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Public invited to take a peek behind the hoardings at landmark Highland castle during free tours before main work begins on its transformation into a tourist attraction

By Val Sweeney

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Inverness Castle is to be transformed into a tourist attraction.
Inverness Castle is to be transformed into a tourist attraction.

People are being invited to take a peek behind the hoardings at Inverness Castle to discover more about its transformation into a "must-see" tourist attraction.

Free tours around Castlehill will begin tomorrow before the main construction tender at the turn of the year.

The 45-minute tours will be led by specially-trained guides who will tell the story of the castle’s past, present and future.

They will feature a look behind the hoardings currently surrounding the building, enabling people to find out more about the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands project.

The tours, organised by High Life Highland on behalf of Highland Council, will take place Monday to Sunday at 11am and 1pm and can be booked by visiting www.spiritofthehighlands.com.

Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing, co-chairman of the Inverness Castle – Spirit of the Highlands Delivery Group said: "With the school holidays not far away, and many people taking an autumn break in the coming weeks, it's an ideal time to book a tour around the area with family and friends.

"We are keen for everyone to have an opportunity to see the castle up close, particularly as things begin to open up following the pandemic."

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael, who also co-chairs the delivery group, urged people to book a place.

"This is a super opportunity for anyone to find out more about the area around the castle, as well as the background to the building itself," she said.

"Our new tour guides are ready and waiting to show you around and share the exciting and ambitious plans for the castle’s future following its transformation."

People taking part in the tour should note it is outdoors and should dress appropriately for the weather.

Anyone feeling unwell, displaying any of the Covid-19 symptoms, or who has been in contact with someone who has Covid-19 is asked not to attend the tours.

All participants must bring their own sanitiser and mask, and should arrive 10 minutes before the tour begins.

The transformation of Inverness Castle is supported by £15 million Scottish Government and £3 million UK Government investment through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.

It will create a gateway for Highland tourism, contributing to reinvigoration of tourism across the area and providing much needed investment for the industry to aid the recovery from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project will support economic growth throughout the Highland area, creating a sustainable, viable and "must-see" attraction that will celebrate the spirit of the Highlands.

The Inverness and Highland City Region deal is a joint initiative supported by up to £315 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.

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