Some of the top heritage sites in the Lothians have been opened up to armchair tourists thanks to Google Street View and a man with a hi-tech backpack.
Virtual tours of Historic Scotland attractions are now available on Google Street View – allowing people online to ‘visit’ a variety of picturesque castles, forts and abbeys from the comfort of their home.
Sixteen key landmarks across the country have been mapped out by the gadgetry including Linlithgow Palace and Blackness Castle.
The sites were captured in July this year using the Google Street View Trekker, in partnership with Historic Scotland.
The Trekker, a four-foot, 40lb backpack, is fitted with a 15-angle lens camera and takes 360 degree pictures every 2.5 seconds.
Its design means it can be strapped to the back of a Google team member and used to capture images in locations the Street View car can’t reach – with the detailed shots enabling Google to build up virtual walk-throughs of some of Edinburgh and the Lothians’ most iconic attractions.
Online travellers can now scale Arthur’s Seat or wander through the atmospheric ruins of Craigmillar Castle on their tablet, phone or computer – as well as visiting local attractions such as Blackness Castle and Linlithgow Palace.
Stephen Duncan, director of tourism at Historic Scotland, said the partnership with Google would showcase some of the nation’s most popular landmarks.
He said: “This technology will allow visitors, no matter where they are in the world, to get a taste of several of our properties in a new way.
“We hope that it will encourage them to visit and further their discovery of these magnificent historic sites and properties in person.”
A Google spokeswoman said the project gave people the opportunity to experiences places they may never visit.
She added: “With this launch, some of the most iconic and breathtaking Scottish castles and landmarks are just a click away on your phone, tablet or computer.”