Highlands & Islands

'Rise' in toileting and litter problems in Cairngorms

Fire damage Image copyright Aberdeenshire Ranger Service
Image caption Areas of woodland and peat have been damaged by fire in the Cairngorms

Human waste, litter and damage caused by fires have become an increasing problem in the UK's biggest national park, countryside rangers have warned.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) and Aberdeenshire Ranger Service said there had been a "significant rise" in the anti-social behaviour.

Camp fires and barbecues have also caused damage to trees and peatland.

Rangers said the behaviour put the health and wellbeing of people, livestock and wildlife at risk.

The national park covers parts of the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Perthshire, Angus and Moray.

Separately from the issues affecting the Cairngorms, the National Trust for Scotland has said trees and peat have been damaged by camp fires in Glen Coe and Glen Etive.

'Absolutely vile'

Rangers in the Cairngorms have encountered toileting and littering problems at beauty spots such as Linn of Dee, Loch Muick and Muir of Dinnet in Aberdeenshire and Loch Morlich near Aviemore.

Aberdeenshire Ranger Service said most visitors abided by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and acted responsibly, but there were others who were "treating the countryside with a total lack of respect".

Belinda Miller, head of Aberdeenshire Council's economic development and protective services, said: "Some of the scenes which have been reported such as widespread littering and public toileting are absolutely vile and they have no place in our countryside.

"There is no excuse for littering - if you bring it with you, you can take it home."

Image copyright Balmoral Estate
Image caption Abandoned camping equipment in Aberdeenshire

She added: "We want people to enjoy our wonderful array of attractions and beautiful scenery, but if visitors are faced with this sort of behaviour and mess then they are unlikely to return and that will have a massive impact on our tourism sector."

Pete Crane, head of visitor services at CNPA, added: "Across Scotland we are seeing a small but damaging number of people irresponsibly camping outdoors - and to be blunt the problems are the litter, the fires and human waste left behind."

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