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One is not amused: Litter lout campers at Balmoral enrage Royal estate

Balmoral rangers’ photo of tents and rubbish on estate grounds
Balmoral rangers’ photo of tents and rubbish on estate grounds

The Queen’s private Scottish estate slated wild campers yesterday after abandoned tents littered Balmoral.

The estate’s rangers posted a picture on social media of an array of hap­hazard tents and rubbish – all pitched around a fire with tree branches. “Please camp responsibly and leave no trace! Not like this group,” wrote the estate, which is expected to welcome the Queen and Prince Philip for their annual summer visit within weeks. “This was found this morning. Hopefully they will return and tidy up.”

Followers on social media were furious, describing the scene as “diabolical” and “absolutely clueless” as the rubbish left in the Scottish wilds causes rising concern.

The Mountain Bothies Association (MBA) recently announced that two vital shelters on the estate had been locked – at least one due to “irresponsible” behaviour.

The MBA maintains about 100 shelters for walkers in some of the more remote parts of the UK, though they are currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In May, the MBA also issued warnings over Glas Allt Shiel bothy near Lochnagar “due to recent misuse, despite it being officially closed”.

Lochnagar in particular has been an attraction for visitors during lockdown. The area is par­ticularly loved by Prince Charles, who stays at nearby Birkhall with Camilla on the estate.

Such is Prince Charles’s affection for Lochnagar that he immortalised it in his illustrated 1980 children’s book The Old Man Of Lochnagar.

But the mountain has become a dumping ground for some walkers. In 2018 the Balmoral estate slammed litter bugs who left nearly 43lb of rubbish on its slopes. The haul included plastic bottles, wrappers and plastic containers.

Princes William and Harry have also recounted how their father used to make them pick up litter with “spikes” while on vacation.

In 2008 Charles attacked the ­modern throwaway society and litter louts who treated the British coastline like a dustbin.

Balmoral also hit out at litter louts in 2016 who left such a ­mountain of rubbish in a bothy that it needed three trips by one of Her Majesty’s Land Rovers to remove the mess. Among the items left were shopping trolleys.