LOCHABER'S landscape received worldwide recognition last week at the UNESCO International Geopark Conference held in Osnabruck, Germany.
Lochaber Geopark's project officer, Keith Hoole and chairman of the directors Noel Williams, were presented with a large ceramic plaque to certify that Lochaber has now been awarded Global Geopark status.
This award, from the same body that allocates World Heritage status, means that Lochaber is recognised as being a prime location to visit for its earth heritage and will raise its profile across the world as a major holiday destination amongst the discerning tourist looking for a special place to visit.
The conference, attended by more than 300 delegates from all over the world, was held over a three-day period during which there were presentations about the world of geoparks and geotourism.
Keith Hoole demonstrated an innovative mobile phone interpretative system developed in Fort William which allows photographs and text explaining local attractions to be downloaded when and where it is required.
Interest in the application was shown by many delegates, with the system being taken away for discussions on applications in other geoparks.
Over the weekend prior to the conference the ancient central square in Osnabruck was filled with a "Geo-Fair" in which the different geoparks enlightened the citizens and visiting tourists of the rich diversity of the different geoparks.
Lochaber Geopark had three pipers at their stall on the Saturday which contributed to the great take-up of leaflets and magazines which were available from not only the geopark but also Outdoor Capital of the UK, Nevis Partnership, and the Sunart Oakwoods Initiative.
On the success of the fair, Noel Williams said: "There was an enormous fascination in Scotland with visitors keeping us so busy over the two days that we ran out of much of the material we had with us. The presence of a 28-man pipe band on the Sunday was a great success and helped to increase the already huge interest in all things Scottish."