Tuesday 28th February 2017, 3:23pm
The controversial camping byelaws in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park come into force tomorrow – 1st of March.
These byelaws, opposed by Mountaineering Scotland, will have the effect of criminalising people for camping without a permit in any of several controlled zones in the national park, even if they are otherwise abiding by the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and behaving responsibly.
Because of that, and despite our conviction that the byelaws are the wrong response to a problem and undermines Scottish access rights, Mountaineering Scotland is recommending that members abide by the conditions of the byelaws and has published advice for anyone considering visiting the national park.
David Gibson, CEO of Mountaineering Scotland, said: “We have always felt that Police Scotland and the Park Authority already had sufficient powers to deal with lochside issues, and that the new byelaws are completely unnecessary.
“We believe that an outcome of the byelaws will be that they will criminalise those who would otherwise wish to exercise their rights to wild camp responsibly under the terms of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. As such, this decision goes against the rights to responsible access provided in the Act."
Ramblers Scotland has also objected to the restriction on camping through the byelaws, which ban free camping at the most popular spots in the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park from March-September each year.
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.”