Van man destroys priceless archway 28 | 09 | 2010

    IT MAY WELL have seen numerous kings pass below it — and survived last year's high-speed RallyScotland — but after 500 years of gathering Scottish history the priceless archway at Scone Palace was reduced to a pile of rubble by an errant 'white van man' .

    The 16th Century archway — the oldest surviving part of the palace and all that remained of the approach to the Augustinian Abbey near Perth —was destroyed when the van driver on his way to collect a marquee used in an event over the weekend collided with it.

    For some, as yet unexplained reason, the contractor can only appear to have misjudged the height of the arch and smashed into it. The impact — which, clearly wasn't simply a slight bump — caused the entire archway to collapse.

    And while the archway survived the high-speed exploits of drivers in last year's inaugural RallyScotland which saw the first stages run in the grounds of Scone Palace, Suzanne Urquhart, chief executive of Mansfield Estates which operates the castle, said she was "devastated" by the van man's damage. 
"We were notified of the accident shortly before 1pm and took immediate steps to make the area around the archway safe," she explained. "We are currently taking advice from Historic Scotland and have arranged for conservation architects to examine what remains of the archway as soon as is practical, with a view to undertaking a reconstruction project in the longer term.
"Clearly we are devastated that such a priceless monument and important piece of Scottish history has been destroyed in this manner. However we are thankful that neither the driver nor any member of the public was injured."

    A police spokesman said they had attended the scene.

    Jim McGill


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