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.

Fears NC500 ‘silly season’ will end in tragedy

Loch Maree on the North Coast 500 route
Loch Maree on the North Coast 500 route

Residents living along the scenic NC500 route yesterday hit out at tourists driving dangerously and blocking roads.

They complained about motorists pulling over on the main carriageway to take pictures of Highland cows and getting stuck behind slow convoys of dozens of motor homes.

Furious locals spoke out after video footage of a near miss involving two cars on the route appeared online.

The driver who captured the footage stated on social media that the “silly season” had now started with the roads getting busier due to the holiday season.

One woman taking her husband from Sutherland to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness also said that an hour-and-a-half had been added to her driving time each way.

Highland councillor, Kirsteen Currie, said: “The problem with the NC500 is that no-one wants to talk about the problems associated with the North Coast 500.

“It is like we have set up a Disneyland where people can come and look as us in our nice wee rural lives, as they whizz by in their camper van or sports car.

“But this is real life, and it can be very frustrating. It is not sustainable.

“I often hear stories of health visitors and other staff in the NHS who are trying to get out to do home visits, and journeys that would be 20 minutes in the winter, take more than an hour when the NC500 is in full swing.

“Or there’s police officers who have to give up other work to come and help a motor home reverse.

“People used to come and stay for three or four nights. People now come for one night as they try to race around the area the size of a small European country in two days.

“It is not sustainable, and we need to talk about it seriously. ”

Frustrated driver, Lilly Mather from Tongue, said she had an extra 90 minutes added on to her journey to and from her local hospital.

Mrs Mather said: “I have been taking my husband for chemotherapy in Raigmore. I went down in the last week in March and it took me just over two hours.

“I went down last Friday and it took me three-and-a-half hours each way – I was stuck behind a convoy of 20 motor homes. It was nothing short of a nightmare.”

Singer Karen Lupton-Garcia said she was shocked when tourist stopped right in front of her between Mid Clyth and Occumster on the A99 to take a picture of Highland cows in a field.

She said: “They almost caused a serious accident. They were completely oblivious.”

However, councillor Raymond Bremner, who lives on the east coast at Thrumster, Wick said: “The NC500 has brought a big economic boost for the Highlands in all sorts of ways.

“We have been looking for a way to bring many more visitors to the north and west of the Highlands for years.

“We have suffered from a lot of tourists thinking that there’s nothing worth visiting north of Inverness.

“The NC500 has bust that myth.

“It’s been a welcome boost and one that I can see will continue to appeal to greater numbers of visitors nationally and internationally as visitors tell others about their experience.”

 

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]