‘CARAVANS. They should only be allowed on the roads at night.”

So declared my somewhat vexed husband as we crawled behind a particularly long convoy of caravanners on Loch Lomondside many moons ago.

After some gentle reasoning, he reluctantly agreed that his genius idea missed the point of towing your home around with you on holiday. But I empathised with his frustration.

Fast forward through a pandemic and society’s new-found zest for the staycation, and Scotland’s roads are now even more rammed with vehicles.

Last year we toyed with the idea of a trip around the North Coast 500. The stunning route involves a 516-mile journey around the north Highlands coast, starting and finishing in Inverness. It is world-renowned for its spectacular views and its winding, often single-track roads.

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We’re no strangers to such roads, but those unfamiliar with them should swat up before tackling them. How annoying is it when visitors think passing places are a convenient spot to stop to take some photies? Or when drivers are so busy admiring the scenery that they have failed to look in their mirrors to spot three cars wanting to overtake because they need to get to work or a doctor’s appointment?

After stories emerged of tourists in motorhomes they’d hired but couldn’t drive jamming the NC500, we put our travel plans on the back burner. Maybe next year.

So here we are at next year, and it looks like our plans will remain on the back burner.

Locals raised fresh concerns last week about “sports car convoys” and speeding drivers on the route after police clocked a tourist driving at 104mph on the A832.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Maree Todd has urged visitors to treat the region with respect.

The NC500 was launched as a tourism concept in 2015 and attracts large numbers of visitors.

Police Scotland said it carried out regular patrols along the NC500, and the route’s official website has a section on road safety.

Todd told BBC radio that locals had contacted her because they were worried about safety. She added that problems also arise when large convoys try to travel together, creating a gridlock when two groups meet, and also when people fail to pull in to let traffic go by.

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Todd said that though the economy of many of these communities relies on the tourism the route brings in, some fail to remember that people living there need to be able to go about their daily lives.

“We want to welcome visitors; our economy needs visitors,” she said.

The MSP went on: “This is one of the most beautiful parts of the world – the scenery is amazing, the food is amazing and we have a reputation for hospitality. But people need to remember that this our home and to treat it with respect. We are seeing convoys of sports cars going through these quite narrow country roads. In some places there is single track and there is this impression some people are trying to complete the route in a certain time.”

Please, people. If you’re seeking thrills, head to Alton Towers.