Work begins on William Wallace statue's £260,000 restoration
A £260,000 project to restore the William Wallace statue at the National Wallace Monument in Stirling has begun.
The bronze 14ft sculpture will be dismantled in sections and removed from the landmark's entrance for the first time since it was unveiled in 1887.
It will undergo specialist restoration before being returned to the attraction ahead of its 150th anniversary celebrations in September.
The restoration work is expected to take about 10 weeks.
The project is part of the overall restoration of the monument, which is being funded by Stirling Council and is expected to cost £515,000.
The National Wallace Monument attracts about 140,000 visitors every year.
The monument will close from 11 February until late April while the work is carried out.
'Challenging and complex'
The work involves repairing and cleaning the statue, as well as designing and inserting a new armature.
Stirling Council leader Scott Farmer said: "These essential repairs to the stunning statue of Wallace are hugely challenging and complex, but they will ensure this unique, global attraction is back in peak condition for the monument's 150th anniversary celebrations and for years to come."
The William Wallace statue was created by renowned Edinburgh sculptor David Watson Stephenson and was added to the monument in 1887.
Prior to work commencing, specialists conducted x-ray and endoscopic surveys, and ultrasonic thickness-mapping.
Project engineer Jim Mitchell said: "The decision to dismantle in situ has been proved correct as we have found around 500kg of sand and other fill inside the statue.
"All of that must be carefully removed before the rest is lifted, due to the fragile nature of the bronze.
"We are looking forward to examining this massive bronze in the workshop, to better understand the sculptor's approach."