Getting outside for me is as much about exploring the trails close to where I live on a Saturday morning as it is about travelling further away for more organised or planned adventures. It’s just good to spend time at home, and I feel it is important to make an effort to get to know my local area.
Walking up to the Viking Way in Lincoln.
As long-time readers of Splodz Blogz may already know, I live within about one mile of the Viking Way. This is a 147 mile long distance trail here in the UK, and while the thought of hiking the whole thing is something of a recurring idea, I know the few miles in either direction of my home town really quite well (and if any of you are doing the whole thing and fancy some company or a cuppa when you get here, please drop me a line). Heading up onto the ridge is one of three or four default routes I use when I just want to spend one hour outside, or when I’ve got loads of stuff to do and can only spare enough time to walk four miles. The other day was a great example of the latter – my to do list was huge, the forecast was promising rain, and so I chose to walk to the shop the long way around. One hour outside, some fresh air and exercise, some milk and veggies purchased, and the rest of the day free to tackle the chores.
View from the Viking Way, Lincoln.
I laced up my boots, grabbed a bag to carry the groceries, and headed out along the trail. My route takes me along a path between a couple of fields, and then up a short but steep bank to the Viking Way. It was cold and windy, and I didn’t miss the rain entirely, but I was happily walking along, enjoying the views and the fact I had made time for one of my favourite things.
A Viking Way way-marker.
Sadly, but not unusually, as I walked along this popular trail, I had to step over and around a number of piles of dog poo on the Viking Way. Each time I have to change my stride, I get a little bit more annoyed; come on people, pick up after your pet. It’s not okay to leave it because you’re on a muddy trail – walkers, kids, other animals, all use these trails and we don’t want to have to wash the results of your dog’s dinner off of our footwear. It’s horrid. Have you not heard the phrase “take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints”? Well the footprints aren’t supposed to be in excrement. Pick up after your dog, please.
And then, and I am only kind of sorry for the photograph, I came across this:
Poo bag on barbed wire. Nice.
Yes, that’s a bright pink poo bag, full, tied to a fence. Seriously.
I can’t quite decide what happened here. All I am left with is the end result and I’m no investigating officer. On the one hand we have a dog owner who was out walking their pet who had taken a poo bag with them and did the right thing by collecting up the deposit. But rather than taking it home, they chose to tie it to the barbed wire fence that runs alongside the trail, for all to see. Right. On the other hand, we have a dog owner who decided not to pick up after their pet, and another walker/dog owner who came along and chose to pick it up using their own poo bag and tie it to the fence. Someone who did half a job and thought it was okay to leave the poo bag behind, versus someone trying to make a point by picking up after someone else and leave it there as a sign.
Either way I was frustrated enough to take a photo of the poo on the Viking Way and write a blog post. So I guess if it was the latter of my two suggestions their point has been made at least to me – I hope the person responsible for the poo in the first place has also seen it and is suitably embarrassed. I’m afraid I simply cannot understand why someone would think it is okay to tie a full poo bag to a fence? Or discard it on the floor. Not only have you done a poor job as a dog owner, but you’ve also added extra litter to our environment by leaving your plastic waste.
Viking Way, Lincoln.
I love getting outside in my local area in any spare time I find myself with, it’s one of the reasons I have been chosen as a Get Outside Champion this year, and something I will be doing my best to encourage you to do over the next twelve months. But it’s very difficult to want to write inspiring and motivating posts when there are pink poo bags attached to fences in my photographs.
Walking my local trail in Lincolnshire.
As far as I see it, it’s all very simple. You own the pet. You choose to walk it here. Clear up after it and find a suitable bin to put it in, or take it home and put it in your own bin. Not having a poo bin within three metres or even four miles is not a good enough excuse not to do your duty. Leave your footprints, sure, everything else goes back home with you. We don’t have to have dog poo on the Viking Way, we don’t want it there.
Walking my local trail in Lincolnshire.
I don’t know what annoys you when you walking the trails. But this has definitely riled me, somewhat. If you are a dog owner, please help me out here by saying that you always clean up after your pet when you are out on the trails – however muddy they might be. And whether you are a pet owner or not, I hope you never see this when you are out walking. And my next post about the outdoors will be much more pleasant, I promise!