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Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace Stone Stacking

Leave no trace is a common statement you will find and hear when travelling to and around the Highlands of Scotland.

Many areas of the Highlands are very Fragile, as the Map Below Shows.

Using this should allow people to be aware of what they do, where they go, and how they behave, not for themselves but for the Fragile future of the Highlands and those who live there, be they be Human or animal.

The ecosystem of the Highlands is vitally essential, and we all have to ensure we do our best to protect it where we can all enjoy a wilder, richer and more vibrant natural Scotland.

As you travel the Highlands, you start to notice the number of Stone stacks made by visitors as they visit different places. Stone stacking is fast becoming a popular thing and has become very popular at Beaches and other locations of interest.

Are they necessary or just a bit of fun and what harm can they do.

Stone stacks, or cairns, have prehistoric origins. They marked Neolithic burial grounds in Scotland, guided nautical travels in Scandinavia, and served as shrines to the Inca goddess Pachamama in Peru.

We question their use now and, being honest, feel that what one person does, another follows, much like sheep.

Why Not? What is wrong with stacking a few stones on top of each other.


The first apparent reason is ecological; moving rocks reveals the animals that use those rocks as homes. Such exposure leaves these creatures vulnerable to the elements and predators while also risking their food and shelter.

The second is geological; moving rocks generates faster weathering and erosion rates by exposing the soil beneath the winds and rains.

The third is aesthetics. While some people find stone stacks pleasing, others visit the Highlands to see it in its natural state and not with manufactured structures that are false to the environment.

To some people, stone stacks are as vulgar as litter or initials carved into trees by generations of teenage darlings.

Stacks are an intrusion, enforcing our presence on others long after our departure. It is an offence against the first and most important rule of wild adventuring: leave no trace.

Social media can take the blame for much of this relatively new phenomenon, transforming an activity that would be primarily harmless in isolation into something with planetary impact.
It has now grown from a handful of people doing it. Still, it has escalated over the past few years, and somehow there needs education to finding ways to stop people harming and destroying more than just the Landscape but the ecosystem that goes hand in hand with it.

After all, we don’t ask for anything.

Please “Leave Nothing but Footprints”


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