A pilot scheme in the Highlands will see overnight motorhome parking permitted at 12 designated Council car parks during the summer and autumn period.

Many of us will be choosing a destination to head to over the summer months, and this pilot is sure to make exploring the beautiful Highlands an easier prospect – alternatively, if you’re planning to visit another part of the UK, our guide to the best motorhome sites is worth a look.

The trial will see users allowed to stay in allocated bays in self-contained vehicles and is being tried out to provide extra parking space for visitors to the Highlands. Visitors will be permitted to stay in a designated bay at one of these council car parks for a maximum of 24 hours.

During this period, they will be required to keep all of their activities “contained within their vehicle”, and will not be able to set up an awning, tables or similar outside their motorhome.

It will cost £10 to stay overnight, with no returns allowed within 72 hours. An overnight stay will only be valid with a ticket and in one of the allocated bays.

The list of Highlands Council carparks that will permit overnight motorhome parking are:

  • Torvean Car Park, Inverness
  • Nairn Harbour -CG, Nairn
  • Dunnet Head Car Park, Caithness
  • Dunnet Seadrift Car Park, Caithness
  • Noss Head Car Park, Caithness
  • Reiss Beach Car Park, Caithness
  • Riverside Car Park, Wick
  • Durness Village – Tourist Info Car Park, Sutherland
  • Golspie Shore Street Car Park, Sutherland
  • Ullapool Latheron Car Park, Wester Ross
  • Gairloch Harbour Car Park, Wester Ross
  • Little Gruinard Beach Car Park, Wester Ross

The pilot will be followed closely, with a report to be given to the future Tourism Committee.

Malcolm MacLeod, Executive Chief Officer for Infrastructure, Environment and Economy, said: “The Council recognises that ownership and rental of motorhomes/campervans has grown exponentially in the last three years and is an increasing trend as people look to enjoy ‘staycations’ and the freedom to explore the great outdoors.”

“From the data captured by the Seasonal Access Rangers and Traffic Officers throughout the summer of 2021, it is evident that in certain ‘honeypot’ destinations in peak summer that demand for formal campsites can be outweighed by availability, also that there are many people that don’t choose to stay in a formal facility.”

“The use of laybys for overnight parking, although not illegal, restricts access for more safety related use. It is hoped that by introducing legal use of designated Council car parks for overnight stays that it could relieve some issues on the public road network.”

“To mitigate some of the problems encountered with inconsiderate parking, waste and capacity problems in key locations, the Council has considered all our coastal car parks and identified locations suitable to pilot a self-contained overnight stay, where people can park and stay overnight in the vehicle. The aim is to provide for a single night stay only as a transit type stopover. It is anticipated that as tourism infrastructure improvements continue across the country, people will learn what to expect when travelling in Scotland and the limitations for vehicle based holidays/travel, particularly in rural and popular tourist destinations.”

Image credit: Getty Images

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