National Trust for Scotland

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The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, commonly known as the National Trust for Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Urras Nàiseanta na h-Alba) describes itself as the conservation charity that protects and promotes Scotland's natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.[1]



The Trust was established in 1931 and (as of 2010) had 450 employees, over 310,000 members, and 1.5 million recorded visitors. It is similar in function to the National Trust, which covers England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and to other national trusts worldwide. The Trust's Patron is Charles, Duke of Rothesay; the President is the Duke of Buccleuch, and the Chairman is Sir Kenneth Calman.[2]

The Trust owns and manages around 130 properties and 180,000 acres (730 km2) of land, including castles, ancient small dwellings, historic sites, gardens, and remote rural areas. Most grounds and open spaces are open throughout the year but buildings may generally only be visited from Easter to October, sometimes only in the afternoons.

Originally, the charity owned properties rather than "wilderness" areas. When the Trust took on the management of rural estates there was controversy concerning issues such as the siting of visitor centres and placing of signposts. However, the Trust has learned to adopt a more sensitive approach, even to the extent of removing some intrusive facilities such as the original Glen Coe Visitor Centre.

David Learmont, the first curator of the National Trust for Scotland for more than 28 years, died in July 2009 aged 74.[3]

In August 2010, a report called 'Fit For Purpose'[4] by George Reid, commissioned by the Trust, stated that the organisation was close to financial collapse, had no central register of its assets, and would have to sell off some of its non-visited properties and make drastic changes to its governance if it was to survive[5].


Annual membership of the Trust allows free entry to properties and "Discovery Tickets" are available for shorter term visitors. Membership also provides free entry to National Trust properties in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, and vice versa. The Trust has an independent sister organization in the United States, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, headed by Curt DiCamillo. The organisation's membership magazine,Scotland in Trust, is published quarterly by CMYK Design. The magazine won the Periodical Publishers Association award for customer magazine of the year in 2005.

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