I SPENT many years travelling around the highlands on holiday. The beauty, tranquillity and variety of the landscape is beyond compare. Nine years ago my wife and I had the opportunity to move to the northwest where we now live, some eight miles from the Skye Bridge. We understand the appeal of the area and until this year have accepted the annual tourist influx as both understandable and welcome.

Sadly, this year is intolerable.

Our (single track) roads are congested, we are overwhelmed by campervanners lacking basic courtesy and driving skills, convoys of motorcycles scream around the island of Skye as if it is a Moto GP circuit, and convoys of high-powered sportscars including Ferraris, Porsches and McLarens race along the A87 at speeds well in excess of the 60 mph limit.

I have returned home to discover a campervanner emptying his (human) waste into the ditch at the foot of my drive, friends have had their newly emptied bins filled with rubbish overspilling onto their gardens, others have come home to find campervans parked on their land and recently my wife was forced off the Bealach Na Ba (one of the steepest single track roads in the UK) by one of a stream of campervans despite signs clearily stating the road is unsuitable for such vehicles. The issue of so-called "wild camping" is separate but related.

There is a myth that the NC 500 has been a boon to the Highlands as a whole, perpetuated by the NC500 organisers deleting any criticism recorded on their website, but the NC500 is just a series of roads that have existed for decades but which has simply been cleverly branded. It is a marketing construct, not a physical reality. There has been no investment in infrastructure, and in the west the roads are nearly all B standard and often single track.

I have had access to research specific to the part of the Highlands I live in. This shows that while there has been an increase in excess of 25 per cent in traffic (pre lockdown), there has only been an increase of some nine per cent in revenue and much of this is going to owners of Airbnb properties who live outside the area.

Before the NC500 was launched, the West Highlands in the summer was full. Since then, with no additional investment, over the four summer months we are at 125% capacity and this year with "staycationning", we are at 150%.

The standard of respect afforded our communities has plummeted. I welcome people to my area if they are courteous and respectful and indeed most are. My educated assessment, based on years of personal experience, is that these account for around 80% of visitors. But put into context, that leaves 20% whose behaviour is unacceptable. This means that out of every 100 campervans the occupants of some 20 are causing problems and right now the road near my home is experiencing more than 100 campervans a day.

Bill Mitchell, Kyle of Lochalsh.

POOR Durness indeed, affected badly by some irresponsible tourists with campervans, tents and their jettisoned muck (“‘Our little village is being swamped’: Angry locals hit out at swarm of dirty campers in Highlands”, The Herald, August 10).

My wife and I have just returned from a venture with our motorhome to Sutherland and to Moray. It was our first outing since February and we felt like bears emerging from a long hibernation. We received what I would describe as a wary welcome, which suited us well, since as travellers we were as tentative as the locals. We enjoyed the novelty of shopping in the places which were open, taking care to wear masks wherever required. All the coffee-and-cake establishments we were happy to visit were models of social distancing and sanitisation, which made us feel very comfortable. So were the grocery stores and the craft shops in which we spent money.

We were "wild camping", using secluded nooks in which to overnight our vehicle and taking care to interfere with neither passage of traffic nor local amenity. The only trace of our passing might be a bent blade of grass in the morning.

The reason I write is because of the patchiness of the provision of basic facilities for travellers. Many public toilets are still closed and so are many campsites, so the availability of sites to stock up on water and dispose of waste are severely limited. As responsible travellers we found this a huge problem. Were we irresponsible travellers the temptation to chuck the rubbish over a hedge or empty the waste into the sea would have been great.

Of course such behaviour is deplorable. But if local authorities want to minimise it then basic tourist facilities need to be open, especially public toilets. And strategically placed sites for the hygienic disposal of toilet waste from campervans would greatly ease the present problem. Tiree, for example, has an excellent site for that very purpose which helps keeps the island pristine.

We’ll not be venturing north again with our motorhome until we are confident that more basic facilities are open or have been developed. It’s just too fraught.

And that’s a shame, because that’s where we want to visit and that’s where we are happy to spend our money.

Roy Henderson, Perth.