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Highland Council hoping to arrange new lease after retiral of Wick caravan site couple


By Alan Hendry

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Wick caravan and camping site was leased from Highland Council by local couple Tricia and William Miller.
Wick caravan and camping site was leased from Highland Council by local couple Tricia and William Miller.

Efforts are being made to find new operators for Wick's caravan and camping site after the couple who have run it for the past 15 years decided to retire.

Tricia and William Miller say they are looking forward to having more time to themselves after working long hours seven days a week throughout the summer months at the busy riverside site.

The couple, who are both 61, leased the caravan park from Highland Council and the local authority hopes to have new arrangements in place ahead of the main tourist season.

A council spokesperson said: "The current lease expires on May 28, 2022. We are currently preparing marketing details and when these are ready we will be placing the caravan park on the market for lease.

"We fully expect to have a new lease agreed and in place when the existing lease expires."

Mrs Miller said she and her husband had received invaluable support from family and friends after taking on the running of the site when it was in a run-down condition.

“It’s very long hours," she said. "We tended to start at six or 6.30 in the morning and although we shut the gates at 8pm there’s always something going on once the gates are shut, and it can be 10 o’clock.

“We basically decided that we’re getting older and what was easy to do 15 years ago is taking its toll on us now.

“When we first took it over, the camp site had been closed and it was totally vandalised and run-down. It was in quite a poor state and it really took a lot more work than we anticipated.

“We were extremely fortunate that our family and friends and members of the local community came in and helped us. I don’t think we would have got open without all their help, because we were spending every hour we had trying to put it back into some kind of order.

“People were extremely good to us, just to tide us over in that first year when we were trying to get under way.”

The summer season at the site generally runs from mid-April until the end of September.

The summer season at the Wick caravan and camping site normally runs from mid-April until the end of September.
The summer season at the Wick caravan and camping site normally runs from mid-April until the end of September.

Mrs Miller noted that the rise of the North Coast 500 had brought an increase in numbers, although holidaymakers doing the coastal road trip tend to have shorter stays than traditional visitors.

“It has made a difference – it’s a different clientele," she said. “They’re arriving, they’re parking up, they’re basically sleeping and going again because they’re trying to do 100 miles a day.

"It has been good because it has boosted the numbers, I can’t deny that, but they only stay one night so you’ve got a continual turnover of people.

“That’s okay, because you’re filling your pitches. But we had regular visitors who came to us – they’d come up for a week or 10 days or a fortnight and you got to know them and then they became friends because they came back regularly to you.

“It’s income for the town. I said to somebody, we may be only a camp site but we put the people round the town to spend their pennies with the different businesses.

“A lot of our time was spent giving out maps and directions to the heritage centre, to the Trinkie, ‘go in and have a coffee here’… We did the full package.”

Mrs Miller added: “I think we’re just looking forward to having a summer to ourselves so that we can do our own garden and cut our own grass and do our own thing instead of continually working.

“We’ve been very fortunate because we’ve got family and friends that helped us at the start and would step in when thing got busy. We couldn’t have run the site without that support.”


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