Woodworm raid on Kinloch Castle

A luxurious landmark in Scotland suffers woodworm


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Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum is one of the most eccentric and luxurious landmarks in Scotland. The castle was built in the 1890s for Sir George Bullough, one of the richest men in Britain at the time, but is now owned by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Kinloch Castle has been home to a number of quirky features over the years, including a hothouse containing exotic plants and birds, but sadly the castle has fallen into disrepair recently, suffering from leaks, collapsed ceilings and woodworm.

So, what damage are woodworm causing at Kinloch Castle?

Woodworm problems at Kinloch Castle

One of Kinloch Castle’s most unique features is an automated music device called “The Orchestration”. The device is a pipe organ that is driven by an electric motor and plays music transferred onto perforated rolls of card, much like a player piano. There are only three such devices in existence and the Kinloch Castle “Orchestration” is the only one that still plays. It is very sad then that this unique feature has suffered from a severe attack of woodworm.

Woodworm can severely damage the structural integrity of any timber they infiltrate. So, without proper woodworm treatment, the sound quality of any instrument made primarily of wood, such as an organ, runs the risk of being severely compromised. This would be a sad outcome for such a unique instrument.

The Rotter on woodworm treatment and solutions

Les Meikle, a.k.a "The Rotter", is the MD of Wise Property Care, and he reckons the Kinloch Castle case is pretty unique:

"The woodworm problems in "The Orchestration" at Kinloch Castle sound like a real head scratcher, and they would likely require professional assistance. First of all, a woodworm expert would need to establish the extent of the woodworm problem. I'd imagine, in this case, the woodworm expert would also need to consult with a musical instrument professional who knows about the structure of the organ. For minor woodworm issues, only the surface of the timber should need treated to kill any emerging woodworm beetles, preventing future infestations.

In more severe cases, where the woodworm had spread into the structural timbers of the castle for example, it may be necessary to introduce a wider range of chemical and fumigation treatments. In worst case scenarios, where the woodworm have caused extensive damage, entire pieces of timber may need to be removed and replaced. That is where a property preservation company with woodworm expertise, like Wise Property Care, would come in."

Can Kinloch Castle pull through?

Sarah Bently of Scottish Natural Heritage says "We know what Kinloch Castle means to Rum's past, but we don't know what it will mean to the island's future”. Bently added "We have got to work out what's financially achievable in the short term and, more importantly, whether it is financially sustainable in the long term."

Locals are keen for Kinloch Castle to be restored to its former glory. The castle is a popular tourist attraction that brings visitors to the island from all over the world.

Hopefully property problems like woodworm will not call time on Kinloch Castle.

Find out more about Kinloch Castle

More help and advice on woodorm