Thank you for this balanced article. It’s not easy to find he balance between tourism, agriculture, local life and making a living. Whatever people do some others will complain.
Everyone who wants to be able to enjoy wild places should be able to do so. Are there just too many of us? There are many problems with overpopulation: this is one that seldom receives attention.
A few years ago I visited the Norwegian fjords and was struck by how populated and verdant the landscape was, with woodland and meadows beneath stark rocky mountains. By the fjords,at least, it wasn’t really a wilderness.
I am sceptical that Highland Scotland is a wilderness either. Surely it is an artificial landscape , a result of deforestation, depopulation and managed estates?
It has always struck me as an empty and barren landscape. Visiting Norway confirmed this, given that it has a similar Gulf Stream maritime climate, actually slightly north of Scotland.
Yes. It would have looked very different before the Clearances and the advent of sheep. And very different again, before the Great Caledonian Forest was cleared. Until circa one thousand years ago, there were beavers and bears. Until a couple of thousand before that, there were aurochs. The last wolves survived into the 16th century.
But all that is of course broadly true of England and Wales as well.
And everywhere else where mankind has established itself.
If you like a place don’t post it. No need to boast on Instagram or Facebook, tell your friends or nice people you meet. Best places are found by word of mouth.
“make it too expensive and you run the risk of exclusivity.”
But make it too cheap and available and you risk ruining much of the quality that made the place desirable and end up with sites of “tourist experience” rather the genuine article that drew people there in the first place. The crowds at many tourist destinations now ruin the experience unless you go out of season or out of the usual hours.
Interesting article pondering a very real conflict – we do indeed destroy the things we love.
Sorry to carp incidentally, but I think your uncle is a deer stalker; a deerstalker is a hat.
Excellent post. It’s a global problem and one without satisfactory solutions. I always grow annoyed with urban environmentalists who lambast ranchers for slaughtering wolves, who often lay waste to their cattle. I also completely understand the importance wolves play in the ecosystem and the carnage Wisconsin unleashed on its wolf population in a span of a week a year or so ago.
Tourism is a frustrating endeavor. Western North Carolina 20 years ago was still very much a hidden jewel that has now morphed into overbuilt and overrun tourist traps. There are still many good places in that area but summer is hell.
I live in the Lake District and we’re having similar problems. Businesses are starting to close because they cannot find staff to work for them. (There aren’t affordable places to live and public transport is costly.)
The problem with tourism as a whole is complex. I think there’s little to no balance. Whilst the Lake District thrums with activity, packed car parks and high streets. A little over the National Park border is a different story. (Despite being just as beautiful)
The issue is giving places ‘special’ significance. It doesn’t allow balance. It gives tourists a false incentive that one place is ‘better’ than another. I personally believe that we can do something about this.
Apparently, Patrick sees no irony in his driving thru this nearly pristine wilderness in a pollution spewing vehicle … (sarc off)
And does anyone else think it strange that he is happy to shoot an inoffensive goose, and then make a sarky comment about the influx of holidaymakers settling in to enjoy croissants and the picture-postcard view?
Interesting post. 2 points I would make though are crofting and farming are different things. Crofters are not farmers and vice versa. Secondly Skye is not part of the Western Isles. Lewis, Harris, Scalpay Berneray, N and S Uist, Benbecula and Barra plus a host of smaller, uninhabited islands make up the Western Isles. Skye is part of the Inner Hebrides, a different group. If you want to hear corncrakes, they are still to be found on the Western coast of Lewis, Harris and N and S Uist. I have heard their particularly annoying call many times this summer.