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Belladrum thousands head home with traffic flow smooth

By Margaret Chrystall

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The mass departure of many Belladrum festival-goers is so far not causing traffic delays today.

On the road home... festival-goers who haven't already headed for home face the journey back today. Picture Rachel Smart
On the road home... festival-goers who haven't already headed for home face the journey back today. Picture Rachel Smart

Organisers had voiced disappointment on Thursday after many travelling to the festival experienced lengthy delays on gridlocked roads.

Buses taking people in and out of Inverness today are so far not experiencing any hold-ups – and taxis also report the roads so far in and out are clear with vehicles able to travel freely.

Last night an announcement from the festival stated that they would divide leaving traffic which would take two separate routes depending on their destination.

Some delays affected traffic out of Belladrum on Saturday.

Belladrum organisers had put out an "important traffic notice" via social media on Saturday night to say that, on Sunday traffic would be divided, depending on the type of vehicle when leaving the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival site nearby Beauly.

It follows the long traffic-related delays for festival-goers heading to the annual three-day entertainment extravaganza when it started on Thursday.

Belladrum organisers stated: "To manage traffic on Sunday morning, measures have been put in place for your ease of exiting the event: Traffic from campervan/caravan field and accessible campsite will be turning left on the A833; Traffic leaving from all other campsites will be turning right on the A833.

"This is to alleviate the pressure from the large number of vehicles leaving the site.

"Members of the public are asked to stick to main routes and avoid using any of the side roads which are not suitable for large numbers of vehicles.

"Police Scotland will be assisting Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival to manage the traffic leaving the site.

"Please be patient but be prepared for queues. We will be doing our best to keep you moving!"

This morning, a spokesperson for a local taxi company said: "We have a few cars going back and forth and it seems to be just normal traffic."

Last night D&E Coaches had put out a post on social media to say buses were being delayed to give cars priority and to reassure people they were on their way.

Fireworks bringing Belladrum to a close for this year.
Fireworks bringing Belladrum to a close for this year.

Buses leaving on Saturday night after the traditional fireworks closed the three-day festival were filled up quickly and left for destinations including Inverness, Drumnadrochit and Beauly, Muir of Ord and Dingwall.

Donald Mathieson, managing director of D & E Coaches, speaking this morning said: "We don't seem to have any issues today – so far! Friday was a nightmare and last night was very challenging. To get back into Belladrum they were taking traffic out the route we normally go back in, so it was a slower journey to get back and forth."

Almost 20 buses were used to transport festival-goers with a new route going to the Dingwall area including Beauly and Muir of Ord proving popular and one to Drumnadrochit taking over from a discontinued service locally.

This morning, Belladrum event producer Dougie Brown said that the traffic flow out at the Belladrum site was working well.

"There is a nice steady flow of festival-goers leaving and we're very happy with the way things are going. We feel it went well last night, there was a good flow of traffic.

Referring to the delay in buses returning, as cars were allowed to leave via the buses' usual route back, the event producer said: "We were holding the flow to allow cars out, but were happy with the way traffic left last night."

He confirmed that there would be a meeting about the delays on the roads on Thursday.

"Every year we do a multi-agency debrief, but this year we will be spending additional time looking at how to minimise any delays next year."

Asked about how he felt this year's festival had gone, Mr Brown said: "Aside from the traffic issues on Thursday, I think this festival is one of the best if not the best one yet!

"The changes of layout to the site have been hugely successful and the feedback we've had has been pretty much unanimous and everyone loved the flow – it has opened up the festival site. And the artists loved performing at the event as much as the audience seemed to enjoy listening to them as well!"

Tents and camping equipment left behind will be collected by HSR (Highlands Support Refugees), though organisers encourage people to take away their equipment. And this year people are being encouraged to pack up their equipment and take it to an HSR station rather than leave it for the organisation to gather.

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