Thousands take the Outlander trail to Blackness

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The widely-predicted visitor spin-off from fantasy-history TV series Outlander has proved accurate, with thousands flocking to Blackness.

New figures from Historic Environment Scotland show visits to the glowering fortress-castle on the Forth are up no less than 40 per cent, to 27,750.

Dating from the 15th century, its imposing crenelated walls stood in for Fort William in the massively-popular Outlander series - which appears set to run for several more seasons.

This major local success is part of a trend, with Linlithgow Palace now the sixth most popular staffed heritage attraction in the country, with no less than 68, 958 visits.

The figures cover the last 11 months, from April 2016 to the present, with the great majority of these visits taking place in the period April to September.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has welcomed the local figures as part of a bumper year, with a record-breaking four million people beating a path to stately homes, abbeys, palaces and castles across the country,

HES tourism chief Stephen Duncan said: “This financial year has seen us hit an incredible milestone, achieving a record breaking first for Scotland’s heritage tourism sector.

“A fantastic four million visitors turned out at our staffed sites, which include some of the country’s most recognisable landmarks.

“I’m excited by the prospect of the months ahead as we mark the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, as well as the new opportunities this brings for Scotland’s heritage and tourism sector.”

Edinburgh Castle is still the most popular attraction by a massive margin, and its visitor numbers soared by an extra 200,000 to 1.6 million visits.