Visiting Loch Lomond earlier this week I found that there was surprisingly little sign that there was a camping ban in place. I had planned to get the ferry from Tarbet to Inversnaid, and had around an hour to kill. I stopped in by the toilets/visitor centre and found a noticeboard and a rack of leaflets with information on everything from Glasgow School of Art to the Inverary Jail by way of Blair Drummond Safari Park. But nothing about the camping restrictions.
As I went to pull on my rucksack I noticed a pile of boxes tucked under the seat, and lo and behold there were the leaflets, still sealed.
I helped myself to one and had a quick look. It’s disappointing stuff, with the sales pitch for the “pay to stay” campsites coming before any mention of the right to wild camp, and even that is confusing. You might think it important to mention that there’s a map showing the outline of areas and campsite locations; or that the back of the leaflet contains what I feel is the most important stuff: that there is a ban on camping in some areas which you can receive a criminal conviction for camping in.
I think the saddest feature of the whole leaflet is that they advertise the “camping permit areas within the Camping Management Zones where you can have a ‘wild camping’ experience”, which will no doubt prove to be a real let down and complete turn off to many if the reports of unfinished and unusable pitches are accurate.
This really needs to be pulped. As a visitor to the park I want to know, first and foremost, where I can camp, where I must pay to camp, and it has to be specific. Vague hatched areas on a small scale map are useless for planning, and the whole thing relies on directing you to the internet in an area renowned for poor internet access. If you have visitor information boards they must be used properly- otherwise why even have visitors centres?