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Top tips for enjoying the National Park responsibly

The sunshine is great for getting out to enjoy the outdoors and the National Park is a fantastic place to do it, but there are a few things you can do to stay safe and look after this special place while you’re there.

Our Rangers share their top five tips for enjoying the National Park responsibly:

1. Toasting marshmallows

Everyone loves a campfire but in really dry hot periods of weather we  advise against it.

Fires can get out of control and spread really quickly, particularly in hot weather, heat can even travel through the ground and spark a fire. It’s especially dangerous in wooded areas.

If you want to cook or toast those marshmallows bring a camping stove. If you do have a fire or barbecue make sure you place it on a surface like sand or stones that won’t leave a scar and have water at hand to put it out quickly if needed. Clean up afterwards and leave no trace.


A great way to enjoy the outdoors

2. Camping

This is a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors and what better way to enjoy the great weather than a night under the stars, or under canvas? If you are coming camping though, please be aware that there are certain areas where you need to have a permit or to go to a campsite. You can still wild camp outside of these areas.

On sunny weekends like this, our permit areas get booked up really quickly so please make sure you check before you go and have your space booked so you don’t miss out. If you have booked into one of our camping permit areas we suggest you arrive early to pick your spot.

Find a campsite or book your permit.

3. On the water

You can’t beat a paddle on a hot summer’s day and with 22 larger lochs, and many smaller ones, the National Park has plenty of choice for a dip but please be careful on the water. Even though it’s hot outside, the water can still be surprisingly cold and lochs can get deep very quickly.

Alcohol and water aren’t a good mix so please don’t drink and swim or drive a boat or other motorised craft. If you’re on a boat, jet-ski, kayak or paddle board make sure everyone on board has a life jacket. On certain lochs, including Loch Lomond, you must have life jackets on board. Be considerate to other loch users so everyone can have a good time.

There’s more advice on water activities.


Paddleboarding at Loch Lubnaig

4. Traffic and travel

Roads and car parks can get extremely busy on sunny days and during holidays, especially at popular visitor destinations such as Balloch, Luss and Balmaha. Why not leave the car at home and beat the traffic by using public transport? There are trains every half hour from Glasgow to Balloch and the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Oban/Fort William is one of the most scenic in Scotland with several stops in or close to the National Park.

East Loch Lomond gets particularly busy with cars so why not try using the water bus from Balloch or Luss instead of driving?  You could also think about trying other quieter areas of the National Park like the beautiful Cowal peninsula which you can get to via the Gourock to Dunoon ferry. Leave plenty of time for journeys and make sure you park responsibly in busy areas.

More info on travel to the National Park can be found here.

5. Litter

No one wants to see a stunning view spoiled by litter but unfortunately we do see a rise in littering at busy times. As well as not looking good, it can also be harmful to people and wildlife. There aren’t bins everywhere and where there are bins we have extra collections on at weekends.  Even with that, bins do fill up fast so if the bin is full don’t leave things beside or on top of bins. This is littering and encourages other people to do the same thing. Don’t let litter breed litter! The best thing to do is carry a bag or container to take all your litter home with you. If you can bring it with you, you can take it away!


Always follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

All you need to do now is choose where to go! Find some inspiration here.

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