Threave Estate hide unusable this summer after vandal attack
The team at the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Estate are clearing up after a wheelchair accessible bird watcher’s hide was vandalised and set on fire.
The attack on the Stepping Stones Hide comes just days after the launch of a new campaign urging visitors to ‘Love this place, leave no trace’.
Vandals tried to set the hide on fire and shattered two reinforced windows, with the attack rendering it unusable as staff prepare for peak season.
This is not the first time the hide has been targeted, with repairs for graffiti, damaged doors and broken windows amounting to around £10,000 over the past few years.
It also follows a “suspicious” fire at the Dark Skies Observatory last month, which saw the tourist attraction completely burnt to the ground.
Samuel Gallacher, operations manager for Glasgow and Ben Lomond, Dumfries and Galloway, said : “This has happened at a terrible time, just as the summer holidays begin. It’s one of the most accessible hides we have and has wheelchair access.
“It’s a real pity as some the plans that we had for increased visitors are now ruined. It’s really disheartening, both for the team and everyone who loves and visits the estate.
"We work so hard to protect these places in the best way possible and to face this situation is a slap in the face for everything that we are trying to achieve.”
“The damage will take weeks to repair, everything is taking longer now - due to supply chains and other factors like this. The reinforced glass we need will take weeks to arrive.
"On the positive side, we do have fire retardant on the structure and that’s clearly doing its job. It could have been a lot worse.”
‘Love this place, leave no trace’ campaign welcomes new visitors to the countryside with tips on how to prepare for and enjoy the experience, but also highlights the rise in anti-social behaviour which is endangering the natural environment, harming local communities, and devastating conservation projects.
For more information visit www.nts.org.uk/leave-no-trace