Scotland's natural beauty spots must be saved from inwardly ugly vandals – Scotsman comment

People like to go to ‘beauty spots’ – almost all of which are in unspoilt parts of the countryside – because they are, well, beautiful.

Countryside rangers have reported a massive increase in littering since the start of the Covid pandemic, including careless dumping of human and animal waste (Picture: National Trust for Scotland)
Countryside rangers have reported a massive increase in littering since the start of the Covid pandemic, including careless dumping of human and animal waste (Picture: National Trust for Scotland)

So it is more than a little odd that some of these same people are trashing places they find so attractive that they are prepared to travel hundreds of miles to visit.

And there are enough of them to have not only earned their very own dis-honorific, “dirty campers”, but also to have prompted a new campaign by the National Trust for Scotland

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Among the various problems caused by this particular group of countryside ‘enthusiasts’ are: careless dumping of human and animal waste, trees and fences used for firewood, land charred by portable barbecues, mountains of litter including plastic drinks bottles, attacks on livestock and wild animals by pet dogs, bad parking and other anti-social behaviour.

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Plea to stamp out ‘dirty camping’ blight on Scotland’s beauty spots

The Glencoe National Nature Reserve and the Glenfinnan Monument in the Highlands are just two of the areas that have been badly affected.

The trust is now urging visitors to “love this place, leave no trace”. Emily Bryce, operations manager at the Glencoe reserve, said “the vast majority” of visitors respected the landscape but added that “unfortunately our ranger team spend a considerable proportion of their time dealing with those who don’t”.

A minority of people are probably always going to act like this wherever they are, be it a beautiful glen or a city park, as demonstrated by the plastic bags of dog faeces too-often seen hanging from trees.

But showing social disapproval and encouraging better behaviour are two ways to persuade the inwardly ugly to see the value in natural beauty.

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