THE 132-year-old William Wallace statue has been returned to the National Monument in Stirling after undergoing vital restoration work in England

The bronze 14ft figure of the Scottish hero, which towers above the entrance to the world-famous attraction, has spent around 10 weeks receiving painstaking repairs from specialists across the border.

Stirling Council has invested an estimated £260,000 in the challenging project to ensure the stunning structure is back in peak condition ahead of the Wallace Monument’s 150th anniversary celebrations in September.

The expert work has involved repairs to the structural casting failures on the statue, cleaning, stabilisation and re-patination of the bronze to halt decay, cleaning out the statue’s internals which had been originally filled with sand to stabilise the statue, designing and inserting a new armature (skeleton) and assessing and repairing the shield and sword.

It forms part of the overall exterior restoration project at the National Wallace Monument, which is being funded by the Council and is expected to total £515,000.

The popular landmark was last year prioritised for repair works by the council and Stirling District Tourism – an independent charity which manages and operates the Monument – following a building and condition survey.

After the statue was carefully removed in sections from the tower for the first time since its unveiling in 1887, Wallace travelled down south to Wigan-based firm, Lost Art, to begin the process of restoration.

Brian Roberts, senior manager for Infrastructure at Stirling Council, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the magnificent William Wallace statue has been restored to his former glory and is back home in Stirling for the upcoming National Monument’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

“The investment by the Council was critical to safeguard the future of the statue and the monument, one of Scotland’s most popular attractions, and underlines our commitment to ensuring Stirling continues to be a must-visit destination.

“This was a hugely challenging and complex project, requiring the collaboration of a range specialists, including the expertise of the craftspeople of Lost Art, who have a proven track record in restoring Scottish historical structures.

“What happened on Wallace’s last trip to England is obviously well-known, and very much in the past but, this time, thanks to Lost Art’s painstaking work, he has returned across the border in peak condition and ready to greet visitors from all over the world as they arrive at the Monument.”