Talking Shit

I see them many a morning. Like moles they clamber out of their vans, blink at the daylight, and look for the nearest drystone wall or hedge to go and empty their bowels behind.

Some of them wield a trowel and loo roll. Some a carrier bag. Many of them go empty handed.

If you peer over said wall, or behind hedges or embankments near any van sized lay-by in the National Park you’ll see messages written in human arse-code laid out in dots and dashes of white, pink, and brown. I’m intrigued how these ‘dumpsters’ would react if someone curled one down close to their home where they and their kids and their dogs play.

I know of at least one Peak farmer who, almost every weekend of the year when he opens his curtains, looks up to his top field to see white arses crouched on his side of the top wall. What a view to wake up to !!! That field is where his Belted Galloway cattle wander and feed !!

Where’s this post going ? Down the toilet ? On manoeuvres with the military on the Canadian Prairie we used to be issued space-age looking bags that we a) opened b) crapped and pissed in to c) sealed closed. They worked and, moreover, they kept the waste of thousands of NATO troops off the Prairie. Those bags were replicated by a company called WAG, although, pardon the pun, they were expensive and rarer than unicorn shit to find. It ended up costing a small fortune to open the bomb doors.

I’ve recently found ‘PB10 Eco Powder Bags’ from https://www.popaloo.co.uk I’ll let the packaging explain what they are and what they do …..

….. they’re actually designed to go inside the loo that they sell. I just hold the sides of the bag. The bag then rolls up and goes in the rucksack / boot of the car / nearest bin. They are biodegradable and can be buried, but rather than running the risk of Carol the Cow digging up your last meal, it’s easier to pack them out. They work out at about £1.50 per bag. Carry them in a brightly and differently coloured small dry bag (you wouldn’t want to reach in to it in the dark and mistakenly pull out something to eat) along with some hand cleaner. Put some elastic bands in the bag too to keep the used poo-bags rolled up (don’t worry the waste is crystallised and near solid). You’ll need loo roll too. Obvs. Unless you’re a fan of the sticks and stones method !!!!

I personally don’t think that using a trowel to bury waste 6’’ down in loose earth the other side of a wall from a popular countryside car park is exercising a ‘leave no trace’ mindset. I use these bags and ‘pack it out’.

PS if you’ve been in some posh loos you might have seen that they are twinned with a less salubrious khazi on the other side of the world via a charity called https://www.toilettwinning.org – PopALoo bags make a contribution from all sales to this charity. Do good when you poo !!!!

Human waste is a serious litter and hygiene issue and we all need to do our bit to keep the countryside and wild spaces clean.

Solvitur ambulando

A day working ‘pro bono’ for East Cheshire NHS Trust taking some of their staff for a walk in the National Park. Cool and clear and great walking conditions. I think the great outdoors did them the world of good. We had a hilarious 20 minutes chasing the giant washing-up liquid bubbles that somebody was releasing on Mam Tor. Cave Dale and the Great Ridge were noticeably quieter than of late. I quite enjoyed not having to come up with hours of navigation legs as well, and could just bimble along nattering. A grand day out.

Fame at last …

I’m in quite a few of the forthcoming issues of Trail Magazine. That’s what comes of being the walking buddy of one of the journalists. You can probably tell from my attire which ones i knew i was modelling for and which ones Paul stuck a camera in my face unexpectedly !! Anyhoo here’s me on a silly hot walk to find the source of the River Derwent which is now in the September issue of Trail. I will inform the Royal Mail about the expected sharp increase in fan mail ….

Senses

You can smell how confused the earth is out on the moors. It’s being baked to 30+c in September and also watered in very heavy but short downpours. I stood under the lip of High Neb at Stanage earlier and the sky had a dozen things going on all at the same time, the earth stank, and the rowan trees didn’t know whether to grow berries or shed leaves. is it just limited exposure with them during lockdown last year that is making the midges seem worse than ever this year ? Just over a week ago it was nudging 6c at 8pm in the Peak. This morning it was 18c at dawn. We just need to take suncream AND a waterproof AND a warm layer AND sunhat and see what the weather throws at us next …..

Labrador Tea …

I had my navigational abilities assessed by a local Mountain Rescue team last night. 3.5hrs more of my life spent finding kinks in contour lines, individual stones, bends in stream beds, and corners of long since disappeared walls. An evening with a breeze which kept the midge off, a stunning sunset, and a new (to me) plant to identify (i use an app called ‘Seek’).

Real Men Wear Teal™️

Seeking out the confluence of two small cloughs, on a hill-side littered with cloughs, from 1km away in the pitch black really is a niche pastime.

Drop me a line for 1:1 or small group navigation tuition, guided hill and mountain walking, and rock climbing.

Wandering …

Of late i’ve been trying to keep busy in order to keep my mind from the news. Afghanistan is nothing short of an utter catastrophe. I know not what fate has befallen those that became my friends.

As ever i have taken to the hills. I always have. My church. My salve. A place to wander and listen and see. I’ve done some teaching which is a good and worthwhile distraction, and of an evening i’ve focussed on finding the tiniest points in the middle-of-nowhere on a map, worked out my strategy and set off across a sea of purple heather for places unknown. Repeatedly.

‘You’re walking. And you don’t always realise it but you’re falling with each step, you fall forward slightly and then catch yourself from falling …’ – Laurie Anderson