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Tourism related to archaeology is worth about £4 million a year to the Western Isles according to a new study.

 

Analysis of data suggests it supports the equivalent of 80 full time jobs.

 

But the Western Isles is not making enough of the ancient sites and landmarks.

 

Economic benefit could be doubled and an action plan is being drawn up to raise the profile of sites says the report.

 

Increased emphasis over the next ten years could mean the benefit rising to £8 million annually says the report commissioned by the comhairle.

 

Included in the strategy for growth are plans for an archaeology based Outer Hebrides-wide trail.

 

Sustainable development chairman, Donald Crichton, said: “Archaeology is of significant benefit to the Islands and its development offers opportunities for economic growth but that will require time, commitment and investment.”

 

A grant application is being made to the Heritage Lottery Fund to help drive heritage tourism.

 

Calanais is by far the most visited attraction across the islands. Gearrannan Blackhouse Village and the Arnol blackhouse are also hugely popular. There is also high footfall to Dun Chàrlabhaigh, Bosta Iron Age House and Lews Castle.

 

In Uist, busy sites include Dùn an Sticir, Udal Peninsular, Scolpaig Tower, Beinn a' Charra as well as

Barpa Langais/Pobull Fhinn, Teampall na Trionaid and Teampall Mhuire/Nunton Steadings

 

On Barra, visitors head to Kisimul Castle, Ròisinis, and Cille Bharra medieval chapel.  Allt Easdal, Balnacraigh and the Catalina wreckage are also on their list.

Drive to double archaeological tourism to £8 million annually

27 Sept 2017