The camping ban will extend as far north as Rowardennan

The camping ban will extend as far north as Rowardennan

Walkers on the West Highland Way face fines of up to £500 if they are found wild camping on a 10-mile stretch of the route.

A ban on camping anywhere other than designated areas comes into force next week.

The controversial move is an attempt to tackle drunkenness and anti-social behaviour on the east shore of Loch Lomond.

New bylaws apply to part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park between Drymen and Rowardennan, including 17km of the route of Scotland’s most popular long-distance footpath, which runs from Milngavie in north Glasgow to Fort William.

The national park authority bylaws were approved by the Scottish Government in March.

Grant Moir, director of conservation and visitor experience with the authority, said: “Loch Lomond is a beautiful part of the national park and one of the most famous places in Scotland to come and visit. It is important that we do everything we can to protect it whilst enhancing the visitor experience

“We will continue to welcome day visitors into the area to enjoy the sights, such as, Ben Lomond, Conic Hill and Inchcailloch.

“There are also still opportunities to camp in the area at the official camp sites at Cashel and Milarrochy. There is also the new campsite at Sallochy being built by Forestry Commission Scotland for visitors to enjoy.

“The bylaws are giving the landscape a chance to recover and for the area to be managed for all who live or visit the area.”

Outdoor groups, including the Ramblers Scotland, opposed the ban, saying it was an excessive reaction. They were also concerned the camping ban could spread to other areas. Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, responsible wild camping is allowed throughout the Scottish countryside.

Ramblers Scotland said: “The police already have powers which do not appear to be fully used and a blanket ban on camping through bylaws seems to us to be excessive. We feel it is not appropriate to target all campers through bylaws which would also affect any responsible camping taking place in this area, including that by walkers on the West Highland Way.
“We also have major concerns that landowners in other areas where camping is perceived to be a problem would push for bylaws elsewhere, citing the example of Loch Lomond.”

National park rangers will be patrolling with the police to enforce the new camping bylaws which come into force on Wednesday, 1 June.

Forestry Commission Scotland’s Liz Shortall said: “The new campsite at Sallochy will be open for business as of 1 June and we are looking forward to welcoming responsible campers who want to enjoy this unique conservation area.

“The bylaws will help ensure that the site is protected and can be enjoyed by the many visitors who come here every year.”

Scottish Natural Heritage’s Paul Roberts said: “The woodlands on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond are a beautiful place and are protected by law.

“The area has suffered from tree felling, uncontrolled fires, and litter over many years. We are looking forward to the bylaws and the new campsite helping nature to flourish so that visitors can enjoy this special place for years to come.”

Under the bylaws, it is an offence to camp in the restricted zones with the maximum fine being £500.

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