They are synonymous with the croft houses, bothies and farm buildings of rural Scotland and inspired the design of a new Highland cinema.

Now, an exhibition is to celebrate the nation’s distinctive red roofed buildings and amateur photographers are being challenged to take the perfect shot.

It has been launched by Angus MacDonald, the millionaire businessman who opened Fort William’s first cinema in more than fifteen years.

The red roof tradition was incorporated into the striking design of the two-screen cinema by Glasgow and Skye-based architect Dualchas which is in the style of a traditional black house.

The Herald:

Mr MacDonald said: “The ‘Red Roofs of Scotland’ photography competition will mark the second anniversary of our opening and we are inviting amateur photographers to submit photographs featuring beautiful, quirky, rustic and interesting red roof buildings located in any part of Scotland.”

Lila Angelaka, a technical specialist at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) said:“Corrugated iron roofs in bothies and farm buildings were often painted to protect them from corrosion and red was indeed a common paint colour for these roofs. 

The Herald:

“My own understanding is that the choice of paint colour was a combination of the red lead that was often used in the rust-inhibiting lead paint and its visual similarity to iron oxide that was also sometimes used as a primer and would disguise rust staining, as it produced a reddish-brown colour. 

“However, green, brown and cream paint colours were also commonly used later on.”

The Herald:

Mr MacDonald footed the entire cost for the cinema as a “gift” to the Lochaber area where he grew up and also opened a bookshop after learning that they play a crucial role in helping  regenerate a town centre.

Since opening in September 2020, it has been recognised in Time Out’s 50 Best Cinemas’ in the UK list.

The serial entrepreneur made his money buying and selling four major Scottish companies and is also a published author.

The Herald:

In 2019 he sold an Edinburgh-based waste management firm in a reported £25.8 million deal and was awarded an OBE for services to the Highlands.

Entry to the competition is open to amateur photographers of any age and images can be of any building in Scotland with a predominantly red roof, including Highland Cinema and taken within the last three years. 

The photographs will be judged by an expert panel that includes Christina Jansen, managing director of the Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh a specialist in 20th century Scottish and contemporary art.Twenty will be exhibited in the cinema with a first prize of £500.

Full details of the competition and how to enter can be found at