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Skye police warn visitors to book accommodation before arriving on busy island during summer months

Force have been dealing with stranded tourists as visitor numbers increase

Ravneet Ahluwalia
Thursday 10 August 2017 17:19 BST
Sunrise at the Quiraing on Isle of Skye
Sunrise at the Quiraing on Isle of Skye (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Police on the Isle of Skye have issued a warning to visitors to book accommodation before they arrive and respect the area.

The local force took the step as the Scottish island gears up for its peak tourist season. Writing on twitter they advised visitors to: “Drive and park sensibly, think about where you are going to stay and leave the area clean and tidy as you found it.”

Sergeant Bruce Crawford said: "The summer months are an incredibly busy period on Skye and this is obviously good for business but it can create problems.

"People regularly arrive at the station with nowhere to stay asking for advice and it is simply not possible for police to phone round hotels and B&Bs to try and find them accommodation.

Loch Fada on the Isle of Skye (Getty Images/iStockphoto) (Getty/iStockphoto)

"I would never advise people against visiting our beautiful island but I would ask people to use common sense before travelling, booking accommodation in advance if they intend to stay overnight.

"Like everyone else we want visitors to have the best experience possible but I would encourage people who travel from around the world to see Skye to plan ahead unless they want to spend a night in their car.”

Skye sits off Scotland’s north-west coast and its natural charms are obvious. During the summer its population grows from 10,000 to 60,000 as visitors flock to visit the stunning Cullin mountain range, lochs, pools and harbours.

The island has also featured in films, including Prometheus, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Transformers: The Last Knight. Singer Harry Styles shot the video for his single Sign of the Times on Skye.

The colourful harbour of Portree on Skye (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Georgie de Boer who owns Canowindra B&B thinks that the most common misconception is that Skye is a tiny area instead of a major tourist destination. She says: “Skye is actually bigger than people realise and I think it looks remote in the movies they shoot up here.

“The last two or three years it’s certainly busier. It gets much worse in the summer, last year they had to open the community centre in August for people to sleep in!

“I get calls every day and I see people drive up and see my 'no vacancy' sign and turn around a lot.

“I would advise people travelling to Skye to book everything ahead, even meals.”

Locals have campaigned for help to deal with the influx of visitors, as they fear its beauty will be eroded unless steps are taken.

Shaz Morton, co-owner of the Mint Croft Bed and Breakfast, explained that Skye has always been a popular destination due to its stunning landscape.

She said: "As it's August Europe is busy. In my experience Skye is much less busy than the Lake District or Cornwall. We welcome guests from around the world and many of them say they come to Skye and Scotland as it's less busy than many other destinations.

"However, there needs to be urgent investment and joined up thinking around infrastructure improvement including roads, parking and public toilets in order to ease congestion on our single track roads. An island and country wide plan for tourism must be developed to pave a sustainable path forward."

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