A Scottish charity is aiming to put Caithness on the tourist map by re-creating a historic Broch in the north.
The Caithness Broch Project plans to build the round stone structure on the north coast of Thurso, to promote Scotland’s historic connections to the Iron Age.
Director Kenneth McElroy claimed the project would benefit the Highland economy.
He said: “It’s an ideal opportunity for Caithness. We need to look at other ways to support ourselves.
“Dounreay Nuclear Power Station is going through a service reshuffle, and will [eventually] close. It’s a huge employer of people and keeps people financially secure. We have to be frank on how we are going to battle the brunt.
“By building the broch, we would really put Caithness on the map and give visitors an unmissable and iconic site for them to visit.
“This would help sustain jobs in the area – hotels, restaurants, cafes, museums, public services – all of which are used by and supported by tourists. The more tourists we can entice to Caithness, the better the economy will fare.”
During a forum in Stirling last week, the charity outlined plans to potentially build a two-storey Broch, featuring a timber roof.
During the discussions, the charity and 30 experts in the field – including archaeologists and heritage professionals – discussed the overall design, looking at how many entrances the structure will have, how the roof will be constructed and what their visitor centre will look like.
Those behind the initiative believe the overall cost could run into millions, depending on the overall scale of the venture.
Mr McElroy added: “The cost of the broch depends on the design and whether we decide to have a visitor centre to go along with the attraction. It could cost between £1 million and £3.5m. The broch itself would cost about £700,000.
“We would be looking to use a variety of funding sources – ranging from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), local wind turbine funds and LEADER to raise the funds.”
Brochs date back to between 400BC and 200AD in Scotland and were used as defence structures and place of refuge for the community and their livestock.