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I’ve already written about Scotland’s booming tourist industry, exceeding that of rUK, as the low value of the pound, the Outlander TV series and anxiety about terrorist attacks in London and Europe seem to be encouraging especially US tourists to visit Scotland as far north as the Shetlands. See, for example:
Now Comhairle nan Eilean Siar have plans to double their current income from visits to sites such as the 5 000 years-old Callanish Stones and the Dun Carloway broch. Cuurrently, these and other sites support 80 full-time jobs and bring in around £4 million but they have the potential to be worth £8m and to support 160 jobs.
The Heritage Manager with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar told BBC Radio Scotland:
‘The landscape of the Outer Hebrides is to a large extent a Neolithic landscape. When you’re standing somewhere like Callanish, for example, looking out over the rest of the landscape, you’re really looking at something that was to a great extent influenced and moulded by the activity of humans in pre-history. There’s an awful lot more out there than those big popular sites and I think we’ve got a real opportunity to open people’s eyes.’
I’ve been to Callanish, in the 1990s. It was busy then and I can see what he means about the landscape on all sides, including the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ or Cailleach na Mointeach (old woman of the moors), a range of hills resembling an Earth Mother figure lying on her back.