Fire at Blair Castle causes near devastation

On Thursday night a fire engulfed the clock tower of one of Scotlands most historic castles and seat of Clan Murray of Atholl, Blair Castle. A section of the 13th century castle collapsed after a blaze ripped through it. Luckily the fire was able to be controlled and most of the Castle was unharmed, and amazingly nothing of any historical significance was destroyed in the fire, castle management have confirmed.

Blaze at Blair Castle

Blaze at Blair Castle

Atholl Estates, which runs the castle, said that the actions of firefighters preveneted the blaze from having catastrophic consequences.

A statement released on Friday noted: “The swift action of the emergency services to a fire at Blair Castle averted a near catastrophe last night.

“Flames were spotted rising from the clock tower at the south end of the castle at around 8.45pm where a chimney fire had broken out above the castle’s wood chip boiler.

“Thankfully the castle was empty at the time and the few residents were quickly evacuated.

“Fears that the fire would spread to the rest of the castle failed to materialise and fire fighters had fully extinguished the blaze by 10pm.”

The interior of the clock tower was gutted in the blaze, while the roof also collapsed.

Power supply to the main castle offices was also cut off during the fire, however management are in discussions with insurers and emergency services to get this damage repaired as quickly as possible.

Six fire engines and an aerial platform battled the the flames.

Around 50 firefighters tackled the fire using breathing apparatus, while the roof of the clocktower fell into the building during the incident.

Atholl Estates also confirmed on Friday that the castle would be open from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Saturday.

Andrew Bruce Wootton, general manager of Atholl Estates that runs the castle, said: “The roof of the clocktower was substantially on fire, flames were rising quite high with sparks flying everywhere because of the strong winds.

“The area where the fire started is a contained part of the building and it did not spread any further. No one was injured and nothing of historical significance was damaged.”

The clock tower was built at the castle in the 19th century after a blaze ripped through the structure.

Rab Middlemiss, group manager of Tayside Fire and Rescue, said: “Our fire crews stopped the fire from spreading into the residential wings adjacent to the clocktower.

“Everybody got out of the building fine and after we extinguished the fire our crews went into the clocktower to assess the damage.

“We will now be carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the fire, but it does not appear to be suspicious.”

Blair Castle

Blair Castle

Blair Castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and its history dates back around 740 years.


About Amanda Moffet

I run with Rodger Moffet. Live in Edinburgh and love travelling around Scotland gathering stories.

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