I’m not normally someone who tends to have much of an opinion about things that various organisations do in the countryside, so for me to bring this up is quite a big deal – at least it is for me!
As of April 1st, there will be parking charges at the 4 main Forestry Commission car parks in the Glen Affric area – namely River Affric, Loch Beinn a Mheadhoin, Dog Falls and Plodda Falls.
At £2 a day, I’ll admit, it’s not stupidly expensive, and as I appreciate they have built toilet facilities at both River Affric and Dog Falls, I can understand the need to pay for their upkeep. However, I don’t see why they can’t simply charge for the toilets, rather than the parking?
Also, as the land is owned by the Forestry Commission, which is a government body – then strictly speaking, it’s owned by the public. I don’t understand why we should have to pay for access to what is in effect our own land.
And after all that, my biggest concern isn’t for those visiting for day trips. My concern is for the SYHA Hostel in Glen Affric. It currently costs £21.50 to spend a night in the hostel. With the addition of the parking charges, you’d effectively be adding £4 onto that (as the hostel is 8 miles from the car park, you’d be parked for 2 whole days, most likely) – add an additional £2 a night for every additional night.With the exception of a week in May, when the TGO Challengers are passing through, I suspect this will have quite a negative impact on the number of bookings the hostel will get. I’d hate to see what is one of the most stunning locations in the UK become unsustainable and close down, thanks to things entirely outwith their control.
Are the machines at the River Affric car park even capable of taking multi-day bookings???
To see what people will be missing, I’ve added a small slideshow of some of the photos I took on my visit (and stay at the hostel) to Glen Affric last year.
Comments on this one are welcome.
Incidentally – there’s nothing on the forestry commission website to let people know they’re going to be charged at Glen Affric. I found the info from the Inverness Courier. Interestingly, the Forestry Commission website DOES note car park charges for other sites, such as Galloway Forest Park and Tentsmuir Forest.
Forestry Commission Scotland have now suspended plans to charge for parking in Glen Affric. They’re now going to consult the public. More info HERE
Vodpod videos no longer available.