CALLS have been made to expand the use of Clackmannan Tower in an effort to increase tourism in the Wee County.

The tower, located to the west of Clackmannan, is closed to the public outwith pre-arranged guided tours, with some fearing this means it does not attract the same levels of tourism as similar sites in the area.

Keith Brown, MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, sits on the Scottish Parliament’s constitution, Europe, external affairs and culture committee.

He raised the issue with Historic Environment Scotland at a parliamentary committee in December, asking the chief executive, if there were plans to reopen the site.

He said: “We have a particular strength of historic sites in this area, and Clackmannan Tower is amongst the most historic.

“For as long as I’ve been an MSP, the inside of Clackmannan Tower has been closed to the public – meaning that it does not attract the same footfall as other historic sites in the wider area, like the Alloa Tower or Wallace Monument.

“It’s important to get these facilities open and promoted so that we can attract more tourism to the area, and I look forward to hearing from Historic Environment Scotland on this.”

The Clackmannan Tower was constructed in the 1300s by a descendant of Robert the Bruce and was even visited by Robert Burns.

The tower has been stripped of its ancillary structures, standing alone on a hilltop near Clackmannan.

Managed by Historic Environment Scotland, the grounds around the tower are open all-year round to visitors, but the governing body warns that safety concerns inside the tower mean they cannot provide full access.

A spokesperson for HES said: “The grounds of Clackmannan Tower are open and the exterior can be viewed freely year-round.

“Public access to the interior is available as part of guided tours, either as a part of the annual National Doors Open Day in September or via pre-arranged tours.

“Originally constructed in the 14th century, the interior of the tower has low lintels and other challenges in terms of access including a low and deep lintel (which visitors pass under as the beginning of their visit to the tower’s interior) and a very narrow and steep staircase.

“Visitors are therefore granted access and led through the tower by a tour leader for health and safety reasons.”