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Scotland’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa: Glenfinnan Monument listing to one side

  • by ALISTAIR MUNRO
 

SCOTLAND has an answer to Italy’s famous Leaning Tower of Pisa – the Glenfinnan Monument in the Highlands.

The popular 60ft landmark has been confirmed as very slowly listing to one side.

The monument in the west Highlands was erected in 1812 as a memorial to the men who died in the Jacobite Rising.

The National Trust for Scotland, which manages the structure and neighbouring visitor centre, says the lean is now almost 11 inches in a north-westerly direction.

It is not as extreme as the tilt of the Leaning Tower of Pisa – indeed it is not visible to the eye – but it is proving to be a popular talking point among locals and tourists alike.

Property manager Rudy Vandecappelle said: “We’re in the height of the visitor season here at Glenfinnan, welcoming thousands of visitors from Scotland and beyond every week.

“They all love to hear the story of our leaning tower, although it’s not quite on a par with Pisa.”

The monument was designed by James Gillespie Graham and is a stopping off point for tourists on the Road to the Isles.

The landmark first began showing signs of listing in 1929 by leaning three inches to the east, but a survey four years later revealed a two inch swing in the opposite direction.

In 1981 the trust, which took over responsibility for the monument in 1938, reported a six inch tilt, again to the west. Now that is a lean of 10.6inches.

The changing circumstances are put down to frequent flooding of the adjacent loch and River Shiel over the years, which has helped undermine the foundations.

But the conservation charity is confident the structure is completely stable and there is little chance of the lean increasing.

 

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