Tourists’ toilet habits turning Scottish beauty spot into ‘biohazard’

The toilets habits of visitors to one of Scotland’s most popular areas are turning parts of it into “biohazards”, according to a warning from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

Popular areas beside paths and car parks within Glencoe National Nature Reserve are becoming toxic because of tourists defecating outside, reports The National, with the clean-up by rangers branded the “least pleasant” of their responsibilities.

New figures from the NTS show that there has been an increase in visitors this year compared to 2022, with 35 per cent more people stopping by the Glencoe Visitor Centre, an 18 per cent jump in the number of tents and a 10 per cent rise in campervans and motorhomes.

This season has also seen volunteers and staff collect over 200 bags of litter, with food packing, disposable BBQs, used tissues and wet wipes among the most-collected items.

However, it’s the human waste that is particularly troublesome.

Scott McCombie, senior ranger for Glencoe National Nature Reserve, said: “One of the least pleasant tasks our team faces – and this is certainly one that diverts us from conservation and habitat restoration – is clearing up toilet sites. There is no easy answer to toileting in the outdoors.

“The advice in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code is to bury it. However, at popular sites with thin soils and repeated use, this is not the best option.

“Many people choose the same spots at the edge of car parks and beside paths to relieve themselves and these areas can become a biohazard.”

The NTS is also calling for campfires to banned in Glencoe, after damage to Coire Gabhail, better known as the Lost or Hidden Valley, from people cutting off branches covered in mosses and lichens to fuel their fires.

Campfires on the ground were blamed for damaging peat-rich soils and several wildfires were caused by careless visitors.

One of Scotland’s busiest nature reserves, Glencoe sees millions of people passing through each year.

Mr McCombie added: “We’re lucky to have some incredible places on our doorstep and we want to make sure they’re there for future generations to enjoy – in a way that’s sustainable and beneficial for the local community.”

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