About Us

The Highland Historic Buildings Trust (HHBT) was established in 1985 as a non-profit making organisation. It is a registered charity, reference no SCO 08403 and a company limited by guarantee no.101235.

Mission Statement

“Restoring and returning to use the built heritage of the Highlands and Islands”

Essentially, HHBT tackles historic buildings that are at risk, and which are beyond the capability of the private sector, normally because the cost of repair is significantly higher than the end value. Such projects are therefore dependent on higher levels of public funding, usually from a number of sources. 

Aims and objectives

HHBT was established to achieve the following objectives:

These objectives are underpinned by the key aim to secure a viable, sustainable and appropriate end use for each building to ensure the ongoing care and preservation of the building for future generations.

Originally operating as a 'restorer of last resort', its focus is now on facilitating community involvement in the adaptive re-use of historic buildings. By working at a strategic level, it supports local community groups to undertake the work at operational level.


John Duncan

As a qualified architect, urban designer and town planner, between 1973 and 2008 when working for the Greater London Council, Orkney Islands Council and the Highland Council respectively, John Duncan FRIAS IHBC provided advice on the architectural or historic importance of historic buildings and generally on architectural and more specifically on urban conservation issues. He has been involved in the promotion of the conservation of the built heritage of the Highlands for over thirty years and latterly more specifically in Inverness, with the Inverness City Heritage Trust, (ICHT) initially as its conservation and technical advisor on behalf of the Highland Council, and now as a Trustee. He was a founding Director of the Highland Vernacular Buildings Trust and of the Highland Buildings Preservation Trust now the Highland Historic Buildings Trust.

Current roles:  

  •  Trustee and Chairman, Highland Historic Buildings Trust (HHBT)
  •  Trustee, Inverness City Heritage Trust (ICHT)
  •  Grants Advisor to Scotland’s Churches Trust
  • Honorary Fellow The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS)  

Ken Johnston

A retired planner with an interest in built heritage and disability access issues, Ken graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1969, and became a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute two years later. He has worked in the Highlands since 1971, latterly in the post of Area Planning and Building Standards Manager for Lochaber. In his 30 years in Lochaber, Ken has worked on many listed building cases liaising regularly with Historic Scotland, and developing a keen interest in the built heritage of Lochaber and beyond.

Since retiring in 2005, Ken has undertaken a wide range of consultancy and voluntary work and successfully completed a post graduate course in Inclusive Environmental Access & Design at Heriot Watt University. He chaired the Lochaber Disability Access Panel for 7 years, and is currently a director of Lochaber Care & Repair and secretary to the Oban Disability Forum. Ken is fervently committed to the rescue and re-use of the built heritage of the Highlands.

Hugh Macdonald

Hugh Macdonald has a keen interest in traditional building and is directly responsible for the care and maintenance of a number of notable buildings in Skye. Hugh is a skilled builder who can turn his hand to most trades. He is a proficient slater, and has been maintaining the roof of his own property – Viewfield House Hotel – for over 30 years. He has attended courses at the Scottish Lime Centre on pointing, roughcasting and using lime washes. He attended a week-long dry stone walling course run by the Agricultural Training Board. He has specified and supervised building contracts both for himself and for other organisations. In addition to his involvement with the HHBT, he is a Trustee and the Commodore of the Skye Sailing Club, a Trustee of the Col Jock Macdonald Memorial Trust (Traditional music) and treasurer to three other local organisations.

Michael MacGruer

Michael Macgruer is a director and architect in private practice in Fort William. He was Area Architect with the Highland Council from Jul 1996 – Sep 2003 before which with Lochaber District Council when Director of Architectural Services. His skills range from project management and design of new and existing building projects specialising in listed and historic residential properties to procurement of planning and listed building approval and building warrant approval.

Mary Miers

Mary Miers is an architectural historian, author and journalist.  She set up Scotland's Buildings at Risk Register at the Scottish Civic Trust in 1990 and is currently the Fine Arts and Books Editor at the magazine Country Life.

