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Robert Burns Lives!
Robert Burns voted as public’s National Trust ‘Great Scot’ by Frank Shaw

Edited by Frank R. Shaw, FSA Scot, Greater Atlanta, GA, USA

The contest by Scotland’s National Trust is over, the results are in, and Robert Burns has won in a runaway! He is our “Great Scot,” or Scotland’s soul, or whatever superlative you want to use to describe him. While I felt good all along about Burns being the winner, you never know what might happen when it comes to actual results in almost any category. I want to thank the good folks at the National Trust for allowing the readers of Robert Burns Lives! to participate in the contest. Winning makes their efforts worthwhile. Thanks also go to David Hopes for the outstanding job he and his colleagues from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum undertook in helping push the bard to win this important title! Good people, one and all! (FRS: 5.5.2016 – Index Chapter 237)

Robert Burns voted as public’s National Trust ‘Great Scot’

Beloved poet Robert Burns garnered 44 per cent of the vote; more than double that of second-placed designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Picture: TSP

National bard Robert Burns has been voted the public’s ‘Great Scot’, securing more than twice the votes of his nearest rival, according to a poll conducted at its visitor centres by the National Trust for Scotland.

Burns took the top spot comfortably, with 44 per cent of the vote, well ahead of the iconic designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with 19 per cent.

Mary Queen of Scots scored 16 per cent, Sir Hugh Munro, who produced the first list of mountains in Scotland over 3000 feet in 1891, polled 14 per cent, and the Jacobite heroine, Flora MacDonald, fabled for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape “over the sea to Skye”, seven per cent.

Only at Glencoe Visitor Centre was Burns’ dominance challenged. Here, in the shadow of the great Aonach Eagach ridge, mountaineer Munro knocked the poet off his pedestal.

National Trust Scotland has been running the poll online and at selected properties over the past two months, as part of a campaign to raise funds for the Burns Monument in Alloway which is in need of vital repairs.

READ MORE: How important to modern day Scotland is Robert Burns?

Thousands of votes were cast online and in person at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Culloden, Drum Castle, Glencoe Visitor Centre, the Hill House and Pollok House.

Chris Waddell, at the Trust’s Robert Burns Birthplace in Alloway said today: “We were always confident that Burns was going take the Great Scots title. For many he is Scotland’s soul.

“Votes for him came from all over the world, showing that not only is he still ‘weel kent’ at home, but that he remains one of Scotland’s best global ambassadors too.”

READ MORE: Robert Burns love letter goes on display at National Library

The Trust had selected the five historical “heroes” whose fascinating stories and incredible achievements have had a profound impact on Scotland’s history, architecture and landscape and asked the public to select their “Great Scot”. The poll ran from 9 March until 29 April.

The organisation’s Mark Bishop said: “It was fantastic to see the passion that the Great Scots poll inspired. The lively debate and participation shows just how inspiring our historical heroes are, and we are proud to play our part in telling their story.”

More than £70,000 has been raised of the remaining £100,000 needed to repair the Burns Monument in Alloway. The Victorian structure requires conservation work immediately.

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