The camping ban extends as far as Rowardennan on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond

The camping ban extends as far as Rowardennan on the eastern shore of Loch Lomond

A national park boss has denied claims a camping ban will be imposed on further areas after bylaws came into force this year that leave outdoor enthusiasts facing a £500 fine if they pitch their tents .

The controversial move, banning wild camping along a stretch of Scotland’s most popular long-distance route, was made to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority introduced the ban in June this year in an area on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, stretching from Drymen to Rowardennan, covering 17km (10 miles) of the West Highland Way.

The authority has also set up the 5 Lochs Project, to address similar problems at five lochsides in its area.

Chief Inspector Kevin Findlater, who represents Central Scotland Police and Tayside Police on the 5 Lochs Project, told the BBC’s Christopher Sleight the ban and crackdown on alcohol abuse had transformed the eastern shore of Loch Lomond.

The project covers Lochs Voil, Earn, Lubnaig, Venachar and Achray, and there was speculation a similar ban would be imposed, with worries about the implication for the right enshrined in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act to wild camp.

Grant Moir, director of conservation and visitor experience, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs national park, said: “There are currently no plans to extend camping bylaws which have been piloted since June 2011 along the east side of Loch Lomond to other parts of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

“Following early signs of success in returning east Loch Lomond to a family-friendly destination, the 5 Lochs visitor management plan is being developed through close working with communities, landowners and businesses to look at a range of visitor management solutions including camping provision, infrastructure improvements, litter management, traffic management and toilet provision.

“The 5 Lochs Project is about enhancing the visitor experience in the area and trying to make sure that the public and private sector work together to deliver improvements on the ground.

He pointed out the park authority was holding a consultation on how it managed the five lochs. “At present we are asking people about the future management of the park, including visitor management issues, as part of the park plan consultation,” he added. “I would encourage people to go on to the national park website and respond to the consultation.”

The wild camping ban was opposed by outdoor groups including Ramblers Scotland, which 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.”

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