Highlands & Islands

World Heritage status for Loch Ness still 'aspiration'

RockNess reveller at Loch Ness
Image caption A reveller at this summer's RockNess music festival on the shores of Loch Ness

Bidding for World Heritage site status for Loch Ness and the Great Glen remains a "long-term aspiration", according to a group involved.

In 2008, not-for-profit organisation Destination Loch Ness said it hoped to achieve the designation by 2012.

But a spokesman said the group had not gone through the process to be included in the latest round of bids.

Potentially in the running for 2012 are the Flow Country in the far north and Shetland's Iron Age settlements.

The Forth Bridge is also among six Scottish bids for World Heritage site status.

Thirty-eight UK locations are competing to be added to a final shortlist the UK government will submit to Unesco.

'The myth'

Outstanding qualities that could earn World Heritage status for Loch Ness and the Great Glen were set out in November 2008 - but with no mention of Nessie.

Destination Loch Ness had secured a £25,000 sponsorship package to progress the bid.

One of its consultants, tourism expert Prof Terry Stevens, said it was important to broaden knowledge of the area beyond "the myth" of the monster.

The historical and cultural features of Loch Ness and the Great Glen include the ruins of Urquhart Castle and RockNess, the Highland's biggest music festival held in June near the village of Dores.

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