"Extensive preparations" are under way at one of Scotland's largest national parks as it braces for crowds expected to flock to the great outdoors in the wake of lifted lockdown restrictions.

The coinciding of eased travel restrictions and mild weather has left staff at the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park anticipating a very busy weekend.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that some travel restrictions will be eased from Friday due to prevalence of the virus decreasing.

More people will also be able to meet up outdoors, with the limit increasing to six adults from six households.

And located only an hour’s drive away for 50 per cent of Scotland’s population, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is a popular visitor destination.

In anticipation of the rush of Scots eager to escape the confines of their homes, additional staff will be on site, as well as extra toilets and more car parking spaces available.

READ MORE: Council staff 'physically and verbally abused' at overcrowded beauty spots as lockdown restrictions ease

It follows last year when over-crowded beauty spots with overflowing carparks and damaged walking routes made headlines when the first lockdown was lifted.

On one occasion in July 2020, more than 20 people were charged over environmental damage at Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Campers left behind broken glass and black bags full of rubbish, as well as camping equipment such as chairs and sleeping bags.

HeraldScotland: Undated handout photo issued by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park of an abandoned campsite at Loch Venachar.Undated handout photo issued by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park of an abandoned campsite at Loch Venachar.

Irreparable fire damage was caused, with one tree so badly burned it is likely to be felled.

At one site, 19 bags of litter were collected, with a further 10 removed from another site.

Bosses have warned that anyone planning to visit the national park this weekend should know that camping permit areas are not yet reopened.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “The easing of travel restrictions this week means that people from other areas in Scotland can now travel to the National Park for day trips and experience the fantastic outdoor opportunities it offers.

HeraldScotland: Visitors to the park are expected in drovesVisitors to the park are expected in droves

"The health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature are well documented and have provided a real boost for people during such a tough year so we look forward to supporting that further as restrictions ease.

“We know from last summer that after a long time staying home, lots of people will want to travel again to the National Park and we have made extensive preparations to welcome them, including additional staff on the ground, extra toilets and more car parking spaces.

“That said, things are still not back to normal so please bear this in mind if you are planning a visit. We can only welcome day visitors at the moment so our campsites and camping permit areas won’t reopen until the next phase of restrictions easing on Monday 26th April.

READ MORE: Covid breach: English tourist rescued after becoming stuck on Loch Lomond island

"Many cafes, restaurants and accommodation providers also remain closed until 26th April, although some take away outlets will be open.

"Anyone planning a day trip to the National Park in the coming weeks should therefore plan ahead to make their visit as safe and enjoyable as possible.

"We expect the area to be very busy so it’s a good idea to check our social media or website for live information on car parking availability and details about opening times for toilets and visitor facilities.

"If car parks are full please consider an alternative location as irresponsible parking on rural road verges causes congestion and danger to others.”