A TEXAN businessman has applied for permission to help protect a historic Scottish castle.

Work is set to begin at Elanvow, a tiny island in Loch Lomond to secure the remains of a 16th century castle.

Bruce McFarlin, a chemical engineer, has applied to Historic Environment Scotland (HES) for permission to protect the castle from root damage and open up views to the scheduled monument.

The islands were held by the MacFarlane clan from the 14th century before a castle was built in 1577 by its 14th chief, Andrew.

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McFarlin does not own the island, which is also known as Island I Vow, but does lead the Elanvow Preservation Fund which he set up to help secure the future of the site for visitors and in particular those with MacFarlane ancestry, The Scotsman reports.

In an application to HES, McFarlin said: “We propose to perform preservation works on Island I Vow to remove trees.

“The presence of the trees has a visual impact on the monument and continued root growth of falling branches and trees is expected to damage the buildings on the site.

“Removing the fallen trees would remove that visual impact and protect the integrity of outbuilding and tower walls.”

McFarlin first visited the site with his family in 1994 with the trust them embarking on hours of work to clear the island of undergrowth and make it more accessible.

He previously said the preservation of the island had been a “very, very personal journey” for his family and said it was a “very special place”.

There is no clear owner of Elanvow although there have been three competing title owners in the past – Dennis Brian Squires of the Ardlui Hotel, the trustees of the Clan MacFarlane Charitable Trust and Douglas Laurence McFarlane of Bo’Ness. All have given permission for earlier work to be carried out.

A statement on the EVPF website said: “EVPF has consistently indicated that it does not want to be involved in any way in the ownership dispute over Island I Vow and will continue to notify and work with all claimants consistent with Historic Scotland requirements.”

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Elanvow became the temporary seat of the clan in the mid-17th century after Oliver Cromwell burn out another island on the loch, Inveruglas.

The MacFarlanes eventually moved to the mainland near the end of the 17th century and abandoned the island sometime in the 18th century.

It is hoped that clearance work will be carried out by the end of September as HES now consider McFarlin’s application.