Small islands ask for respect as lockdown eases

View from McCaig's Tower across Oban Bay towards the islands of Kerrera.

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Small island communities are asking visitors for understanding and respect as the lockdown laws ease.

Kerrera, Oban and Seil are among many who are cautiously opening up again and while all the islands are looking forward to welcoming visitors back, they are asking that they keep to the rules in order to keep everyone safe.

A spokesperson from Kerrera Development Trust said: ‘As a small island community we have managed to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic and we hope to be able to continue this as we move out of lockdown.

‘For this we need the help and understanding of people travelling to and from the island as we move forward.’

The trust is asking visitors to allow residents returning to the island from the mainland priority boarding if there are large numbers of people waiting.

‘In many cases parents with infants or the elderly will be coming back and it makes life very difficult if they face a long queue just to come home,’ said the spokesperson.

There are currently no public facilities or toilets open on the island so the group are also asking people to be as fastidious regarding the hygiene and cleanliness of the island as they would be in their own surroundings and to respect social distancing guidance at all times.

Residents on Iona are also looking for trust and responsibility on all sides.

‘We expect visitors will want to know what new measures businesses are implementing so that they can feel confident, relaxed and enjoy their time here,’ said a statement from Iona Community Council.

‘We also hope that visitors will play their part by respecting and following guidance and regulations. This will help our community to feel confident and relaxed about being a welcoming place once again.’

The community council is also asking that visitors do not arrive for an overnight stay unless they have booked accommodation before they travel.

Seil and Easdale Community Council have put up two big signs at Clachan Bridge to greet visitors making their way over to its islands.

While the signs encourage people to come and enjoy the scenery and visit again, the boards make it clear there is to be no illegal overnight parking. Motorhomes with their own toilet facilities can, however, park overnight in the car park of the former Highland Arts Studio in Ellenabeich.

All the islands are urging tourists to help keep the islands safe while following social distancing rules, take litter home, support local businesses and keep cleaning their hands.