Uist firm to offer more holiday accommodation at nature reserve

Owner Anne MacLellan beside a glamping pod at the campsite, another two pods are part of the expansion plans
Owner Anne MacLellan beside a glamping pod at the campsite, another two pods are part of the expansion plans

A popular campsite on the Hebridean island of North Uist has been awarded planning permission to expand.

Balranald Hebridean Holidays will increase the number of caravan, motor home and tent pitches it offers from 20 to 30 this season, with a further 11 added in time for next April.

The business, set in the heart of the RSPB’s Balranald Nature Reserve, is also investing £40,000 to build a new toilet and shower block with drying room and will add two further glamping pods, all of which will be operational in 2019.

Alongside the campsite, owner Anne MacLellan has also added a self-catering cottage to the company’s portfolio.

Since launching the business in 2012, she has been advised by Business Gateway Outer Hebrides and recently received help from its DigitalBoost programme to develop an online and social media presence.

Ms MacLellan said: “We are delighted to have been awarded planning permission, as it allows us to fully utilise the land we tenant on the reserve and helps us provide more accommodation options to an ever-increasing number of tourists visiting North Uist.

“Up until now, our website and word of mouth have been the main ways visitors come to stay but, with the expansion about to get under way, social media is going to be a really important way for us to attract new customers.”

The idea for the business arose after Ms MacLellan and her husband, John Allan, both full-time crofters, spotted a gap in the market to provide accommodation to people visiting the nature reserve. Ms MacLellan also runs a mobile catering trailer during the summer.

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