The subject of campervans in the islands is making front-page news and trending on social media. We’ve compiled a list of campervan-specific information for visitors to North Harris to help improve “the North Harris experience” for our visitors.
News & Events
Following the launch last month of the North Harris Snorkel Trail, a leaflet has been produced to give more information on the six specially-selected sites in North Harris.
On Friday 8th September, the John Muir Trust work party was present for the opening of North Harris Trust’s new Huisinis Gateway building. Five months in construction, the new facilities replace the run-down toilet building that has served the area for the last 17 years. Huisinis Gateway incorporates three toilets, two showers and an interpretation area that includes information on the local area and wildlife. Additional parking has also been created next to the building.
With Huisinis proving increasingly popular with campervans, a dedicated site with five electric hook-up points has been built as part of the project. A Chemical Disposal Point with fresh water standpipe is located in the main carpark.
The John Muir Trust regularly brings work parties to Harris. On this occasion, they helped with fencing and landscaping at Huisinis. The picture shows NHT staff, the JMT team and the chair of the Trust, Calum MacKay. All enjoyed a celebratory BBQ to mark the opening.
The Huisinis panorama, showing the Gateway building, new car-park in the foreground, with campervan dump point and recycling bins. This £270,000 project, designed by architects Rural Design, was completed on schedule by O’Mac Construction. Funding for the project was provided by Outer Hebrides Leader, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Bord na Gaidhlig, Scottish Landfill Communities Trust as well as The North Harris Trust.
This week we commissioned the first chemical disposal point for campervans in North Harris. The dump point or “elsan” point as they are also known, is installed at the North Harris Recycling site at Urgha (HS3 3BW).
The point, which is now affectionately called “the thunderbox”, is accessible during depot opening hours -currently TUES-SAT 10:00-17:30. Replacement chemicals will also be stocked.
For opening hours, click HERE
We will also be opening a further disposal point at the new Huisinis Gateway site (HS3 3AY). This will hopefully be open in the next 10 days – once Building Control has signed off the development.
Over the last few months I have been busy creating a snorkeling trail. In January, we formed a partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust to create the second Scottish snorkel trail. Last year the first trail launched in the North- West Highlands to great success.
There are six snorkel trail sites are across North Harris. The snorkel trail locations have been carefully chosen to highlight different marine habitats and ecosystems from seagrass meadows to kelp forests. We are blessed up here to have incredibly rich marine life which is easily accessed just off shore.
I hope that both visitors and locals alike will take the plunge to explore the trail, have fun and be inspired to learn more about issues facing our marine environment.
On the 1st July, we had a small launch at one of the trail locations, Hushinish beach. The local scout troop and some other local children doing their John Muir Award joined myself, Scottish Wildlife Trust staff Maggie Keegan and Noel Hawkins and MSP Maree Todd for a fun day exploring the site. The weather may not have been great but there was good visibility and lots of different species were seen. Not only was it the first time many of the kids had snorkelled, but the first time that they had ever swam in the sea! They are keen to do more soon.
One of the main reasons for creating the snorkel trail was to involve local school children, getting them into the water to show them how beautiful but fragile seas are where they live.
The snorkel trail has been kindly supported by the National Marine Aquarium.
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our small team are at NHT, click on the link to see the advert for our Manager vacancy. NHT Manager Vacancy
Earlier this month, we hosted a visit to the Bunavoneader Hydro-electric scheme. The Science Club at Sir E Scott primary school has been working on a hydro-electric project and wanted to see a full-sized scheme in operation. The pupils hiked up to the intake and then back down to look around the turbine house. The visit took place in an unusually dry spell, so the turbine was not working on the day, however everyone did go home clean and dry!
The Trust is part owner of a windfarm and a hydro-electric scheme. These are proving to be great educational resources for the local school.
The building that provided relief to so many, is no more. Huisinis public toilets were leveled today to make way for the new Huisinis Gateway development.
Excavators will be hard at work over the next four weeks preparing the site for foundations and a new carpark. They will then move up the road to the quarry that will be turned into a licenced camping area for campervans.
The construction project will run until August, so the Trust has installed temporary toilet facilities opposite the development for the duration. The existing carpark has been taken out of use as it now forms part of the construction site. Temporary parking space is available over at the Scarp jetty.
The recent decision by Scottish Water to suspend the new water main to Huisinis will hopefully only have a minor impact upon the project. We had planned to install a water supply at the campervan site. This will no longer be possible. The existing supplies down at the Huisinis Gateway will be made available for campers, alongside the new chemical disposal point. A decision on how we will operate the showers will be made once we know the outcome of the Scottish Water review.
The funding search is still on for the finishing details. Our application to the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund was successful. £4500 has been received to provide waste recycling bins. This will cut the volume of waste heading to the landfill site from Huisinis. Bord na Gaidhlig has also awarded us £1500 towards the cost of bilingual signage.
For more details of the project, click HERE
I have just finished writing the 2017 guided walks program. There are a few new routes and a weekly whale and dolphin watching walk this year and some weekend walks Please visit www.north-harris.org.
Please click here for the 2017 guided walks program.
We are pleased to announce that the new Isle of Harris Mountain Festival website has just been launched. Please visit http://www.iohmf.co.uk to view the complete 2017 programme, book events and keep up to date with the latest news.