The popular Battle of Bannockburn Center could be closed to the public for at least the next few months say bosses after its heating system failed.
While the ground source heating system is only seven years old, the National Trust for Scotland – who run the center – say they have no option but to replace it, but have pledged to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
On their website, they tell potential visitors: “Due to heating problems, we regret that Bannockburn visitor center will be closed until further notice. We will update our website and social media channels when this issue is resolved. Thank you for your understanding.”
The conservation said today is committed to solving technical issues that have recently been affecting the center.
The center was opened in 2014, on the 700 th anniversary of the battle, and made use of innovative technology to heat the building and to cool the IT equipment that provides the core of the ‘battle experience’ for visitors.
The ground source heating system used was selected due to its carbon neutrality but has failed on a number of occasions and is now past the point of repair.
This has caused the Trust to limit the opening hours of the center in order to accommodate pre-booked school visits only.
Replacement of the system is said to be “unavoidable” but bosses warn it will also be technically and logistically difficult and, as a result, “may require the center to remain closed for a period, albeit with limited opening for educational bookings”.
The National Trust for Scotland’s General Manager for Edinburgh & East, Stuart Maxwell said: “This is disappointing for everyone at the Trust, our visitors and for the local community – but I want to emphasize our commitment to Bannockburn and our determination to resolve these issues as quickly as we can.
“Replacing the system will be challenging and may require us to open up and walls and roof space in order to remove the existing system and install its replacement.
“If there is any upside to this, environmentally-friendly ground source heating has come on leaps and bounds since 2014 and the new system will undoubtedly be much more reliable and economical.
“We remain committed to investing in the visitor experience and historical interpretation at this iconic national site and are working on plans now for the future to offer something that far surpasses current provision.
“Due to current supply problems experienced by the country as a whole it may be a few months before we are able to take delivery of the new system, and then we will need time after that to complete the complex process of installation. Once underway, we can redeploy staff to other duties until the works are finished.
“However, in the interim we will look at temporary arrangements that will allow us to heat the building and cool the electronic systems. These will enable us to offer continued educational access to the center and we will liaise with education authorities around this.
“Of course, access to the wider parkland of the battlefield will remain open as always.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.