Tourist rage is all the rage

Some of Scotland’s most famous heritage sites are being blighted by “ruin rage”, with visitors aggrieved by everything from parking problems to child misbehaviour.

Staff working for Historic Scotland have been left with black eyes and broken teeth, while one worker was almost run over by a visitor in a dispute about car parking.

The incidents were revealed in documents released yesterday by the agency, which is responsible for maintaining chief tourist sites including Edinburgh Castle and the Antonine Wall. The files reveal 30 separate incidents of abuse and violence against its staff in two years.

The incident logs show that in March 2007 one steward was beaten up by a visitor after asking for an illegally parked car to be moved. A year later a visitor subjected staff to a torrent of verbal abuse before attempting to damage a monument. In another incident, staff were intimidated by a group of Italian tourists owing to “closure of the site at closing hours”.

The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, also include details of 241 on-site accidents involving both staff and visitors, although Historic Scotland bosses did not specify where they had occurred. Among the mishaps were a steward being blown over by a gust of wind and a dog trapped in a lavatory.

Scots heritage sites alarmed at rising ‘aggression and violence’ (The Times, 17 July 2009)