Added by Juliette Camburn on Wednesday, 4 April 2012
On 31st March & 1st April, a group of enthusiastic canoeists set out to clear up the litter on the shores of Barr Loch, Castle Semple Loch, the RSPB Lochwinnoch Reserve and River Calder.
Not content with litter picking from the shore, the canoeists (and dog!) who are all part of the Song of the Paddle canoeing group, took to their boats to access island areas and hard to reach spots. Between them they managed to collect two tonnes of rubbish – mainly bottles and cans and plastics – but also unearthed car tyres, golf balls and discarded bikes.
The event organisers Robbie Weir and John Kelly explained what the group did:
Day 1: 31st March at Barr Loch
The RSPB were letting us loose on this loch again to clear away the rubbish. From being a little reluctant at first they are now very happy to let us get stuck in.
The mess left by the fishermen who use this loch (no boating or canoeing is allowed) is unbelievable. Away from the area the fishermen tend to use, we are seeing a year on year improvement with less rubbish to cart away each year.
We split into two groups and worked a side each. The top end of the loch was not too bad but as we reached the sections used by the fishermen the amount of rubbish increased considerably. We knew we were hitting the bad areas when we found a ladder!
To keep everyone going, we had a slap up barbecue lunch, and later a 'curry supper' social - so the warm feeling inside could have been the food, the moral satisfaction or the aching muscles!
Day 2: 1st April at Castle Semple Loch
This loch has had clean ups for a few years now and we are seeing a difference with this too. There is always new rubbish but we are managing to get all the new stuff and much of the older. This year at last, we finally managed to dig out the traffic cone that has been frustrating us for years.
The first job today was to give the Aird Meadow a clean and recover the RSPB's boat that they had misplaced. It was not the easiest thing to paddle as we soon found out. Once that was back in the right place it was onto the regular rubbish. At first we didn’t find much, but then we hit a hidden fishermans' poaching camp where we cleaned the rubbish as well as the camp chairs.
After lunch, complete with a batch of tablet made the night before, we headed over to the river mouth to clear the bund and drainage ditches. We managed to fill our canoes for a second time while others collected rusting bicycles.
By the end of the day we had not only filled a skip but had enough by the side to half fill the one coming the next day.
We do the clean ups to put something back, but that is really not needed as an incentive. These are great days with great company. The banter and competition to find the most / best rubbish is something to behold and we're already looking forward to next years’ clean ups.