Sunday, 1 April 2012

Lomond Loitering

After our recent good weather on the west coast of Scotland it seems the draw of the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond has been too much for some. On a drive up to Tyndrum today to summit Ben Lui we passed a number of impromptu campsites on the shores of the Loch.

campingThe sites were made up of little ‘pop-up’ tents and circles of stones leaving scorch marks on the ground. Out with that circle the ground is covered with the discarded remains of last nights dinner, this mornings breakfast and the wrappers of a snack that was consumed at some point during the stay at the pitch. I am not convinced that there will be a clean up before gypsy wagon moves out. I’m not even sure the two second erected tents will get folded up and restrained in to the boot of a car. I have a feeling the banks of the Loch will look like the aftermath of a festival.

I’m all for people getting out in the national park and giving back to the cycle of using the area as it should. These make-shift camp sites, in my opinion, are not doing this. It’s tight fisted people that don’t want to use the facilities of a proper camp site with the toilet and rubbish disposal availability which would pay back in to the local economy.

At the moment there is consultation on a couple of byelaws in the Loch Lomond national park, one is to do with wild camping on four of the islands in the loch and whether or not it should be allowed or controlled to nominated islands with toilets and fire pits. There are a couple of other options including education and patrolling of the islands. I don’t know if it is the minority or the majority of people that would be considerate to the surroundings but even a small amount of people damaging this area could leave a lasting effect to the land and to wildlife. I wonder if this should be extended to the patched of ground used on the shores?

I am a firm believer in “take only pictures and leave only footprints”. I hate littering full stop. I used to come home with pockets full of rubbish when I was at school which I had accumulated over a week, we did have bins but I just neglected to use them. Nothing has changed now. Nothing gets left on the hill, every bit of waste I produce whilst camping is carried off. I feel safe in the knowledge that the dent my tent has left in the grass mother nature will see to.

As wild campers, backpackers, hikers, mountaineers I think that everyone who will read this has seen their fair share of, what I would call, “idiots!” scarring our wilderness with empty beer cans, crisp packets and other unnatural elements. I do what I can and lift other peoples garbage and point out to the uncaring who feel someone else will clear up after them like a 3 year old would expect.

The rangers/wardens will have a job in their hands over the next few days, especially when the weather turns and the morons up there scarper off to where they came from because they hadn’t planned for a bit of precipitation. The clean up of the bonnie banks will take some time, I would imagine, and the work done is normally thankless. The passengers travelling up that great road will not realise that the scenery would be tainted if it wasn’t for the unsung teams of people working tirelessly to keep the beautiful land that way.
Well from me and I’m sure many like me, thank you to the people that keep our tourist attractions attractive. I will do everything I can to help but the work you do is invaluable and long may it continue.

I hope you all have a great Easter break and you make proper use of the surroundings.

Enjoy, Davy