Isles visitors asked to pre-book before travelling

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Some travellers to the Western Isles have been asked to pre-book at campsites before visiting

An islands council has appealed to tourists visiting by campervan or caravan to pre-book at an official campsite before travelling.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said earlier pleas to visitors to the Western Isles had been ignored by some.

Communities have raised concerns about rubbish and human waste being left at roadsides.

Not all campsites and facilities on the isles have opened after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the comhairle's request, ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has put a message on its website urging people travelling by motorhome, campervan or with a caravan to pre-book at an official site.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said communities had seen an increase in problems with roadside littering and other waste.

It said: "While the comhairle's message to campervan and motorhome visitors has, from the outset, been not to visit the Western Isles unless they have a booking at an official camp site, given that facilities and services at camp sites are not open, it is apparent that this is being largely ignored with resultant adverse impacts on the local environment."

Fresh investment

The local authority's plea comes amid growing calls for greater investment in tourism infrastructure to be made before the start of next year's tourist season.

Highland councillors called for more money to spent on public toilets, waste bins and countryside rangers earlier this month.

Sarah Heward, co-owner of The Real Food Cafe in Tyndrum in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, has also called for fresh investment in facilities.

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "There's a lot of noise on social media about some of the negative impacts - about mess and parking - and these are real problems and they are there.

"But there is also an opportunity to turn this into something positive."

Ms Heward called for a national strategy to be produced to reduce the chances of repeat problems next year.

She said: "These are not new problems, but are problems that have been magnified this year."

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