Euan McGrory: Should Edinburgh residents get into the Scott Monument for free?

The Scott Monument. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
The Scott Monument. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
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It’s decades since I clambered up the 287 steps to the top of the Scott Monument.

It’s not that I don’t care for it. In fact I love it, in all its gloriously over-the-top Gothic splendour. And I’m rather proud that city I call home has the biggest monument to a writer to be found anywhere in the world.

Like most city residents, I rarely visit, so the decision to restrict visitor numbers for the first time will make little difference to me. The introduction of crowd controls - following a similar move by Edinburgh Castle - is a sensible step. Some of our key attractions are becoming so popular at certain times of the year that simple precautions are needed to ensure the visitor experience isn’t spoiled.

With the tourist industry worth an estimated £1.4 billion a year to Edinburgh, it is vital that it is carefully managed, in order to maximise the benefit and minimise the disruption for locals and visitors alike.

But what about in all those quieter months when the monument is fairly quiet? With so many visitors, how about offering city residents free entry, say, during February? It would be a great gesture to council tax-payers and boost businesses by encouraging more of us to visit the city centre during one of the quieter months for trade.