Poo in the Wild places ! what can we do about it? What a mess we found yesterday.

Very recent fire pit in the woods.

I was over in the West and my friend and I took her dog for a walk near Sheildaig. Despite the fire risk and two signs some stupid folk had a fire in the forest. Crazy as this must have been done in the weekend despite massive Fire risk warnings. There is even High Fire Risk signs where they were.

High Fire Risk.

That was not the worst thing a bit further on there was lots of clean wipes/ paper and human feaces there was 4 separate piles strewn with about . Yet there is a toilet about half a mile away in the village. How do we stop this and why oh why do folk do this! It was disgusting and I know the problem as I have had a bowel problem in recent years. Yet these folk must have been staying here right by the main road.

Lots of this lying about .

This is an area where the local village folk walk and especially children play. The toilets in the village are run by them it seems Highland Council cannot afford to pay for them. So a small like Sheildaig had to take the maintenance on and the cleaning of the toilet. This happens all over the country. This too me is even worse how do we educate folk? This is happening all over the Country. Yet folk still leave such a mess. It’s right beside the NC 500 but sadly despite all the efforts by so many some folk still poo in the woods.

We reported this to the locals and sadly someone will have to clean this mess up.

Separate places where folk have pooed!

Yes, it happens to us all, getting caught short away from toilet facilities. But please read the following advice from Mountaineering Scotland.

I carry a small trowel on the hills so I can if caught out dig a hole. Do not use wipes as most are not biodegradable .

Below is some common sense advice to minimise the environmental and visual impact of your emergency poo.

  • Find an area well away from water courses, paths, summit areas and places where others might shelter (eg in the lee of large boulders, behind buildings etc).
  • Look for a depression in the ground or a place that is easy to dig out, with some nearby damp moss or other natural material to use as toilet paper.
  • Further excavate the depression in the ground by scraping and kicking with your foot or use a stick/walking pole or similar object. If deep soft moss is present, you can often create a good result simply by using your hands to lift it aside. Any loose stones can also be moved by hand to deepen the depression.
  • Now use the depression to do your poo. Damp moss makes the ideal substitute for toilet paper, indeed many find it even better than toilet paper.
  • Place the used moss on top of the poo, which helps to start covering it up.
  • If you have used toilet paper, wipes or tissues, you should take them with you in a plastic bag or container rather than burying them.
  • Cover the poo with the material you initially dug out of the depression. Add to this by kicking and scraping more material from around the depression to create a thick layer of organic material over the waste. Ideally use soil, moss, dead wet leaves, etc, whatever is available. This will make it odour proof and help it to decompose.
  • On top of this place stones, rocks or large branches so that dogs and other animals cannot get access and dig up the waste.
  • Clean your hands with hand sanitiser or by washing thoroughly.

For more detailed information on toileting outdoors, read our Where to go leaflet.


Further resources:

Please heed the advice !

Comments as always welcome!

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Enviroment, Family, Friends, Health, Mountaineering, Well being, Wildlife. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Poo in the Wild places ! what can we do about it? What a mess we found yesterday.

  1. Al Barnard says:

    In the back of beyond, I always bury as per instructions above. Lots of good bio degradable toilet paper if you’re squeamish about moss.

    Bagging and carrying out is surely the way if you’re in a well trodden/used area or in winter.

    Also, always a reminder not drink the water from the likes of coire Domhain and other popular snow hole and camping venues.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter Aikman says:

    When I have found the remains of camp fires near a bothy, I dismantle the stones and throw them into the moor. Then dig up the burnt area in the middle to hide the ashes, and cover that with organic material, Occasionally I would find little hidden caches of wood. They were also dispersed as far as I could throw them.

    Liked by 1 person

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