“Hopefully people will come forward and we can get something started to tidy it up. It should be preserved and it’s a shame to let it rot.”
He added: “We have been trying to find descendants of Lord Melville who might take on some responsibility for the monument and Judy has written letters to various people.
“But the ownership seems to be extremely vague and there are disputes about it so, at the moment, we don’t know who has responsibility for it. Meanwhile the monument is significantly degrading and I feel we just need to get on and take some action.”
The Melville Monument is a 22-metre tall granite obelisk which sits atop the 260m peak of Dunmore overlooking Comrie.
It was erected in 1812 by public subscription to the memory of the First Lord Melville, Henry Dundas, who was Scotland’s Lord Advocate from 1775 to 1783 and chief minister in Scotland under William Pitt the Younger.
There is also a monument to Lord Melville in Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Square.
To coincide with the monument’s 200th anniversary, community councillors carried out an inspection of the structure and wrote a report highlighting the threat posed by progressive dilapidation.
They hoped to stimulate initiatives to safeguard the obelisk’s existence but it continues to deteriorate.
The comprehensive report illustrates how water is getting into the core of the structure making it susceptible to frost attack, while stones have fallen out of the enclosure wall.
There are also small trees near the wall which, if left unchecked, could cause damage to the stone footings – while the plinth base has many joints which are leaking water.
The access path to the Melville Monument – popular with both visiting and resident ramblers – is also in a poor state.
Anyone interested in joining a group to help save the monument should contact Andrew Finlayson on 01764 679677.