How your donations help – autumn 2019

This is what your donations have helped us achieve

Footpath Fund

Footpath fund team

Our Footpath team has been working all over Scotland in the past few months, repairing and maintaining our footpaths to make sure they’re fit for the thousands of boots that walk across them, and providing protection to the vulnerable habitats that surround them.

At Balmacara, we’ve been working within the ‘Celtic rainforest’ to contain and restore the path, especially a section that had begun to slope. Extra steps and extensive surfacing restored over 60m of footpath. Meanwhile, at Glencoe work on Stob Coire Raineach repaired washed-out sections by adding steps and backfilling gullies, improving drainage and installing landscaped blockers to 72m of path. All this work is done by hand, whatever the weather – your support for the team is hugely valued!

In addition to regular maintenance, we’ve embarked on a multi-year project to protect and maintain our upland footpaths. In 2018, we carried out an upland path audit and have used the findings to create a plan to tackle the paths most urgently needing attention. Thanks to everyone who supported our Footpath Fund we have funds in place to undertake the second year of this vital work to protect the landscape, habitats and flora, and keep Scotland’s mountains beautiful and accessible.

The Hill House

Hill House box

Thanks to you, and thousands of supporters like you, who recognise and value the heritage of the Hill House, the ‘Box’ has now been built. The mesh structure built around Mackintosh’s masterpiece, comprising 32.4 million chainmail links, is acting like a shield against the driving – and determined – west coast rain. It’s protecting the house from further water damage while allowing the wind to blow through and the air to circulate, letting the building dry out.

Over £1.2 million was raised by donors who, like us, are committed to making sure we prevent any more rain hitting the house. We’re pleased to report that the Box is already doing its job! In the first 10 weeks it’s stopped 95% of the rain hitting the house and we have started to see the wet walls slowly begin to dry. 

As the building dries out, we’ll continue investigations to assess the extent of the damage and to develop and implement a long-lasting solution to the problem. 

Burns Cottage

Burns cottage interior
Burns Cottage interior

In January we launched a £100,000 appeal to help us protect Burns Cottage. Thanks to your support, we’re delighted to have reached our goal and have now begun the work needed to care for this special place. 

Burns Cottage is a Category A listed building so several important steps need to be carried out before building work can start. Specialists have visited the site, completing bat,

timber and rot surveys, and have given us the all clear to start our architectural plans. Experts have been looking at historical pictures to work out the best way to shed rainwater from the roof, to ensure our repairs will protect the thatch and are also historically accurate. The limewash on the cottage is currently being analysed by the Scottish Lime Centre and once we have their results we’ll be able to create a wash that won’t damage the cottage’s external walls.

We’re hopeful that all the internal works to the Cottage, which include heating, decoration, plastering and window repairs, will be completed by the end of November. We’re currently finalising the specification so that we can appoint a thatcher to carry out the work early next year.

The poetry of Robert Burns continues to inspire people across the globe and many make the pilgrimage to his birthplace in Alloway. We’re so pleased that you share our passion for Scotland’s national Bard – your donation will protect his legacy, ensuring Burns Cottage continues to inspire everyone who visits, both today and in the future. Thank you once again for your gift. 

Mar Lodge National Nature Reserve 

Mar Lodge Estate

The rangers at Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve welcome over 100,000 visitors every year.

Thanks to support received from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, we’ve been able to embark on a programme of woodland conservation that will help us protect the rare species
that call the estate home.

Thanks to specialised efforts, we’re starting to see the woodland regenerate and seed beyond the treeline, and rare flora such as twinflower and montane willow have also begun to flourish.

Members’ Centres and Friends’ Groups 

The National Trust for Scotland is lucky to be supported by Members’ Centres and Friends’ Groups all across the UK, who offer activities to help members get more from their membership. From talks to walks, these groups work tirelessly to promote and protect Scotland’s heritage.

With their help we’ve been able to carry out a wide variety of work across Scotland – from a botanical survey at Glencoe to enabling us to conserve the Boulle table at the House of Binns, or supplying backpacks with autism-friendly content for children visiting the Tenement House. We’d like to thank our Members’ Centres and Friends’ Groups for their continued generous support of the Trust. If you’re interested in joining your local Members’ Centre or Friends’ Group, find your nearest group or contact

Preston Mill

Preston Mill Waterwheel

In February, we launched our first ever crowdfunder to raise funds to fix the waterwheel at Preston Mill. It was a case of life imitating art – Preston Mill featured in season one of Outlander, where a halfdressed Jamie Fraser jumped into the millpond to get the wheel turning once more. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a Jamie Fraser to hand, but luckily generous donors from across the world responded to our online appeal. They raised the £12,000 needed to prop up the waterwheel, replace the worn-out axle and metal bushes that hold it in place and fix the broken slats that keep the wheel turning. 

Work was carried out during the summer and the wheel is turning once more! A big thank you to the East Lothian and Outlander communities who came together to help Preston Mill.

Brodie Castle

Surface cleaning of Robert the Bruce letter
Surface cleaning

In January we launched our Cup o’ Kindness appeal to raise funds to protect the precious items in our collections. These objects help paint a vivid picture of Scotland’s rich and varied past and we’re delighted that everyone who donated agrees they’re worth protecting.

Brodie Castle is home to one of the oldest documents in our collections – a letter from Robert the Bruce to Malcolm, Thane of Brodie, telling him off for not taking better care of a mill-pond under his care.

Over the summer, donations enabled us to complete essential conservation work on the letter. Experts removed the old mount from the delicate letter parchment, and using methyl cellulose removed all damaging traces of adhesive. The surface was delicately cleaned with a latex sponge, clearing all traces of dirt which may cause the letter to deteriorate. Finally, tabs of Japanese paper were adhered to the reverse of the document, allowing the lower portion of the letter to be held safely on the new card mount, which will prevent further bowing of the letter.

However, donations only covered the first part of our conservation work and now we’re fundraising to purchase a display case so everyone who visits Brodie Castle can read the letter for themselves.

For more information about how you can help us get the letter back on display visit our appeal page.


Restoration work at Holmwood House
Restoration work

Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson made his name as an architect in Glasgow and many of his buildings survive across the city. It’s extremely rare to find examples of his interior designs, but some of the few surviving stencils and décor can be found at Holmwood. Thanks to your support, Thomson’s original stencil schemes have been re-created and restored throughout Holmwood’s stair,
upper hall and cupola.

There’s still much to do. We’re currently awaiting a report on the parlour’s decorative scheme, based on investigations carried out over the summer, which will guide us on the best way to restore Thomson’s original interior decorations in this room. Research into potential carpets for the main public rooms is progressing and will help us re-create the floor coverings that would have adorned the house when it was first built in the 1850s. 

Glencoe National Nature Reserve

Archaeologists at work in Glencoe
Archaeologists at work

Initial work has begun on our turf house project at Glencoe and will continue over the next year. Archaeological exploration was carried out over the summer, when Trust experts and volunteers
excavated what would have been a small settlement of 40 people at the time of the notorious massacre in 1692. The evidence they found will allow us to re-create one of the typical dwellings that would have been dotted along the glen until the end of the 18th century.

An architect for the project has been appointed and we’re now sourcing materials for the construction from across the Glencoe estate to ensure the turf house is as historically accurate as possible. We’re also in the process of tendering for building contractors and look forward to breaking ground in the new year. This is an exciting project to learn from and bring our history to life!

Support us today

Help us to protect everything that makes Scotland special and unique.

Donate now