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Orkney site nominated for top tourism award

12 November 2008

Historic Scotland in the running for prominent tourism prize.

One of Historic Scotland’s most spectacular sites has been nominated for a prestigious Highlands and Islands Tourism award.

The Broch of Gurness in Orkney has been shortlisted for the Customer Care Award and the winner will be announced at a glittering ceremony on 21 November.

Representing the cream of Scottish tourism in the Highlands and Islands region, the awards acknowledge the hard work and customer service displayed at some of Scotland’s top tourist attractions.

The event will also celebrate those in the tourism sector who go that one step further in creating a unique guest experience.

Historic Scotland’s Broch of Gurness attracts visitors from around the world every year. This spectacular property is one of the finest surviving examples of the Iron Age in the North of Scotland.

Susan Loch, head of Visitor Services, Historic Scotland, said:

“Historic Scotland is delighted that our wonderful Broch of Gurness site has been nominated. Set in an magnificent location with a 4 star quality rating, it really is a wonderful place to visit and the staff make sure visitors have a unforgettable experience time and time again.

“This award acknowledges those who make the Highlands and Islands such a unique place to visit and our staff always provide visitors with a genuine highland welcome.”

The Broch of Gurness is shortlisted for the customer care award along with Pottery House B&B and the Minmore House Hotel.

Notes to Editors

  • The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards 2008 will take place on 21 November 2008 at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness.

  • Categories in the awards this year include: Best Visitor Experience, Community Tourism, Customer Care, Highland Ambassador of the Year, Highland Dining Out Experience, Highlands Young Ambassador of the Year, Innovation, Investing in the Environment, Marketing Initiative, New Tourism Business, Tourism People Development and the Highland 2008 Award, encompassing aspects of the diverse and traditional culture in the Highlands and Islands.

  • Possibly dating to the 1st century AD, the Broch of Gurness gives a fascinating insight into Orcadian village life around 2000 years ago.  This broch was originally built as a tall, easily defended tower but as time went on the broch's defensive role decreased and its upper sections were dismantled.  Over the ensuing years its walls were reduced again, probably due to the removal of stone to be used as local building material.  The structure that remains today is at maximum 3.5 metres tall with a solid base with cells in the hollow section of the wall on either side of the main entrance.

  • The Broch of Gurness is at Aikerness, 14 m NW of Kirkwall on the A966, postcode: KW17 2NH, telephone: 01856 751414.

  • Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions and most important heritage sites in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling, and Urquhart Castles, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys, and Skara Brae. For further details visit:

  • Historic Scotland is delighted to be supporting the 2009 Year of Homecoming with a series of initiatives including family trails, spectacular events and the creation of a Homecoming Pass for heritage attractions in association with other heritage organisations.

For further information

Laura Varney
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959 or 07769 630 763