Fire damaged Raasay House to rise from ashes

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Raasay House
Image caption,
Raasay House was badly damaged in a blaze last year

A rebuilding project has started on an isle's historic building which was gutted by fire during renovation work.

Raasay House on Raasay off Skye was badly damaged in the blaze last January.

The former stately home had been run as an activity centre since 1984 and will be restored so it can be used for that purpose again.

The sprawling 258-year-old mansion once belonged to the Clan MacLeod. The rebuild is scheduled to finish in 2012.

David Westgarth, chairman of Raasay House Community Company, said the ageing structure would be modernised.

He said: "The process has not been easy to reach the goal of a rebuilt Raasay House which will look externally the same as it always has, but be a modern efficient building inside, a landmark for the Highlands and the economic driver for a fragile community.

"The rebuilt house will be fully insulated, sound proofed, have double glazed windows throughout, the majority of the bedrooms will have en-suite facilities, and there will be an internal fire escape stairway.

"The public rooms will be fully restored to as near original as possible."

A redesign plan was finalised by the community company, Raasay Outdoor Centre and Rok.

Neil Duncan, Rok's area leader for the north of Scotland, said: "It will retain listed building features but will also now have to comply with modern day building regulations including thermal performance, leading to reduced running costs for the centre."

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has also been assisting with the project.

Robert Muir, HIE area manager for Skye, Lochalsh and Lochaber, said: "After 18 months of hard work by all those involved it is a great feeling to begin rebuilding Raasay House."

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