Iron age roundhouse on Loch Tay destroyed by 'devastating' fire

The crannog opened to the public in 1997
The crannog is situated on Loch Tay (Getty Images)The crannog is situated on Loch Tay (Getty Images)
The crannog is situated on Loch Tay (Getty Images)

A large fire which destroyed a recreated Iron Age roundhouse on the shore of Loch Tay has been described as “devastating” by the trust which runs the site.

The Scottish Crannog Centre, which is also a museum of life in ancient Scotland, burned down on Friday night.

It was engulfed in flames shortly before midnight, with firefighters called out to extinguish the blaze. There were no reports of any injuries.

The tourist attraction stood on stilts on the loch shore in Perthshire.

The Crannog Centre’s trust said it would shortly be launching an appeal for donations and continuing its efforts to develop a new site on the north shore of the loch.

Mike Benson, director of the Crannog Centre, said: “The outpouring of support from the local community and friends from further afield has been tremendous at this difficult time and the Crannog community would like to thank everyone for their heartfelt messages.

“The loss of the Crannog is devastating but, importantly, the museum collection is intact and no-one has been hurt.

“We would also like thank the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland for their instant response to the emergency and their faultless efforts in tackling the blaze and keeping everyone safe in the local vicinity.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the fire was “absolutely devastating”.

He tweeted: “This is absolutely devastating news. ⁦@ScottishCrannog⁩ is a centre of such archeological and historical significance and has such an impact on the Breadbane area.

“I was due to meet the team on Monday and will offer all my support to recover.”

Historic Environment Scotland tweeted: “Absolutely heartbreaking news this morning. Our thoughts are with our friends at @ScottishCrannog.”

As well as the recreated loch dwelling, the centre offered visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the life of Iron Age Scotland, with demonstrations of crafts and ancient cooking.

Last year the Scottish Crannog Centre was one of a number of community projects which shared almost £200,000 in funding as part of Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters.

The centre was given £18,723 by Historic Environment Scotland to help repair the walkway and decking surrounding the loch dwelling, as well as creating an outreach project for local schools.

Pete Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire, called for the centre to be rebuilt.

He tweeted: “Simply awful. The internationally renowned Crannog Centre is a huge part of the whole community of Kenmore/Loch Tay.

“So sorry for all involved with the centre who will be really upset this morning. We must rebuild it.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it was called to the scene at 11.12pm on Friday, where there was a “well-developed” fire, which was extinguished just after midnight.

John Ward, who witnessed the blaze, told the PA news agency it was “devastating to watch it burn”.

He said: “I saw it from the road end and my boat is at the marina.

“So lucky the wind was a westerly or it would have done a lot more damage.”