Thursday, 19 August 2010

A burning issue

Had to have a chat with a couple of people who had camped out by the Mire Loch this morning as they had had a fire. Now, I don't want to be a kill joy, and I can certainly understand why people would want to come and camp on the reserve, and indeed folk have every right to wild camp under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code but only if they do so responsibly. And there's the rub - what exactly constitutes responsible wild camping?

This morning's campers thought they were being responisble campers because they were taking their litter home with them and they had made sure the fire was burnt down and had even doused it with water. However, my idea of responisble wild camping is to leave no trace of your having been there at all. Certainly not leaving a burnt patches in our internationally important grasslands and the ragged ends of branches that have been broken off the surrounding trees (which are very precious as they are few and far between at St Abbs).

Its a tricky issue, as I firmly believe nature reserves should be living, breathing places where everyone is welcome to enjoy themselves, but only as long as their enjoyment does not effect the wildife or the landscape or impinge on the enjoyment of others. And I certainly don't want to have to have "DO NOT" signs up all over the place. The key, to my mind, is education, and we will continue to educate folk whenever we can.

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