Van­dals strike

The Oban Times - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID MCPHEE dm­cphee@oban­times.co.uk

THE OWN­ERS of Kilchurn Cas­tle have hit out af­ter an­glers left cans and bot­tles and dam­aged trees so badly they had to be felled.

LANDOWN­ERS at Kilchurn Cas­tle say there is an on­go­ing prob­lem with campers.

Last week­end Kenny Gray and his wife Kristina were out­raged with the mess one group left.

Mr and Mrs Gray said the group of eight, who were on a fish­ing trip, left be­hind around 80 empty cans and Buck­fast bot­tles.

They also said that the group dam­aged the trees so badly, that they wouldn’t have sur­vived and had to be felled.

‘It’s an on­go­ing prob­lem,’ Mr Gray said. ‘We own the land around Kilchurn Cas­tle and we keep it as pri­vate fish­ing, which is great, but ev­ery so of­ten we get a bunch of peo­ple who wreck the place.

‘The bunch that were there on Fri­day wrecked the trees. They left around 80 cans and bot­tles of Buck­fast. I had to fell the trees as they were so badly dam­aged. They just left a to­tal mess.

‘It’s get­ting worse be­cause they closed Loch Lomond and peo­ple who went there are now com­ing here.’

Sea­sonal camp­ing bye-laws were in­tro­duced to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Na­tional Park be­tween March 1 and Septem­ber 30 each year. The bye-laws were brought in to man­age the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused by the vast num­ber of peo­ple camp­ing in some ar­eas and dis­play­ing anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

Peo­ple can still stop and rest in lay-bys, in­clud­ing stay­ing overnight if nec­es­sary, but per­mits to stay in them will no longer be is­sued.

How­ever, van­dal­ism isn’t the only prob­lem the Grays have had to deal with.

‘My wife has been threat­ened,’ Mr Gray said.

‘That’s why I have started wear­ing a body cam­era.’

Mr Gray waited un­til the next day be­fore re­port­ing the in­ci­dent to the po­lice, ow­ing to fear of re­tal­i­a­tion.

He added: ‘The po­lice said there was not enough ev­i­dence. We had pho­to­graphs, names, ad­dresses and car reg­is­tra­tions.

‘I had a meet­ing with the in­spec­tor be­fore and they said just call us, but when I phoned in the other night, there was no ac­tion taken.’

At the time of go­ing to press, Po­lice Scot­land were un­avail­able for com­ment.

Trees were so badly dam­aged they had to be felled.

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