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Car parks in Durness and Golspie to take part in overnight charge pilot

By Niall Harkiss

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Campervans and motorhomes are being encouraged to use the car parks for overnight stays.
Campervans and motorhomes are being encouraged to use the car parks for overnight stays.

Overnight short stay parking by motorhome users is being piloted in two regulated Highland Council car parks in Sutherland for the summer and autumn seasons in 2022.

Designated car parks in Inverness, Nairn, Caithness, Wick and Wester Ross have also been included in the trial scheme which aims to charge users for a self-contained overnight stay in their vehicle in allocated parking bays.

The council’s tourism committee members agreed to take a pragmatic approach to additional parking provision for motorhome visitors across the Highlands.

The goal is to allow motorhomes to occupy a designated bay in specific council car parks for a maximum stay period of 24 hours for a modest fee.

Executive chief officer for infrastructure, environment and economy, Malcolm MacLeod said: “The council recognises that ownership and rental of motorhomes/campervans has grown exponentially in the last three years and is an increasing trend as people look to enjoy ‘staycations’ and the freedom to explore the great outdoors.

“From the data captured by the Seasonal Access Rangers and Traffic Officers throughout the summer of 2021, it is evident that in certain ‘honeypot’ destinations in peak summer that demand for formal campsites can be outweighed by availability, also that there are many people that don’t choose to stay in a formal facility.

“The use of laybys for overnight parking, although not illegal, restricts access for more safety related use. It is hoped that by introducing legal use of designated council car parks for overnight stays that it could relieve some issues on the public road network.

“To mitigate some of the problems encountered with inconsiderate parking, waste and capacity problems in key locations, the council has considered all our coastal car parks and identified locations suitable to pilot a self-contained overnight stay, where people can park and stay overnight in the vehicle.

“The aim is to provide for a single night stay only as a transit type stopover.

“It is anticipated that as tourism infrastructure improvements continue across the country, people will learn what to expect when travelling in Scotland and the limitations for vehicle based holidays/travel, particularly in rural and popular tourist destinations.”

The overnight parking will be limited for up to 24 hours only, and all activities must be contained within the vehicle i.e. no awnings, tables, chairs, cooking etc. outside the vehicle at any time.

Users should take care not to impact on the local environment and leave no trace of their stay.

The locations identified for the pilot this summer are:

Torvean Car Park, Inverness

Nairn Harbour, Nairn

Dunnet Head Car Park, Caithness

Dunnet Seadrift Car Park, Caithness

Noss Head Car Park, Caithness

Reiss Beach Car Park, Caithness

Riverside Car Park, Wick

Durness Village – Tourist Info Car Park, Sutherland

Golspie Shore Street Car Park, Sutherland

Ullapool Latheron Car Park, Wester Ross

Gairloch Harbour Car Park, Wester Ross

Little Gruinard Beach Car Park, Wester Ross

The tariff for an overnight short stopover between 10pm and 8am in designated car parks are:

  • £10.00 charge per night max stay 24 hours, no return within 72 hours
  • Overnight parking is classed as between 10pm and 8am
  • All activities must be contained within the vehicle
  • Overnight stopovers only stay valid with a ticket and only in allocated bays when provided

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