LISTEN: Peter Pejacsevich gives his view on how dirty campers have affected the area and what can be done about the issue
Dirty camping has been a hot button problem of the Summer in Highland Perthshire and COVID only seems to have exacerbated the problem further.
What has been a small problem in the past has only escalated as holidays were cancelled after the country went into lockdown, the issue has taken Highland Perthshire so much that it’s now reached the Scottish Parliament.
Local landowner, Peter Pejacsevich, said: “Well I think there really are two definitions of campers, which one can put everyone into, at the extreme end is the problem of the dirty camper and that’s well been documented in photographs and articles, it is a minority who show little respect, not just the countryside but for their fellow campers along the lochside by destroying and leaving huge amounts of litter.
“That’s one side of the equation, on the other side is what I would call a responsible camper, but the responsible camper is occurring in such volumes that, that, is causing a problem too.”
Mr Pejacsevich emphasises that the footfall in the area is taking it’s toll on the environment ‘whether it’s benign or malign’ for environment to take.
As Mr Pejacsevich understands the problem, it’s a difficult balance between infrastructure and the wilderness at stake before a solution can be found.
He adds: “If you can imagine a hundred cars with only two occupants, and frankly there are usually more than two occupants, and the amount of human waste that generates in a six month period, that would require a huge infrastructure of public toilets etcetera, etcetera, which would in actual fact destroy the reason why people are coming to Loch Tummel in the first place.
“Which is the fact that it’s a wild beautiful place, so there’s this tension between infrastructure solving part of the problem, but on the other hand though, destroying the very reason why people like to come down here.”
Looking at possible solutions Mr Pejacsevich says there are suggestions coming from the community with suggestions on how to prevent this in the future going forward.
Mr Pejacsevich explains: “What people have been discussing is perhaps setting up a network of car parks, where people would be encouraged to park their cars in the car park and camp in the environs of that car park.
“And that would have two effects, one is one could have some facilities there such as compost toilets which would prevent the leaching of human waste into the lochside and the soil, and also by perhaps bringing people into a smaller area it would allow the other parts of the loch front to recover to the benefit of woodland, to the benefit of wildlife and to the benefit of its scenic beauty for tourists who just want to drive around here.”