INSPECTIONS at two historic castles will get under way next week in a bid to welcome back visitors.

Tantallon Castle, to the east of North Berwick, and Dirleton Castle have been shut since January last year.

The attractions, along with Hailes Castle, between Haddington and East Linton, bring more than 75,000 people to the county each year.

Last year, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) revealed the reasons for closing the buildings, including to fight the effects of climate change.

Now, inspections at two of the three county attractions will get under way on Monday (January 23).

Craig Mearns, director of operations at HES, said: “Tantallon and Dirleton castles are both hugely significant heritage sites and I am delighted to announce that inspections will begin this month.

“We are working as quickly as we can to roll out our nationwide programme of inspections, and we appreciate the public’s patience while we undertake this necessary work.

“Once the inspections have been carried out, the results will be analysed to inform any interventions or repairs that will be required in order to provide additional visitor access.”

READ MORE: Tantallon Castle and Dirleton Castle closed indefinitely to save them from effects of climate change

The inspections can take more than a month due to the scope of the task and the different characteristics of the buildings, many of which date back several hundred years, and were constructed according to the conventions and materials of the time.

It is estimated that the tactile inspection at Tantallon Castle will take 45 working days due to the size of the site and the hands-on nature of the work.

Access restrictions were put in place at the sites last year as a safety precaution while HES, who manages the sites, introduced new measures to manage the impact of climate change on its heritage assets.

The High Level Masonry Programme, which is the result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys, is assessing the impact of climate change on historic sites at a high level, in combination with a number of other factors, including the materials used in the building’s construction, its age and physical location.

Work is taking place at a number of sites across Scotland and HES has completed detailed, tactile inspections at 25 sites across the country since May last year.

A further 13 are due for completion by spring this year, with work continuing to take place over the winter months.

While necessary access restrictions have been put in place at sites while the programme is ongoing, access has been maintained where possible to other areas, with the gardens, exhibition and shop currently open at Dirleton and the castle grounds and shop open at Tantallon.

To find out more about the inspection programme visit