MARK DANIELS - Adviser on visitor and occupational health and safety at historic buildings, parks, gardens, coast and countryside

Blog 2013

Welcome to my online blog on visitor safety issues, site visits and other matters of possible interest. The general rule is that the content of the blog should not involve criticism of people, places or site management. Discussion about a particular site does not necessarily mean that I'm undertaking work for the organisation that owns or manages the site - in some cases, these are the observations of a visitor.

Tuesday 3rd September

Argyll’s Lodgings, Stirling

Journey north on the east coast main line from Newcastle to a business meeting at Historic Scotland’s offices in Argyll’s Lodging in Stirling, taking forward the visitor safety project towards its conclusion, at least of this main development phase. We are well advanced on new internal policies and procedures and the production of examples of visitor safety risk assessments that seek to find the right balance between thoroughness and brevity – in other words, something suitable and sufficient that takes account of significant risks and the dis-benefits of excessive intervention in historic buildings. Retracing the journey south with superb views of the Berwickshire and Northumberland coast, Holy Island and Bamburgh Castle in wonderful evening light. Gannets off shore in numbers, wheeling and diving.

Wednesday 4th September

Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

Further work in splendid surroundings – a fine day on the Nith estuary south of Dumfries, spent going round this iconic castle (actually, there are two castles, although only the footings of the older one remain) in some detail working on an example of a new format for a visitor safety risk assessment. Wrestling with unresolved and residual risks and their justification – what is acceptable within a well-visited historic building?

The long drive back is a preferred scenic route, across the Pennine divide above Dufton then dropping down to Bowes and Scotch Corner.

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