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Scottish castles crumble under pressure of credit crunch

The National Trust for Scotland has revealed that it made a deficit of £3 million . It runs a number of well-known castles in Scotland including Culzean Castle and Falkland Palace . Culzean Castle is the Trust’s flagship property with over 200,000 vistors a year . The castle features top quality accommodation for a small number of visitors . The deficit means that the Trust is considering closing 12 of its 128 properties in Scotland . It is also looking at selling its headquarters building in Edinburgh’s New Town . Brodick Castle on Arran is not breaking even due to a slump in visitor numbers . Crathes castle in Aberdeenshire is also struggling .

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Olympic team design new Forth crossing

The Forth replacement crossing will be designed by the company responsible for the ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium at the Beijing Olympics 2008. Engineering firm Arup was also responsible for the world’s second longest spanning cable-stayed bridge, Stonecutter’s Bridge in Hong Kong.

Jacob was responsible for the design of the recently opened Clackmannanshire Bridge. Drivers using this bridge have complained about the lack of lights on the bridge at night .Public exhibitions for the Forth crossing are starting soon .
The Scottish government are meeting Treasury officials this month to try to work out the best way to finance this multi-million pound project . Transport Scotland is taking the Forth crossing exhibition to the public in exhibitions in 12 different venues .
Transport Scotland engineers and consultants from Jacobs Arup will be there to explain the work undertaken during 2008 to develop the strategy for the new crossing over the Forth .
The Forth Replacement Crossing strategy includes using the existing Forth Road Bridge for public transport vehicles only
The next step in the project is a Parliamentary Bill to be introduced towards the end of 2009.
John Howison, Forth crossing interim project director, said: “This is an exciting project and we and our world class consultants are delighted to be working on it to produce a lasting visual landmark for the Forth.”

“We have warmly welcomed the proposed ‘mono-tower’ design for the new bridge.”
The new bridge design is expected to have the longest central spans in the world for a multi-span cable-stayed bridge.
It will also be the only long span cable-stay bridge in the world to have central crossed cables. These provide enhanced stiffness to the bridge structure, minimising the size of the central tower and creating a slim, elegant appearance. The cables will run along the centre of the bridge.

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Melville Castle Hotel redevelopment plans

A Scottish castle hotel is beating the credit crunch with news of a major expansion
Hotel owner Steven McLeod has bought Melville Castle Hotel near Edinburgh and intends to develop it into a five-star spa and event facility.

Melville Castle Hotel is due to open in March after a comprehensive refurbishment with an extra 50 staff .
However, the redevelopment doesn’t stop there and there are plans for a further 120 bedrooms, a luxury spa, a steakhouse, fine dining restaurant and meeting and event facilities for more than 500 guests.

The 33-year-old is in talks with Historic Scotland with the aim of submitting plans for the new venue within the next 18 months. The hotel is set in a 60-acre estate on the banks of the North Esk river.
The new development will create 1500 construction jobs .

Mr McLeod said: “We are facing difficult economic times but it is at times like these we have to stick together.” Guide to best hotels in Scotland

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Burns Night at Edinburgh Castle, Stirling and Urquhart Castle

Burns Night is the 25th of January and Historic Scotland have announced details of a unique opportunity to celebrate Burns’ work at Edinburgh Castle.
 Burns fans can celebrate online with free Burns Night ecards .At Edinburgh Castle the Queen Anne and Redcoat cafes will be offering delightful locally-sourced haggis, neeps and tatties. Visitors will also be treated to free haggis tasters.

Stirling Castle will be providing a three-course menu of soup, haggis and desert. And between 11.00am and 1.00pm visitors will have the chance to taste free haggis bites. Copies of some of Burns’ best loved poems: Tam O’Shanter, My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose and To A Mouse will also be on display around the café for visitors to enjoy.
Urquhart Castle will be offering a traditional Burns supper in addition to its normal menu. Visitors will also have the chance to sample a free tipple of Benromach whisky.

All three castles will be serving the Burns supper menu on 24 and 25 January. Edinburgh Castle will be serving from 11.00am to 3.00pm, Stirling Castle from 12.00pm to 2.30pm, Urquhart Castle from 9.30am to 4.00pm.
Historic Scotland is a government agency which looks after 345 outstanding historic properties throughout the country. These include some of Scotland’s leading tourism attractions and most important heritage sites, including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae.

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New Forth Bridge controversy over funding


Forth Bridge

The argument rumbles on about the financing of the new Forth Bridge . Everybody agrees that the new Forth crossing is necessary but no-one can quite work out how it will be financed . First Minister Alex Salmond has complained about the lack of help from Westminster about the biggest ever capital project in Scotland . The projected cost of the bridge is £22 billion . The SNP government maintains that Westminster should provide the finance for the project.
Chancellor Alistair Darling said they can’t have it, with the result that the Treasury can now be portrayed by the Nationalists as the villain of the piece.