount. KCFA are delighted that a use for a small part of the Steading has been found by a new company Askival Rum who are the first to create a Rum rum.