Satisfaction with Wild Scotland
Leharne, Thomas Stephen
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Committed outdoor users are incredibly important to the financial stability of local economies in remote regions of Scotland. They are also, unfortunately, very sensitive to degradations in landscape quality. In Scotland’s wild lands, substantial changes are occurring. Of biggest concerns for outdoor users are the increasing number of wind turbines, and associated infrastructure, and crowding at certain honeypot sites. Satisfaction with a landscape is predicated upon the motivations and expectations of those visiting being fulfilled. If they are not fulfilled, then committed outdoor users will not return to a location, thus halting their critically important revenue stream. Given the potential for ruinous consequences, this dissertation has collected data from committed outdoor users to understand how the above human intrusions affect their satisfaction with wild Scotland. To specifically target this demographic, this investigation focused upon the activity of wild camping which is predominantly undertaken by committed adventures. An online questionnaire was used to collect data on the motivations and expectations of wild camping in Scotland. It also measured the acceptability of different structures in the wild landscape and a permit-based management strategy to limit access but ensure solitude. The findings observe that committed outdoor users engage in wild camping, not simply to help facilitate outdoor recreation, but to escape the pressures of society and find solitude in nature. This quest for solitude, however, was not sufficiently important for respondents to want to limit access to other users. The presence of human structures, for committed outdoor users, significantly degraded their satisfaction with the landscape. This finding highlights the need for policy makers to recognise the concerns of committed outdoor users have of changes in the environment since such changes are jeopardising the economic security of these remote areas of Scotland.