Highlands park has a real buzz for green explorers

The dramatic setting of Sunnyside Croft, now the starting point for eco-friendly motoring

The dramatic setting of Sunnyside Croft in the Higlands is now the starting point for eco-friendly motoring

A West Highlands holiday park praised for its conservation work has now moved up another gear – by making available an eco-friendly electric car for its guests to use.

Campers and caravanners staying at Sunnyside Croft in Arisaig – about 35 miles NW of Fort William – will now be able to explore the region in a quirky Renault Twizy.

The funky electric car, which can reach a top speed of 50mph, has a range of about 40 miles between re-charges, even on the steep, twisting Highland roads around the park.

The Twizy has been christened “Toots” by business owner Julie Bryce whose park was once again this year awarded the prestigious David Bellamy Conservation Award at its top gold level.

It was 14 years ago that Julie and her husband Ian swapped their Glasgow building contracting business for a rural lifestyle with their family on the 45-acre croft on the Road to the Isles coastal route.

"Toots" takes in the view of Sunnyside

“Toots” takes in the view at Sunnyside

Six years ago, they decided to dedicate a part of the croft with dramatic sea and mountain scenery to 40 pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

They also determined to run their new enterprise along sustainable lines, and to do what they could to ensure that the park was as welcoming to wildlife as it was to guests.

Initiatives include the dedication of wildlife corridors around the edge of the park, and the creation of wildlife habitats from brash heaps for insects and small mammals to bird boxes.

Making his 2016 award, David Bellamy applauded the scores of native trees planted by the couple, and their maintenance of the traditional hedgerows, both providing valuable wildlife habitats.

He praised too the moves made to minimise energy usage across the park, including the use of recycled glass “eco-wool” to insulate the toilet and shower building.

Julie and Ian said that they were both extremely delighted with the news that they had received the top gold level of the David Bellamy Conservation award for the fourth year in succession:

“We are always looking for new eco-friendly ideas with a bit of a difference which visitors will enjoy, and our new Twizy fits the bill perfectly!” said Julie.

“Although a lot of our guests arrive with touring caravans or in motorhomes, many prefer a smaller, niftier type of transport to get around during their holiday.

“And because there’s no noisy engine in the Twizy, you feel much closer to the natural surroundings whilst knowing that carbon emissions have been cut drastically,” she added.

The head-turning car will be available for guests to hire at around £25.00 per day, and can be used to access many hidden gems in the area which are beyond the reach of larger vehicles.

Sunnyside Croft is a member of the Eco Travel Network, a not-for-profit company which owns and insures lightweight electric vehicles for self-drive hire.

More information about Sunnyside Croft, which is a member of the Premier Parks group and holds a four-star quality award from VisitScotland, is available at www.sunnysidetouringsite.co.uk

 

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