Farmers and other Islay residents are furious about the anti-social behaviour of a minority of campervan and tent camping visitors. With the growing popularity of so called “wild camping” because of Scotland’s relaxed right of access laws, some irresponsible campers are emptying the contents of chemical toilets over fences before moving onto their next pitch. Bleached grass and decomposing toilet paper border many a farmer’s field, particularly those near Islay’s beaches or loch shores.
A resident who was walking her dog along the beach at Machir Bay at eight o’clock in the morning reported that she saw a camper defecating on the beach. When she protested the culprit replied, “I had a dodgy curry last night.” She pointed out that children play there during the day and that the man’s behaviour was reprehensible and irresponsible. The Ileach newspaper understands that leaders of children groups are dissuading the youngsters from playing amongst the dunes because of the preponderance of human waste to be found there. Continue reading...
While the access code allows “wild camping” in tents it is important to understand that the access rights do not apply to motor vehicles e.g. campervans and motorhomes. There is no right to park off road without the agreement of the landowner. In practice, informal off-road parking takes place all over Islay without causing concern. It would be a shame if the actions of irresponsible camping were to change that.
The Campervan and Motorhome Professional Association (CaMPA) offer this advice: Campers should not empty any chemical toilet waste anywhere other than at a designated chemical waste area. They remind members that most (official) campsites have facilities for the emptying of a cassette toilet and that public toilets are not suitable places to empty chemical toilets as it upsets the sewage treatment process.
For anyone enjoying Islay’s outdoors the Access Code offers this advice: If you need to urinate, do so at least 30m from open water or rivers and streams. If you need to defecate, do so as far away as possible from buildings, from open water or rivers and streams, and from any farm animals. Bury faeces in a shallow hole and replace the turf. The resentment caused by irresponsible campers was summed up by one resident. “They come to Islay because they hear it is beautiful and leave it looking like a cess pit.”
Published with kind permission of the Ileach