Since 2000, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA has granted more than $8 million in funding to support programs of the National Trust for Scotland. Though the Trust is the largest conservation charity in Scotland, it receives no direct funding from the government and the generosity of caring individuals in the United States is critical to carrying out the important work of the Trust. From vital structural repairs on monuments, castles, and houses, to the engagement and education of young visitors, to the protection of endangered wildlife, we have helped fund a diverse range of the Trust’s projects.
In fiscal year 2015-16, we were proud to support the restoration of the Percy Cane-designed garden at Falkland Palace by meeting a 1:1 gift challenge. Through the generosity of our members and donors who supported this appeal challenge, we were able to meet this challenge and raised $50,000 for the project. We also made significant grants to wildlife protection programs across Scotland; addressed erosion challenges at the Beinn Alligin Ridge on Torridon; and expedited urgent repairs to the iconic Glenfinnan Monument. Read on for the full list of grants made to Scotland last fiscal year.
Benefiting from our matching gift challenge appeal in the fall of 2015, the gardens at Falkland Palace will be reinstalled to the specifications of the 20th-century designer, Percy Cane. One of the few remaining examples of Cane’s work in Britain, the garden is renowned for its historical value and artistic significance. Sadly, the garden has deteriorated and no longer represents Cane’s authentic planting design. The restoration of the garden will represent a significant conservation project, increasing visitor enjoyment of the property while also offering horticulture students and community members the opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
With funding from a generous American donor, the Trust will extend the visitor experience at Falkland Palace by creating a winter light show with the assistance of students from the nearby University of St. Andrews. Colored lights will highlight and reflect the ancient buildings, gardens, and trees, imaginatively enhancing them and creating an atmospheric wonderland. A test event held last year sold out far in advance and proved extremely popular; this year’s presentation will be a key event for Scotland’s designated Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design.
With some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in Scotland, and home to five of the Trust’s 46 Munros, Torridon is a magnet for hikers, geologists, and naturalists. Standing at 3,230 feet, Beinn Alligin lies to the north of Loch Torridon and is composed mainly of Torridonian sandstone dating back 750 million years. Urgent work will be undertaken to reduce the erosion of the ridge; decades of walkers across sensitive vegetation have exposed the loose soil to the harsh Scottish elements, and the path is much wider than it should be. Sensitive draining and consolidation work along the length of the ridge will reduce the width of the damage zone, help natural regeneration, reduce erosion, and continue access for walkers. The work will also lessen the impression of human activity on this wild and remote ridge line.
The Foundation is continuing its support of Holmwood House, famed Scottish architect Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s finest surviving domestic design, by consolidating and restoring Thomson’s original polychrome wall decoration in the Entrance Hall. This area is in urgent need of attention; some of the original design has been carefully revealed, but the paint surface is severely flaking. Consolidation will prevent further loss of the design and will be followed by reversible restoration work to improve the overall appearance of the Hall. The restorations are part of Scotland’s “Year of Innovation, Architecture, and Design”.
With nearly 80,000 visitors touring Culzean Castle each year, the property’s beautiful and historic carpets are at significant risk of damage from foot traffic. The Trust uses a variety of methods to protect these historic textiles, including covering floors with pieces of coarsely woven fabric called druggets; while useful, these options distract from the overall aesthetic of Robert Adam’s interiors. With funding from the US Foundation the Trust will purchase “eyemats” that protect the carpets while also visually representing the surface they are covering. Material printed with the carpet design is laid over the original, allowing visitors to retain the sense of the complete historic interior. Six “eyemats” will replace druggets in rooms including the Library, the Long Drawing Room, and the entrance to the Armory.
Annual funding from the Jeniam Foundation has made it possible for NTSUSA to make critical grants to support wildlife and environmental conservation, including the bat reserve at Threave – Scotland’s only designated bat reserve. This fiscal year, grants have funded bat monitoring, an important part of protecting and understanding patterns in the species’ habitats and the vital role bats play in the environment; wildlife survey equipment, including trail cameras and sound detectors, critical to helping the Trust identify and monitor the presence and routines of rare and difficult-to-see animals; and wildlife skills training will allow students, volunteers, and staff to gain the required skills to carry out key wildlife research on Trust properties. Bat sound analysis, coastal seabird spotting, and wildflower identification workshops are all necessary functions in measuring environmental health.
