Counting The Cost
At Loch Ordie by Dunkeld, Nick considers Scotland’s tourism surge
WHAT a summer it was. Glorious weather lasted far longer than could ever have been foretold. And the tourists came in their droves. Sometimes they spent plenty of money, which supported local businesses, and sometimes they clogged the roads.
The rise in tourist numbers, especially in places like Skye and on the route of the North Coast 500, is often seen as a problem that needs to be dealt with. Yes, the numbers are creating a strain on infrastructure but the fact that they are coming should, overall, be welcomed.
After this walk in the peaceful, rolling country to the north of Dunkeld, the staff in the pubs and cafés do all they can to make visitors feel relaxed, and the more who come, the merrier. What is needed to help the problems that come with more tourists is some investment.
At Loch Ordie, an expanse of water surrounded by low hills and ideal for a picnic, I met a group of landowners looking at ways to improve their land and the flood prevention work on it. The paths were in good order; signs meant it was easy to find my way across wonderfully open countryside, home to an array of birdlife and superb views of Perthshire.
At the same time, two other parts of Scotland were experiencing contrasting levels of investment. There were reports that public toilets on the very popular and successful North Coast 500 may have to be shut because of a lack of funds.
On the same day Scottish Enterprise, a “non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government”, was announcing a £12.75 million grant to Barclays Bank to set up an office campus in Glasgow. How can we afford that and not toilets for visitors?
The mill dam in Loch Ordie
Deuchary Hill from the east