Saturday 13 August 2011: Dogging isn't what I meant is it
OK, so this is a little long, and does require a bit of background.
A few years ago I was on a day out birdwatching the southern frontiers of Yorkshire, trying to catch up with an ingress of little egrets. These are small White herons. I'd been to an RSPB reserve called Old Moor, and reports said there had been some seen at some of the other Ings (small areas of abandoned, flooded industrial areas, often associated with mines). Now, given the nature of Ings they tend to be reasonably remote and secluded, they are also, in my defence, a favourite with dog walkers.
So, full of hope, I headed to Denaby Ings.
After parking in an empty car park, I 'kitted up'; tripod, scope, binoculars, cameras and lenses. I set off on the long walk. A more desolate site you have never seen. Overgrown pathways, two burnt-out hides and a car long abandoned in the woods. And litter, don't start me on litter! But, worse than litter, little bags of dog pooh. Why, oh why do some dog owners think it is ok to go for a walk, 'pick up' after their pet, but rather than take it home and dispose of their little plastic parcels they hang them on trees and bushes, as if there is a dog pooh fairy that tours the countryside with a bottomless black bin bag collecting their little offerings.
Anyhow, by the time I got back to the carpark I was in a bad mood, not only had I not seen the birds I was looking for I'd had to navigate the little plastic pooh bombs left by inconsiderate dog owners (bring back the dog licence).
Approaching the car park, I notice a police car, my mind immediately started thinking my car had been vandalised. Thankfully not. The conversation went like this:
"Good afternoon sir" very polite policeman
"Hello" says I
"what have you been up to then?"
"Trying to catch-up with some little egrets"
"No, there are a few grebe, and a nice colony of tree sparrows"
"Ah, I see, sir. It's just that this is a dogging hotspot"
This of course sent my neurons firing across the old grey matter, and triggered my 'rant-response'
"You're bloody right it is! It's bad enough that it's all over the paths, now they're hanging it in small bags on the trees! Never mind giving 'em a fine they want locking up."
He stared at me for what seemed ages then he said
"Right, well I'll certainly be taking a look"
It must have been half an hour later, I was in the car going up the motorway and home when it suddenly occurred to me.
"That's not what he meant by dogging is it."
A walk up to Coldstones Cut on the moors triggered the rant response again when I saw this.