The Jeniam Foundation, a loyal supporter of wildlife and environmental conservation priorities of the Trust, has contributed half the funding goal to deliver a three-year program of vital habitat restoration to ensure the long-term maintenance of Ben Lawers. Ben Lawers is among the Trust’s most important natural heritage properties with one of the most botanically rich areas in Britain. The Trust’s work in tackling the restoration of sub-montane woodland and montane scrub is unique, and long-term success requires a sustained commitment. The most efficient way to ensure the success of this vital work is by employing a dedicated staff member.
Learn more about the project and how you can help us reach our total goal of $87,000 over the next three years.
Set within an evocative, majestic Highland landscape at the head of Loch Sheil near Fort William, the Glenfinnan Monument was erected in 1815 on the spot where Bonnie Prince Charlie rose his standard in 1745. This iconic landmark commemorates the events that followed at Culloden and remains a tribute to Jacobite clansmen. The Foundation is supporting the Trust’s urgent and comprehensive repair program to address the monument’s tilt, which has occurred due to soil settlement. A new roof and windows are required to ensure that rain does not get in; the tower and boundary walls need repointing; and safety must be improved with the addition of a new handrail and lighting.
Funds from the Foundation will be used to complete digitization of John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Show’s archives at Canna House. The recordings made by the couple between 1936 and 1969 captured vital elements of traditional Gaelic culture then still alive in Uist and Barra and on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The archive includes the first electrical recordings of Gaelic folksongs on Barra, featuring singers not recorded elsewhere. It was John’s express wish that the voices of the past should be preserved for future generations. Support for this initiative will help the Trust in its wider efforts to make the Campbells’ work and life known to wider national and international audiences.
John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw Campbell lived in Canna House for over 40 years where they documented Gaelic culture through photographs of island life and recordings of music within the local communities, as well as establishing an extensive and unrivalled Gaelic library and scholarly archive. Fiona Mackenzie, Canna House Archivist and an accomplished musician in her own right, seeks to share the Campbells’ work with academic and general audiences, raising awareness and funds to increase accessibility to their world-class collection. She has been accepted to speak at three important conferences, including the Harvard Celtic Colloquium at Harvard University in October. This will be the first time ever that a paper has been presented at Harvard on a specific piece of material from the Canna Collections.
In fiscal year 2014-15, we were proud to support urgent repairs to the Robert Burns Monument in Alloway through our most successful Annual Appeal to date. We also made significant grants to education and wildlife protection programs at Threave Estate; for structural repairs on Iona to improve visitor experience; and secured an important historical artifact for the Trust’s collection.
The Traditional Croft Management Program encourages the continuation of small scale, communal farming practices on the Balmacara Estate and protects these increasingly rare agricultural communities. Crofting plays an important part in shaping the landscape, cultural heritage, and social economy of the Highlands and many other parts of Scotland. Since 2012, American donors and private foundations have provided the funding to help continue these farming practices that, once lost, are unlikely to be revived.
Funding was granted to support general operations at the House of the Binns. This property is a 17th-century laird’s house near Linlithgow that has been the home of the Dalyell family for 400 years and is maintained to this day by the family themselves. The landscaped parkland grounds, interiors, magnificent plaster ceilings, and the family’s collection of portraits, furniture, and porcelain are all on view to the public. The House of Binns offers a unique opportunity to experience the historical evolution from 17th-century to contemporary times through the lens of the Dalyell family.
With the support of American donors and contributions from across the world, at the end of 2014 the National Trust for Scotland was able to purchase the Culloden blunderbuss for its permanent collection. The blunderbuss will remain at Culloden, allowing public access to this important and historic artifact. This acquisition will advance educational opportunities at Culloden, helping young people to understand the importance of the conservation work that is carried out by the Trust and the relationship between stories, historical objects, historical figures, and the landscape.
A grant made possible by a private American foundation has benefitted the archives project at Brodie Castle. The castle archives have been in great need of professional conservation maintenance. The archives will now be stored under proper environmental conditions, cleaned, and then audited. This is a key step in the long-term goal to digitally catalog an in-depth compilation of the documents for research and public access.
