Stay the night

Dumfries and Galloway
Ayrshire (including Arran)
Lanarkshire
Scottish Borders
Midlothian
East Lothian
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Grey Wanderer
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Stay the night

Post by Grey Wanderer »

No news yet as to whether Forestry and Land Scotland are going to reinstate their excellent Stay the Night scheme that so many of us used last year. Time we reminded them. This was my attempt, perhaps a few more might nudge them along...


Stay the night
Post by Grey Wanderer » 28 Feb 2021 21:14

Dear Sir/ madam

I’ll start with a thank you for the excellent Stay the Night scheme you trialled in 2020. I stayed in many of your locations.

I own a motorhome and am one of the small but significant number who have parked up quietly, usually out of season in your numerous small remote car parks over a period of many years, unnoticed and tolerated, quiet, respectful and tidy, leaving not a trace. Indeed as a member of a small group known as Motorhome Wombles, we, as the name implies make it our business to clear up the rubbish others leave behind.

For folks of our advanced age who can no longer manage the long treks we once used to make up into the mountains it was a real blessing to be able to park up near the start of forest walks without having to drive away again immediately after our now more modest walks and have to find somewhere else to stay in the uncertainty of the darkening evening.

Sadly all good things come to an end; with increasing numbers and the overwhelming Staycation of 2020 inevitably some measure of management was inevitable. Your scheme was much commended as supporting regional tourism policies of dispersing visitors, rather than having them all crowded around small vulnerable communities, it also gave somewhere tranquil for those who eschew crowded places and seek natural peace.

Over the winter local and regional authorities have been struggling as best they may to put in place more facilities to welcome visitors in motorhomes to Scotland next year. They are recognising that campsites are not the solution for self-contained motorhomes that don’t need and wont pay for their range of facilities. But such is the speed that things move in local government it is probably going to be a case of too little too late. Despite their best efforts there is every sign that after another several months of incarceration this year’s Staycation threatens to be even more overwhelming than last years.

No need to worry that your scheme competes with campsites, they will have more than enough business, even in October in 2020 many were still full. Indeed many touring motorhomers including myself will only use them on sufferance and in extremis. They serve a different market.

Many sites are in any case already booked up for the entire 2021 season, leaving nowhere for people who don’t have the luxury of booking months ahead. Forward booking far ahead is in any case impractical for touring motorhomes, and for people with uncertainties of health. Booking or no, visitors will still turn up; such is the pent up demand. At least last year some people managed to get abroad, but with more intense travel restrictions due to Covid, and now with Brexit on top of that the runes are not favourable for 2021.

In this situation it seems very obtuse for Forestry and Land Scotland to close its car parks to motorhomes once again. Actually it is worse now, places that formerly had no prohibitive signage now forbid staying in all car parks. Surely you should be looking to opening up more of your car parks not closing the few that were open. As a public body it would be expected that your organisation should also be endeavouring to play its part in turning the Staycation into a celebration of freedom and relief and not the source of stress and conflict that it became in so many places last year.

So my request is simple, please reinstate the Stay the Night scheme, and extend it to more of your car parks…and at the same time please encourage your so far less welcoming counterparts south of the Border to do likewise.



Regards



Quick reply, but not giving much away.


Dear...

Thank you very much for your email.

We had an overwhelming response to last year’s trial and received a lot of feedback covering a range of views. This feedback, together with our experience of managing the trial, is being factored into our discussions as we consider future options for this year and beyond.

Any updates or outcomes from our discussions will be posted on our webpage www.forestryandland.gov.scot/staythenight so please check from time to time.

Best wishes,
Alice
Forestry and Land Scotland
Grey Wanderer
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Re: Stay the night

Post by Grey Wanderer »

I have learned that one of their main reasons for hesitancy is complaints from campsites about competition. I ahve followed up with this and sent our Campsites v Aires documents, perhaps a few more emails to this effect.....??


