How raging tourists attack staff at Scotland’s top attractions

July 17, 2009

Revealed: Jul 17 2009 By Chris Musson

A FURIOUS tourist turned on staff after they told him his son couldn’t fire the One O’Clock Gun.

The incident came out after Historic Scotland revealed 30 of their workers had been physically or verbally attacked by visitors over the past three years.

Employees were left nursing black eyes and broken teeth in other incidents.

And one of their workers was almost run over in a row about parking.

One woman, who works at Edinburgh Castle, said: “You’d be surprised how angry people can get when they visit.

“I’ve seen visitors get hot under the collar from everything from the shop running out of a certain size of T-shirt to a man’s son not being allowed to fire the One O’clock Gun.

“I’ve never been physically attacked but you hear of it.

“It’s not a surprise that a lot of it involves parking as people are prone to road rage whether they’re parking at the supermarket or out for a relaxing day out at a castle.

“And holidaying, especially if the kids are playing up, can be stressful and you sometimes get the feeling they’re taking a day’s worth of anger out on you.”

The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, did not reveal at which site each incident had taken place.

The incident logs show that in March 2007 one steward was beaten up by a visitor after asking them to move an illegally parked car.

And last year, a visitor peppered staff with verbal abuse before attempting to damage a monument.

Another incident saw staff being intimidated by a group of Italian tourists “due to the closure of the site at closing hours”. Many of the incidents filed under “aggression and violence” arose from disputes over parking spaces at historical attractions.

One irate tourist sped off “nearly clipping a member of staff’s knees”.

The logs also include details of 241 on-site accidents at Scotland’s star tourist attractions.

They included a steward being blown over by a gust of wind and a dog becoming trapped in an 8ft deep latrine.

Their logs also revealed one worker suffered “muscle strain when driving post into ground with 17lb hammer”.

In another incident, an alarm sounding in a shop “caused tinnitus syndrome and severe headaches”.

Elsewhere, they said “a boy playing hide and seek fell down an uncovered hole in the stables”.

Historic Scotland staff suffered 18 instances of aggression and abuse in 2007, five in 2008 and five so far this year.

But bosses insist that the incidents represent a tiny minority of visitors.

Historic Scotland’s Roger Green said: “Historic Scotland has at least 3million paying visitors per annum and probably a further 3million visitors at unpaid sites.

“Historic Scotland is Scotland’s largest provider of paid visitor attractions and many of the sites are in remote and difficult to access areas.

“The information on health and safety records should be seen in this context.”

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