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New glamping site established at Brora as demand for NC500 pod accommodation high

By Caroline McMorran

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Demand for accommodation on tourism route North Coast 500 (NC500) is booming following lockdown, according to a local provider.

Business partners Calum Macleod and Alisdair Young have set up two glamping sites along the route and have plans for more.

Calum Macleod (left) with contractors Gordon and Rudi Maclean who have undertaken the ground works at the new Brora glamping site.
Calum Macleod (left) with contractors Gordon and Rudi Maclean who have undertaken the ground works at the new Brora glamping site.

The pair have been operating a site comprising four pods at Achmelvich since May last year and today launched a second site at West Clyne, Brora, containing three pods with another three planned.

Edinburgh based Mr Macleod, a former electrical design engineer, has strong Achmelvich connections - his site is on land owned by his parents.

He decided the business should expand into Brora after working at the new Brora distillery visitor centre, which has yet to open, and realising how big a draw it will be for visitors.

The two business partners are delighted with the success of the Achmelvich site which has seen 63 per cent occupancy since it was opened - despite having to shut during lockdown. And bookings are again flooding in with interest in the new site high.

“You won’t get even one night’s accommodation in Achmelvich now until the middle of September, said Mr Macleod. “We are anticipating a 75 per cent occupancy rate over the next year. People are saying they have been cooped up in their houses for too long and just want to get out.”

Mr Macleod also runs Glampitect, a service for people seeking to set up glamping sites. He can help with planning permission, building warrant, services, website design and social media.

Meanwhile he and Mr Young have plans to extend their own glamping business, which trades as North Coast 500 Pods.

“Ultimately we want to set up a site a year for the next five years,” he said. “We want to have one site every 100 miles along the North Coast 500 so that people can stay with us the whole way round. That will mean running at least five sites.”

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