Not an uncommon feature in these pages; rubbish. It's pointless me ranting about all the crap that is left (mostly chucked out of car windows) in our countryside, so I won't.
This past weekend Darren & I passed quite a few landmarks, including Britain's oldest White Horse (very weirdly, only possible to view in it's entirety from the air), an equally ancient hill-top fortress, Barbury Castle, and a not famous at all but quite exquisite little hilltop beech hanger.
To get to Uffington Castle you have to take quite a hike up a steep hill. There are little cautionary notices requiring you to keep off the actual chalk. Perhaps it is a combination of the distance from the cars and the polite reminder to behave in a responsible manner, but I didn't spot a scrap of litter at this fabulous place.
At Barbury Castle however it was a different story. The car park is close and the castle easily accessible. Some kind family had literally dumped the complete packaging from a MacDonalds meal out of their windows onto the car park. Not all collected in the bag it came in, but scattered liberally all over the place.
But the biggest disgrace was quite a way from any car park, in a little circular beech copse. There were the remains of two open fires and literally piles of empty beer and cider cans liberally strewn all over this beautiful little piece of paradise. The problem here is that the copse is accessible by motor vehicle and motor bikes during the summer months along the Ridgeway Byway and so the litter louts have easy access.
It's no use me banging on about all this. It has been done to death and we all know it's reprehensible.
But there is something I found quite unsettling and that I feel uncomfortable with; my actions when I was there. Darren and I were standing, staring incredulously at these scenes. We both had a bit of a rant and we discussed the whys and wherefores of the problem.
At no point did I attempt to pick any of the rubbish up and take it away with me. My rucksack was certainly no-where near full as I had packed for a hot weekend with only a couple of days food. If I had flattened forty or fifty of those cans I could easily have slipped them into my pack and made a difference. But I didn't. I had the time to do it. I had the motivation to do it; my utter disgust at the ruin of such a wonderful spot. I also had the means to do it.
But instead, I walked away from it, muttering indignantly in a self righteous strop.
I hang my head in shame.