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Lomond & Trossachs Camping Ban Comes Into Force

Newly extended byelaws banning wild camping in many parts of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park came into force 1st March. The seasonal measures, brought in to tackle anti social behaviour, restrict camping in all the most popular roadside locations in the park between March and September every year. 

overview of camping provision 2017, 172 kb

Anyone wishing to camp in accessible lochside spots will have to purchase a permit, or make their way to an organised campsite; failure to abide by the restrictions could result in a fine or even criminal proceedings.

While accepting that anti social camping is a serious issue, critics have been firece in their opposition to the byelaws, which they say criminalise responsible campers as well as problem visitors, and undermine Scotland's hard-won liberal access rights.

The National Park's provision of 300 permitted tent spaces does not, say opponents, come close to matching the current demand, as reflected in an estimated 800 tents in the Park on busy weekends. The result will be to drive people - both the sensible and the hooligans - elsewhere.

Ramblers Scotland believe the park should have tackled any issues with anti-social behaviour, such as litter, fires and drunkenness, by investing in low-cost campsites, and by enforcing existing laws rather than introducing new ones.

Brendan Paddy, Director of Ramblers Scotland, said:

“We’re disappointed that the park is going ahead with this plan. It undermines Scottish access rights by providing too few tent pitches to cope with demand and by charging to camp in previously-free areas. Campers often won’t get any toilets, drinking water or bins in return – and we fear the hassle, cost and insufficient number of permits may put people off visiting this wonderful area.”

While Ramblers Scotland oppose the byelaws and permit system, they do advise people to abide by the rules to avoid the risk of a fine of up to £500 or even a criminal record, which could affect future employment and travel prospects.

“I encourage campers to ensure they don’t fall foul of the byelaws by checking out the guidance we’ve published on our website" said Brendan Paddy.

"While we don’t want to see the byelaws renewed in three years’ time, we are advising campers to heed advice from rangers or police, and let us know about their experiences either on social media or by emailing scotland@ramblers.org.uk.”

However Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority are sounding an upbeat note.

"National Park welcomes campers as new byelaws come into effect" is the headline of their press release today.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of the Park, said:

“Camping is one of the best ways to get out and enjoy the stunning surroundings we have in the National Park and there is every kind of camping experience on offer here."

“The new byelaws do not change that. Whether you’re an experienced camper, coming on your own or with your friends and family, there is still a wide choice of places to camp in the National Park. To support this we have opened a new campsite in the Trossachs at Loch Chon and are promoting some excellent locations to ‘wild camp’ with a permit."

“Our focus just now is on making everyone coming to camp in the Park fully aware of how the byelaws work and of all the camping options available to them.”

The Park Authority are keen to point out that the new regime affects less than 4% of the Park area, while wild camping continues to be unrestricted in the rest.

  • Anyone intending to wild camp in the National Park should take a look at Ramblers Scotland's Responsible Camping Guide
  • More info and permits are available from the National Park website here

  

 



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