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Under new plans the £12m site would feature museum, visitor centre and accommodation for apprentices

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The iconic living history museum and its popular museum and visitor centre was devastated by a sudden fire on Friday that engulfed its wooden Iron Age building erected on stilts over Loch Tay in Kenmore.

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Police said there was “nothing to suggest” the fire that completely gutted the renowned Perthshire attraction was suspicious.

The Crannog could be redeveloped on site on the north of the shore

Now the charity that successfully won a community asset transfer bid last year to expand the centre have said they will “double down” on efforts to progress plans for a new £12 million site on the other side of the loch.

The centre, which gave visitors an insight into what it was like to live in ancient Scotland, is launching a fundraiser today as a separate bid for cash by nearby resort Loch Tay Highland Lodges topped £12,000 within 24 hours.

Plans to redevelop the centre on the north shore of Loch Tay could now be a step closer to being realised.

Under the plans, the Crannog would expand to 12 times its current size, with a village of multiple pre-historic crannogs along the north shore of the Loch.

Bosses previously said the centre currently next to Taymouth Marina, on the south side of the loch, was too small to cope with high visitor numbers.

The plans forsee the creation of dozens of jobs plus apprenticeships with accommodation, research, education and volunteer opportunities.

Centre director Mike Benson said: “We had drawn up plans and secured the land transfer, but we were not ready for the big move yet.

“We are now considering all our options. We could try to restore the site here or we just leapfrog to the redevelopment of the new site.

“This week we will talk to the insurance company and our trustees and then make a decision.”

“It’s a terrible thing to have happened when we were just getting back on our feet after surviving lockdowns.

“But we’ve had hundreds of people getting in touch to offer support. We’ve even had visitors turn up who weren’t aware of the fire.

“But instead of asking for a refund they have donated the money. We simply can’t thank everyone enough for the outpouring of support we have seen.”

Nicholas Grant, chair of trustees, said “The fire is a hugely distressing blow to all our friends, visitors, and members of the trust who have supported us. But we are now even more determined to double-down on all our efforts in the development of the new Crannog Centre already in planning on the north shore of the loch at Dalerb.”

Deputy First Minister and Perthshire North MSP John Swinney is due to visit the site today to discuss how he can support the recovery.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a fire at the Crannog Centre at Loch Tay by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service around 11:50pm on Friday, 11 June.

“Nobody was injured and enquiries will be carried out to establish the full circumstances, though there is nothing at present to suggest the fire is suspicious.”

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The Scotsman

The Scotsman is a Scottish compact newspaper and daily news website headquartered in Edinburgh. First established as a radical political paper in 1817, it began daily publication in 1855 and remained a broadsheet until August 2004. Its parent company, JPIMedia, also publishes the Edinburgh Evening News.

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