Across the UK, informal roadside camping has become a hot topic in recent months - and for all the wrong reasons. Well-publicised issues with litter, human waste, wild fires and anti social behaviour are leading some to call for a legislative solution. Mountaineering Scotland's CEO Stuart Younie suggests a more collaborative response.
If when you go wild camping you pitch late, pack up early and leave no trace; if you bury your shit and burn your bog roll instead of leaving it on a belay ledge; if you park in a designated car park instead of on a path blocking wheelchair access - ask yourself why you do these things.
It's not, probably, because they're illegal or frowned upon by your peers - it's because you know that this behaviour is unacceptable. How do you know? It's because you've been educated to understand why it's unacceptable.
It's the same argument for any kind of antisocial behaviour. People don't, generally, refrain from murder and theft because they're afraid of the consequences. It's because they know that it's wrong.
Burning toilet roll is a poor choice though as it has a significant risk of starting wild fires.
> Burning toilet roll is a poor choice though as it has a significant risk of starting wild fires.
Fair point, though it would only be a risk in the same circumstances that, say, using a camping stove would be a risk. In which case I would expect people to use sensible judgement.
I'd class murder as slightly more than antisocial.
People definitely stick to speed limits more if they think they'll be caught.
I think education can only go so far. I remember being on a night out shortly after starting university. On the walk back to the halls of residence we stopped for burger, eating it as we carried on home. One of the lads, from a rough west Cumbrian town, dropped the burger box as soon as he had finished.
When challenged by the rest of us why he didn't use a bin he simply replied "I'm finished with it". There was zero comprehension or recognition that it might be anti social. Needless to say the rest of the group were not impressed and at a loss as to why he didn't use one of the many bins en route.
Sadly I see many of the problem campers as having the same ignorant as pigsh*t attitude.
I don't see the problem with burying bog roll along with the turd. I would have thought it decomposed very quickly.
> People definitely stick to speed limits more if they think they'll be caught.
Really? Of course I have no evidence for what "people" do, but that's not the reason I stick to speed limits.
> Really? Of course I have no evidence for what "people" do, but that's not the reason I stick to speed limits.
Me neither, but you only have to look at general behaviour around patrol cars and speed cameras.
The whole problem with 'wild camping' is very much along the same lines of people littering. It is a lack of education and it will take a massive effort to educate people that it is anti-social and unacceptable. Years ago we had Keep Britain Tidy, loads of adverts on the telly for the country code etc etc but now all of this has gone by the wayside. We need to start in primary schools (nursery even better) and just get the littering is wrong message across. It will take time and the desire by schools and government to do it but it will be worth it.
Disagree with that. In Red Rocks I've seen two fires started right in front of me from people trying to burn toilet paper. Never once seen a fire started from cooking or even a campfire.
Even then, burning is usually incomplete as far as I can tell. The only real solution is to take your toilet paper with you.
We're no doubt seeing unprecedented problems with littering in "the outdoors"; but these are unprecedented times. Bans and other authoritarian solutions will hit the outdoor community the hardest - not one-off problem campers.
Apart from education, (re-)investment in our designated "outdoors" should be the big demand. Public transport, facilities, jobs in conservation.
And remember that climate change is going to make this all look like piss in the sea.
Maybe a grass roots (no pun intended!) instagram campaign to highlight how all of these images of people waking up in idyllic locations in the countryside also connects to a need to be aware of the impact of shit, trash and fires. something like #notafestival or #leavenotrace or whatever.
No, burying it is fine. Burning it is what I was warning against
You get ignorant, lazy idiots everywhere, not just from rough West Cumbrian towns. I may well be from the same town! But I don't drop litter and I don't leave stuff behind when I go camping. On my last hill walk I picked up 2 tuna cans left on the summit cairn and took them back down to a bin .... it never ceases to amaze me how someone can carry things which are full up a hill, but can't carry the empty packet, wrapper, box or tin back down...
Ssshh, the idea is to maintain the myth that West Cumbria is rough and full of thick necked idiots, it keeps it nice and quiet for us.
The climate in Red Rocks is somewhat different to the UK though. Not a great comparison.
The UK situation is different. One of the main risks is upland areas often have a thick layer of peat at the surface which will slowly burn. Hence campfires on open moorland can be really serious problem.
> I think education can only go so far. ..... On the walk back to the halls of residence we stopped for burger, eating it as we carried on home. One of the lads, from a rough west Cumbrian town, dropped the burger box as soon as he had finished. ...
There was zero comprehension or recognition that it might be anti social. ....
> Sadly I see many of the problem campers as having the same ignorant as pigsh*t attitude.
Is this the same west Cumbrian town which had the spike in CV-19 cases which led to Cumbrians (wrongly) demanding that visitors keep away from the Lake District due to being supposedly the cause ?
You're 100% right, you do find such people all over the place. I'm very fond of west Cumbria but sadly when I go to the town in question it does seem to have a persistent litter problem which can't be explained by just one or two individuals.
Unfortunately it's hard to educate away behaviour that is already ingrained.
Dropping litter seems to be one of those extreme things that people won't change.
If children learn from their parents that it is normal to drop litter then it's very difficult to to persuade them that it isn't ok.
Once people get it into their heads that someone else will clean up after them it takes a lot to change that.
When I was a young teacher we used to have the kids litter picking around the school and the field. I imagine parents would complain if we tried that now.
> You get ignorant, lazy idiots everywhere, not just from rough West Cumbrian towns.
I think a national campaign spreading the word about blatant littering / not caring for the planet is now a death row sentence ! That should help raise awareness and stop most if not all littering !
>Ssshh, the idea is to maintain the myth that West Cumbria is rough and full of thick necked idiots, it keeps it nice and quiet for us.
Ach, we tried that for a while up here "North of the Wall" Even got HBO to make a multi-million dollar costume drama. Only works for so long dude ;p
you're right! bans are not the answer to problem camping, roving death squads are...hahahaha, only joking......but not about the death squads.