Shameless Pentland Hills campers leave mess inside abandoned tent with note for others to ‘get rid of rubbish’

A group of shameless campers left their mess inside an abandoned tent with a note written on the side of it to tell others they “must get rid of rubbish.”

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 2:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 9:52 am

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Empty alcohol containers, food packaging, towels, clothing and used toilet wipes were among the items discovered by members of the charity Friends of the Pentlands (FoP) which, among other activities, removes litter from the hills.

The campsite was formed by Threipmuir Reservoir on Saturday night and abandoned on Sunday morning.

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A message was left on the side of the tent. Pic: Friends of the Pentlands

Three disposable barbecues were also discovered nearby placed on top of dry kindling in woods – a potential wildfire risk given recent warm weather and dry conditions.

FoP member Andrew Gallacher, who dealt with the mess on Tuesday morning, said: “Unfortunately abandoned, messy campsites are not uncommon.

“But the cheek of this one. Not just content with the ignorance of leaving a mess, but to write a note knowing that others would have to clear it up, essentially demanding that this be done with the note written on the side, ‘Happy Camping. Free tent. Must get rid of rubbish.’”

Mr Gallacher highlighted that Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue service, park rangers and FoP are working together as part of a new operation running through most of July to crack down on littering and antisocial behaviour in the hills.

The tent was left by Threipmuir Reservoir in the Pentland Hills. Pictures: Friends of the Pentlands.

Operation ‘Boxy’ will involve police officers carrying out daily patrols focused in several parts of the hills - Bonaly Country Park, Harlaw, Torduff, Clubbiedean and Threipmuir reservoirs - between July 5 and July 31.

Police said officers will engage with members of the public with the purpose of education and prevention but stressed there will be enforcement of the law if necessary.

Mr Gallacher added: “Hopefully sights like this will be less common for the month of July.

“If only Operation Boxy were all season long.”

Disposable barbecues were left behind in a nearby area of woodland. Pic: Friends of the Pentlands

Councillor Neil Gardiner, convener of Pentland Hills Regional Park, said: “Over the last year we’ve seen a huge increase in visitors to the Pentland Hills Regional Park. Whilst the majority of people using the park are responsible when they enjoy the beautiful environment, a minority are not and engage in forms of anti-social behaviour including messy camping with litter left behind, excessive alcohol consumption, dangerous use of reservoirs by jumping from heights and accessing restricted areas.

“Operation Boxy builds on the successful joint working with our partners and is a highly visible indication of work underway to tackle common problems, reduce anti-social behaviour and bolster public confidence in what we are doing to combat these issues and ensure the park can be enjoyed by everyone."

Colinton and Fairmilehead councillor, Scott Arthur said on Monday he is “delighted” to see local police step up efforts to deal with antisocial behaviour in the Pentlands. Mr Arthur wants people to have a great time in the hills but said they need to “respect local residents and leave the hills just as they found them.”

Concerns about unruly campers leaving piles of litter behind in the area’s beauty spots have been raised previously. There has also been controversy with cars regularly clogging up access routes to the hills when people flock there during warmer weather.

Repeated appeals have also been made to dog walkers in the Pentlands to control their pets and avoid fields with livestock following a rise in attacks on sheep in the hills last summer.

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