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12 November 2006
Callanish not in line up as World Heritage Site

The Callanish Stones will not be considered as a World Heritage Site (WHS) before 2010, despite international reports they are more impressive than WHS Stonehenge. A recent survey of World Heritage Sites carried out by the National Geographic Traveler magazine concluded that Stonehenge was in trouble due to overcrowding, noise pollution and a lack of benefit for the local community. Comments from a panel of 419 experts in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship stated that Scottish stone circles sites such as Callanish could offer a much more enjoyable experience for visitors. One panellist commented: "Crowd control is a good thing at Stonehenge, but overregulation has made the visitor's experience rather disappointing and the charm is gone. It would be good if something was done to the surrounding landscape. It has good interpretation and is so impressive but you can get a similar impact from lots of other stone circles, especially up north in Scotland, without all the noise and intrusion."
     But despite this plug for Scottish stone circle sites, Historic Scotland say they have no current plans to nominate the Callanish Stones as a candidate for WHS. There are currently only three WHS in Scotland which are St Kilda, Neolithic Orkney and the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, but a new list of nominations for 2007 to 2009 again has no mention of Callanish as Lesley Brown from Historic Scotland stated: "The Department of Culture, Media and Sport puts forward sites for possible inclusion as a WHS. The next Scottish recommendation will be the Antonine Wall." And although there doesn't seem to be a site selection in the pipeline for Callanish, local tourism experts say the comments in the National Geographic report only say what they have known all along. Business Relationship and Marketing Manager for Visitscotland in the Outer Hebrides, Mary Ann Maciver said: "Their comment regarding the visitor experience at Callanish is nothing new to us and we consider this common knowledge. As someone who managed the visitor centre at Callanish I know a big part of the attraction of the stones is the fact that it is unspoilt, uncommercialised and uncrowded. Many of those who come to Callanish know it's a special site, and come for this very reason, and as such take great care of it."

Source: Stornoway Today (10 November 2006)

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