Highland Council creates continental-style aire near Inverness
The highlands is set to get a touch of continental inspiration
Thursday, 15, Oct 2020 11:46
By Emma Dodd
The Highland Council has announced plans to open a continental-style 'aire' near Inverness in response to demand for low-cost parking spaces for caravans, campervans and motorhomes in the region.
Some 30 spaces will be available at the northbound car park and toilet area off the A9 at North Kessock in what the council hopes will be a growing trend in the region.
As many motorhomes are relatively self-contained, it only takes a few additional facilities to host the holidaymakers.
The car park is already widely used as a pit stop on the way to the north Highlands and this season has been among the busiest due to the popularity of staycations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aires are popular on the continent, allowing owners of leisure vehicles to park up in convenient places overnight and avail themselves of the local amenities.
Now, Maxine Smith, tourism committee chairwoman for the Highland Council, has invited landowners to come forward who might be open to having aires on their property.
She told the Press and Journal: "The aire idea is something we'd like to develop Highland-wide, working with landowners, farmers , even people with big gardens.
"It seems to provide the required facilities that campervans and caravans need. The Kessock aire is on a piece of land beside the present car park that the council owns. It makes complete sense to target holidaymakers travelling north."
The idea of creating aires has long been spoken about in caravanning circles, but this year's additional demand for pitches has brought it much more to the fore.
A group known as the Campaign for Real Aires UK (CAMPRA) is hoping the virus will mean more local councils are open to the idea.
Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam has been trying to get the North Kessock aire off the ground for a number of years and hopes it will now be up and running by summer 2021.
It's hoped that this aire and any others that come into fruition help to boost local businesses and provide much-needed tourism to the area.