After the Bulloughs
In 1957 the Island of Rum and the Castle passed into public ownership through the sale by Lady Bullough to the Nature Conservancy (the predecessor of the current owners Scottish Natural Heritage). There was a stipulation that the island “be used in perpetuity as a nature reserve and Kinloch Castle maintained as far as may be practicable“. The Castle was used as a hotel and hostel, latterly just a hostel with the main front rooms being given a ‘museum’ function. Kinloch Castle Friends Association was formed in 1996 as a direct result of the gradual deterioration of the castle and the wish to halt the decline. Despite the best efforts of SNH over the years it has been unable to keep pace with the internal and external ravages of time and weather. This is largely due to lack of government funding as the Castle does not fall within the specific remit of SNH. Kinloch Castle, a Category A listed building, has been on the Buildings at Risk register since 2004.
Following the Kinloch Castle Future Options – Briefing Pack – May 2013 -A945631- which considered a wide range of options, it became obvious that KCFA were the main interested party ready to take action to restore the castle. This was followed by Kinloch Castle Stage 2 – Final report from PRT (2014) – 2 September 2015 (A1734504)
The Castle hostel closed in May 2013 and since then the ‘Museum’ rooms have been open for tours but otherwise the building has been deteriorating because of being left empty. Kinloch Castle Friends Association are currently in process of applying for asset transfer of the castle from SNH to become a Bed and Breakfast establishment with up to 51 beds and serving breakfasts and evening meals and with a bar. Major repairs are needed throughout to tackle water ingress which has caused a major dry rot infestation. the original electrical wiring and lead pipework all nee replacing and the bathroom accommodation upgrading. SNH have repaired a major problem which was causing flooding into the basement and also done some work on the roof as recommended by the Heritage Surveyor employed by KCFA. This has already started to have a favourable impact.
KCFA have put together a strong business plan setting out their intentions and put it to SNH in April 2019. It is now undergoing due diligence before the decision is made by the Scottish Government as to the viability of asset transfer.