To: enquiries@forestryandland.gov.scot

Further to my previous mail, I have subsequently learned that one of the issues of contention is complaints from campsite owners about competition. Let me assure you that your not continuing the scheme will not make me in any way more inclined to stay in campsites. I normally assiduously avoid them, I resent being expected to pay for a level of service I simply neither need or want. My self-contained motorhome already has everything I need, all I need is somewhere to park and the possibility of access to a tap and drain once a week. I would rather spend my money in local pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses that provide me with something I do want, and stay overnight in quiet out of the way spots, not in concentration camps for caravans who expect me to reserve weeks in advance, stay for minimum periods, and are normally fully booked all summer. This point of view is shared with a large proportion of the touring motorhome community. If the shortage in the UK of places to stay overnight continues to get worse, then the consequence is that I and many like me will return to spending the greater part of my disposable income in Europe where proper parking and facilities are provided for motorhomes almost everywhere.

Because my main pastime is walking, and I am getting bit advanced in years, I tend to seek places as close as possible to places where I can go for modest walks, forest car parks are ideal, campsites are not.

I attach a couple of short papers from CAMpRA which explain this better than I can.

Regards
ian
Traceybarkwill
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Re: Stay the night

Post by Traceybarkwill »

Well said. It's so frustrating. It's like the local Indian restaurant objecting to a new sweet shop on the grounds of competition. It shouldn't have any bearing anyway. If this carries on, I think we should go to the media and have them question whether objections from campsites are hampering the growth of tourism in this country.
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Re: Stay the night

Post by Steve »

Sent, no mention of campra.

Good afternoon we were lucky enough to be able to stay on some of your sites whilst touring Dumfries and Galloway, as usual campsites were fully booked months in advance so your sites were a welcome facility especially with the waste emptying facilities which is vital to touring motorcaravans.
We often hear of plans not going ahead due to complaints from Campsites but in reality the sites are normally full, in the wrong location, need advance booking and a minimum stay.
Most also close out of the main season whilst touring motorcaravans tour all year.

As motorcaravan owners we fail to understand why campsites seem to be treated as a special case, do B&B plans get objections because they may take competition away from a 4 star hotel?

If campsites provided places for self contained motorcaravans to park up overnight without advance booking they would get more trade from touring motorcaravans.

The reality is we need authorised overnight stops and environmentally friendly places to empty waste to allow us to tour and support local towns and businesses if we cannot get them in the UK tens of thousands of us are forced to spend our money in Europe instead of the UK, one thing is for sure we will not be forced to book months in advance and decide how long we stay in each location, we purchased our motorcaravan to allow us to be free to tour.
Hopefully you will be continuing and expanding your scheme shortly as once lockdown ends we will be setting off on our travels.
Steve - CAMpRA Leadership Team
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Re: Stay the night

Post by Grey Wanderer »

Traceybarkwill wrote: Sat Mar 06, 2021 4:55 pm Well said. It's so frustrating. It's like the local Indian restaurant objecting to a new sweet shop on the grounds of competition. It shouldn't have any bearing anyway. If this carries on, I think we should go to the media and have them question whether objections from campsites are hampering the growth of tourism in this country.
You tell ‘em Tracey!
Captlimey
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Re: Stay the night

Post by Captlimey »

As suggested I emailed F&L Scot praising the Stay the Night scheme and encouraging them to continue it this year and beyond and emphasising that it would not be in competition or to the detriment of existing camp sites. Received this reply today, same as the reply to Grey Wanderer:-

Thank you very much for your email.
We had an overwhelming response to last year’s trial and received a lot of feedback covering a range of views. This feedback, together with our experience of managing the trial, is being factored into our discussions as we consider future options for this year and beyond.
Any updates or outcomes from our discussions will be posted on our webpage http://www.forestryandland.gov.scot/staythenight so please check from time to time.
Kind Regards
David Forbes | Admin Officer
Forestry and Land Scotland, 1 Highlander Way, Inverness Business Park, Inverness, IV2 7GB
m: 07824 548675 | e: david.forbes@forestryandland.gov.scot
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