Board game Monopoly is published in a new Highlands version in October . The question is , what properties should feature in the new game ? Eilean Donan Castle must surely qualify as an iconic building and the most photographed castle in Scotland . The publishers have decided to give the public a say and anyone can vote for their favourite location or landmark between now and April 2 nd . The famous board game, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year , will retain its usual format.
The ownership of property has historically been a controversial issue in the Highlands since the days of the clearances and it is sure to cause heated debate when voting starts in Inverness.
More than 30 spots are up for grabs before the new game, in English and Gaelic, goes on sale. The Highlands have been described as the playground of the rich and famous with many well known personalities owning Scottish castles , including Mohammed al Fayed ( Balnagown Castle, Easter Ross ), Cameron Mackintosh , painter Jack Vettriano ( Easterheughs Castle ) and Peter de Savary ( the luxury Skibo Castle resort and the venue for Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding ) . Many castles in the Highlands have been sold in recent years . Duncraig Castle was sold last year . Eilean Donan Castle has iconic status as one of the most photographed castles in Scotland . Urquhart Castle , on the shore of Loch Ness and its famous monster, should get serious consideration .
Other suggestions include the Glenfinnan Monument , Inverness Castle, the Cairngorm ski centre, Ben Nevis and the iconic Caledonian Canal . MSP Peter Peacock nominated Assynt in Sutherland, bought by crofters from private owners, to replace the prestigious Mayfair.
Maybe Highland Monopoly should feature Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college in Skye, as part of a Gaelic element. It could not be bought and sold, but anyone landing on it would have to learn at least one new Gaelic word in order to be able to move forward again.
A board spokeswoman said: “Gaelic is very much a part of the identity of the Highlands and its place names and we suggest areas such as Culloden and iconic structures such as the Glenfinnan Viaduct”
Cameron Mackintosh’s pocket castle is on the shore of Loch Nevis .The building commands the point between Tarbet Bay and the main loch, midway between the two tiny villages of Tarbet and Kylesmorar, looking due west to the distant Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye. Inaccessible by car, it is pretty difficult scrambling miles over the headlands by foot. Mackintosh had bought himself some abandoned estate lodge in this remote spot, perhaps last extended by an Edwardian laird, and spared no expense in bringing it back to life.
Does Eilean Donan Castle qualify as an iconic building in the Highlands . Vote now in our online poll
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Historic Scotland’s flagship attraction Edinburgh Castle is celebrating after welcoming its one millionth visitor through the door this year. No , they haven’t had one million visitors since January 1 . This is their financial year which ends in March .
Edinburgh Castle attracts 1.2 million visitors per year and despite the credit crunch the castle continues to attract visitors from around the world.
A £2.7 million visitor reception project was completed last year to improve visitor services and ensure visitors continue to enjoy world class service at this attraction.
Edinburgh Castle now has its own dedicated website.New markets have also been opening up – reflected by the recent introduction of souvenir guide books to the castle in Russian and Chinese.The one millionth visitors to the castle were couple, Britta Springstrow and Rene Woffeh from Germany.
Britta said they were delighted to be chosen, adding: “Edinburgh is such a beautiful place and the castle is stunning. It was really exciting to be chosen as the millionth visitor today as we were certainly not expecting it.”
Barbara Smith, Executive Manager at Edinburgh Castle, said: “The arrival of the millionth visitor is always a milestone. This year, it is particularly pleasing in the economic climate.
“The combination of iconic status, memorable image, unique treasures and a world class welcome make this a truly must-see attraction.”
There is still time to catch the special off-peak seasonal admission charges at the castle until the 28 February 2009 with adult tickets under £10.
The castle’s top 10 highlights
1. The Crown Room and the Stone of Destiny – where the nations treasures are kept.
2. The Great Hall – which holds a fabulous display of arms and armour and the ‘key’ to the
3. Royal Palace – rooms created in 1617 in honour of James VI.
4. St Margaret’s Chapel – the oldest building in Edinburgh, built to commemorate the mother
of David 1.
5. The Prisons of War – an atmospheric recreation of the life of prisoners at the end of the
6. Mons Meg – one of Europe’s oldest siege guns that fired stones weighing 150kg over
7. The One O’Clock Gun – the famous time signal has been fired almost daily since 1861.
8. The Scottish National War Memorial – shrine to those who gave their lives in conflicts from World War 1 onwards.
9. A castle wedding . Wedding receptions can now be held in the castle
10. Panoramic views – across the capital, over the Firth of Forth and into Fife, which can be enjoyed from the castle’s walls.