Highlands & Islands

Scotland's first geopark in crowdfunding bid

Beach
Image caption North West Highlands Geopark

Scotland's first geopark which features mountains, costal landscapes and rock formations which are among the oldest in Britain faces losing its Unesco accreditation after a funding crisis.

The North West Highlands Geopark won Unesco recognition in 2004.

The community company which runs it has now launched a crowdfunding project to raise £70,000.

Funding for the park has previously come from the Scottish government.

'Exciting projects'

The last award was made in 2015, but on the basis that the park would become "sustainable and financially viable".

The park board said this was not possible in such a remote and sparsely populated area.

The site faces losing its Unesco geopark status if it cannot maintain its core staff.

A statement on its website, announcing the crowdfunding venture, said: "As a charity we pay for our core staff through a mix of donations and product sales and due to circumstances beyond our control we're really struggling this year.

"We have funding in place to carry out a number of exciting projects between now and 2020 but need a bit of an extra leg-up to keep our staff going for the next 12 months.

"Please do what you can to spread the word and keep your Unesco Global Geopark going into 2018."

Gail Ross, MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross has lodged a motion at Holyrood supporting the crowdfunding effort.

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