Durness and Assent among tourist hotspots highlighted in Highland Council report

The Northern Times – Nicola Sinclair

Two tourist hotspots in Sutherland are among four locations being focused on in a new visitor strategy set to be considered on Wednesday.

Highland Council’s tourism committee will consider particular difficulties at Durness and Assynt, along with Glenbrittle on Skye and the Road to the Isles between Fort William and Mallaig.

The council’s access rangers say these areas are struggling to cope with the explosion in visitor numbers since the pandemic.

The Highlands attracted 2.9 million overnight visitors in 2019 and 9.6 million day trips. These visitors added £1.6 billion to the local economy.

However, these figures are pre-pandemic, and the growth in the staycation market suggests the real totals will be much higher.

Durness has a population of just 250 but that population swells to up to 1000 every night in the summer.

Highland Council’s seasonal access rangers have compiled a detailed 168-page report for Wednesday’s tourism committee meeting. The report sets out common challenges across the four hotspots, and a range of ideas to get to grips with tourism.

Common issues highlighted in the report include traffic congestion and verge parking, informal overnight camping, wild fires, littering, toileting and antisocial behaviour. Specific action points are also noted for each area.