Plans to rebuild the Fair Isle Bird Observatory, which was completely destroyed by a fire in March, have taken a step further with the appointment of an architect.
According to the project directors the aim is to have a new building in place in time for the 2021 season.
No decisions have been made yet about the layout or construction but the hope is to have it even better than the previous building. Detailed drawings could be ready for planning application to be lodged next spring.
The building which burnt down this year was the third observatory on Fair Isle. The original centre, basically a collection of huts, was established by ornithologist George Waterston in 1948.
In 1968 a new observatory was built, but eventually that became inadequate and was replaced by a £4 million building which opened in 2010 and had capacity for up to £36 visitors.
The fire which destroyed the centre in March was devastating. Firefighters worked through the day on Sunday 10th March to try and save it, but by the following morning the building had been reduced to rubble and ashes.
Observatory warden David Parnaby, his wife Susannah and their two children lost their home in the blaze.
One of those who witnessed the destruction was Fair Isle ferry skipper Neil Thomson, who said: “We just watched the fire progress relentlessly and just felt extremely hopeless.”