Inside the Battle to Keep a Leaky Castle Standing

Duart Castle isn't exactly weather-proof
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2016 9:46 AM CDT

Tom Hanks' next role: Sir Lachlan Hector Charles Maclean? The Scottish lord has for the last 26 years been dealing with the king of all money pits. Repairs on the 14th-century Duart Castle he inherited have thus far cost just shy of $2 million, reports the New York Times, which spoke to Sir Lachlan in his living room—"probably one of the snugger parts of the castle ... though it was still mildly damp." That dampness is the issue. The castle "leaks like a sieve," per a Times of London article from July on a $420,000 grant awarded for wall repairs. Those walls are 16-feet thick, and yet apparently still unable to keep out the incessant rain: Located on the Isle of Mull off Scotland's west coast, rain falls, on average, all but 82 days of the year.

The entry fees paid by some 25,000 visitors a year (note of warning for guests, per the New York Times: the two ancient toilets don't function) help fund the repairs, but Sir Lachlan tells the paper he expects there won't be money to keep them going after 2017. This after Sir Lachlan in June 2012 informed the Maclean Clan Congress that his family couldn't afford further repairs; a public appeal was launched at the time, only to be followed in the winter of 2013 with the collapse of four ceilings due to water penetration. And "I don’t think Scotland can afford to lose a building like this," the Times of London quotes him as saying. It's one of the only clan castles in private hands, and replete with tales of clashes with the rival Campbell clan, Spanish prisoners kept in its dungeon, and, as the Scotsman reported, a mysterious carving on its wall. (More castles stories.)

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