Trowels left in Highlands lay-bys to curb dirty campers

Tourists visit The Storr on the Isle of Skye. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesTourists visit The Storr on the Isle of Skye. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Tourists visit The Storr on the Isle of Skye. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Lay-bys in the Highlands will be kitted out with trowels – in an attempt to tackle outdoor toileting.

Community councillors want to put 150 garden trowels at roadside stops around tourist hotspots near Ullapool and Dundonnell.

The route is part of the North Coast 500, which has seen an influx of visitors as British tourists flock to the Highlands for staycations.

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Fed-up locals along the NC500 route have already hit out at wild campers trashing beauty spots and leaving rubbish behind.

The area’s lack of toilet facilities combined with a sharp rise in visitors caused an upsurge in people going to the toilet in the countryside.

So far 90 plastic trowels have been ordered by Lochbroom Community Council, which has also put up Correx maps at lay-bys showing toilets in the area.

Topher Dawson, chairman of the community council, said the trowels would help visitors and locals who got caught short. The council has been granted £990 by the North Highland Initiative, which helped set up the North Coast 500 tourist route.

Mr Dawson said: “It’s easy to get outraged about this but I actually feel sorry for visitors to the Highlands who need to do the toilet outdoors.

“Clearly we’ve got more visitors than toilets.

“We can’t do too much about it this year but as a temporary measure we’ll put up signs.

“We’ve got around 60 or 70 miles of road in the area and there’s a gap of about 50 miles with no toilet at all.

“We want to make visitors and locals free from contamination.

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“We’ve printed maps of all the toilets in the Highlands and camping guidance from Mountaineering Scotland.

“This is to offer help and assistance to people who’re caught short. We’re just trying to improve the situation for everybody. We’ve ordered 90 trowels so far and plan on ordering another 60.

“It’s not a great situation but we’re just trying to do the best we can to make it better.

“Meanwhile we’ll work to try and get more toilets built.”

Neil Fuller, who runs the Durness Bus company in Sutherland, had previously complained of camping, fires, toilet waste and vehicles parked on verges.

He said the area’s fragile sand dunes and ground-nesting bees were being threatened by the “relentless” influx.

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead has pledged to redouble efforts to persuade visitors not to damage wilderness areas.



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