HOW nice to read that VisitScotland has produced a report on wild camping which is apparently going to be “a new holiday hit” in 2017 with experiences that offer “adventure and thrill” (“Comfort for mild campers”, The Herald, December 13). Unfortunately for those seeking such enjoyment in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in 2017 it will also include the risk of getting a criminal record. No wonder that the VisitScotland report comes with a health warning: “with the growth in land access laws and legislation, particularly within Scotland’s national parks, there is a distinct lack of obvious destinations for consumers to partake in such adventurous activities”.

Last week, as a member of the public, I attended the final meeting of the Park Board as it signed off the camping by-laws for Loch Lomond and many kilometres of lochshore and other areas popular with campers and campervan users. These by-laws, which come into operation next March, though legitimately made are in my view are in complete conflict with the public access rights secured by the Land Reform Act 2003. They make it a criminal offence to pitch a tent, or any other form of shelter (other than an umbrella), or to park a campervan in any location in the camping management zones except on an official campsite or where you have paid the park for an online permit to camp or park in some other location with no facilities.

This bureaucratic nonsense is bound to tarnish the reputation of the whole of Scotland as a destination for the enjoyment of the outdoors. It will give VisitScotland, as well as others who are trying to promote Scottish outdoor tourism, nightmares for years to come. For anyone falling foul of the rules, despite camping according to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and adhering to the “leave no trace” philosophy, their criminal conviction will be recorded on the park’s database and will follow them for the rest of their lives. One night in Scotland’s great outdoors and your ability to get a new job, or visit another country, could be seriously impaired.

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Meanwhile park officials will be scrambling to prepare new camping by-law signs after one board member observed that all the signs advised the public they were entering a camping management zone but no sign indicated any exit point – bureaucracy plus incompetence.

Dave Morris,

2 Bishop Terrace, Kinnesswood, Kinross.