Page last updated at 03:28 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Fossil man's cottage 'essential'

Hugh Miller's House (Pic: Undiscovered Scotland)
Mr Cruickshanks said the loss of the cottage would be great

A UK geology magazine has added its voice to calls for the birthplace of a leading Scottish fossil collector to be protected from closure.

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) is seeking alternative funding for Hugh Miller's Cottage in Cromarty.

Alister Cruickshanks, of UK Fossil's Deposits Magazine, said on the first of two trips he has made to Scotland, visiting the museum was "essential".

He said it would be a sad loss if it was to shut.

NTS announced plans this month to change the way 11 of its properties - including Miller's former home - are managed after being forced to look at cost savings.

'Great loss'

Miller made important fossil discoveries in Cromarty in the Black Isle in the 1800s.

Mr Cruickshanks said: "Certainly, personally, although I have only been to Scotland twice before, the first time, a visit to Hugh Miller's Cottage was essential.

"This is because Hugh Miller was one of the most important collectors of Scottish fossils, and indeed extremely well known."

He added: "Both personally and also from the rest of us at UK Fossils, the loss of the cottage would be a great loss to Scottish palaeontology."

Highland SNP councillor Craig Fraser has launched an online petition to save the museum.

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