SCOTLAND’S only circular castle, Rothesay Castle, has reopened to visitors following essential conservation work.

The castle, which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), had temporary access restrictions in place as part of its high-level masonry programme, which looks at the effect of climate change on historic sites.

Visitors will now be able to enjoy the castle’s history once again, which dates from the 11th century when the Hebrides were given to Norway by Edgar of Scotland.

However, the king’s descendants were determined to recover the islands, and by 1200 they had succeeded.

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Rothesay Castle was built soon after to protect the area against further sieges from the Norwegians.

Further works took place in the grounds in the later 1400s, with the addition of an impressive gatehouse and St Michael’s Chapel in the courtyard.

Having then fallen into ruins, the castle was restored in the late 1800s.

Director of operations at HES Craig Mearns said: “Rothesay Castle is a wonderful site and I am delighted that we are now in a position to re-open.

“I know how much this means to the local community and economy.”

Visitors are encouraged to book before visiting and further details can be found HERE.

In celebration of the re-opening, Rothesay Castle will play host to a community-led “return to the ramparts” event on Sunday, March 17.

It will be open to all and feature fun and creative family activities, including crown-making and soap carving.

The castle is the latest site to re-open following inspections and necessary repairs to the masonry as part of HES’ high-level masonry project and also repairs to the bridge which provides access.

The High-Level Masonry Programme assesses the impact of climate change on sites as well as the scale of deterioration caused by a number of other factors, including the material used in the building’s construction, its age and physical location.