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Advice for people heading to the Caithness this summer

By David G Scott

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Police Scotland has issued advice to remind road users heading to Caithness and the far north to be safe on country roads this summer.

Drivers are reminded to reduce speed on approach to bends and junctions and look out for blind summits and hidden dips.

Many of the roads are single track and only wide enough for one vehicle. In these instances, there will be signs for passing places and drivers are asked to use these responsibly and use them to allow vehicles to pass and overtake.

Constable Neil MacDonald of Highlands and Islands road policing said: “The scenery in the area attracts people from all over the world. While we welcome the visitors, we would like to remind them that some of the roads are different to what they may have encountered before and to be careful and safe while visiting.”

View towards the Scaraben hills from near Occumster on the NC500 route. Picture: DGS
View towards the Scaraben hills from near Occumster on the NC500 route. Picture: DGS

The chairman of Highland Council’s tourism committee, Gordon Adam, said: “Driving throughout the Highlands is truly unique and the journey is very much part of the experience, however it does come with some challenges; particularly on narrow single track roads.

“We encourage all to drive according to the conditions of the road. Be courteous to other road users – please check your mirrors regularly and pull in and let the traffic behind you pass. Others may be carrying out vital deliveries or travelling to work – if you see a vehicle flashing headlights, it may be someone attending an emergency. Pull in and let them pass. Take extra care when passing cyclists and walkers, particularly on single track roads and look out for livestock and horse riders.”

Drivers are also reminded to put away any distractions and always fasten seatbelts.

Constable MacDonald added: “Following this advice will help ensure you have a safe and enjoyable trip while helping to play your part in ensuring the smooth and safe running of the roads in the north.”

Trish Robertson, chair of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee said: “The Highland Council fully support Police Scotland’s road safety campaign to inform visitors of the challenges of driving in rural locations with single track roads.

“Please make use of the nearest passing place and pull to the left to let traffic pass. You may have to reverse to let a vehicle pass. If you see a large vehicle approaching in the distance, be prepared to stop in the next passing place and wait for them to go by you.

“Follow the guidance provided by Police Scotland to ensure that you and other road users can safely enjoy the beautiful Highland scenery.”

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