Poo problem flagged by fed-up Ross-shire residents as staycation visitor surge prompts calls for action


People climbing on the walls of Ardvreck Castle. One visitor also stumbled across an unwelcome 'deposit' just before his kids stepped in it.
People climbing on the walls of Ardvreck Castle. One visitor also stumbled across an unwelcome ‘deposit’ just before his kids stepped in it.

CONCERNS over the lack of hygiene around the NC500 is giving locals a “complete headache”.

From across the region people are complaining that there are not enough public toilets for visitors to use – as well as saying some just don’t even try to find an alternative.

Some say they have had to move or hide human faeces before they, or their children, stand in it.

Due to more people staying at home for holidays this year, an influx of visitors to the area has brought with it a number of social problems.

From taking a dump in the ruins of an ancient castle to using beauty spot car parks as toilet areas, members of the community are asking for support to sort out the issue.

Michael Balmain said the issue was so serious around Scotland’s ancient beauty spots that he had to lay wood over some ‘deposits’ for fear that his children might stand in it, on a recent visit to his local countryside.
He said: “I found this toilet waste left by the falls opposite Ardvreck Castle. I placed the wood on top.

“We only just managed to stop the kids going into it as they ran past.”

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A minority of campers failing to clean up after themselves are tarnishing the reputation of the majority of visitors.
A minority of campers failing to clean up after themselves are tarnishing the reputation of the majority of visitors.

Lorna MacDonald, from Alness, said she has actually “caught visitors in the act”, and asked them to travel for five minutes along the road to use public toilets.

She said: “I was out at Fyrish when I saw three people who were handing toilet roll to each other, after packing up their tent in the car park. I was furious and said ‘oh no you don’t’. I told them to go to the public toilets.

“It is not the first time. What on earth are people thinking!”

An Applecross mum-of-three, who did not want to be named said: “No one believes you when it happens, but all three of my children have brought human poo on their shoes back into the house. It is simply disgusting.

“Why on earth would you go to the effort of putting toilet tissue over the top and not actually pick it up? Dirty, dirty dirty people – it makes me sick to even think about it.

“And you know what, there is nothing we can do about it, other than help to re-educate people, but seriously…who thinks this is ok?”

She added: “Buy a shovel or pay for a cup of tea and use the toilet.”

Highland Council recently appointed six rangers to support communities with the impact of tourists.

Councillor Biz Campbell, Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochlash, said people needed to be mindful of where they were camping.

She said: “It is simply disgusting. We have so many people coming to the area. They don’t want to pay to stay in our perfectly good camping sites, and they are staying in cemetery car parks, or the grounds of special historic buildings.

“I recently raised issues at Highland Council’s tourism committee, and I understand that one of the officers plans to bring forward legislation to stop people, by fining them, for staying in cemeteries. But I do not know how or who is going to police it.”

Cllr Campbell said that more signs were required to stop people behaving badly, she continued: “We want the tourists here, as they are so important to the local economy, and we should be careful not to bite the hand that feeds us.

“But, at the same time, we need to have more toilets open. I managed to save the one in Dornie after a long fight.

“I think that if the rangers work well this summer – we should create more posts around the Highlands.”


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