IT is one of Scotland's most iconic beauty spots, immortalised in poetry and song and beloved by generations of visitors.

But for decades Loch Lomond has been blighted by anti-social campers and daytrippers who leave litter and refuse in their wake, despoiling the area's natural beauty.

Now bosses at the he Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority are to open a new front in the war against waste by employing a dedicated Litter Prevention Manager to try to solve the problem.

Previous attempts to curb environmental damage such as plastic rubbish, abandoned camping gear and discarded tin cans on the Loch's shores have seen campers herded into dedicated zones, police monitoring laybys and endless information campaigns.

But campaigners say that the latest attempt of employing someone to keep a lid on the problem shows that the fight against litter louts is being lost.

The park has been hindered by the fact that much of its 720 square miles is covered by different councils who don't have the same litter collecting strategies.

Fly-tipping is also a huge problem, with burnt out cars, abandoned tyres and other detritus affecting laybys and verges.

The job of the Litter Prevention Manager, a post which pays between £36,000 and £43,000, will see the creation of a "joined-up" strategy to deal with rubbish being dumped in the park, a top priorities in the authority's 5-Year Plan.

Nick Kempe, a member of the executive committee of the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, who also runs the blog Parkswatch Scotland, said he welcomed the appointment but had several reservations.

He said: "I think the reason they have employed such a well-paid person is that they are meant to be working together in partnership with local authorities and they have failed to do so for several years.

"One of the problems is that although they have councillors for the local authorities on their board, they seem to be incapable of getting staff to cooperate.

"You might raise eyebrows about it being a senior management post, but I suspect what they are attempting to do is try to give some leadership across the local authorities that make up the area."

Mr Kempe said one of the main problems was that different councils had different policies, with some not keen on putting bins in laybys.

"What's basically happened under austerity is that no-one wants to spend any more money so they all try and leave it to others to clear up the mess. There is quite a big issue around that, and also over flytipping," Mr Kempe said.

"This is a much wider urban problem. Litter in the countryside is a big issue.

"A post is not going to do this on its own - it needs political support to make everybody work together and create a workable strategy."

The National Park attracts more than four million visitors every year and has some of Scotland's busiest major roads passing through it.

In 2016 the Park Authority banned wild camping in a bid to restrict overnight visitors to designated campsites. The scheme was being brought in amid concerns over the impact unrestricted camping, including the amount of rubbish which had been strewn around the Loch.

But efforts to cut out rubbish have been in vain, with many areas still marred by trash. Dave Morris, a former Director of Ramblers Scotland, said the national park authority had wrongly focused on campers as the cause of the scourge, and believes it is day trippers and those driving through who cause much of the problem.

"Goodness knows whether the appointment of a Litter Manager on a salary of around £40,000 pa is going to make any difference," Mr Morris said.

"In its 15-plus years of existence this national park has demonstrated that it hasn't a clue about how to deal with litter and is more interested in spending its resources on the persecution of innocent campers than dealing with the real culprits."

However, a spokesperson from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: "The national park is one of the most beautiful places in Scotland but unfortunately litter can be a problem blighting some parts of this outstanding landscape, especially during peak periods.

"Addressing this issue is one of our key priorities and we have recently appointed a Litter Prevention Manager who will be responsible for developing a National Park-wide litter prevention strategy, working with partners to drive positive change.

"Although the National Park Authority is not responsible for collecting much of the litter left in the national park, we are leading a joined-up approach to tackle this issue together.

"Our new Litter Prevention Manager will play a vital role in helping to work collaboratively with stakeholders throughout the national park to prevent litter spoiling the natural beauty of the area."