Something nasty by the footpath

On a sunny Sunday afternoon hubby and I enjoyed a fairly long walk along part of the Cumbrian Coastal Path/Coast to Coast walk on what is known as the Colourful Coast. Descending into Fleswick Bay I stopped to take some photos for #wildflowerhour on Twitter. Hubby noticed a pool of water with tadpoles swimming in it (in August!) and nearby was a colourful item, which was a potential hazard to livestock and wildlife.

Balloon on sandstone rock
Balloon on sandstone rock

I hadn’t thought to take a bag for collecting litter, but I realised that the synthetic ribbons (unlikely to be biodegradable) could be attached to the outside of my small backpack, leaving my hands free for photography.

Balloon releases are popular in this area to mark happy and sad occasions. Partly because some balloons are marketed as biodegradable many people are unaware of the hazards they pose to creatures. It is possible that the balloon we found was biodegradable. It had become sticky. Hubby used the tip of a walking pole to detach it from the sandstone rock it was on. The white plastic and the ribbons would have taken an indefinite time to decompose. There is no saying where they might have ended up. Probably it would have been in the sea as the path becomes a stream after heavy rain. The flowing water might have washed the plastic into the bay. A high tide could have taken it out to sea. I put it in a bin at St Bees beach. It will end up in landfill, where it remains a potential hazard, although it will be buried.

How long is it going to take before balloons are consigned to history like celluloid dolls?

Near to where the balloon was found cattle were grazing in a field. The nearby beach is a secluded beauty spot. The coast is managed by the National Trust and Cumbria County Council. A number of improvements have been made since the last time we walked so far along the path, which is popular with local people and visitors. An earlier walk is described here.

Here are some more attractive photos. The final one has more evidence of the thoughtlessness of people. Please respect the countryside. Take your litter home and take care not to start fires. And please, please, PLEASE do not release balloons or lanterns!


Malham Tarn

On a journey to the North Yorkshire Dales we visited Malham Tarn, which is a National Trust property. We spent a relatively short time exploring the area, which we intend to visit again.

We didn’t find the way to Malham Cove, but learned that it was farther away than we had time to walk to. Another time we might park nearer to it and explore a different area.

The pictures tell the story. (The rocky outcrop was too large to fit into a single shot.)


It has been a while since I posted anything here apart from the photo challenge posts.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon I joined a group of people led by someone from Surfers against Sewage and someone from the National Trust to pick up rubbish (mainly plastic) from a relatively small area of pebbles on a beach.

Much of the rubbish was in small pieces needing to be picked up by hand, wearing gloves. Litter pickers were also available for larger rubbish.

Although we spent over two hours and filled eight or more bin-bags with rubbish, we hardly made an impression. Much more needs to be done. Council workmen came and collected the bags to take them to a landfill site.

There has been a lot of publicity about pollution of the oceans with plastic recently. There are petitions, which can be signed about all sorts of ways in which the release of plastic and related pollution could be limited. Release of balloons and Chinese lanterns could be banned. A tax on plastic coffee cups could be levied as is already the case for plastic carrier bags in the UK. Rules and more rules!

We need collectively to tackle this problem with or without rules. How can we buy less plastic? Can we make sure any plastic we dispose of is recycled if possible or cannot find its way into watercourses and be washed into the sea?

Can we make a difference to the rubbish which is already littering the sides of rivers, streams and beaches?

A piece of rubbish there was no time to collect
A piece of rubbish there was no time to collect
Balloon waste I found and binned
Balloon waste I found and binned







My pictures are of the sort of rubbish, which is too often found on beaches. One of the main sources of plastic on beaches is the centres of cotton-buds. These have been disposed of inappropriately down toilets instead of being binned. The filters at the sewage treatment works do not remove them; they end up in the sea.

Rope and plastic containers from fishing are also commonly found.

There is also a campaign for dog-owners to pick up the poo on beaches. Only this morning I saw a discarded (full) poo-bag left near the beck, which runs into the sea. A charitable thought is that the dog-owner was going to pick it up on their return. As it was only a matter of yards from a bin, this seems unlikely. Unless a brave passerby were to pick it up and deposit it in the nearest bin, there are two pollutants, which could easily end up in the sea – the poo and the plastic bag!