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Castle of Mey top draw for tourists with more than 25,000 visitors in summer

One of the top tourist attractions in Caithness welcomed more than 25,000 visitors during the summer as it experienced a huge increase in visitors for the second successive year.

The Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust reported the number of visitors to its grounds during the 2017 season had increased by 18 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The result consolidates the castle's status as one of the top tourist haunts north of Inverness. The increase in visitors has been attributed to the success of the North Coast 500 (NC500), which is bringing more tourists to the Highlands. The castle closed this season on Saturday, September 30.

It was a record-breaking season for it with the number of visitors increasing significantly in the past two years. Mey Trust chairman Ashe Windham said the visitor boost would help secure the historic building's future.

He said: "I am delighted that the 15.2 per cent increase in visitor numbers in 2016 has been maintained by a further increase on last year's figures to 18 per cent this year.

"It is helping to put the Castle and Gardens on a sound economic footing. The popularity of the NC500, which was launched by The Duke of Rothesay's charitable company, the North Highland Initiative two-and­a-half years ago, has undoubtedly helped draw visitors to the castle and the more remote areas of Scotland with significant benefits to the local economy."

The Castle of Mey added a new attraction this year with the opening of the animal centre in the East Woods. It has proven to be a popular with families. Castle of Mey, formerly known as Barrogill Castle, was saved by the Queen Mother in 1952 after she was told it was to be abandoned. Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, she renovated and restored the castle and had the gardens created that exist today.

The Castle of Mey was the property of The Queen Mother from 1952 until 1996, when she gifted it with an endowment to the trust.

The castle, built between 1566 and 1572, is situated in Mey with its jutting towers and corbelled turrets typical of that period of the 16th century, particularly the corbelling of the smaller turrets.

Source - Caithness Courier