The following statement has been made by Ramblers Scotland, on the new camping bylaws which come into force on 1st March:
“New byelaws are being introduced on 1 March 2017, banning free camping at the most popular spots in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park from March-September each year.
We believe the park should have tackled any issues with over-use and anti-social behaviour by investing in low-cost campsites and enforcing existing laws.
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.”
He added: “I encourage campers to ensure they don’t fall foul of the byelaws by checking out the guidance we’ve published on our website. 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 email@example.com.”
National parks should be aiming to attract large numbers of visitors. This can cause pressure on individual areas, so we support the park’s plan to provide more camping infrastructure, including toilets, bins etc. However, their planned provision of about 300 camping spaces doesn’t meet levels of demand from before the byelaws – when up to 800 tents were recorded on busy weekends.
The ban will impact around 150km of the park’s most popular and scenic lochsides at the most popular times of year, March to September.”
You can find Ramblers Scotland’s new Loch Lomond & The Trossachs: A Responsible Camping Guide here.