Hector Munro

Hector W Munro MRICS is currently responsible for the day to day management of a family ‘in hand’ farming and forestry business which includes twenty-five let properties including two Category ‘A’ and one Category ‘B‘ listed buildings. He is company secretary for Clan Munro Heritage Ltd and as such was responsible for raising the funding for the development of a £1.5m heritage centre.

As a trustee of the Foulis Castle Trust, Hector is responsible for the care and maintenance of a category ‘A’ listed castle together with its contents and surrounding grounds.

As a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors; National Trust for Scotland; Scottish Wildlife Trust; Royal Scottish Forestry Society; Historic Houses Association, Hector's interests include history and the built heritage; wildlife and natural heritage; trees and countryside matters as well as walking and trout fishing.

Jean Ramsay Smith

Jean has over 25 years marketing experience in UK, Europe, Asia and North America. She has a proven track record in brand development and in leading and developing a business portfolio.

Catriona Duguid

Catriona Duguid is a Chartered Architect and has gained RIAS Accreditation in Conservation Architecture.  She studied Architecture at the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, and also at Edinburgh College of Art where she completed a post-graduate Diploma in Architecture & Architectural Conservation.  She has a particular interest in conservation and the reuse of historic buildings. 

Catriona has experience working on a wide range of projects including working on large public buildings in Ottawa and healthcare facilities for a practice in Glasgow.  She gained her professional qualifications in the conservation-based practice of Thomas Munro & Co (latterly HRI Munro Architecture) before setting up her own practice in Inverness, where she has continued to develop her conservation and restoration experience.

Alexander Bennett

Alexander who is Vice Chair of HHBT has a Graduate Diploma in Building Surveying, and until recently was Group Manager Countryside and Islands North at the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). Based in Inverness, he was the Project Coordinator for the NTS at the visitor centre at Culloden Battlefield. Other projects with the NTS have included Balmacara and Glencoe. As Group Manager Countryside and Islands North, Alexander had special responsibilities for the Trust's island properties of Canna, St Kilda, Fair Isle, Iona, Shielding and Unst.

Allan Henderson

Roddy Balfour


John Fraser

Financial Advisor/Accountant.

Douglas Graham

Company Secretary to the Trust.

Andrew Wright

Andrew Wright OBE PPRIAS RIBA is a Chartered Architect and Heritage Consultant who has prepared numerous conservation plans, conservation statements and heritage reports to accompany development proposals. Recent work includes a report on the condition and significance of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s The Hill House in Helensburgh for the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the monuments at Bannockburn (prepared jointly for Historic Scotland and the NTS), the Aberdeen Art Gallery, and a suite of documents prepared for the proposed Patrick Geddes Centre at the historic Riddles Court in Edinburgh for the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust.

For the Highland Historic Buildings Trust, he has prepared a number of conservation plans and statements over the years: these include the Sail Loft, Stornoway; Alness Old Parish Church; Townlands Barn at Cromarty; the Industrial Female School, Stornoway; 30 Princes Street, Thurso; St Mary’s, Lybster; Merkinch Welfare Hall; Burgie Castle (undertaken jointly with the Burgie Castle Preservation Trust) and latterly Viewhill House.

Glyn Young

Glyn Young who recently left the National Trust for Scotland (where latterly he was Lead Surveyor – North managing a team conserving, managing and developing the conservation charity’s built assets and presenting them to the public) to establish his own practice, has agreed to become an advisor to HHBT. Glyn is an experienced chartered surveyor specialising in building conservation. His skills include survey and repair, design, procurement and contract administration, as well as project and portfolio management. Glyn, who has been involved in, and led on, several large and complex building conservation projects over the years, most recently works to Inverewe House, Canna House, Glenfinnan Monument and Brodie Castle also provides building conservation services to the St Kilda World Heritage Site.