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Eilean Donan Castle at the Kyle of Lochalsh in the Highlands of Scotland is one of the most iconic castles in Scotland. Originally inhabited in the 6th Century, the first fortified castle at the site was built in the 13th Century. It sits on an island at the meeting point of three great sea lochs, surrounded by breath-taking scenery. It is a major venue for weddings and has featured in many blockbuster movies including James Bond ‘The World is Not Enough.’
Architect Lachie Stewart (ANTA) has a historic family relationship with the Castle. His great grandparents, Craig and Bella Gilstrap, restored it in the Arts & Crafts style during the 1920s and Lachie has been directly involved for almost 30 years since initially completing restoration works in the early 1990s then designing the first visitor centre in 1998/9 and this building’s subsequent extension in 2005.
Visitors currently number around 600 000 annually. Numbers have increased hugely in the past five years, particularly visitors from Russia, China and India and it is this increase in numbers which has necessitated further extension of the visitor areas. The new extension is built on two floors. The first floor is divided into three spaces with a manager’s office at one end and a boardroom at the other. The central area provide a roof lit, open plan office space for the sixty strong Castle team.
The ground floor houses an automated ticketing facility and the newly introduced multi-language audio guides for foreign language visitors and a food preparation area for the new ‘street food’ offering which reduces the need for internal café space, by enabling visitors to eat outside.