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'Amazing' volunteers hailed for 'inundated' Wester Ross community's clean-up drive; Applecross folk praised for response to 'dirty camping' issues


By Hector MacKenzie

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Littering and 'dirty camping' has been an issue creating tension as visitors return.
Littering and 'dirty camping' has been an issue creating tension as visitors return.

A WESTER Ross community inundated with visitors since coronavirus restrictions were eased has paid tribute to its "amazing" volunteers to help tackle a clean-up operation.

Applecross, traditionally a major attraction during the summer season, had effectively self-isolated during the peak of the coronavirus crisis and asked visitors to stay away in a bid to prevent its spread to vulnerable people.

The lifting of many restrictions, including on travel, and the effective opening of the tourist season in the middle of this month has seen steadily rising numbers of people taking to the North Coast 500 route and visiting beauty spots like Applecross.

A rise in littering and complaints about "dirty" camping witnessed elsewhere across the Highlands has been echoed in Applecross.

Award-winning Applecross Inn, which has enjoyed a surge in visitors, last week flagged concerns about littering and reported incidents of some campers stripping branches from trees for fires.

A Facebook post attracted considerable sympathy and also helped kindle a clean-up response from local people.

In an upbeat post this week, it said: "It’s great to get the word out. Much of the mess has been cleaned away as per usual by our amazing community, including the school children. My upset regarding destroying trees will remain, as will climbing and damaging our heritable stone dykes to access them.

"We continue to welcome visitors here and are doing our best as a tiny remote community but it is becoming increasingly difficult as numbers increase daily, we are struggling to cope. A great complaint it could be said !

"Sadly at the moment we are still at risk from Covid and have measures in place to keep safe. You will find our services not as they have for the last 31 years. Please understand."

It hails a community able to provide toilets, a petrol station, internet and an electric vehicle charging point."

One fan of the area, Neil Borthwick, wrote: "I saw your earlier post and it is as shocking as it is heartbreaking. Applecross is one of the most stunning places in all of Wester Ross and it is devastating to see its beauty and tranquility being trashed and so wilfully disrespected by those who can at best be described as filthy louts.

"Your wonderful community's faith in fellow humankind is being severely tested yet you remain quietly determined, resolute and dignified. The people who behave with such absence of social responsibility make it uncomfortable for the good to visit lest they be eyed with suspicion and a tar brush close at hand ready to be deployed. Be well all of you, be safe and most of all be free of such vermin."

Related: 'Sad day' in Applecross

Respect plea over antisocial behvaviour

Highland police share top tips with campers over fire risks

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