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This chapter explores people’s experience of the physical landscape in Scotland from the perspective of parallel developments in geological science, landscape aesthetics and tourism since the middle of the eighteenth century. It begins with tourism of awe, inspired by the Romantic movement and the excitement of discovering natural wonders promoted through contemporary literature and art during the development of modern geological science in the late eighteenth–early nineteenth centuries. Popular interest and engagement in geology declined with increasing scientific specialization, although the physical landscape continued to draw many visitors and provide creative inspiration for poets and artists. In the 1940s, the beginnings of statutory geoconservation were accompanied by renewed interest in raising public awareness of geology and the physical landscape mainly through didactic methods. More recently, exploration of the cultural links between geology and landscape is providing new opportunities for experiential re-engagement, a shift that recognizes the close links between people and the physical landscape, and one promoted through voluntary sector activity in geoconservation and the development of Geoparks. Rediscovering a sense of wonder and reconnecting with the landscape offer a means of reconciling the natural and cultural worlds and enabling wider public appreciation of geodiversity.

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