It's been a good year for ...
"Absolutely blown away" are words you would expect to hear in reference to an action-packed Bond movie. But it wasn't special effects that provoked such a reaction ... it was the Scottish countryside.
The Skyfall film crew had been awestruck by the landscape and red deer stags that appeared during the shoot at National Trust for Scotland land in Glencoe, according to Anna Preuss, the body's filming manager.
Film audiences across the world were inclined to agree when the blockbuster opened in October to much acclaim.
Bonnie Scotland fever was already gripping the globe after the release in June of Disney-Pixar's Brave, the animation that brought magical myth and Scottish legend to life amid the romance of our hills and glens.
So high were hopes for a boost to Scottish tourism that First Minister Alex Salmond donned those infamous tartan breeks and went all the way to Los Angeles to grace the green carpet (so-coloured to reflect the Scottish landscape) at the film's premiere.
Meanwhile, VisitScotland splashed £7 million on its biggest-ever worldwide tourism campaign in a bid to attract £140m to the economy. Film-maker Mark Andrews even earned a Silver Thistle award for his outstanding contribution to the Scottish tourist industry. With VisitBritain predicting a UK-wide surge in visitors thanks to the "Brave effect", it seems Salmond's trews were worth the stooshie. Meanwhile, Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis has been nominated for a best song Oscar for feature track Touch The Sky.
It's been a bad year for ... Scotland's scenery
Alas, all that natural beauty doesn't come cheap. The National Trust for Scotland had to extend the begging bowl to raise new funds to help it look after the landscape that was used in Skyfall. NTS appealed to its members for donations to pay for almost £250,000-worth of upgrades to a path, bridge and visitor centre on its Glencoe and Dalness estate. The trust said that in 2013-14 it expects to spend £600,000 in total looking after the areas it manages around Glencoe.
Surely a whip-round at Hollywood could be arranged?
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