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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Loch Ness in world heritage bid
Adventure racing competitor swims Loch Ness. Picture by Chris Owen Halper
An adventure racing competitor swims Loch Ness
World Heritage status is being sought from the United Nations for Loch Ness and the Great Glen.

Destination Loch Ness, a group made up of businesses associated with the area, will make an application to Unesco for the designation.

There are already bids from Scotland for the internationally-recognised protection to be given to the Antonine Wall and Culloden Battlefield.

In the UK, Stonehenge, St Kilda and the Giant's Causeway have the status.

STATUS SYMBOLS
World Heritage status aims to identify, protect and preserve places considered to be of "outstanding value to humanity"
Walkers can trek the length of the Great Glen by following a 73 mile (117km) route, which can take five to six days to complete
The oldest sighting of a monster near the loch is reputed to have been made by St Columba in AD565

Destination Loch Ness believes its bid fits four of the 10 criteria set by Unesco to qualify.

Categories include that it is an outstanding example of land-use, is of exceptional natural beauty and represents major stages of earth's history.

Robbie Bremner, of the bid group, said: "I think it's got a great chance of becoming reality.

"We have got all the major private businesses and tourism businesses involved with Loch Ness heavily backing this project with their own money."

He said Historic Scotland, which owns the ruins of Urquhart Castle overlooking the loch, and other public bodies were also supporting the bid.

Mr Bremner added: "I think it's very realistic opportunity for Loch Ness.

"I don't see why we cannot achieve it."

Caledonian Canal
Significant land-use in the Great Glen includes the Caledonian Canal, above, built between 1803 and 1822
The Great Glen is a geological fault line
Interesting fauna include Slavonian grebe which first nested in Scotland near Loch Ness in 1909

If successful, Loch Ness and the Great Glen site would also join the Great Wall of China, Pyramids of Egypt and Australia's Great Barrier Reef on the list.

The loch is renowned around the world for unexplained sightings in its waters, which some believe to be a monster.

This week, it has been a stage in the Wilderness ARC - 2007 Adventure Racing Championship and competitors had to swim part of the loch.

The other Scottish bids are for Culloden, the site of the last battle on British soil and the Roman-built Antonine Wall.

The wall, which runs 37 miles (59km) from Bo'ness, near Falkirk, to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire, was nominated for the classification in January.


SEE ALSO
MSPs called to support Roman wall
23 May 07 |  Tayside and Central
Experts' 'important' find in loch
05 May 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Toad found deep down in Loch Ness
03 May 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Rubber whale rescue on Loch Ness
27 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Tourist boat hopes to find Nessie
19 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands
World status hope for battlefield
01 Mar 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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