The Cairngorm Snow White Project is nothing to do with an imaginary 1937 Disney character. It is all about keeping a pristine Scottish wilderness in tip top shape. Please read on to find out more.
The Cairngorm National Park is a very special place. It’s an area with stunning mountains and beautiful forests and villages. There are tranquil lakes and rivers and a host of incredible flora and fauna. It’s an area of immense beauty and yet it is also under constant threat. There are many ways it is at risk and it would need a book (or probably several!) to analyse all the factors. This little blog post, however, is all about the threats that come from human poo!
Hundreds of people like to head into the winter mountains to sleep overnight in snow shelters. It is quite a popular adventure and we offer snow shelter adventures ourselves. None of this is itself a problem, but issues can arise because of people needing a number 2 during their stay!
In sub zero temperatures it isn’t practical to dig holes in the ground to bury your poop. The only viable option may seem to be to dig a hole in the snow and do the business in there. There is then nothing to see once the hole is filled in. Except that, once the season’s turn and the snow melts, there are piles of poo and paper left behind. That leaves quite an eyesore. It also leaves a risk to water sources and the unique flora that inhabit the area. It is a messy problem and the growing popularity of sheltering is multiplying the issue further.
Fortunately, the solution couldn’t be simpler. If all the people visiting that snowy landscape packed out their waste the issue would no longer be an issue. That is what the Cairngorm Snow White Facility (formerly called the Cairngorm Poo Project) is all about.
Overnighters can borrow a sealed plastic tub from the ski area ranger base. The tubs come with a supply of biodegradable bags and are free of charge to use. In the wilderness, just poo in one of the plastic bags, seal it up and pop it into the tub.
Once out of the wilderness, drop the contents into the waste bins at the Ski Area car park and return the tub. Rangers ask that used tubs are left in the container by the waste bin. They will be cleaned ready for reuse. Unused containers can be returned to the ranger base.
It is a brilliant initiative and hopefully, as word on the project continues to spread, more and more people will play their part in protecting these special places. Of course, although I have used the example of snow holing the project can offer a great solution to wilderness users at any time of year.
It would also be great to see it becoming the norm in all our wilderness areas. One other thing to mention. Getting the hang of pooping into a plastic bag doesn’t take long. We suggest taking a few sheets of newspaper. It is easy to poo onto these and then roll the paper up and pop it into one of the bidegradeable bags.