The owners of the UK’s second highest mountain have voiced alarm at the increasing amount of human waste on the summit.
The RSPB and the National Trust for Scotland are concerned about the health risks from faeces left lying on Ben Macdui.
The 4,294ft peak in the Cairngorms National Park is popular with walkers and climbers all year round.
But the two organisations have raised particular fears about the amount of waste left at “Sapper’s bothy”, a ruined stone hut built by the Ordnance Survey in the 1840s when they were establishing the height of the mountain.
Jeremy Roberts, site manager for the RSPB-owned Abernethy reserve, which takes in much of the mountain, said, “I would urge all visitors to respect this wonderful place and act responsibly. Please leave the mountain as you would hope to find it.
“This is a very sensitive environment and this kind of irresponsible behaviour spoils the experience of people coming to the area. It also represents a serious health risk as the waste could contaminate nearby water courses.”
Peter Holden, National Trust for Scotland head ranger at Mar Lodge Estate, which includes part of Ben Macdui, said, “It is both socially and environmentally unacceptable that a minority of visitors should behave in a manner that demonstrates a total disregard for such special places and for the enjoyment of others.
“Our mountain summits represent some of our most remote and pristine environments, amongst the most challenging to visit and to manage.
“We would encourage visitors to aspire to the principles of ‘Leave No Trace’ and follow best practice for the burial of human waste away from the plateau.”