The Forth Bridge in South Queensferry at sunset
The Forth Bridge in South Queensferry at sunset

Research carried out by VisitScotland has decided that the 126 year old Forth Bridge is Scotland’s wonder in the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

The bridge which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site beat our other wonders such as Edinburgh Castle, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, Stirling Castle, the Falkirk Wheel, the Caledonian Canal and the Scott Monument.

Almost two thirds of people in Britain have made a journey to see an architectural wonder or famous building. This figure does not just relate to older people, it also includes those in the 16-24 year old age bracket. The most popular building which people go to visit is Edinburgh Castle.

VisitScotland have been promoting the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design since January with events at St Peter’s Seminary and Ignite Dundee among those in the packed schedule.

Next year from 1 January 2017 the theme will be a Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“It is no surprise that our awe-inspiring Forth Bridge has taken the top spot in this research and it is wonderful to see that new man-made wonders like The Kelpies are already proving a hit with visitors.  2016 has shone a significant spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-range of activity designed to boost tourism in Scotland.  I hope many people continue to make architectural pilgrimages to Scotland throughout the rest of this year and beyond to discover some of our truly remarkable sights.”

The full list of Scotland’s greatest man-made wonders, as voted for by the British public:


1.Forth Bridge (30%)
2.Edinburgh Castle (13%)
3.The Kelpies (8%)
4.Glenfinnan Viaduct (7%)
5.Stirling Castle (5%)
6.Falkirk Wheel (5%)
7.Caledonian Canal (5%)
8.Scott Monument (4%)
9.Bell Rock Lighthouse (4%)
10.Melrose Abbey (3%)



  1. Oh that’s nothing. Wait to you see the STRATHDEARN PUMPED-STORAGE HYDRO SCHEME

    World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?

    “The map shows how and where the biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme could be built – Strathdearn in the Scottish Highlands.

    Energy storage capacity

    The scheme requires a massive dam about 300 metres high and 2,000 metres long to impound about 4.4 billion metres-cubed of water in the upper glen of the River Findhorn. The surface elevation of the reservoir so impounded would be as much as 650 metres when full and the surface area would be as much as 40 square-kilometres.

    The maximum potential energy which could be stored by such a scheme is colossal – about 6800 Gigawatt-hours – or 283 Gigawatt-days – enough capacity to balance and back-up the intermittent renewable energy generators such as wind and solar power now in use for the whole of Europe!”


    There would need to be two pumping and turbine generating stations at different locations – one by the sea at Inverness which pumps sea-water uphill via pressurised pipes to 300 metres of elevation to a water well head which feeds an unpressurised canal in which water flows to and from the other pumping and turbine generating station at the base of the dam which pumps water up into the reservoir impounded by the dam.

    To fill or empty the reservoir in a day would require a flow rate of 51,000 metres-cubed per second, the equivalent of the discharge flow from the Congo River, only surpassed by the Amazon!

    The power capacity emptying at such a flow rate could be equally colossal. When nearly empty and powering only the lower turbines by the sea, then about 132 GW could be produced. When nearly full and the upper turbines at the base of the dam fully powered too then about 264 GW could be produced.

    Modelling of a wind turbine power and pumped-storage hydro system recommends –

    • store energy capacity = 1.5 days x peak demand power

    suggesting that a store energy capacity of 283 GW-days would be sufficient to serve a peak demand power of 283 / 1.5 = 189 GW, though this could only be produced from reservoir heads of at least 430 metres, at least 8% of energy capacity, assuming a flow rate of 51,000 m3/s. To supply 189 GW from the lowest operational head of 300 metres would require increasing the flow capacity to 73,000 m3/s.

    This represents many times more power and energy-storage capacity than is needed to serve all of Britain’s electrical grid storage needs for backing-up and balancing intermittent renewable-energy electricity generators, such as wind turbines and solar photo-voltaic arrays for the foreseeable future, opening up the possibility to provide grid energy storage services to Europe as well.

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