A NORTH UIST nature reserve is set for a record number of visitors this summer.
Balranald RSPB nature reserve is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has become one of the most popular tourist locations in the Western Isles.
Figures indicate that the reserve will have attracted more than 15,000 people by the end of the year.
Jamie Boyle, the RSPB site manager for Balranald, said: ‘Increasing numbers of visitors are great news for the island but we do need to be careful. The bird breeding season is a popular time to visit but it is also the time when the birds are at their most sensitive to disturbance. We need to manage the area so that people can see the wildlife but not get too close.’
RSPB Scotland runs a programme of guided walks. Last year these were attended by more than 700 people and provide the chance to see birds and plants of the machair and croft lands.
Stuart Taylor, Uist manager, said: ‘We hope and expect RSPB Balranald will attract even more visitors in the next 50 years which, in turn, should help to secure the prosperity of the vitally important tourist industry in these wonderful islands.’
Balranald visitor centre celebrates its 50th anniversary.