Anglers say they too would suffer from a ban on bivvying on Loch Lomonds banks

Anglers say they too would suffer from a ban on bivvying on Loch Lomond's banks

Anglers have backed walkers who have voiced their opposition to a ban on wild camping along Loch Lomond’s shores.

The Pike Anglers Club of Great Britain said the proposed bylaw banning ‘informal camping’ on the famous loch’s banks would deny fishermen the enjoyment they have enjoyed for decades. The group has written to Ramblers Scotland to support the organisation in its campaign against the plans.

The Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority said the change in law is necessary to control the antisocial behaviour and damage to the environment by visitors who are not obeying the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

The anglers’ organisation said its members would face the same ban on divvying as walkers on the West Highland Way.

PAC secretary Graham Slater said: “The bylaws would deny us the right to enjoy the countryside, as our members have for generations. It’s wrong to punish the majority because a minority offend.”

The club is seeking urgent talks with the park authority.

Fife-based Mr Slater said: “What these proposed bylaws fail to do is draw a line between the responsible behaviour of a group of anglers divvied up around a loch, enjoying a pastime which is completely in tune with the philosophy of the national park, and those who leave litter, light fires and behave like hooligans.

“A blanket ban makes as much sense as banning driving because a minority of motorists speed, drink drive or cause crashes.”

The PAC said Loch Lomond is one of Scotland’s most historically important pike fisheries, and has been enjoyed by pike anglers from both sides of the border since Victorian times. Tommy Morgan’s 21.6kg (47lbs 11oz) pike, landed from the loch in 1945, still holds the Scottish record.

The largest pike ever to be found in the British Isles was discovered dead on its banks, near the River Endrick, in 1934. The head of the monster, estimated to weigh 31.75kg (70lbs), is now in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum.

The PAC also expressed dismay at the suggestion of Tory MSP Murdo Fraser to extend the wild-camping ban to other lochs in Highland Perthshire. The club’s 2,500 members say such bans are against the spirit of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, which enshrined the rights of outdoor enthusiasts in Scotland’s countryside.

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