The subject of our tremendously successful 2014 Annual Appeal, the Burns Monument will benefit from donations made by hundreds of American donors. The monument, the first memorial dedicated to the life and work of Robert Burns, is in need of vital repairs due to water ingress which has damaged the structure. Repairs are anticipated to begin in the summer of 2016 and will provide an opportunity to refresh interpretation around the iconic structure.
Canna is the most westerly of the Small Isles of the Inner Hebrides and has been a site of continuous settlement for 9,000 years, with a small population of inhabitants remaining to this day. The holdings in the collection at Canna House compile the life and works of Dr. John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw who lived and spent a remarkable time at Canna House for over 40 years. The archive project will digitise the extensive documentary archive, which consists of personal, academic, and literary papers relevant to the islands and Gaelic life.
A generous American donor has chosen to fund the play area proposed for Crathes Castle. The current play area is in poor condition and a modern upgrade will encourage more visits to the property from families, the local community as well as being a popular site for school visits. The play area structure will be in keeping with the surrounding natural woodland setting with robust and durable materials that stimulate different forms of play and activities, and will appeal to broad age groups.
US funding supported conservation work to the walled kitchen garden at Culzean. Over 200 feet of stone wall was repaired using the castle’s in-house stonemasons who practice historic stonemasonry, making the conservation work truly authentic.
Through the generosity of an American donor, we made a grant to Culzean Castle and Country Park to build the Adventure Cove play area. Located near the popular Swan Pond in the country park, the recently constructed play area has already attracted many families with young children. Taking its inspiration from the historic features of the castle, such as the Culzean Viaduct, Smugglers Caves, and the Eisenhower Apartment the new design uses the built heritage of Culzean in a creative way to encourage families to engage with the history of the site.
Through the generosity of an American donor, we made a grant to fund the building of a visitor information area and shelter on the Isle of Iona. Iona welcomes over 120,000 visitors annually, however the small island has few facilities to provide them with information or shelter. This funding will support a new building on the island that will include shelter, orientation and welcome information, seating, and ferry information, as well as a lockable storage area.
St. Kilda is an archipelago located in the Outer Hebrides, 41 miles west of North Uist. An internationally significant natural and cultural heritage site, it is recognized by UNESCO as a dual World Heritage Site. The area is the largest seabird sanctuary in the North-East Atlantic, welcoming over 1 million seabirds in the spring and the summer months. Funding from the US Foundation will support wildlife protection efforts on the islands, which now include the marine environment as well because of its importance to the seabird colony.
Through the generosity of an American donor, we made a grant to support operations at the David Livingstone Center. The museum space and grounds are a dedication to the famous Scottish explorer and missionary’s life and work. Located near Glasgow and housed in Shuttle Row, a tenement which the Livingstones shared with 23 other families, this historic attraction is packed with items relating to his explorations in Africa.
Through the generosity of a private foundation, we granted funding to the restoration of the garden at Newhailes. Archaeologists are excavating to discover the original Victorian era flower beds, which have survived remarkably well beneath the topsoil. This discovery will aid the NTS in their plans to reinstate the garden. The garden restoration is part of a wider program of improvements planned at Newhailes that will enhance the visitor experience.
We are a proud supporter of various bat species protection programs and projects at Threave Estate. Since 2013, funding has been made to support bat education programs, training bat rangers, bat monitoring and homes for bats. With the success of these projects, NTS is better equipped to undertake its bat conservation work, boost its profile and engage more volunteers in the unique program.
In fiscal year 2013-14, we were proud to support a number of important conservation initiatives including roof thatching repairs to Souter Johnnie’s Cottage, the restoration of the butterfly and moth collection at Canna, and the restoration of a medieval artefact from Drum Castle. Additionally, major storm damage at Arduaine Garden prompted a swift grant to assist with much needed repairs.
A dedicated American donor singlehandedly safeguards the conservation of a rare island butterfly collection on the Isle of Canna. Their multi-year gift has funded a condition report for the collection, will improve the storage and display of the collection, as well as create high-resolution digital study photographs over the next few years.
Arduaine Garden, a green oasis on the south slope of the Arduaine peninsula on the west coast, south of Oban, is often affected by harsh coastal winds and rain. Funding from the US Foundation assisted with fallen trees after the winter storms of 2013.
