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Poo & You in 'The Great Outdoors'

Updated: Nov 20, 2021

As more people make the seasonal migration to the great outdoors across the UK for their stay-cation. Human waste problems will undoubtedly be on the rise. With the forecast for visitor numbers to be even higher in 2022, so it's important we take time to see how we can play our part in the education of our visitors and how to minimise their impact on our delicate natural and green spaces.



Going to the toilet, in the great outdoors can be one of the most surprisingly peaceful and calming experiences as you reconnect with a natural relationship we as humans once had with the outdoors, or it can be one of absolute horror and dread, to the extent where people may starve themselves or seriously dehydrate themselves in a bid to avoid having to do so. Either way we have all been caught out at some point and just have to go. This article sets out to provide some basic understanding of how to do it responsibly, and what may happen if you don't. Don't worry this is not the USA, you can relax, there are no regulations that oblige you to carry out your own faeces in a bag.


TIME4EXPERIENCE are Gold Snowdonia Ambassadors and as such promote and encourage sustainable and responsible tourism and visitation of all of our national parks and natural spaces.


BASIC PRINCIPLES:

  1. Aim to go as far as is practical from any water source, but at least 15m.

  2. Dig a hole approximately 6 inches deep and wide. A small trowel is helpful.

  3. Toss in a handful / dusting of soil after each use to speed up decomposition.

  4. Pack out used toilet paper as you would a used facial tissue.

  5. Some people may suggest burning your toilet paper, BUT aside from fires not being permitted in our national parks, there are risks that a piece of toilet paper could start a fire after being carried by the wind whilst alight.

WHAT HAPPENS IF PEOPLE ARE IRRESPONSIBLE WHEN GOING TO THE TOILET?

  • Used toilet paper can be left strewn about and when it rains, gets wet, splits up and spreads. When the wind picks up the used paper can be picked up to litter and pollute other areas.

  • Water sources for drinking water and sensitive ecosystems can be polluted. It’s estimated there are nearly 100 billion bacteria per gram of wet stool. Hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera, norovirus, polio, E. coli, tape worms, giardia, rotavirus—they'll all spread via the aptly named faecal-oral route.

OFFICIAL GUIDANCE:

Snowdonia National P{ark Authority

https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/visiting/plan,-discover,-protect/wild-camping


THE GOOD WORK OF VOLUNTEERS

https://www.snowdonia-society.org.uk/volunteers-back-with-a-bang/

https://www.snowdonia-society.org.uk/no-toilets-in-the-mountains/


SOME HARD TRUTHS

  • Human waste takes about a year to fully decompose.

  • Placing a large rock on your poo-pile does not make it invisible nor have you buried it.

  • Faeces takes much longer to decompose in mountainous environments.

POO in The News:

www.dailypost.co.uk (latest north wales news)

metro.co.uk (news but not as you know it)

walesonline.co.uk (welsh national news)

bbc.co.uk (national news)

dailystar.co.uk (national news)


OTHER 'How to Poo In The Outdoors' ARTICLES:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/skills/how_to_poo_outdoors-7436

https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/countryside-code/outdoor-toilet-tips

https://www.mudandroutes.com/s-wilds

https://www.freedom-outdoors.co.uk/need-the-toilet-outdoors/

http://www.mcofs.org.uk/assets/access/where-to-go-leaflet.asp.pdf

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/rock_talk/pooing_in_the_outdoors_-_particularly_crags-554419


A book I have never read but has been highly recommended to get to grips with the process, that is also already in its 4th edition, is 'How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art'.





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