Cruise Arrivals


Toilets at Neolithic site ‘an absolute necessity’

Destination Orkney wrote to Orkney Islands Council raising their concerns for what the future may hold for the Ring of Brodgar if no toilets are placed. (Orkney Photographic)

Public defecation and urination is “rife” at the Ring of Brodgar and the shoreline of the Harray Loch is now an “open-air toilet”, according to tourism body Destination Orkney.

Councillors on Orkney Islands Council’s policy and resources committee recently voted against the siting of seasonal conveniences, in favour of including the 5,000-year-old Neolithic site in a county-wide review of facilities.

A renewed bid to resurrect a temporary convenience for next year’s tourist season was also out-voted at OIC’s general council meeting this week.

Writing to councillors prior to Tuesday’s general meeting, Destination Orkney, which represents and supports tourism businesses in Orkney, said toilets at the Ring of Brodgar was “an absolute necessity”.

“Repeated instances of public defecation and urination have been rife at the Ring of Brodgar in 2023 and this will only get worse with more visitors,” the letter said.

“Not only is this damaging to the local environment but it also severely damages the reputation of Orkney as a safe and inclusive tourist destination, something that should be a priority of OIC.”

It continued: “It is common knowledge amongst tour guides that the Harray loch shoreline by the Brodgar coach park is now an open-air toilet, therefore guests are well advised to stay away from the edge while taking photographs.

“This is both a major environmental health issue, but also the lack of basic facilities lets down every single visitor to the islands.”

Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the national agency responsible for maintaining the site, have also come under fire from councillors for a £4,000 offer towards providing loos.

HES said the offer was an initial one and that they would have been happy to look at the scope to increase support for future years if the project was to go ahead.