Anger at campers as glen is litter-strewn
ANGER has been voiced after campers left unsightly piles of rubbish in Glen Etive over Easter weekend.
Owned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), the land at Glen Etive is often abused by campers.
Mark Shone, a stalker at Glen Etive Estate, has been involved with a campaign to bring anti-social behaviour in Glen Etive to the attention of the public for a number of years.
He set up the ‘Glen Etive – the Dirty Truth’ Facebook page four years ago after spending his first season on the estate and witnessing the mess people left behind.
Mr Shone said: ‘I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The mess people leave is unreal. We get a huge amount of human waste left behind in cooking pots and stoves. It’s disgusting.’
Mr Shone said things were bad again after the Easter break as on both Monday and Tuesday he found unsightly piles of rubbish in the glen.
‘I think putting a camping ban is a bit extreme and not fair to people who don’t litter the area. The Scottish Government need to make laws more enforceable for police because out of all the people I have reported to the police I don’t think any have been prosecuted.
‘An alcohol ban, which I think could be a good idea, was in the pipeline a couple of years ago and the police said they could enforce it. But then again it’s a shame for the people who want to enjoy a glass of wine.’
The NTS said the issue of litter comes up frequently. A few weeks ago, volunteers collected 65 bags of rubbish in Glencoe, as part of a Keep Scotland Beautiful clean-up.
An NTS spokesperson said: ‘Now spring is arriving and there are more people heading outside, visitors are reminded of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. Take your litter home. If you’re camping, remove all traces of your pitch and don’t pollute.
‘Unfortunately, some people just don’t follow this advice. The trust takes responsibility for tidying up our land – every year we remove hundreds of bags of rubbish. This work, while vital, diverts staff from important conservation work. It also leaves our charity with the costs for disposing of this rubbish.’
Highland Council Countryside ranger Michelle Melville believes the root of the problem is the recent byelaws introduced in national parks including Loch Lomond. These mean there are now paid permits for camping areas so people are more likely to come up here where they can wild camp. It’s remote enough for them to get away with littering, whereas the policing in the national park is also more strict as the rangers there have become enforcement officers for the new bylaws.
She said: ‘There’s a perception that people have come further north to drop litter or party. You quite often get people with festival packs containing tents, sleeping bags and alcohol, which are cheap to buy, coming and having a good party and then jumping in their cars and leaving the stuff behind.
‘In my opinion, these packs should be banned and tents should be a certain price.’
She added rangers haven’t covered Glen Etive for around 10 years because of financial cuts.
Mark Shone took this photograph in the glen on Tuesday.