World status mooted for Flow Country

Flow Country. COPYRIGHT JONATHAN BILLINGER The Flow Country in the far north of Scotland covers a wide area of peatland

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Unesco World Heritage status could be sought for a vast area of peatlands in the far north of mainland Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has suggested nominating the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland for the list of globally important sites.

The UK government is preparing a list of new locations worthy of the status.

St Kilda, Neolithic sites on Orkney, New Lanark, Edinburgh's old and news towns and the Antonine Wall are recognised Scottish sites.

'The myth'

The Flow Country is one of the world's largest areas of peatlands and provides habitat for otters and birds.

Calls for it to be awarded the Unesco designation have been made in the past, including in 2005 by Green MSP Eleanor Scott.

SNH has asked Highland Council for its views on the area being nominated in the latest bid.

Separately, there has been a campaign by businesses in the Highlands to have Loch Ness and the Great Glen accredited.

Outstanding qualities that could earn the status were set out in 2008 - but with no mention of Nessie.

Destination Loch Ness, a not-for-profit group pushing for the designation, secured a £25,000 sponsorship package to progress the bid.

Tourism expert Prof Terry Stevens, who was advising the group, said it was important to broaden knowledge of the area beyond "the myth".

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