Anger at campers as glen is lit­ter-strewn

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­

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.

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