/ Siurana wild camping / van dossing - respect please

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ali k on 02 Dec 2012
I went up to Siurana earlier this week and was pretty appalled by what I saw in the main car park at the top. In the four and a bit years I've lived here and been visiting regularly it was the worst I've seen it in terms of lack of respect for the villagers.

There always have been a few vans parked up in the various lay-bys over the years but in the last couple of years especially the Costa Daurada crags have seen a huge rise in popularity. Van dossing and discrete wild camping have always been tolerated, but there is a point at which it will no longer be that way. The Spanish are as bad as anyone for lack of respect when camping / van dossing so this rant is by no means restricted to visiting climbers but there were several vans on UK plates in the car park - one of which had their gas bottle and tarpaulin still spread out while they were presumably off climbing. Please lead by example and have a word with anyone who is behaving irresponsibly and leaving stuff out while they go off climbing. Just because it's currently tolerated does not make it acceptable.

Examples of behaviour I saw that I personally deem unacceptable include:- (remember this is on one visit - imagine seeing this day in day out when you live there)

- Tents still pitched at 10.30am (in the main tourist car park FFS!)
- Washing line strung up between tree/van with washing left hanging up to dry during the day.
- People coming out of the forest or wandering round the car park with bog rolls in their hand (hmmm I wonder where they've just been)
- Chairs / tarpaulins / stoves / pots / rubbish bags etc left out during the day next to vans.

Considering this is all in the main visitor car park for what is a very popular tourist spot (not just climbers) and only 100m away from the village. Popular with walkers, sightseers, restaurant goers - all of whom actually spend money in the village rather than just do a massive Lidl shop and then doss in the car park for a week or two whilst sh*tting all over the forest and contributing nothing to local business. It honestly looked like a traveller's site when I arrived there in the morning.

Sorry for the rant and tarring everyone but visiting climbers have a part to play in this and should act responsibly.
Pete O'Donovan - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ali k:

I'm in complete agreement with this.

Unless van-based climbers staying in Siurana (and to a slightly lesser extent, Margalef) self-regulate, it is only a matter of time before the hitherto extremely tolerant Catalan authorities feel compelled to act.

As Ali says, traveling UK climbers generally make up only a small percentage of these van-shanty towns, but that is no reason to act irresponsibly.

If the situation remains the same, Rodellar-style restrictions are sure to follow — maybe not a bad thing in the long term.

The key-words are respect and discretion.

racodemisa - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ali k: Think you are bang on,is is not true that the authorities are now taking action over this? I think places like Siurana need protection and if this means banning wild camping so be it...ditto ceuse,gorge du tarn,Margalef etc.
Also I agree over the issue re-contributing to the local economy.
Alex1 - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ali k:

Haven't been for a few years but remember the wild camp spots were pretty horrible - bog roll everywhere.
Wiley Coyote2 - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to ali k:

Agreed. Not been to Siurana lately but saw the same sort of behaviour at other Catalan sites earlier this year. Aside from the total disregard for locals and the environment it's just asking for trouble

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