It was built in the 1200s and is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl which was also the site of a 1746 siege as part of the Jacobite uprising.

Steeped in history, Blair Castle boasts a collection of paintings and tapestries which date back to the 17th and 18th century and before the pandemic, what has become a popular tourist attraction would have welcomed 100,000 visitors a year.

As it prepares to open its doors at the end of this month technology has overtaken tradition to ensure people from around the world can remain connected to the castle and allow domestic visitors to have an enhanced experience.

Blair Castle has become the first historic Scottish landmark to partner with Smartify, the world’s most downloaded museum app.

The move on to Smartify is a key strategy to maintain its international audience, before foreign travel becomes the norm once again and whet the appetite of visitors. While preparing to welcome day trippers and staycationers back to tour the castle, its landscaped gardens and its trails across the Perthshire countryside, Blair Castle is adapting to a new world where digital and physical presence will be more closely aligned.

The ancestral home of the Dukes of Atholl and Europe’s only remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders, would welcome crowds of visitors in a normal year, many from overseas with connections to the ancient Murray clan.

And while it might be reopening its doors at the end of April, it will be some time before international travellers will be able to come and visit. Even the current Duke of Atholl, Bruce Murray, the 12th duke, has been kept in touch from afar as he is based in South Africa.

Catriona Sutherland, Head of Marketing at Blair Castle said: “It is important that we find new ways to keep the history alive and accessible to all audiences, whether those with ancestral connections, researchers or the day visitor. The move onto Smartify is a great step forward as we can now connect to a wider audience. The aim is that it will allow us to reach people when they can’t visit us in person and encourage new visitors who might not have realised the richness of the collection at Blair Castle.

“Our fundamental purpose is to share our castle and all its treasures with other people. The pandemic has not only taught us that we need to do more, but also given us the time to explore how we can do this most effectively. That makes for a very compelling historic narrative that we can now begin to share on Smartify.

“There is a great deal of interest in Blair Castle and certainly a few Clan Murray members around the world.”

The Blair Castle collection includes paintings by English artists Sir William Nicholson and Sir Edwin Landseer and German painter Johan Zoffany as well as local artists. There are 17th century tapestries alongside 18th century cabinetry; an ivory engraved pocket compass said to have been used by Bonnie Prince Charlie; and a temple coin cabinet dating back to 1758, which has been fashioned in the form of the temple of Septimus Severus, the Roman Emperor.

The pages on Smartify now provide access to the Castle’s extensive collection, with a full audio tour planned for the near future that will link the items in the context of the Castle itself.

Situated in the heart of Atholl Estates, Blair Castle was built in 1269 is set against the magnificent landscape of 145,000-acres, the estate offers beautifully scenic vistas of rolling farmland and wild open hills across Perthshire.

Ms Sutherland added: “As well as being a way to keep connected at a time when they can’t travel to the castle, the app will also have a benefit for those who can. You will be able to go into a room and scan a QR code to access more information about paintings for example and there will be a full audio tour as well.

“We will still be operating with our guided tours which have continued, but in smaller numbers.”

While the castle staff are delighted to be able to welcome people back within weeks, given the timings of the roadmap out of lockdown, it is unlikely that the annual Atholl Games will be able to go ahead at the end of May, but they are still hopeful they might be able to have some kind of parade event later in the year.

Reopening to the public on April 28, for day visitors, when permitted Blair Castle also hosts corporate events, functions and weddings throughout the year.