Optional fee introduced for caravans and motorhomes on the NC500

A campervan parked up by a loch

The Highlands Council has introduced a fee for caravan and motorhome users driving the iconic NC500 route in Scotland to help put money back into the local area.

At present, the charge is operating on an opt-in basis, but the local authority is hoping leisure vehicle owners will do the responsible thing to help keep services they rely on running.

The £40 Highland Campervan and Motorhome Scheme pass lasts for seven days, with the money raised said to be used to improve public toilets, wastewater infrastructure and environmental protections.

A contribution will also be made to the Highland Restoration Fund, reports the Daily Record.

Scotland’s answer to Route 66

The NC500, which starts and ends at Inverness Castle, taking in 516 miles of stunning scenery along the way, has become incredibly popular in recent years.

So much so, the route has been the subject of much debate as it suffers from large numbers of caravan and motorhome tourists every year.

As an incentive to pay for the weekly pass, those who do will be granted access to specific car parks throughout the Highlands during their stay.

This could be a savvy move by the council, as leisure vehicles vye for space to park up during the busy summer months, with many turning to laybys and passing places to spend the night.

First of its kind

It’s thought the Highland Campervan and Motorhome Scheme is the first of its kind by any UK council, but could set a precedent for other local authorities.

Allan Gunn, assistant chief executive at the Highland Council, said: “There is an identified need for facilities to accommodate campervans, motorhomes, roof tents and people who are using vehicles for short stay overs.

“This scheme offers an opportunity for the council to continue to support local priorities relating to tourism and visitor management.

“The Highland Council has also committed funds that will be invested towards improving the existing infrastructure and to provide more council-owned sites.”

Mixed reaction

There have been a number of different reactions to the scheme from the locals, who acknowledge there are issues with the impact of tourers in the Highlands at present.

Some think the scheme should be mandatory, not voluntary, while others suggest that the local infrastructure needs to be upgraded drastically.

A small minority of caravan and motorhome users not disposing of waste properly and leaving rubbish behind are adding to the problem of overcrowding on the NC500.

At CaravanTimes, we remind everyone to act responsibly when enjoying our great outdoors and also suggest travelling to one of the other long-distance routes the UK has to offer to take pressure off the area.



Photo credit: Unsplash/Kevin Schmid