Visitors In The Scottish Highlands Urged To Be Responsible
10th August 2020 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on August 17th, 2020
Good weather and the attraction of a staycation has brought thousands of people to the mountains of Scotland this summer but they’re not all following the rules.
Visitors have flocked to some parts of the Highlands, blocking roads and leaving behind their rubbish, including dog poo and even human waste.
Local authorities and community groups, including a Facebook page called ‘Stop Trashing Scotland’, are stepping up the campaign to clamp down on anti-social behaviour.
Just before this weekend the Cairngorms National Park Authority asked people to avoid popular sites if they were busy and go elsewhere.
“Please ensure you enjoy the outdoors responsibly and follow any on site advice and #TreadlightlyinthePark,” the authority says on its website.
“This means keeping your dog under close control and on a lead around ground nesting birds, removing all dog poo, human waste and leaving no litter.
“Please check our camping advice and do not light campfires or barbeques anywhere in the Park.”
“Loch Morlich resembling Brighton beach today,” said one local, Iain Cameron, as he posted the picture below on social media last week.
On Saturday, the Highlands and Islands Division of Police Scotland were called out to Glen Nevis, Fort William, where several vehicles were so badly parked that they were causing an obstruction.
Officers began to remove the offending cars and told motorists they would have to pay the associated costs.
Just the day before Police Scotland said it had received a number of complaints about anti-social behaviour, including people who were camping, and indiscriminate parking that had led to roads being obstructed.
There was particular concern about crowds of people visiting Highlands beaches during the heatwave.
“We want visitors to come and share our beautiful environment. But Covid-19 had made this year particularly challenging for all of us, said Highland Councillor for Caol and Mallaig, Denis Rixson.
“Please park sensibly and leave nothing but your footprints in the sand. After your trip we want you to depart with warm memories and return again in the future”.
Earlier this summer, Glenshee published photos of bags of dog poo and bottom wipes left on the mountain by visitors.
“Dog poo in bags can be put in any of our bins or skips, please do not leave them at side of paths, also paper bottom wipes are disgusting please take home with you.
“It is better to bury unbagged poo in a hole and covered than in plastic bags at side of path. Please keep our mountains clean.”
The ‘Stop Trashing Scotland’ campaign is stepping up its activities to raise awareness of the problem.
“It is quite disturbing the lack of responsibility shown by huge numbers of visitors to our countryside,” is one comment on its Facebook page.
“Best of luck with stopping the trash,” is another. “Scotland is a place of amazing beauty which a few idiots can so quickly destroy. Trash in, trash out.”
Some of the worst problems are in so-called ‘hotspot’ locations – those most popular with tourists – but there is so much to see and do in the Scottish Highlands that the behaviour of some irresponsible visitors shouldn’t put you off going.
The winter ski resorts that are open in the summer are positively urging people to go along and enjoy all there is to offer.
“It’s been a pretty busy period for our campsite but as the Scottish schools start to return this week some microlodges and camping spaces start to become available again,” the resort said on Sunday.
The Nevis Range is also open for summer activities.
MAIN PHOTO: Cairngorms National Park Authority