Horgabost campsite is the latest tourist facility in the islands to announce that it will not reopen for the 2020 season.

The campsite’s owners posted on Harris social media pages yesterday afternoon (Monday 13 July) to confirm that they had made the decision to remain closed, just ahead of the date when Scottish accommodation reopens to visitors (Wednesday 15 July).

They said: “After much consideration we have taken the decision to keep Horgabost Campsite closed this season. This includes no overnight parking. We apologise for any disappointment this might cause and it is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“The facilities remain closed for the time being and any changes to this will be posted. We would like to thank everyone for all the support we have received and look forward to welcoming you all back next year.”

Horgabost’s decision adds further concern to existing worries about what sanitary facilities, if any, will be open for the new wave of visitors expected in Lewis and Harris from tomorrow. As we reported last week (https://www.welovestornoway.com/index.php/articles-auto-3/17423-some-campsites-stay-closed), community-run facilities in the Uig district are staying closed and privately-run campsites are not expecting to open toilets or to accept visitors without their own hygiene facilities.

Closed – there’ll be no camping at Horgabost campsite this season.

Today’s (Tuesday) Good Morning Scotland programme on BBC Radio Scotland reported on the rise of so-called ‘dirty camping’ in Scotland, with visitors abandoning camping equipment and leaving waste and litter behind after staying a night in a beauty spot.

Members of Harris Forum tried to head off this possibility for Harris with a public notice last Thursday (9 July). Their spokesman said: “For the moment we would strongly recommend people to NOT camp anywhere in Harris as there are no toilets open.

“We all know that probably the most important weapon against Covid-19 is to follow the good personal hygiene guidelines. Until toilets open this will not be possible for those camping without their own facilities.

“We are currently working with the various operators to see if we can find a way to open some of them in the coming weeks. Once we have something in place we will let everyone know which ones will be open, and the hours they will be open for.

“Please be patient as island organisations and businesses get themselves ready to open up. In small communities like here it is sometimes not just the economic reasons that affect if or when places will open.

“We are still in the middle of the pandemic, even though the number of new cases and deaths in Scotland have reduced considerably, there is still a risk of the virus spreading and causing serious issues for us as a community. We urge everyone to keep following the guidelines issued by the Scottish Government and work together to keep everyone safe.”

Positive news coming out of Harris yesterday came with the return to extended hours by the Butty Bus on Pier Road in Leverburgh. After a period of lockdown closure, the bus began to serve takeaway meals on Friday and Saturday evenings early in May, but is now back on daytime service.

Pictures show:

Open for business – the Butty Bus in Leverburgh. Photograph by John Maher.

Closed – there’ll be no camping at Horgabost campsite this season.