The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Wee Rantette

Would you believe that today was the first time that we’ve set foot on Cannock Chase since January 2012?

Would you also believe that, on a Sunday morning, we were parked and walking by quarter past eight?

I find both facts quite hard to believe.

Only a few things were notably different from our previous visits, the main one being the amount of litter. Why, oh why? If you can carry a plastic bottle full of drink onto the Chase, surely you can carry the few grams of plastic bottle back off again? If you can carry a snack bar onto the Chase, surely you can carry the wrapper back off again? If you can carry your M&S tray of sushi onto the Chase, surely the crook of a multi-trunked tree isn’t the right place to put the empty plastic tray?

Who do these oiks think are going to clear up after them? What do they think is going to happen to their litter? Who do they think is going to pick up after them? Or do they visit beauty spots like this and still say ‘eeee, int this grand?’ even with the litter?


As you’ll notice if you look at the background, this load of rubbish is right next to a car park. The oiks thought this state of affairs was the better option than carrying their litter fifty paces back to the car with them.

We very rarely come back from a trip on the Chase without a plastic bottle or two. Today we broke our previous record and picked up seven (there’s an orange Fruit Shoot one hiding behind the Coke one).  Depressingly, directly on our route, we left as many bottles as we picked up.

7 Bottles

I imagine that the rigid sports bottle on the left was an accidental loss, particularly as it was still half full.

In one area we passed an entire trail of very recently discarded ‘Chewy Bar’ wrappers. The only people we saw on that section of the Chase were group after group of Scouts doing D of E training. Not that I’m implying that there’s any link between those two statements…

And, whilst I’m ranting, there was one other thing I noticed whilst we were walking: the continued growth of the number of signs littering the verges of the main paths. The one on the left in the photo below particularly struck me. The post on the right has been there for a few years, however, someone seems to have decided that the ‘Road Crossing Ahead’ warning wasn’t big enough – not even when you take into consideration that barriers have been placed as obstacles further to alert people to the presence of the road. So, a whole new post has been added, next to the old one, duplicating the message, but bigger. Surely one post would be sufficient? 

Unnecessary excess signage

In spite of the rants (and the tragedy of Mick accidentally knocking over my full flask of tea, whilst I had the lid off it), we had a good march around our trusty old route, racking up 8.5 miles on this occasion (I call it our trusty old route, but the end has a number of variations to give distances of between 7.5 and 12.5 miles). We amassed more up than usual too, having left the main path at one point to go over (what I call) the ‘lumpy-lumpy bits’.



  1. Don't get me started on litter! Having bawled out one of the Guides at camp for throwing a full bin bag into the undergrowth because she 'couldn't find the bin' (she left...) I know my Bronze Guide group wouldn't dream of it. That other groups may not enforce bagging it out is disappointing and infuriating. The litter around here is increasing again, even though I have complained to the council.

    I'm also waiting for the environmental health chappy to get back to me after complaining of the unacceptable increase of dog mess on the estate and along the cycle path.

    There seems to be a lot of complaining going on around here.

    1. Nowt wrong with a bit of complaining every now and then. Moreover if you're prepared to do something about the subject that's causing you to complain.

  2. Go back to basics. My daughter taught at a secondary school in Blackpool. Pupils refused to pick up litter on the classroom floor at the end of the lesson. Their rationale was that the school employed a caretaker to do that job. Unfortunately disciplinary procedures in the school were minimal and there were no sanctions my daughter could invoke. If you don’t get it right at that level there is no hope for the future.

    Even worse than your litter louts are those who chuck stuff out of car windows.

    1. I completely agree with you on all counts.

      On the occasions when a route has forced us to walk along a road for a while we have time and again questioned the mindset of someone throwing litter out of car windows rather than leaving it in the car until they get home. I feel a whole other litter related rant coming on...

  3. You would not believe what gets dumped on our “Lane” /Tractor track. The thing is it seems to get dumped without anybody seeing it. I wouldn’t mind but there is a free tip only 1.5 miles away.
    I don’t get the logic. As Conrad says, it’s like they have been trained to do it. But i must say, there are a lot of farmers out there who are just as bad.

    1. Of all the places that we've walked, Kent far and away wins the award for the largest amount of fly tipping. You'd think that they have no public tips at all in the whole county.

      Dumping rubbish a couple of miles away from the tip. Dropping litter when standing within three paces of a litter bin. All completely beyond my comprehension.

  4. Litter, though, is an excellent navigational aid, confirming to the displaced walker that he is, in fact, on a path. Lucozade drinkers are the most helpful, followed by people who believe that drinking very small medicinal-sized quantities of yoghurt (eg yakhult) is really good for their stomachs. Pah!

    1. I've found MacDonald's rubbish to be particularly handy when approaching a town on foot, to alert us to the fact that there's somewhere in town where we can jump on some wifi for free!

      Of course, the handiness as a 'guide to amenities' doesn't prevent my outrage at the very presence of that litter.

  5. For Mike Knipe - On my LEJOG I stopped at a café in Barnstaple and asked for a Lucozade. The guy didn't have it - said there was no call for it. Judging by the the number of discarded bottles I had seen between Land's End and Barnstaple this failed entrepreneur was well deluded.

    1. When I saw Mike Knipe's reference to empty Lucozade bottles, I thought of you and that chap in the cafe in Barnstaple!

  6. Wholehearted agreement with you from here as well. And for all the reasons mentioned.

    I suppose it might have something to do with education and the lack of a sense of shared responsibility that we seem as a nation to have adopted. Someone else will do it ....

    But I suspect the prime "motivation" to dump litter is two fold: laziness and that our modern "throw away" culture is just that - throw away!