Anger as tourists on Skye 'making stone circles to impress Instagram followers'
The Fairy Glen, on Uig, Isle of Skye, is famed for its mystical landscape with a ruined castle, conical hills and a loch.
But the otherworldly beauty spot has become a magnet for tourists determined to 'manipulate the landscape to please social media followers', ecologists have warned.
Builder Johnny Campbell, 48, snapped a photo of a spiral circle which has become iconic at Fairy Glen when he visited the site with girlfriend Lynn Cairney, 55, at the weekend.
The couple were shocked by the implications of damage caused by the artificial stone formation, although Johnny, who lives on Skye, admitted he thought it 'adds character'.
Johnny, who lives just outside Kyle of LochAlsh near the island, said: "We were driving on Skye and Lynn had never been to that part of the island so I took her up to Fairy Glen.
"It's a great wee place, and I know there's a lot of issues with the stacking of stones.
"I think it looks quite nice to be honest, but the stacks of stones are a danger to livestock and kids.
"I have heard of people taking stones from walls, and obviously that is a problem, taking stones from other people's properties and using it for something else.
"I would see people taking stones out of walls as a problem.
"The wee stone spirals wouldn't cause too much damage to livestock - it doesn't offend me but it does offend historians and land owners.
"The footfall of people coming to the island and back is probably as damaging as the stone stacks.
"The tour buses going up to Fairy Glen is just intense.
"Skye is a hotbed for tourism but the infrastructure to provide for tourists just isn't there.
"The spirals have been going on for about 20 or 30 years, people just do it for the mystical effect of Fairy Glen.
"It is definitely to do with social media, people are editing their photos to show their friends.
"Tour guides should tell people not to do it, that would be the responsible thing.
"There's definitely room for people being told to respect the land.
"I do quite like the swirly stones, it adds a bit of character, but I don't know where the stones are coming from."
Lynn posted a photo on Facebook of the spiral stones, which provoked a heated debate online.
Facebook user Highland Historian wrote: "The issue is not what it looks like.
"Many think it looks nice or mystical.
"The issue is the damage the removal of the stones is doing.
"The area of Castle Ewen most of them are taken from is prone to slippage.
"The weight of the stones will, of course, help to prevent that - but only if they're left where they should be.
"Some stones are also taken from dry stone walls.
"One has been partially destroyed by tourists and is part of an old wall system."
The post added: "I feel that is an absolutely ridiculous reason to turn a blind eye to the damage being caused.
"This is the Fairy Glen - it's already mystical! As for making it more beautiful.
"Why do we humans think we need to manipulate the landscape to please our social media followers?".