National Trust properties could open again soon under Scottish Government plans to ease lockdown restrictions.
The grounds of castles and other historic properties owned by the charity were closed down earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But the trust has now revealed that gardens and free-to-enter and unstaffed countryside properties could open again soon.
However, the charity revealed that the sites could only be accessed at this stage by local visitors with restrictions still in place.
The move could see popular sites like Fyvie Castle reopening to local visitors.
Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald had written to the National Trust Scotland calling for the charity to reopen all its north-east properties to the public as soon as possible.
And he urged the charity to abandon plans to make over 400 staff in Scotland redundant.
Writing to chief executive Simon Skinner, Lewis Macdonald warned bosses against embarking on “a downward spiral of reduced public access, falling income and lost jobs.”
He asked for staff to be consulted on how to keep the doors open, to talk to government agencies about opportunities for growth, and to give trust members the final say by calling an extraordinary general meeting after the lockdown was lifted.
Mr Macdonald said: “There is really no excuse for mass redundancies at the National Trust this summer, given that the Job Retention Scheme now extends into October. I am calling for the extended furlough period to be used to protect jobs and plan for future growth.
“Keeping places like Castle Fraser, Haddo House and Fyvie Castle closed longer than the lockdown requires will cut the income of the trust, jobs will be lost and local economies in rural areas of the north-east will suffer. The doors must not close on properties like Leith Hall, where local communities have worked so hard to give these places a future.
“It would seem far more sensible to plan for the new opportunities that will come after this crisis, and senior management at the National Trust need to consult their staff and their members rather than embark on a downward spiral of cuts and closures”.
The National Trust launched a formal consultation with staff and its trade union, in order to make a decision on which of their built heritage properties can be first to reopen.
A spokesman for the National Trust for Scotland said: “We are well aware of, and always grateful for, the support of communities in the north-east, as well as the loyalty and expertise of our staff there – but, much as we would like to accede to Mr MacDonald’s wishes, there are significant challenges both now and in the economic aftermath of the public health crisis.
“Our future depends on the support we can obtain from generous donors and members.
“We are reducing our costs so far as we can to weather the loss of virtually all of our income and the expectation of reduced income for the next year to 18 months.”
The National Trust said staff may face challenges, due to the fact that the charity does not qualify for various business and charity support schemes.
The spokesman added: “Having already missed our busiest time of year, which is why we are putting so many seasonal staff at risk of redundancy, and having to put in place safe arrangements and infrastructure to accommodate ongoing restrictions, it won’t be viable or practical for us to open more than half of our key built heritage properties this year.
“While the furlough scheme and its extension is very welcome, unfortunately it comes nowhere near covering our losses to the extent that we can remain a going concern.
“Further, we do not qualify for the various government business and charity support schemes that are now in place.
“We are grateful for the establishment of the Scottish Government’s task group and we have begun working with it to determine potential options that may assist us in our efforts to overcome the crisis we are in through no fault of our own.”