Leader comment: Room for everyone to enjoy the view

Buachaille Etive Mor at Glencoe, one of the most photographed sights in Scotland. Increased visitor numbers have prompted concerns about the damage caused by heavy footfall. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Buachaille Etive Mor at Glencoe, one of the most photographed sights in Scotland. Increased visitor numbers have prompted concerns about the damage caused by heavy footfall. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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Is there a finer sight in Scotland than the majestic Buachaille Etive Mor dominating the landscape at Glencoe, with a dusting of snow around the peak and every contour and crag highlighted by spring sunshine?

The image is further enhanced by using the River Coupall to reflect the mountain. Anyone with a social media account might be familiar with this trick, because new versions appear almost daily.

Digital photography has opened up a whole new world of opportunity to the amateur. The ease of capturing images and sharing them with others has taken the hobby to another level, and also allowed many more to participate now that processing costs are a thing of the past.

However, renowned landscape photographer Colin Prior has warned that the surge in popularity of tourism photography is putting our wild places in jeopardy. The wilderness, he says, is over-run with wildebeest.

He has a point. The increased number of visitors beating a path to a viewpoint will have a corrosive effect on that part of the landscape.

The difficulty is that we cannot restrict access to such areas to the privileged few, and if we want to celebrate and capitalise on Scotland’s spectacular scenery – and we surely do – then we have to be prepared for an increased number of visitors.

We also need a sense of perspective. The Highlands of Scotland are vast, and whatever damage is done by extra visitors will be limited to a few spots. With a bit of careful management of access points and pathways, it should be possible to accommodate all who want to experience the best this country has to offer, without threatening the beauty of the scenery.