THE NC500 is one of Scotland’s most popular road trips, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

It brings together a route of just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, white sandy beaches, beautiful mountains and remote fishing villages.

However, the volume of traffic going along the roads this summer has led to residents reporting a number of issues. 

Who are NC500: The Dirty Truth?

The Facebook page NC500: The Dirty Truth is a space for those who live in the north of Scotland to express their views on overtourism.

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It’s official description reads: “An open discussion group designed to expose and discuss the problems caused largely by overtourism and dirty camping in the north of Scotland (and elsewhere) where many small communities are swamped by tourism and in many cases are unable to cope through lack of suitable infrastructure.”

In recent days the main issues have stemmed from people who go "wild camping", namely because they either don't set up at a designated campsite or because they don't clean up after themselves as they leave. 

The page also features numerous images of campervans and motorhomes parked in places they shouldn't be. For example, one image shows a motorhome parked in a disabled spot while another is parked on a residential street. 

This led to one user suggesting that there should be stricter laws on who is and isn't able to drive a motorhome. 

What other issues has the group pointed out?

Last week, around 14 motorhomes were spotted travelling from Inverewe to Braemore.

One member commented that it was “absolutely ridiculous and so unnecessary” while another said: “Do they never even spare a moment to think about the essential workers and emergency vehicles that will need to get past, as well as those who need to drive faster than 25MPH.”

Another issue that some have pointed out is people using the countryside as a toilet rather than using the facilities.

One group member commented: “So even after the community funded loos were put on location as I’ve seen many an apologist shout out for some folk would rather still take a dump beside the forest walk for all to admire.

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“And some still can’t see why residents up here get wound up man!”

Many other Facebook users were also frustrated by people not using toilet facilities or leaving the area as they found it.

Another post stated that someone had seen a motorhome in a residential street and that they witneessed  them get out and urinate outside the van. 

"Utterly disgusting", said one user while another asked: "What is wrong with people?" 

When it came to parking on residential streets, another user added: "There is no excuse... truly disgusting."

Somebody else said: "I thought those things had toilets in them".

One other person commented to say they were left frustrated because they themselves were a motorhome user and this this was an "incosiderate way" to behave.

The route has faced issues with cars in the past. We reported last year how a group of petrol heads were snapped parking their supercars in dangerous spots along the route.

Posting pictures on Instagram, a member of a squad of around a dozen supercars drivers took an aerial shot of their vehicles on the Kylesku Bridge in Sutherland while the road was open.

What can be done to solve the issues on the NC500?

SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross Maree Todd (below) previously spoke with The Herald about how there is a balance to be struck between the money which tourism brings in and dealing with the concerns of those who live there.

She told the newspaper: “I absolutely sympathise with local people. There is a heightened level of awareness and there is a heightened level of concern.

“The problem is that people in the villages are feeling very disenfranchised and I absolutely agree with them.

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“They are feeling like this is happening to them and it’s completely out of their control and they get no benefit from it.”

She added that “the onus is on everybody” to ensure everybody’s voices are heard.

“Most people do want visitors to come but they don’t want people to go tearing through their villages, driving recklessly, defecating at the side of the road.

“They want people to go slowly, to show respect for their homes and to spend money locally. I think the situation is improving but we are up against it.”

Parking in cemeteries

One of the other major issues is where people are parking – an issue which effects residents all across Scotland.

We previously told how locals on a Scottish island reacted with disbelief at an image of campers having set up for the night on Northton beach in the Isle of Harris.

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Muriel Eaton, who lives in Beauly, previously told The Herald that since the NC500 was established there has been a large increase of people parking in car parks designated for cemeteries.

A spokesperson for Highland Council has previously said it was “entirely inappropriate” and “totally disrespectful” for tourists to use burial grounds for overnight parking.

They added that work is underway to introduce parking restrictions, which will allow penalties to be issued to unauthorised vehicles.