Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Call for liaison groups to be set up in communities to help ease tourism pressure on local residents

Lewis resident Margaret Maciver
Lewis resident Margaret Maciver

A Lewis resident says the pressure from tourism along her stretch of road has forced her to consider selling the croft her family has owned for almost a century.

Margaret Maciver lives in Bernera on the west side of the island.

Three years ago, the stunning scenery and beaches in the area started to find their way onto tourists’ bucket lists, with bird-watching an added attraction, and Mrs Maciver said everything she loves and values about her way of life has changed for the worst.

The narrow single track road has few passing places, resulting in daily problems as motorhomes and minibuses try to pass each other.

Miss Maciver, 55, a historical researcher and Gaelic scholar, says she often has to marshal traffic, help pull vehicles out of ditches and stop people from parking in her driveway.

The worst of it is the attitude of the tourists, she says.

She said: “I’m treated with utter disrespect by 95% of them. I’ve been literally pushed aside.

“They trample over our croft, knocking down fences and destroying a wall my grandfather built.

“They have dogs everywhere, but say they don’t care about sheep and cattle.

“Although there is a 24/7 toilet a few minutes walk away, they defecate and urinate where they like, including in a shed my father built, and in our garden.

“They didn’t care that my elderly mother was sitting at the window.”

Miss Maciver’s 80-year-old mother is recovering from a fall and operation.

Miss Maciver said: “She was utterly shocked. Whereas she used to go for walks, she won’t go out of the house now, especially with the Covid situation.

“Cleaning up after tourists is the last thing I want to do with threat from Covid.

“I’ve seen them lob rubbish out of car and motorhome windows.

“My grandfather survived the Somme and bought this croft in 1924, it means a lot to own it.

“But every happy memory I’ve had of my home has been eroded, and last year I was ready to sell up before my mother became ill.

“It’s out of control, and it’s happening all over the islands.

“We need to change the mindset of the people that come and we need the authorities to accept there is a problem.”

Lewis resident Margaret Maciver has campervans parking in her driveway no parking signs

Miss Maciver says she has been calling on local politicians and tourism agencies to help to tackle the problem for the past few years.

“They talk about the economy all the time, but no-one has thought how mass tourism would affect the islands.

“I would like to see liaison groups set up in every village to work with the agencies to find solutions.

“If I leave, there will be no more native islanders on this stretch, as there are holiday lets on either side, and that means the end of our language, heritage and culture here.”

Local MSP Alasdair Allan said tourism is about balance.

“As we have seen this year, the economy in the islands suffers very severely without tourists, and that emphasises the need more than ever for there to be the welcome and the facilities that tourists expect.

“The other side of the balance of course is that we can’t allow some areas to be seen as ‘resorts’ rather than communities. For me that means ensuring that there are more affordable houses and making sure house prices do not rocket beyond the reach of local families.

“It also means ensuring that important messages go out about treating the island landscape and its residents with respect.

“If we can get that balance right in the islands, then we will have done something important for the future. “

VisitScotland regional director Chris Taylor said: “Tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, creates jobs, helps tackle depopulation and sustains communities in every corner of Scotland.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]