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Residents under pressure at Skye tourist hotspot say they may block their road

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Picturesque Neist Point, at the most westerly tip of Skye, has found its way onto social media bucket lists, but there’s been a price to pay for local residents.

The daily pressure from hundreds of vehicles making their way along the single track road to the point, and gridlock ensuing when they try to go back, is taking its toll on the seven-home community at Neist.

One family, asking to remain nameless, say they will put their house on the market later this year.

Others are considering taking matters into their own hands and blocking the road.

Resident Brian Smith said the problem seems to be coming from day trippers in hire vehicles ticking off a sight-seeing list and in a rushing to be able to return their vehicles later that day.

Large campervans are also a large part of the problem, with drivers refusing to reverse in the face of vehicles coming the other way.

Mr Smith describes days when gridlock ensues, with drivers parking their cars where they find them and heading to the point on foot.

He said: “They spend 15 minutes getting their selfie at the point, then want to go back. “There’s absolutely no facilities for them there, so they end up doing their business all over the area, to the extent that we have to wash my dog’s feet when we get home from a walk.”

Mr Smith said up until around three years ago he and his wife welcomed visitors and shared good times with them, allowing them to use the toilet on occasions.

He said: “Now we would have a queue of people all day. We have found people urinating and defecating in our garden, and they don’t seem to care.

“We’ve had people going through our garage and taking fence posts and planks of wood to help them get out of the verge.

Make no mistake, Skye welcomes visitors, say residents and tourism bodies

“They’ve been in our garden pointing their mobiles through the window to take pictures of us sitting watching TV.”

Mr Smith said the neighbours are now padlocking their driveways, and have experienced aggression and abuse if they try to remonstrate with anti-social tourists.

He said: “I understand how visitors get frustrated and angry.

“We have always welcomed visitors, but now find that the traditional type of visitor who rents self-catering houses in our area aren’t coming so much.

“Day trippers bring nothing to the economy.”

He added: “We’ve tried fruitlessly to get campervans banned from Neist Point. Now we are considering taking matters into our own hands and blocking the road ourselves.”

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “We urge all visitors to our beautiful region to respect the area and ‘leave no trace’.

“The council received a £300,000 award from the Scottish Government’s pilot round of Rural Tourism Infrastructure Funding including £100,000 for road access improvements and parking at Neist Point Lighthouse.”

 

 

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