New wardens will tackle Borders ‘wild campers’

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A clampdown on anti-social campers in one of the most picturesque areas of the Borders has been announced.

Ettrick & Yarrow Community Council (EYCC), in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland, is commissioning a new warden service to operate in the St Mary’s Loch area.

It’s a response to so-called ‘wild campers’ who act in an anti-social manner and spoil the area for those who camp responsibly.

Gordon Harrison, chairman of EYCC, said: “The area around St Mary’s Loch is one of the most picturesque in Scotland and most visitors appreciate its beauty and respect and look after the local environment while they are here. However, there have been some who have left litter behind, destroyed and burned local trees and become noisy and aggressive.

“We have consulted with local people and agreed to test out a new warden service to see if this can alleviate the problems and encourage everyone to behave well.”

The service will operate mainly on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the spring and summer and almost £4,000 is being set aside to pay for the trial.

The community council is using money from the Langhope Rig Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund, provided by Greencoat UK Wind Plc and managed by Foundation Scotland.

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, who has been actively involved in setting up the service, said: “The council recognises that some of those who ‘wild camp’ in the St Mary’s Loch area are spoiling it for everybody else. We feel it is important to help the local community to feel safer and for this unique tourism destination to be looked after.”

PC Conal McEwan, the local community beat officer, said: “Realistically, the police cannot be everywhere at the same time, so it will be very helpful to us to have someone working locally in close co-operation with ourselves. The warden service is not designed to be confrontational in any way. It is much more about encouraging people to follow the Country Access Code and behave in a respectful manner while in the area.”

The service will run from March to September. Anyone interested in providing the service should contact Ettrick & Yarrow Community Council before Monday, February 26.

For further information, please contact Gordon Harrison on 01750 62304 or at gordy.harrison@btinternet.com.