Fears that food hut could be the first of many

Shepherd's hut on West Highland Way
Shepherd's hut on West Highland Way

A new catering hut on the West Highland Way has been met with opposition, with one woman saying it’s setting a “dangerous precedent”.

Dru Edmonstone (44), from Blanefield, owns the wooden shepherd’s hut which he transports to and from a location five miles away from Milngavie - at West Arlehaven, Blanefield.

The hut is only there at weekends at the moment, with Mr Edmonstone giving away food and drink in return for a charitable donation.

However one worried resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I am genuinely concerned that a precedent will be set if we allow this to trade here and our beautiful unspoiled West Highland Way will be in ruins.

“While I understand the man running it is giving away food, hot drinks and filled rolls in return for a donation to charity - and this is commendable - I think it is wholly inappropriate on this route.

“I know it’s only one catering hut at the moment but more could follow suit.

“Are we going to allow pop up catering vans to set themselves up just wherever they fancy and risk spoiling our lovely Scottish countryside?

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch, we will all pay for this with the loss of natural beauty in the area.

“I’m not the only person concerned about this - I’ve spoken to many other people who feel the same way.”

The woman is also concerned about litter being dropped by customers along the route.

She has contacted Stirling Council Planning Department to object and is urging other local people to do the same.

A Stirling Council spokesperson said: “Full planning permission has been granted for a wooden mobile catering hut at West Arlehaven, Blanefield.

“This is a temporary arrangement until September 30 2021 and the facility in question will only trade during the tourist season.

“The catering hut will have a litter bin and all waste will be removed after each day’s trading.

“The proposal was not deemed to have a detrimental impact on the area in terms of landscape setting or character.”

Hut owner Dru Edmonstone said: “Most people have been incredibly supportive of what I’m doing.

“We made the hut out of recycled wooden materials at a cost to ourselves of £10,000.

“We are going to give a lot of the money we raise to Clydebank Pensioner’s Lunch Club and Strathblane Parish Church so they can distribute it to a variety of worthy local charities.

“Many walkers are delighted when they reach us for a refreshment when they are on their way to Drymen which takes about six or seven hours to get to from Milngavie.

“The route passes through my family’s estate (Duntreath) and we maintain the gates and path.

“We also rebuilt the bridge across the Blane River to make it accessible for walkers andclear lots of litter and fly tipping along the path including microwaves and tents.

“There will be no problem with litter from the hut.”