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Police and rangers patrols stepped up at Cairngorms beauty spot

By Gavin Musgrove

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Loch Morlich and the surrounding Glenmore area is hugely popular in the summer and visitor numbers have boomed since the end of the first lockdown.
Loch Morlich and the surrounding Glenmore area is hugely popular in the summer and visitor numbers have boomed since the end of the first lockdown.

Joint patrols involving police and Cairngorms National Park Authority rangers have been stepped up at the strath's most popular beauty spot to include Friday and Saturday nights until the end of the summer.

The force and CNPA have said that the move is to ensure the safety and enjoyment of visitors to Glenmore and Loch Morlich which has suffered from a rise in anti-social issues and dirty camping following the end of the first Covid lockdown.

The increase in patrols comes as the busiest tourism season gets under way with the English schools now on holiday too.

Rangers from the CNPA, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) and Highland Council on on patrol all week at the loch and surrounding area and they will now be joined at peak times on Friday and Saturday evenings by local police.

The joint patrols began last weekend and will continue until the last weekend in August.

Police Scotland’s enhanced presence in these areas during peak hours are of course in addition to their routine patrols throughout the week.

It is the second consecutive year these partnership patrols have been used in and around Glenmore.

CNPA chiefs said Glenmore and Loch Morlich are located in an area of outstanding natural beauty and the patrols will also help to protect the environment within the national park.

Grant Moir, the park authority's chief executive, said: “The vast majority of the visitors to the Cairngorms National Park are enjoying their experience and behaving very well – the combined presence of rangers and the police at key times will help support everyone to have a great time here in a way that protects the local environment.”

Chief Inspector Jen Valentine, of Police Scotland, said: “We want all visitors to the area and locals to enjoy being outdoors and to be safe doing so over the summer months.

“The vast majority of people behave responsibly, and we thank them for that.

"Unfortunately, there are still instances of anti-social behaviour, including littering, parking, starting fires and drinking.

“We are working with partners, including the CNPA and FLS to help everyone to stay safe. Officers will be on patrol with these agencies.”

Maree Morrison, FLS recreation ranger in the area, said: “Glenmore seems to be getting more popular every year, and with so many people visiting, it’s important that everyone does their bit to keep the place looking good and for it to continue to be welcoming to visitors and local residents.

“Thankfully, most people know how to behave but there are always some people whose behaviour spoils things for everyone else.

"This support from Police Scotland is a great boost for our efforts to make visitors realise that Glenmore – and its visitors – are to be treated with respect.”

Councillor Ken Gowans, the council’s chair of the economy and infrastructure committee, said: “The council is delighted to once more support the additional police patrols in Glenmore which had a positive impact on the national park last year.

“With the ongoing visitor management pressures seen around the Highlands, it is important we continue to work together on initiatives like this to strengthen the visitor offer and promote responsible tourism.”

The joint patrols run until the weekend of 20 August.

Police are also urging visitors to the loch and other watercourses to be careful.

A force spokeswoman said: “We urge people to take care around water, especially when swimming in lochs, reservoirs and rivers. Take care and never enter the water after consuming alcohol.

"Please enjoy the countryside responsibly and report any concerns by calling Police Scotland on 101 or 999 if it is an emergency.”

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