The Isle of Harris, known for its rich traditions and stunning scenery, has seen a marked increase in the number of visitors in recent years. Data from Outer Hebrides Tourism suggests that the number of visitors to Lewis and Harris grew by 10% per annum between 2013 and 2017. In North Harris, our people counters have shown an increase of about 25% in visitor numbers over the past 5 years with significant pressure at certain sites, such as over 40,000 seasonal visitors to the Huisinis Gateway building.
Increased visitor numbers have placed significant pressures on already limited infrastructure and services, with the Coronavirus pandemic highlighting pressure points. Following the 2020 season, we started work with Outer Hebrides Tourism and our neighbours The West Harris Trust to develop a Visitor Management Strategy. With financial assistance from Nature.Scot we engaged a consultant to carry out the initial research both within the community and looking to other areas of Britain for inspiration. Over 130 Harris residents were invited to complete a survey, with a large portion meeting online for one-to-one consultations afterwards. Discussions were also held with key stakeholders like Calmac, Visit Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
This extensive consultation and research has lead to a series of recommendations. It’s acknowledged that physical infrastructure takes time to organise, but there are a number of “quick wins” around messaging and education. The first deliverable is the “Harris is a special PLACE” campaign. This is all about reminding visitors what we, the community, expect of them.
The Harris Visitor Management Strategy will help us to maintain an enjoyable visitor experience, protect the unique Harris environment whilst reassuring the local community that tourism on the island can offer a sustainable future.
The tenancy of Croft 2 Ardhasaig has recently become vacant and as the Landlord it is our responsibility to recommend a new tenant to the Crofting Commission. If you are interested in applying for this Croft Tenancy, please compete the application form below and return to us before the closing date. The closing date for applications is 5pm Friday 22nd January 2021. After this date a sub-group of Trust Directors will meet to score the applications received against an agreed scoring system and make a recommendation to the Crofting Commission.
While keeping to current Covid regulations, the North Harris Trust has started our guided walks program for 2021. We have two weekly walks that you can take part in.
Tha sinn an dòchas gun tig thu còmhla rinn air ar cuairt. If you would like to join us, it is essential that you book a place to avoid disappointment, please contact the North Harris Ranger John Maclean at email@example.com for more information. We also require a contact phone number for track and trace.
The Ranger Service does not charge, however for each participant we suggest a £10 donation, which helps us to maintain the beautiful North Harris estate.
Make sure you bring suitable clothing and footwear for the conditions. Walking boots are ideal for the uneven terrain, and the winds can be a lot colder than you expect, so remember to bring a wind and waterproof jacket with you.
On a Monday morning we do a Whale and Dolphin walk to Scalpay Lighthouse, and on a Wednesday we do an Eagle walk out the Bogha Glas track.
For more information check out our event page on Facebook.
We are now accepting applications for the tenancy of Flat 2 Tigh An Urrais, a 2-bedroom property above our office in Tarbert. The monthly rental for the flat is £340.00 (exclusive of rates and utilities).
Application forms can be downloaded here or obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Completed applications must be returned to the North Harris Trust or emailed to email@example.com no later than 5pm on Friday 2nd October 2020
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The North Harris Trust Board have taken the decison to re-open the 5 electric hook up points at Husinis. Please note that we do not run a booking system for the site and so it opetates on a first “come first serve basis”.
The Huisinis Gateway Building remains closed although there is a 24h accesible toilet.
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Due to the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in this summer, we have taken the decision to produce an online edition of our Caraidean Newsletter which is normally printed and posted out to all out Members & Friends. Despite all the restrictions and challenges these first 6 months of 2020 have been busy for us at NHT. Enjoy.
Although restrictions in Scotland have eased slightly, we still remain in lockdown. Phase 3 of the Scottish Government route map will allow for restrictions to be eased for travel and the preliminary date for this is 15th July, this date will be confirmed on 9th of July.
However, as we move into the “new normal” things will be different. From a North Harris Trust point of view much of the work we would normally be involved in has been suspended, this includes our guided walk programme and all volunteering work. Currently the Huisnis Gateway building and campervan hook ups remain closed for the foreseeable future. The commencement of some of our activities in the coming weeks and months will be carefully considered, in line with Scottish Govt guidance and widely advertised to keep the public informed.
Hi i’m Clara, the new community ranger for the John Muir Trust based out here on the Western Isles, working between the North Harris Trust, West Harris Trust and Galson Estate Trust. My duties will be varied, from working with volunteer groups, leading guided walks and completing some habitat monitoring work. All of which I look forward to starting with any luck in the near future.
I grew up much further south on the Isle of Wight before moving to Scotland to undertake a BSc in conservation biology at University in Stirling and have been living in Caithness and Sutherland for the past year or so. I have a strong interest in wildlife conservation and the outdoors in general, spending much of my time out walking or looking for wildlife. I look forward to working and getting to know the islands and community during my time here.
Clara April 2020
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