Visitors to one of Scotland’s most beautiful and popular areas are being warned not to park irresponsibly following two serious incidents blocking access for emergency vehicles over the September weekend.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park experienced significant problems with parking on narrow, rural roads and busy car parks due to the sunny weather over the holiday.
As a result, two ambulances had problems getting through and out of overcrowded roads and car parks.
On Saturday an ambulance and the Lomond Mountain Rescue Team had difficulties getting to Rowardennan on East Loch Lomond to help someone in trouble on Ben Lomond.
This was due to cars being illegally parked along the side of the B837 road which is a designated clearway.
On Sunday in Callander, a second ambulance was blocked in by cars being parked in front of an emergency access gate at Callander Crags. As a result one car owner has been charged.
The National Park Authority, Police Scotland and Stirling Council are using these incidents to highlight the very serious consequences of irresponsible parking and to issue a joint warning to visitors ahead of the October holidays:
Simon Jones, Director of Conservation and Visitor Operations at the National Park, said: “These incidents and the many other examples of reckless parking on roadsides and crowded car parks this weekend highlight just how dangerous this behaviour is. It is extremely lucky that the outcome in both of these cases was not a lot worse, but it could be next time.
“While the National Park is there to be enjoyed, especially on a sunny holiday weekend, parking along the sides of already narrow or busy main roads and parking across exits, when car parks are full, could put lives at risk.
“This has been an ongoing issue in recent years and particularly since lockdown restrictions eased, so as partners we are working on longer term solutions such as further public transport, active travel options or parking capacity where appropriate. These are not quick fixes and will take time and we still need everyone to play their part by behaving responsibly and not making these problems worse.”
Following the incidents on Saturday, Police Scotland closed the B837 on Sunday morning to manage the high volume of traffic on East Loch Lomond again. Officers also attended Callander Crags to move the obstructing vehicles.
Inspector Andy Bushell said: “While we appreciate that many people want to enjoy what’s left of the good weather in the beautiful surroundings of the National Park, it’s essential that travelling to these areas doesn’t adversely impact on others.
“There are designated parking areas within the National Park and if these are all in use then vehicles must seek other permitted parking zones and not leave cars on narrow access roads or public walkways.
“Recent incidents of inappropriate parking have resulted in emergency service vehicles being unable to pass and this is totally unacceptable.
“We regularly patrol the National Park and any obstructive or dangerous parking will be appropriately dealt with. This could include the physical removal of a vehicle, issuing drivers with a fixed penalty notice or even reporting individuals to the Procurator Fiscal.
“Please enjoy our outdoor spaces responsibly.”
Overcrowding and irresponsible parking was also seen in several other areas around the National Park at the weekend including around popular hills Ben A’an and Ben Venue in the Trossachs, Loch Ard near Aberfoyle.
Stirling Council enforcement officers issued 145 parking tickets across the weekend at a number of locations.
Convener of Stirling Council’s Environment and Housing Committee, Cllr Jim Thomson, said: “Some of the scenes in our rural areas last weekend were absolutely disgraceful, with irresponsible and illegal parking from a minority of visitors posing a serious risk to public safety.
“Our Enforcement Officers, who are working extremely hard across a large rural area to keep people safe in challenging circumstances, also suffered abuse from people visiting the area which is completely unacceptable.
“The significant enforcement activity that took place at the weekend hopefully hammers home the message that we only want responsible visitors coming to Stirling.”
Vice Convener, Cllr Danny Gibson said: “The Council will continue to work with its key partners to protect local communities and support local businesses, taking enforcement action when necessary, but it’s time for day-trippers to take responsibility for their actions before lives are lost.
“Show respect and consideration for local residents, avoid crowded places, take your litter home and follow the rules, which are there for a reason.
“For those who continue to flout the rules and park illegally in our rural areas, the message from last weekend is clear – you will pay a financial penalty.”
In order to help people plan ahead, regular updates are being provided online at weekends with information on how busy car parks are in the National Park.
The National Park Authority, Police Scotland, Stirling Council, along with Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and West Dunbartonshire Council, Transport Scotland and Forestry and Land Scotland, make up the National Park Safe Recovery Action Group. The group has worked together throughout the summer to manage visitor pressures and will continue to work in partnership on longer term solutions over the coming months.
Notes to editors:
The National Park’s car park status webpage has been viewed more than 35,000 times since it was set up earlier this summer.
Read more advice for visitors.
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