In recent years, the NC500 (North Coast 500) route has been attracting an increasing number of tourists, particularly in summer months.
The consequences are serious at times: tourists have been desperately knocking on any door that they pass just to try and find accommodation for the night. Some councils have reported seeing tearful foreign visitors heading for ruined castles and searching for the doorbell, only to be told that they left it too late to secure a bed, any bed... Unscrupulous farmer around the Highlands have been caught charging Japanese visitors up to £80 per person for sharing the hut of the family dog and sleeping on straw, all this while claiming that this was a "charm cottage". Councils are currently considering restricting the number of vehicles allowed on the popular route, with a new "Operation Stack" to be brought in and holding car parks to be set up north of Glasgow, near the Skye bridge, the Inverness area and just outside Edinburgh.
Councils across the southern Scottish areas are now also stepping in to spread demand and channel some of the excess tourist trade to previously less popular areas. A definite highlight of the new "SC150" (South Coast 150) route is the historic town of Maybole. With a new bypass on the way, the town centre will be transformed into a relaxing cafe-culture atmosphere where local businesses are offering a range of services. For the active tourist, there's a number of options, such a golf, swimming, walking. Culinary highlights will be available at the Carrick Centre and the Speakers and those wishing to broaden their cultural knowledge can visit the library and the historic castle in the town centre.
Details of the SC150 are still to be worked out, however well-informed sources have indicated that it will follow the obvious route on its western course, running from Glasgow along the Ayrshire Coastline to Stranraer, with optional detours to scenic areas such as Kilmarnock & Irvine, the Ayr Recycling Centre, Chapelton Brook, Mochrum Loch. A guided tour of potholes between Ayr and Girvan will be available from later this summer, however South Ayrshire Council (SAC) have advised that this needs to be prebooked as places are strictly limited and high demand is expected. SAC were also keen to point out that due to health&safety concerns the minimum height requirement for participants to go on pothole tours is currently 140cm - this will ensure participants can still keep their head above the edge of the pothole, should they fall over the edge.