Scottish Crannog Centre destroyed as ‘devastating’ fire tears through recreated Iron Age roundhouse

·3 min read
Flames engulfed the roundhouse structure at the Scottish Crannog Centre on Friday evening (Screengrab)
Flames engulfed the roundhouse structure at the Scottish Crannog Centre on Friday evening (Screengrab)

A “devastating” fire has destroyed a recreated Iron Age roundhouse on the shores of a lake in Scotland.

The Scottish Crannog Centre, which houses a museum of ancient life, burned down on Friday night.

The main building — a crannog — was a roundhouse built on Loch Tay, Kenmore, in Perthshire in the 1990s. Its design was based on findings from an underwater excavation of a 2,500-year-old crannog found nearby on the north shore of the loch in the 1980s.

The recreated structure was made of wood and sat over the water atop stilts. It had a hearth made from stones and clay in the centre of the building, and was covered in thatching with reeds from the River Tay.

The centre was a popular tourist destination that hosted public workshops and educational activities involving Iron Age crafts, basketry and textiles.

On Friday night the roundhouse was entirely engulfed in flames. Only the stilts remained on Saturday morning.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it had been called to the scene at 11.12pm Friday night and found a “well developed” fire at the Scottish Crannog Centre.

Crews had extinguished the fire just after midnight. No one was injured and Police Scotland said it did not believe the circumstances surrounding the fire to be suspicious.

The trust which runs the Crannog Centre said it would be launching an appeal for donations and continuing its efforts to develop a new site on the north shore of the loch.

Director Mike Benson said: "The outpouring of support from the local community and friends from further afield has been tremendous at this difficult time and the Crannog community would like to thank everyone for their heartfelt messages.

"The loss of the Crannog is devastating but, importantly, the museum collection is intact and no-one has been hurt.

"We would also like thank the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland for their instant response to the emergency and their faultless efforts in tackling the blaze and keeping everyone safe in the local vicinity."

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Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire said the fire was “simply awful”.

“The internationally renowned Crannog Centre is a huge part of the community of Kenmore/Loch Tay,” he tweeted.

“So sorry for all involved with the centre who will be really upset this morning. We must rebuild it”

Deputy first minister John Swinney added: "This is absolutely devastating news.

He said the centre was “of such archeological and historical significance and has such an impact on the Breadbane area”.

"I was due to meet the team on Monday and will offer all my support to recover."

Historic Environment Scotland tweeted: "Absolutely heartbreaking news this morning. Our thoughts are with our friends at @ScottishCrannog."

Last year the Scottish Crannog Centre received £18,723 to help repair the walkway and decking surrounding the loch dwelling. Funds were also used to develop an outreach project for local schools.

The Loch Tay Highland Lodges has set up a GoFundMe page to raise £10,000 to help the Scottish Crannog Centre to deal with costs associated with the devastating fire.

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