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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Few spoil area for caring majority

A BIG thank you to the volunteers who helped keep Langholm bonnie by joining the annual spring clean a week past Sunday.

Now it’s up to the rest of us to keep it that way. It’s always possible to take your litter to a nearby bin or take it home.

I used to take part in the clean-up but hurt my back one year dragging an increasingly heavy sack of rubbish up the Copshaw road to Whita Yett and on up to the monument.

I felt guilty when I saw the young and the far from young last Sunday picking up rubbish so I got into the car during the week and drove to the MacDiarmid memorial, parked the car and walked over the cattle grid down into the Tarras valley, returning with a full bag of rubbish from the sides of the road.

A lot of this came from the passing places where motorists park so it was obviously discarded by people who could easily have taken it away with them.

But I discovered something which really puzzled me.

Under the cattle grid lay at least a dozen empty, rusted coke cans. They’d obviously been there a long time. Now who would push all these cans through the grid? Someone cleaning out a car? But there’s a litter bin at the car park nearby.

Well, they’re now all in the bin where they should have been in the first place, having got down on my hands and knees to howk them out.

Another puzzling stash of litter, this time empty pint milk cartons, was discovered by the Tuesday afternoon walkers as they enjoyed a walk along the old railway line last week.

There were a dozen or so lying down the banking beneath the seat at the far end of the railway line. Alongside them were several empty Lucozade bottles.

It surprised us that people drinking milk and/or Lucozade should be so irresponsible as to throw away their empties in such a visible place. It could be seen from the road.

Not one or even two people could have drunk all that liquid so presumably those responsible had been in a group.

We didn’t have enough plastic bags to take it all home so one of our walkers, who’d been on the Bonnie Langholm clean-up, offered to bring her car along next day and remove the offending articles.

She noticed even more cartons on the other side of the railway track but they were dated February and March, whereas those down the banking had April dates. Now there’s a mystery waiting to be solved.

The only solution to this problem of litter and dog fouling is for one or two perpetrators to be caught, named and shamed. I’m sure this, coupled with a monetary fine, would act as a deterrent to others. But when is this ever going to happen?

Another gripe of mine is the vandalism of seats around the town. I’m getting to the age of appreciating a seat when I’m up on the hills. Besides, they give one the opportunity to look around at our stunning scenery.

The one above Whita Well, put up by the Castle Craigs Club, has a spar broken off, making it rather uncomfortable to sit on.

The latest victim is the seat at the other end of the quarries, the one at Jimsie’s Castle with the fine view down over the town.

It was put there by former moorland project officer, Emma Ahart, in appreciation for the help she’d had from several people.

The plaque, which tells of this, is missing.

First of all I noticed one of the dome-headed screws had been removed. The following week the other had been sheared off. No mean feat, and one requiring a tool and a lot of effort.

I’m afraid it’s all doom and gloom this week. But it’s all down to a small minority spoiling things for the majority of civic-minded townsfolk. Hopefully, I’ll be in a more positive frame of mind next week.

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