Scottish World Heritage Sites: Future candidates
News broke on Monday that the Forth Rail Bridge has been put forward as a potential World Heritage Site. If successful, the bridge will join five existing sites in Scotland, and 28 in the UK in total. But what other sites in Scotland would be worth nominating?
The five current Scottish sites are St Kilda, New Lanark, Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns, the Antonine Wall and the Heart of Neolithic Orkney.
The nomination of the Forth Rail Bridge - viewed by many as an icon of engineering - will be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for consideration at the 2015 meeting.
A list of tentative UK sites was announced in March of last year, including three sites in Scotland - Mousa, Old Scatness and Jarlshof: the Zenith of Iron Age Shetland; the Flow Country and the Forth Rail Bridge. The Flow Country and the Zenith of Iron Age Shetland will have the opportunity at a later date to outline reasons for their inclusion.
We asked readers of The Scotsman to submit their own ideas, or nominations for sites they felt should be considered for World Heritage Site status.
A number of people suggested the Callanish Standing Stones, in Callanish on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides. Shaped like a cross, the stones are believed to date back to 2000BC and are amongst the most impressive of megalithic structures in the UK. Situated on the Western side of Lewis, Callanish itself is a small village, situated on a headland jutting into Loch Roag, a sea loch, 13 miles west of Stornoway.
A popular site with our readers was Islay, home to seven working whisky distilleries including Laphroaig and Bowmore, and the ‘lost’ distillery of Port Ellen. Only 25 miles long, the island is known as the Queen of the Hebrides, with a population of around 3,400. The capital, Bowmore, is also the home of the iconic Kilarrow Parish Church. The island itself was part of the ancient Kingdom of Dalriada, with ample evidence remaining including the standing stone at Carragh Bhàn, said to mark the grave of the King of the Isles, Godred Crovan.
Glencoe featured highly amongst potential World Heritage Sites, famously home to the Glencoe Massacre of 1692, when 38 MacDonalds (later rising to 70 after a further 40 died from exposure) from Clan MacDonald of Glencoe were killed by the Earl of Argyll’s regiment, made up mainly of members of Clan Campbell, and Lowland Scots. Glencoe has featured prominently in a number of literary works, including ‘Rannoch, by Glencoe’, written by TS Eliot, and the novel ‘Lady of the Glen’ by Jennifer Roberson.
Another favourite was that of Iona Abbey, founded by the Irish saint Columba in the late 6th century. Situated on the Isle of Iona, close to the Isle of Mull, the abbey was instrumental in the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland. Although rebuilt in the late 19th century and renovated since, the abbey is still used by the community today, although the claims that several early Scottish kings, along with monarchs from Ireland, France and Norway are buried in the Abbey graveyard are subject to scepticism from a number of modern historians. Former leader of the Labour Party John Smith, who loved the site of the abbey and died suddenly in 1994, is buried on Iona.
Other nominations included the Culloden battlefield, site of the collapse of the Jacobite rebellion in 1746; Dunadd Fort near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute, an ancient hillfort believed to be the capital of the ancient kingdom of Dalriada and the Devil’s Beef Tub near Moffat in the Scottish Borders.
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