Dunnottar Castle, one of Scotland’s most spectacular ruined fortresses, has come top of a poll to nominate a Scottish “8th Wonder of the World.”
The iconic Aberdeenshire castle, which inspired Princess Merida’s family home in Disney-Pixar’s Brave and doubled for Elsinore in Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet, was the clear winner in the VisitScotland’s Facebook contest.
And the castle will now be put forward as Scotland’s official nomination for VirtualTourist.com’s global competition to crown the 8th Wonder of the World when global voting starts on 3 June.
Dunnottar beat the Cuillins of Skye into second place and the Callanish Stones on Lewis into third, attracting twice as many votes as Edinburgh Castle, the Forth Bridge and the Old Course at St Andrews.
Wendy Sylvester, the custodian of Dunnottar Castle, said: “We are delighted and honoured that we have been selected to represent Scotland in VirtualTourist.com’s ‘8th Wonder of the World’ competition.
“All the locations and attractions featured in VisitScotland’s shortlist encompassed all that is great about Scotland, so we knew from the start that we were up against some very strong competition indeed”
She added: “The support we have received from our local community, further afield in Scotland and UK, and overseas, has been overwhelming and we can’t thank everyone enough for supporting us and taking the time to vote for Dunnottar.
“We hope that everyone continues to get behind us in the next stage of the competition so we can put not only Dunnottar Castle and the town of Stonehaven on the map, but fly the flag for the whole of Scotland as a must-see visitor destination for those coming from further afield.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We absolutely loved every one of the awe-inspiring locations featured on VisitScotland’s Facebook page and I am delighted that Dunnottar Castle has received the most ‘likes’ from our Facebook fans. It thoroughly deserves to go forward and stand alongside the other world-renowned attractions vying for the title of ‘8th Wonder of the World’.
“We are lucky enough to live in a country that is full of wondrous and iconic attractions and locations - something we will be showcasing on the global stage as we prepare to welcome the world in 2014.”
Dunnottar Castle was recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, placing them in the top-performing ten per cent of all businesses worldwide on the travel website.
There has been a keep on the rocky headland which dominates Stonehaven since the Middle Ages. The castle was besieged by William Wallace in 1297 and later became the seat of the Earls Marischal, one of the most powerful families in Scotland.
In the 17th Century the castle played a key role in Scottish history when its small garrison held out against a siege by Oliver Cromwell’s army for eight months. The Earl Marischal had been given the “Honours of Scotland” - the Scottish Crown Jewels - for safekeeping and the Crown, sceptre and sword were successfully smuggled past the Cromwell’s blockade.
1. Dunnottar Castle - 1836 votes
2. The Cuillins, Isle of Skye - 1195
3. Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis - 1096
4. The Great Glen, Highlands - 950
5. Fingal’s Cave, Staffa - 904
6. Edinburgh Castle 741
7. Skara Brae, Orkney - 600
8. The Forth Bridge - 596
9. The Old Course, St Andrews - 558
10. The Falkirk Wheel - 425