I think it’s high time that Lochside camping in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park was banned. It seems that a few inconsiderate individuals are negatively impacting on the wonderful resource that is Loch Lomond.
On Sunday I was walking a section of the West Highland Way between Balmaha and Rowardennan and was appalled by the impact of camping on Loch Lomond. There seemed to be a group of tents surrounded by rubbish and debris every fifty yards along the lochside. We stopped for a picnic and couldn’t relax as our 20 month old son had to play amongst broken glass, old campfires and litter that were evidence of past campsites. This type of camping 5 minutes walk from your car is not “wild camping” or “responsible access” as defined by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and should be banned.
The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority needs to get a grip on this and stamp out this type of camping as it is ruining huge swaths of some of the most popular areas of the national park. They give this advice on their website:
Camping wild is a great way to experience the spectacular scenery of the National Park, providing you act responsibly and leave the countryside as you found it.” Full camping advice…
In my opinion this is simply not good enough. There are numerous serviced campsites along both shores of Loch Lomond and therefore no reason for groups to wild camp on some of Loch Lomond’s most beautiful beaches and despoil the environment in this way. If they want to camp on Loch Lomond they should pay to camp at one of the many excellent sites which have full waste and rubbish facilities.
What truly frustrated me was that the filthy campsites we passed were within 10 minutes walk of two manned National Park Ranger stations at Balmaha and Malarchy Bay. Surely the rangers on duty should be moving on these campers who are certainly not accessing the park responsibility.
In Scotland we need to start giving our National Parks the Respect that they deserve and managing them more proactively. In countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the US and South Africa access is National Parks is strictly controlled as the recognise these unique environments are enormously popular and need extra protection so normal access laws need adjustment and more stringent interpretation.
Don’t get me wrong, as an outdoor fanatic I am a huge advocate of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code but this type of road/lochside camping is NOT wild camping and needs to be banned in our national parks before they get ruined. Let’s see some decisive action from the National Park Authority.