An eye-catching graffiti mural which adorns the side of an historic Scots castle is being taken down.
Engineers recently discovered that the cement coating on the outside of Kelburn Castle, in Ayrshire, which was overlaid in the 1960s, is damaging the original walls.
It means that the mural painted in 2007 by a group of Brazilian graffiti artists, which has become one of the castle's most distinctive features, will need to be removed.
The Earl of Glasgow, who owns the castle, said he was devastated to have to remove the painting, which cost £20,000 and was commissioned by his son and daughter.
He said: "No-one could have imagined how popular the mural has become. It has generated global media coverage and visitors from all over the world have come to Kelburn to see for themselves how spectacular it is.
"But we had to decide what it best for the building and, sadly, that means the mural has to go. Unfortunately this season is likely to be its last so we would encourage anyone who hasn’t seen it already, or who wants to see it one last time, to come along."
The mural, which took 1500 cans of spray paint to complete, features a psychedelic series of interwoven cartoons depicting surreal urban culture.
Originally intended to be a temporary feature, it was named as one of the world’s top 10 examples of street art by designer and author Tristan Manco. Boyle subsequently wrote to Historic Scotland asking if it could stay up indefinitely.
But an inspection earlier this year revealed problems that required urgent attention. The main issue is that the roughcast coating on which the mural is painted is made from Portland cement, a strong binding agent which has the effect of sealing the stonework underneath.
Historic Scotland said it would consider a temporary stay of execution for the mural to allow a full technical and cultural case to be prepared for its retention.
A spokesman said: “Although we recognise the value of the mural…we need to consider the conservation of Kelburn and our preference will be for the solution which is best for the building.”
The timing of the removal has yet to be finalised by the project management team but is expected to be within the next year.