Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

No Nessie in world heritage bid

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. Pic: Iain Maclean
DLN estimates the status would bring millions of pounds to the north.

Outstanding qualities that could earn Unesco World Heritage status for Loch Ness and the Great Glen have been set out - but with no mention of Nessie.

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

But its press release did not mention the loch's iconic monster.

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

If successful, the area would join recent addition, the Antonine Wall, on the Unesco list.

Securing World Heritage status for Loch Ness and the Great Glen could generate 25m for the economy and 250 jobs within three years, according to research commissioned by DLN.

It is hoped to achieve status around 2012.

The area deserves to be recognised and protected through World Heritage status designation
Adrian Shine
Loch Ness expert

Unesco advisers Chris Pound and Jane McDermott have highlighted four key themes that make a strong case for the sites to meet several of the 10 criteria for World Heritage recognition.

They are the geology and topography; the lochs deep, distinctive and rare habitat; the "exceptional contribution" of the sites in context of the 18th Century Enlightenment in Scotland and how the landscape contributed to the reinvention of a national identity for Scotland in the 19th Century.

The sponsorship package involves tourism marketing consultancy, View Marketing, and Prof Stevens of Stevens and Associates.

Prof Stevens said it was important to broaden the attraction and knowledge of Loch Ness beyond the myth of the monster.

He said the loch and the Great Glen were an "amazing cultural landscape" that included engineering feats such as General Wade's military roads of the 18th Century and the Caledonian Canal.

The area could potentially meet four to five of the 10 requirements.

Adrian Shine, a researcher and an expert on Loch Ness, said: "Loch Ness and the Great Glen Fault represent one of Britain's most significant geographical features.

"The area deserves to be recognised and protected through World Heritage status designation."

DLN's announcement comes on the 75th anniversary of the first photograph of a mysterious shape on the loch.

Shopping centre

It also comes as Unesco inspectors are arriving in Edinburgh to consider the city's World Heritage status.

The UN's cultural body is considering withdrawing the title from capital, which it awarded in 1995, after the council passed some controversial planning applications.

Unesco is concerned about major new builds, including the Caltongate in the old town and the redevelopment of the St James shopping centre.

The representatives will spend three days touring the developments.

The Antonine Wall, a frontier of the Roman Empire, won the status in July.

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