ScotlandUK travel

Highland ‘ranger service’ patrols to end

A Highland ranger service set up in response to widespread problems caused by increasing numbers of visitors to the Highlands is to come to an end after three years.

Highland Council has confirmed that it has been unable to secure funding to continue its outdoor access ranger service with rangers told their contract will finish on March 29.

The service was set up in 2021 when 17 posts for seasonal access rangers were created in response to widespread reports of so-called dirty camping with litter and issues over human waste, inconsiderate parking and fires.

Funding was provided by Highland Council and also by the Scottish Government through NatureScot’s Better Places Green Recovery Fund.

The rangers patrolled sites and engaged with visitors to ensure awareness of the Outdoor Access Code, monitoring use and reporting incidents to the relevant council teams or emergency services.

They also helped to maintain and manage council-owned sites and core paths and worked with communities and land managers on other sites to protect the habitats and respect for the landscape.

A NatureScot spokesperson said: “The Better Places Fund was a temporary fund originally established to help manage the increase in domestic visitors during and after the Covid 19 pandemic and to help manage visitor pressures in some of the busiest parts of rural Scotland, including Assynt.

“The current pressure on budgets means that difficult decisions have had to be made and there are no plans at present to extend this fund.

“We fully appreciate that this may have an impact on the ability of some organisations to undertake visitor management activities.

“We will continue to work with partners such as local authorities, national parks, Police Scotland and Forestry and Land Scotland to address any issues, share best practice and encourage visitors to enjoy the outdoors and nature responsibly.”

Sutherland County Committee chairman Councillor Richard Gale said local councillors were considering whether a local ranger scheme could be put set up.

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1 comment

katey jane andrews March 8, 2024 at 12:20 pm

4 years full time living off grid in a motorhome, so i have met a lot of people from all over the world, and me being me i will get them to open out. My findings.

1 pure greed from an owners
2 dirty camping by one night piss heads (no interest in camping or nature)
3 Most rubbish i lay bys are by car and lorry drivers
4 Van owners will always be singled out due to and old aged traveler hate
5 Van owners wont work together, eg camper vans, mh, self builds and caravans mostly hate each other.
6 The worst one, british people are unreal selfish, so rude, they do not care as long as they get their once a year trip out.

Bonus, councils have made the issues far worse, closing parking, height barriers and removing bins from laybys so on. I have been told by council workers to dumb my rubbish in laybys so to make the councils reinstate the bins!


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