Dunnottar Castle says goodbye to custodian Wendy Syvester this week as she leaves after almost six years at the landmark.
The popular and well known face of Dunnottar Castle is moving on after five and half years taking up a new position at Lochinsch Watersports.
This week we spoke to Wendy about her favourite spot at the castle, the good and bad comments on trip advisor and the global appeal of the ruined castle.
Wendy said: “My favourite memories involve all the staff I’ve worked with, the visitors who I have met, the locals who I have worked alongside and the famous people who have dropped by for a visit of filming. Some of our team have been with me since the start and this year some of the students who work here since the start graduated which was special moment.
“A few years ago I met Christian Nock, the soldier who walked round the coast of Britain and that was a humbling moment. I also loved the eighth Wonder of the World Competition and our recent awards success. Dunnottar has been like a small snowball over the past five years slowly growing in momentum and it’s wonderful to see.”
The castle has gained momentum over the last couple of years and just this week saw the trailer for Victor Frankenstein staring Daniel Radcliffe and James Mavoy which had some scenes shot at Dunnottar Castle.
Wendy added: “Our public profile has greatly increased as a result of all this fantastic additional publicity we’ve received over the years and it can’t be anything other than good for the surrounding area.
“It’s great to put the Castle not only on a Local and National platform but to show it off globally as well. The only person I didn’t meet was Annie Lennox who came to visit the Castle in August but no one realised she was onsite until she’d posted her picture on Facebook.”
The iconic Kincardineshire castle, inspired Princess Merida’s family home in Disney-Pixar’s Brave was the clear winner for Scotland’s nomination for the contest for finding the eighth wonder of the world.
The future of Dunnottar Castle could potentially see a £1.5m visitor centre being considered for the popular tourist destination as plans were shown back in April to community councils in the area.
There was 88,000 paying visitors to the castle last year with Wendy thanking staff and visitors for making her job extra special.
She said: “I would like to thank my staff team at Dunnottar, the team at Dunecht, the people of Stonehaven and the surrounding areas and all who visit Dunnottar or contribute to our social networking for making this one of the best jobs I have ever had. I would like to wish Jim all the best for the next chapter of the Dunnottar journey.”
Favourite spot at the castle : “My favourite spots are the view from the cliffs because it’s different in all weathers and all of the inside of the Castle! Many people don’t realise how amazing the Castle is inside - it’s huge and there is so much of interest to see.”
Social media: The social media part of my job has been good fun and it’s been great for connecting with people from all over the world and sharing news of day to day goings on at Dunnottar. So many people use mediums like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter these days and it allows visitors to connect with the Castle on a deeper level.
TripAdvisor feedback: We are always grateful and proud of the positive amount of feedback we have received on TripAdvisor and credit for this goes directly to the team at Dunnottar for keeping up the high standards we have set over the years. It is a true reflection of customer focussed, strong team ethos we have here.
Negative feedback goes part and parcel with any vocation in life and as a result of some of the better constructed feedback we have received in the past that the greatest improvements have been made i.e. interpretation improvements in 2015. We are always open to positive critical, construction on how we can improve our service and experience at Dunnottar.