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The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) ( ) describes itself as the conservation charity that protects and promotes Scotlandmarker's natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations to enjoy.


It was established in 1931 and ( ) has 500 employees, over 290,000 members, and 1.7 million recorded visitors. It is similar in function to the National Trust, which covers Englandmarker, Walesmarker, and Northern Irelandmarker, and other national trusts worldwide. The Trust's Patron is Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay; the President is the Duke of Buccleuch, and the Chairman is Shonaig Macpherson.

The Trust owns and manages over 127 properties and 760 square kilometres (76,000 hectares, 180,000 acres) of land, including castles, ancient small dwellings, historic sites, gardens, and remote rural areas. Most grounds and open spaces are open throughout the year but buildings may generally only be visited from Easter to October, sometimes only in the afternoons.

Originally, the NTS owned properties rather than "wilderness" areas. When the Trust took on the management of rural estates there was controversy concerning the siting of visitor centres, placing of signposts, etc. However, the Trust has learned to adopt a more sensitive approach, even to the extent of removing some intrusive facilities such as the original Glen Coemarker Visitor Centre.

David Learmont, the first curator of the National Trust for Scotland for more than 28 years, died in July 2009 aged 74.


Annual membership of the NTS allows free entry to properties and "Discovery Tickets" are available for shorter term visitors. NTS membership also provides free entry to National Trust properties in England and Wales, and vice versa. The Trust has an independent sister organization in the United States, The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, headed by Curt DiCamillo. Scotland in Trust, the membership magazine of the NTS is published quarterly by CMYK Design. The magazine won the Periodical Publishers Association award for customer magazine of the year in 2005.

For the maintenance of its nature properties, the NTS also relies on the contributions of volunteers, with local circles of Conservation Volunteers working on projects during weekends. The NTS also organises working holidays called "Thistle Camps" on various properties. Activities undertaken during such camps typically include footpath maintenance and woodland work such as rhododendron control.


  • Bremner, Douglas. For the Benefit of the Nation. McGraw-Hill Contemporary. 2001. ISBN 978-0901625694

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