Funding from the US Foundation will support a decorative scheme reinstatement to the dining room at Holmwood House. NTS Chief Curator Emeritus, Ian Gow embarked on the reinstatement of the Alexander Thompson designed room in conjunction with wider investigations of the 19th century Greek revival decorative schemes at Holmwood. The restoration of the dining room and sideboards will maintain some original smaller sections of the original design for visitors to make comparison and better understand conservation work.
Research and restoration to a stair located in the cellar of Drum Castle resulted in confirmation that the artefact was used as far back as the early 15th century. With generous support from an American donor, this research provided new and significant information on the archaeological history of Drum Castle. Conservation work to the stair will provide an opportunity for visitor education and interpretation.
The subject of the 2013 Annual Appeal, funding from Americans across the country has made possible the re-thatching of Souter Johnnie’s Ale House Cottage using traditional building methods. The cottage is one of the last of its kind in Scotland making the conservation not only critical to preserving the history of traditional roof thatching but also quite challenging. Both the expertise and the traditional heather thatching materials are in short supply. Thankfully these were acquired and work was able to commence in the early summer of 2015.
In 2013, NTS celebrated the bicentenary of David Livingstone. Over 135 events were organized in communities across Scotland, Africa and elsewhere with roughly 150,000 participants. School children participated in workshops and outreach activities organized by education officers at the Center. A grant from the US Foundation assisted in employing and training these officers to use the Livingstone story to inspire children and adult visitors alike.
Since 2000, The Foundation has made over 225 individual grants to the Trust that total over $8 million. We are immensely proud of this record and have highlighted a few grants from our 16-year history of supporting the Trust.
Designed in 1818 as an Orangery, this beautiful structure is now used to grow camellias. In 2011-12, urgent repairs were necessary for public safety and the conservation of the building. Now completed, the Camellia House is a registered wedding venue, providing another revenue stream for the property that would not have been possible without the generosity of one special American benefactor.
As part of core conservation work to preserve and maintain the condition of this magnificent 17th-century mansion, a substantial external redecoration program to the main house was completed 2011. This special project was funded through many donations to our 2011 Annual Appeal.
Pittmedden Garden contains five miles of box hedges and 40,000 plants. Generous American donors contributed funds for a conservatory to be built in 2006. The extra space doubles income generation opportunities and streamlines operations.
Around the time The Foundation was established, our grants to Scotland began with generous donations to Arduaine Garden to purchase an adjacent field and prevent possible development that would infringe on the property. Subsequent grants funded much of the cost associated with the building of a green house, made improvements to the garden, and covered operating costs. Recently the property has been working closely with community partners to enhance tourism and visitation in the Argyll area.
To guide the island’s future, a comprehensive management plan was made possible in 2011 through the generosity of an individual donor to the Foundation. The analysis looked at the many cultural and economic aspects of Canna and provided an outline for increasing the sustainability of current and future ventures on this very special isle.
We are pleased to announce that a 2-year old full pedigree Luinng bull named “Diùc” joined the heard on Canna in the spring of 2011. Thanks to two friends of the Foundation their thoughtful donation has resulted in 20 cows giving birth, which has dramatically increased the herd. Future gifts facilitated by the Foundation allowed new breeding stock to be introduced in order to increase genetic diversity. In 2013, four additional Highland cows were purchased by American donors.
Wildlife Watch is a project of the NTS Nature Channel that captures exciting wildlife and landscape footage, using the habitat and species knowledge and fieldcraft skills of the Trust’s rangers and ecologists. We are proud to support this engaging program that has captured the imagination of the public and offered an educational perspective on the Trust’s holdings and the work it takes to conserve these important ecosystems. Visit the dedicated website to view videos captured by the Trust: www.nts.org.uk/nature-channel
Funding from the US Foundation helped to make possible a long-term roof repair scheme at Brodick Castle. The roof of the castle requires regular maintenance to the leadwork on the cap-house roof and parapet gutter, and re-slating and re-pointing of any weathered mortar joints to the chimneys and walls at this level. However, this is a difficult and un-safe area to access. The maintenance team at the Castle developed temporary scaffolding around the tower that enabled them to make comprehensive repairs and install a discrete safety harness system to allow future maintenance to be carried out more easily.
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