SCULPTURES missing from the top of Inverness Town House for 60 years have been found – just hours before scaffolding was due to be removed from the building.
Hopes of finding the two original sandstone dogs had faded during the £6.2 million renovation of the city centre building and replacement wolves had already been sculpted and placed in situ.
But on Thursday, the same day as project manager Jason Kelman had given his staff the green light to take down the scaffolding that has surrounded the building for months, he received a call to say the dogs had been discovered gathering dust at Highland Council’s Diriebught Road depot.
Work has now been halted work while the dogs’ conditions are assessed.
If it is found that they can be adequately restored they will be returned to the top of the A-listed building.
If not, they will go on display within the building itself.
The sculptures have been missing for at least 40 years but Mr Kelman thinks they may actually have been removed 52 years ago, during previous renovations carried out in 1965.
He said: "I had just signed off on the removal of the scaffolding when I got the call saying something I would be interested in had been found.
"I had my suspicions they were they dogs so I told the staff not to take anything down until I checked it out.
"It is almost too much of a coincidence, it’s quite spooky actually."
The discovery was made as the depot was being cleared to make space for staff at the Harbour Road depot to move in.
Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael said: "This is a truly remarkable discovery.
"We hope to put them on display in the museum for a short time so that everyone can have a chance to have a close-up look at them and find out about their amazing story."