Some Stuff About Me ......

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I live in Harrogate, North Yorkshire with my wonderful wife and soul-mate Helen. I have two incredible sons - Evan and Matthew - who are occasionally show up at home, usually when they're hungry or need money. The three of them are the best thing that ever happened to me and I love them all. I spent over 24 years in the Royal Navy, but since I packed it all in and got a proper job my life has gone from strength to strength and I've never looked back. I am a die-hard soul music fan and this remains a serious passion, but in recent years my life has been dedicated to running on the fells and trails of Northern England, it's what I was made for. Please read about my adventures and experiences ...

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A Green and Pleasant Land?

I went for a run the other night, on the road. Nothing unusual or outstanding about that I know, but it's the first run at a sustained pace (albeit HR-constrained) I've done in over two months, so it was a big deal. It was on a timed route that I use and was slow and clunky, but given my ongoing battle with health issues, well, I am going to take it as a positive. No pain from knees or in fact anywhere else, no pain relief involved either.

I have been out on the fells and trails of late though, also been doing quite a bit of swimming. It's much more forgiving off-road and if my HR dictates that I walk, I don't feel quite as much of a twat for doing so. What struck me last night - obviously because I haven't cruised those lanes for a while - was how much crap and litter there is on our roads. Even nice, country lanes like you get up here in North Yorkshire have tons of discarded crap in the ditches and hedgerows, it really is a desperate, crying shame :-( The worst bits where we live are the approach roads to the Army Foundation College, what happens is that the lads who are returning to base just chuck their food wrappers/fag packets/beer cans out of the window before they get to the gate, the result is .... well, exactly what you'd expect. If I was the RSM I'd have the little b*****ds out on working parties cleaning it up, but I suppose this is politically incorrect nowadays. When I joined the navy, the training establishments I went through and the roads leading to them were absolutely immaculate, I hope I don't sound like a stupid old git, because it really wasn't that long ago.

Litter and detritus in public places like this pisses me off, but finding the same on the fells and moors makes me even more angry. I can't understand the mentality of the people who dump stuff in wild, beautiful places. Who the hell do they think cleans it up? Idiots like me, that's who. My pet peeve is dicarded clothing, because while litter will eventually be picked up, nobody wants to pick up a manky old sock or top and stuff it in their rucksack and who can blame them? I know a nice track that leads over the moors high in Nidderdale, if you just peek the other side of the drystone wall that borders the road there is literally a pile of discarded underwear .... WTF? I have a friend at work who assures me that this particular location is where the inhabitants of a well-known Nidderdale village go for a bit of afternoon sex and to conduct illicit liasons, but why the hell do they have to leave their pants behind? I wonder how long a pair of tights or nylon knickers take to bio-degrade? They just don't do they? The things have the nuclear half-life of uranium. Wonderful, just the thing you want to see when setting off on a nice trek in an area of outstanding beauty.

I can feel my blood-pressure going up here .... it's crap, it really is. Are we failing as a nation to impress on young people that just dumping stuff everywhere is the wrong thing to do? I'm not even going to start on fly-tipping, we suffer from that in the Yorkshire Dales big time :-(

I was talking to the warden at the Wasdale NT campsite a few years ago and he told me that every Monday morning they have to go round with a sack to pick up the discarded socks and pants that the Three Peakers that descend on the place just chuck away as part of their Scafell Pike assault. Also, they have do a weekly trek up the tourist path to the summit to remove much of the same. I know this is true, I've been up that path myself and discarded kit, trekking poles, sleeping bags abound. Piles of toilet paper behind every rock.

A Green and Pleasant Land? It won't be for much longer if this carries on.