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Scottish park rangers reportedly woke up a group of sleeping campers after being unsatisfied with the state of their campsite near Loch Ness. The group of wild campers was asked to tidy up the array of positions around their tent and forced to leave.
In a post on Facebook, The Highland Council Access Rangers say they came across the group of campers on Sunday morning who were quick to get them out of their tents and on their way.
Unlike in England and Wales, wild camping is legal in Scotland.
However, visitors must follow environmental protection rules, including leaving the area as they found it.
In this instance, it seems the park rangers were not happy with the camping setup.
The Highland Council Access Rangers explain: “Meanwhile, today near Loch Ness.
“These campers were woken up and told to tidy up and move immediately.
“They were doing so and it will be checked later.
“Police were also informed.”
Express.co.uk has contacted The Highland Council Access Rangers for further comment on the situation.
In the images, bags of food, drinks bottles, alcoholic beverages, clothing and kitchen utensils can be seen strewn in the grass surrounding the tents.
Camping chairs are also set up outside.
There also appear to be a selection of freshly chopped logs that are being used as firewood.
The post sparked a mixed reaction from locals, with some applauding the park rangers, and others slamming them for acting too severely.
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“I have concerns the rangers have abused their position and have not handled this correctly,” committed one Facebook user.
Another pointed out the campers were still using their pitch and had not yet packed up to leave.
“If they were spotted leaving their pitch in a state then, by all means, take the appropriate action,” they wrote.
“But to waken them up and tell them to move on before giving them the opportunity to clean up, smacks of overly doing it by authority.”
Others pointed to the laws permitting wild camping in Scotland.
“They’re just camping, why would you inform the police?” Questioned another Facebook commenter.
“Camping isn’t illegal and you have absolutely no grounds to say they’d leave a mess or were acting irresponsibly.”
However, others said the rangers were within their rights to move on capers who appear to be breaking the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
While wild camping is legal under the code, those who choose to do so must be “responsible”.
This means taking away all litter, removing all traces of tent pitches and open fires, and not causing any pollution.
The code explains: “You need to be aware that whilst you might visit a place only occasionally and feel that you cause no harm, the land manager or the environment might have to cope with the cumulative effects of many people.
“Acting with awareness and common sense underpins responsible behaviour”.
In agreement, one local commented: “They will only be moved if they have breached the SOAC code. That will include cutting down trees which is illegal without the landowner’s permission.
“I don’t think the rangers just move people for the fun of it.”
Another added: ” In Scotland, you have ‘access rights’ to land that you do not own. Chopping trees down and scorching grass does not come under that legislation and becomes an act of damage against the landowner.”
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