Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Just out of interest

Ok, here I am preaching to the converted (I hope). An interesting fact I picked up the other day. Orange peel, sheep do not eat it, ditto banana skins. It takes on average, six months for it to decompose. Silver foil takes eighteen months to break down. Bits of clothing, textiles, can take 15 years plus. Plastic bags, at the very least, ten years. Aluminium drinks cans can last for eighty five years.
Just on a further point on the legislation issue. With the increasing pressure on the outdoors, places like the Lake District are already sufering. Now I know that many folk deliberately avoid these areas. However, most of the lakes are not far from a car park. There is a trend begining to build up, of people parking up and heading to the hills for an overnighter. Last year for example I bumped in to a group of young lads doing just that. They where going to wild camp for two nights. What really struck me wasthe gear they carried. A couple of axes, large tents, several six packs of booze, a barbeque, ie, one of those that are contained in silver foil. Now, I am not against their concept, per se, however, this surely is where education and legality comes in. These guys where obviously going to party in the great outdoors. Sadly though, they had no idea of any country code, no respect for landowners etc. To them the Lake district was a gigantic theme park. Possibly I chickened out when they starting getting defensive. Their attitude was that I was a boring old woman just wanting to stop their fun. They could not grasp the fact that people lived and worked on the hills and derived their living from the countryside.
This is something I have noticed too when encountering a variety of different youth groups. It was interesting to see how places like Sweden and Norway tackle these problems. They have open access policies that are really amazing. Ok, fine, I concede that they have a lot more space than the UK. One thing though that does stand out. Children, and that includes city kids, are taught respect for the countryside from an early age. Legalise wild camping, yes, most certainly. Also though, draw up a code of conduct, educate, make people aware. Dificult to carry out, I admit, but, surely doing something is better than doing nothing.
Just an added note. There is already a country code, also a mountain code. How hard would it be to add a few simple outlines concerning wild camping. Outoor centres could do a lot in this direction.

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