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Dunnottar Castle visitor book dating back to 1800s found

Staff at one of Scotland’s most picturesque tourist attractions have unearthed four visitors’ books dating back to the Victorian era.

And the volumes reveal that long before Dunnottar Castle was famous for featuring in Hollywood films such as Brave it was a mecca for thousands of people from every corner of the world.

The books list the identities and comments of those who came to the clifftop keep near Stonehaven, from 1882-88, 1889-95, 1896-1900 and 1901-04.

Curator at Dunnottar, Jim Wands, said he was planning to create a large-scale map, highlighting its global appeal.

Mr Wands added: “These books had originally been taken to Dunecht Estate – who own the property – for safekeeping, and we had no idea they were even there until the last few weeks.

“But we found them in a box after having an office reorganisation and, as soon as we started looking through them, we were absolutely gobsmacked.

 

“In the first book, there are signatures and comments from people from South America, India, Canada, Australia and the United States, and you find people from all over Europe as well.

“It’s fascinating when you think how difficult it would have been to make the trip in these days, before the birth of flight and other things we now take for granted.

“We have only just started looking through the volumes, but they all have hundreds of names and, even at a time when Queen Victoria was still on the throne, it’s obvious they were thrilled by the castle.”

Mr Wands and his colleagues will spend the winter collating all the information from the documents.

But, as he explained, it was not simply visitors to Scotland who were captivated by Dunnottar.

He said: “We have found one chap, Alex Taylor from Aberdeen, who put the quite modern expression ‘Well pleased’ next to his name in the 1880s.

“And there’s another, Robert Taylor from Portsoy, who described it as a ‘fine old ruin.”

“It’s always good when you unearth something like this.

“And it shows that, even in the 19th century, this castle was fascinating to everybody who came here.”

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