Continental-style stopovers planned for campervans in Highlands

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Continental-style stopovers planned for campervans in Highlands

Posted on November 12 in General

Known as Aires, the facilities are not campsites but offer basic essential services such as a place to stay overnight and waste disposal.

Highland Council hopes they could be a "safe place" for some of the thousands of vehicles which arrive every year.

The sites could also help tackle anti-social behaviour, such as waste being disposed of in lay-bys and streams. Those problems were particularly acute this year because campsites and other visitor facilities, such as public toilets, were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There were issues with "dirty camping" in the Cairngorms, while Durness on the Sutherland coast was "swamped" by post-lockdown visitors in the summer.

Highland Council has been working with organisations like the Campervan and Motorhome Professional Association, VisitScotland and the Scottish government to find ways of better accommodating the region's many visitors.

Continental Europe has a long-established Aires network. Many of the sites are provided free of charge, while others can be used for a small fee.

Highland Council has proposed creating a site which would accommodate up to 30 vehicles in North Kessock on the Black Isle, near Inverness. It has also sought feedback from communities and landowners across the region about setting up other small-scale sites.

Communities in Lochinver, Helmsdale, Bonar Bridge and Cromarty have plans to develop overnight parking sites for motorhomes along the lines of similar ones already provided at Kinlochbervie and Keiss.

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