IT is a pastime where the only stipulation is that adherents display their bare essentials.

And now the practice of naturism has been given the backing of national tourist agency VisitScotland as devotees of holidaying without clothes prepare to gather in the seaside resort Dunoon, Argyllshire.

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughhead's assistant has written to the organisers to welcome them to Scotland, saying: "We hope that it proves to be successful".

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The meeting, help by British Naturism, has been an annual event since 2013, but this year's gathering is said to be the biggest yet.

The growing popularity of the event means it will now take over the Glenmorag Hotel for an entire week.

Other activities for the 120 naturists expected to attend include a naked ramble in the forest at Tighnabruaich, and an unclothed visit to the nearby Fairy Glen.

Argyll and Bute council has also shown its support by allowing visitors access to the town's pool, sauna and steam room.

Ivan Gill, of British Naturism, said: "This is a real milestone for us. It is the first time, anywhere in the UK, that a hotel has thrown open its doors and given us exclusive access for a week.

"We're hoping it will convince other hotels and businesses to get on board."

He added: "We are delighted to have the support of the VisitScotland. So far we haven't encountered any resistance pr bad feeling. There seems to be a growing respect for our lifestyle."

A Glenmorag Hotel spokesman said: "The naturists are a good crowd."