Gold for Noss Head lighthouse cottage in Green Tourism Awards
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The operators of a lighthouse cottage in Caithness have struck gold in a national certification programme for sustainable tourism businesses.
The prestigious gold Green Tourism award was described as a great way to start 2023 for the team at the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage at Noss Head, north of Wick.
Ben Makin, who launched the cottage as a self-catering holiday home in 2018, said: “It has been quite the journey for us. We received the silver award in 2018 but had to opt for single-use items when we reopened after Covid.
"Now we know the virus is airborne, we have got back to our green roots without compromising safety.”
Ben says she credits her green ethos to her grandmother. “She taught me to ‘make do and mend’ long before ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ was a thing,” she said, explaining that guests appreciate the information in the cottage about spotting Caithness wildlife.
The Green Tourism Awards focus on sustainable and ethical practices, including energy and water use, waste disposal, responsible buying and promoting biodiversity.
Ben said she had found the process of applying for the award very useful.
“It reminded me of the little changes we could make to help guests be green when they visit the North Coast 500,” she said.
Ben's team members at the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage are Joy Jackson, who is the first point of contact for guests, and Kim Pattinson, who "keeps the cottage spick-and-span".
On the prospects for the coming tourist season, Ben said: "I am cautiously hopeful about the 2023 season but it won't be the same as it was before Covid. Guests are booking later because of the cost-of-living crisis, and our own costs are going up too, with price rises and the cost of applying for the new short-term let licence.
"Having got this far, we decided to up our game and provide even better value than before. I hope cottages like ours will encourage people to stay and explore Caithness and not just think of it as a stopover on the NC500 route."
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage sleeps six people in three bedrooms.