Highlands & Islands

Party rubbish littering Scotland's hills and mountains

Balloon Image copyright James Roddie
Image caption A balloon found at more than 1,000m (3,280ft) on the Cairngorm Plateau

Concerns have been raised about the volume of rubbish being found high in Scotland's mountains.

Party balloons and sweet wrappers are being spotted by hillwalkers.

Wildlife and landscape photographer James Roddie found a large balloon at more than 1,000m (3,280ft) on the Cairngorm Plateau last week.

Mountaineering Scotland said "micro-litter", fragments of plastic wrappers, metal and fruit peelings were also an issue.

The body, which represents the interests of outdoors pursuits enthusiasts, runs a campaign to tackle the litter problem.

Image copyright Ben Dolphin
Image caption A Halloween decoration found in a remote location in Glen Geldie in the Cairngorms
Image copyright Neil Reid
Image caption Party balloons in Glen Derry

Mountaineering Scotland's access and conservation officer Davie Black said: "There's no doubt that litter in the hills can be a problem.

"It is unsightly and can affect plants and animals that live in the hills. And it can take time to rot down - if ever."

He added: "There's not as much in the high mountains as you will find along roadsides, in car parks and on footpaths, but what there is in the high hills is very obvious and stands out more, lying there trampled into the soil, blown into bushes or lodged in cracks."

Micro-litter found includes corners of food wrappers, pieces of burst helium balloons and chewing gum.

Mr Black said it had been suggested that these could take millions of years to degrade.

Image copyright Neil Reid
Image caption A balloon on Sgor Dubh, a hill above Glen Lui

Photographer Mr Roddie said the balloon he found was in an area where birds such as dotterel and ptarmigan breed.

He added: "I picked it up along with several chocolate bar wrappers found along my route."

Neil Reid, of Mountaineering Scotland and the Mountain Bothies Association, has also found wind-blown rubbish littering mountain areas.

He has picked up and taken away to be binned party balloons from Glen Derry and on Sgor Dubh, a hill above Glen Lui - both on the Aberdeenshire side of the Cairngorms.

Journalist, countryside ranger and Ramblers Scotland president Ben Dolphin is another to find rubbish in remote locations.

He picked up a Halloween bat decoration from Glen Geldie in the Cairngorms.

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