Trowels in lay-bys for ‘urgent toilet breaks’

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The area around Ullapool in the north west Highlands is popular with tourists

Trowels are to be left in 90 lay-bys in part of the Highlands to help tackle problems with outdoor toileting.

Lochbroom Community Council is also to install signs directing visitors to where there are public toilets.

Chairman Topher Dawson said the trowels would offer an “emergency, last resort” for those who desperately need the loo to dig a hole and bury the waste.

He said some of the many “welcome visitors” came to area without knowing there would be few facilities.

The community council covers a large part of the north west Highlands around Ullapool and Dundonnell.

The Highlands have been a popular destination for tourists following the easing of some lockdown restrictions.

Mr Dawson said some people might not know available public toilets were “thin on the ground” before they travelled to the region and they should be offered help.

He said a temporary “urgent solution” was needed and 90 plastic garden trowels had been ordered. He hoped people would first consider finding a public toilet.

Mr Dawson said: “We have about 100 lay-bys in our area but 90 trowels were all that were available to buy.”

‘Dirty camping’

The community council plans to put up signs in all the lay-bys with a map showing where public toilets were located and advice from Mountaineering Scotland on considerate camping behaviour.

Mr Dawson said it was hoped more public toilets would be available next year.

Trowels and signs could start appearing in lay-bys from the weekend.

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A sign at Morar in Lochaber urges visitors to take their litter home with them

Last week, Highland Council and community groups appealed to visitors to “leave only footprints”.

It follows problems in recent weeks with “dirty camping” where tents have been abandoned and litter and human waste left at beauty spots.

Last month, Western Isles local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar urged tourists travelling the islands in campervans to plan ahead for toilet breaks due to facilities still being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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