A £300 picnic bench at the Queen’s Balmoral estate has been destroyed by thoughtless campers.
The incident is one of several damaging fires in the grounds and estate managers have pleaded with campers to take more care.
Staff at the 55,000 acre estate in Aberdeenshire, which is open from April until the end of July, discovered a disposable barbecue had melted through the bench.
Senior ranger Glyn Jones said that his team have been working to put out at least one fire a week on the Royal grounds.
He said: “Recently we’ve had to replace a £300 pinic bench because a visitor used a disposable BBQ’s on top of it.
“They’re made of a very hard recylced plastic and as you can imagine placing a hot BBQ on top ends up burning a hole through them.
“We’re asking people to build their fires responsibly and instead of making fire use a gas camping stove instead.
“Campfires can leave behind damaged and scorched ground. It can also leave a deep hole thanks to peat in the ground that keeps burning.”
He added that litter left behind on the fire can also be a problem.
He continued: “Nine out of ten times it’s associated with litter as well. People will try to burn things on the fire that won’t burn like cans and foil.
“The message we’re pushing is tread lightly, leave no trace behind. Don’t start fires during dry-spells, like the one we’re recently having and make sure the fire is completely out.
“It’s not just enough to splatter the remainder of your water bottle on to a fire and stamp it out.
“People don’t realist just how much water you need to put a fire out; you need four to five buckets a lot of the time, especially in hot and dry weather.
The warning comes six years after a huge blaze was tackled by firefighters on Her Majesty’s retreat.
Posting a message online from the estate social media page, they said: “This is typical of the campfire damage that we see most days on Balmoral Estate.
“This fire was lit in a remnant of the old Caledonian Pine Forest, luckily it did not spread.
“The Estate rangers spend a great deal of their time repairing this type of damage.”
The Balmoral Castle and Estate has been the Scottish home of the Royal Family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1852.
The grounds are home to range of wildlife, including the elusive and rare capercaillie, otters and red squirrels.