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Boulder blockades installed at Perthshire loch as landowners fight back against wild camping

Extra barriers have been installed to deter wild campers at Loch Rannoch.
Extra barriers have been installed to deter wild campers at Loch Rannoch.

Landowners in Highland Perthshire have installed a series of barriers to curb rogue wild campers.

The shores of Loch Tay, Rannoch and Tummel have been blighted by irresponsible tourists flocking to the waterside since the lockdown restriction were eased.

Litter and camping equipment has been left strewn along the lochsides, while the prevalence of campfires has risen dramatically.

Gates have also been installed.

Local residents fear visitors travelling to the area from across Scotland could be bringing coronavirus with them.

After a string of unsuccessful measures to tackle the growing problem, estate workers have taken to putting up blockades at sites used by campers along Loch Rannoch.

Nine popular camping spots on the north western shore have been blocked to vehicles by gates, fences, and boulders.

Local environmental teams say that this will not result in ramblers’ rights being infringed upon.

Extra barriers have been installed to deter wild campers at Loch Rannoch.

Loch Rannoch Conservation Association’s Steve Roworth said: “I suppose it is inevitable that landowners’ reactions to anti-social behaviour is an attempt to restrict access.

“These new fences, locked gates and boulders, will affect nine of Loch Rannoch’s most popular camping and fishing sites.

“I don’t think it will stop camping. It will stop vehicles and it could lead to conflict. I don’t know what the answer to this problem is but I don’t believe it’s fences and gates.

“Legislation is impossible to enforce so I’d like to see more education and engagement. We have a part time countryside ranger, so it could be good to look at increasing their hours.

“We’re expecting a rush this weekend when tourism opens up again.”

The measures have been taken the same week as local residents reported boaters taking to the water on Loch Tummel at 3am and campers, searching for firewood, abandoning tools midway through chopping down trees.

Across Highland Perthshire, fishing clubs have tried to stop anglers from travelling across Scotland by restricting the issuing of permits to people living within a few miles of each club.

Ward councillor Mike Williamson said: “Locally, people are fed up of this excessive behaviour. I almost feel like there’s a festival mentality where people think they can rock up and do what they like.

“I understand people’s feelings and this behaviour could end up ruining the countryside for everyone.

“We fought for so long to get right of access. We don’t want it to be taken away because of irresponsible behaviour.”

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