ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
This is a walk taken during the height of late summer last year in the afternoon from Old Kilpatrick to Duntocher and back. I did it with my friend Anne as it is one of our favourite local walks near Glasgow. I've always loved spring, summer, and autumn for the colours and lush vegetation (and hopefully the heat) and this particular outing occurred during a heatwave so late afternoon was a perfect time to go out being still pleasantly warm but 8 degrees cooler than peak mid-day temperatures.
The bugs were enjoying the heat as well. Soldier Beetles here. The grass, flowers, and surrounding vegetation appeared at its tallest and most verdant... waist to head high in places... July and August....the nearest Scotland gets to a tropical paradise.
Shimmering heat haze over the golden cornfields were giving off a distinct Wizard of Oz vibe in my imagination and did I not have my (sometimes faithful) Dorothy and Toto marching right beside me... no hint of a tornado yet. So....everything was perfect in Munchkinland.
Or was it? I say this as it struck me on several short winter walks recently around my local area that the Central Belt... hedgerows, canal foot paths, lay-bys, grass verges, small wooded strips.... must be one of the world's dirtiest locations. Fact. In summer all the rubbish of beer cans, energy drinks, glass bottles,coffee cartons, dog shit, etc is thankfully hidden and we can pretend we all live in a beautiful serene scenic country. In winter however it is laid completely bare and I could spend an hour in any living room sized section of hedgerow or layby near me picking up dozens of individual pieces of litter and handfuls of cans. No exaggeration. I will take photographs next time to prove it. Sadly you could pick it all clean and in one month it would be back again as bad as ever. Scotland, (and the UK in general) has fantastic scenery- one of the world's most varied landscapes, but it is very, very bad for litter. World class in fact. Rightly famous for it as an incredibly dirty nation. Normally I can ignore it in the main but post pandemic, this winter, it seems to be worse than ever before. Especially with the spring flowers bursting out surrounded by a cheerful garland of used nappies, half empty beer cans, vomit, and wine bottles. Might make an apt eye catching poster for the new SNP elections.
Anyway, back to the dream time heat of Oz and the euphoria of mid summer where everything is hidden again. A pleasant path leading to the village of Duntocher.
Back to beauty once more.
Poppies in a garden.
Summer at its finest.
An unusual flower. Nature always does its very best to cheer us up with beauty but a percentage of humanity seems to delight in desecrating it instead. How hard can it be to put litter in a bin or take it home with you?
Even the weeds do their part to hide the sea of rubbish left behind by thoughtless or evil individuals. Rose bay willow herb here.
Pink thistles and soldier beetles getting jiggy.
The walk follows the route of the Antonine Wall in places. Even a percentage of Roman recruits stationed in the various forts presumably tossed litter around here. Five percent? Ten percent? Fifteen?
It's now a children's play park. Since childhood I don't leave litter around and always carry anything I bring with me on any walk back to my own house bin or find one along the route so who are these people that continually drop stuff out of cars or toss it away as they walk along. Do they want to live in a world with rubbish knee deep? Aren't smart phones supposed to make us smarter... not turn us into idiots?
Signpost to Rome. Only 413 leagues to walk? That actually sounds achievable! After all, they did it one thousand years ago.
In not very well padded sandals or boots.. maybe even bare feet for some.
Path up Golden hill.
Golden hill summit view.
The local burn. A shady cool place under the trees in the heat.
The local park in Duntocher.
Same local park.
The euphoria of high summer vegetation. It hides many sins. Unlike humans, animals have to live here. This is their home and we continually destroy it. No wonder insect, bird, reptile, and mammal populations are crashing when you see what they have to live in, at ground level, in winter.
Farms in the Kilpatrick Hills.
Even the walk back along the A82 is beautiful at this time of year with a variety of flowering weeds. I should point out this is not a walk with an overabundance of litter on it. We both like it because it is one of the better ones, being semi rural. But over the last few months of winter and weekly walks elsewhere, with an absence of vegetation to hide it all, the current levels of rubbish in every city verge, wooded margin or canal towpath I walk past is a national scandal and makes a complete mockery of all the 'green credentials' we are supposed to be meeting. In summer I can usually ignore it and pretend all is well but during the bleak winter months it is a disgrace. How can we expect to fix climate change when we crap in our own basket.... repeatedly. No one I know leaves litter lying around but it must be someone doing it as there is so much of it. Normally I focus on or highlight the beauty that surrounds me and try to ignore the rubbish at my feet but any overseas visitors must be appalled and disgusted. Fact. The UK has one of the most varied and beautiful patchwork quilt landscapes anywhere on the planet, the envy of other countries that can only dream of such varied complexity of terrain, with every few miles offering a totally different geological feature yet we routinely and increasingly trash it like this... week in week out. Hopefully in the future we can develop an army of tiny garbage robots picking all the litter up as the UK seems completely incapable of doing it itself. Not every country is like this though. I now carry a separate bag with me for used can collections on my travels . It's a small start against a tsunami of junk.