Field Notes: Counting people at Sandwood

Quinag conservation officer Romany Garnett reports on an initiative to monitor increasing visitor numbers at Sandwood

Sandwood people counter install 1 detail

In early April, I joined Sandwood manager Don O' Driscoll and Scottish Wildlife Trust volunteers to install a people counter on the track to Sandwood Bay.

Due to the popularity of the North Coast 500 marketing campaign, increasing numbers of people are visiting the spectacular mile-long beach at Sandwood Bay. It is more important than ever to better understand exactly how many visitors are coming and if the figures are continuing to rise rapidly.

The people counter uses an infrared beam that is broken every time someone passes. This data is then logged on a graph that will be downloaded regularly.

It was a beautiful day to dig holes for the counters to go in and, while we getting on with the installation, a sea eagle soared overhead among a flock of wheeling herring gulls. Lower to the ground a skylark and wheatear also sang while we worked.

Thanks to Michelle Henley and her volunteers from the Scottish Wildlife Trust for coming along to give us a hand.

Find out more about Sandwood Bay and our work to look after the area.