John Leyland reports again with words and pictures from the Derwent around Belper.
During the hot weather in mid-June a friend encountered a flotilla of inflatables between Ambergate and Belper. The craft were crewed by a group of young men fuelled by booze and crisps leaving a trail of litter in their wake. Being a lone woman simply out for a bit of flat-water exercise she didn’t challenge them but nor did she accept their offers of refreshments “do you want a beer love?”. Later that week her husband found the inflatables, a 6 person party raft, two tube-seats and a single bed lilo abandoned at the side of the river. The nearby cow wallow/beach was festooned with abandoned party cups, drinks bottles even trainers and a Bluetooth speaker. He bagged this lot up and left it for later collection.
Unfortunately, various factors meant that we had to wait until this weekend to salvage HMS Inconsiderate and the associated litter and craft. We set off early to get it done before getting on without weekends. As this wasn’t the usual litter picking, just a quick snatch and grab salvage run we elected to use two kayaks and rely on the inflatables themselves to transport the other waste.
On arrival at the anchorage I was amazed at just how big the main inflatable was approximately 4m by 2m with various accoutrements and attachments making it ideal for lounging in a large Mediterranean pool but perhaps less so for the Derbyshire Derwent. Since its main voyage the main party raft had succumbed to punctures and listed terribly, we dragged the whole roped together tangle to the beach where we were able to deflate, fold and reconcile the vessels and waste into the two easily towed and well intact tubes.
The waste on the beach comprised drinks containers over half of which were full (soft drinks, water and mixers only) and sealed. A couple of weeks riverside in the dirt made the though of saving these unappealing so they were emptied for transportation. It appeared that the trainers and a few other items had been rescued by their owners, but no effort had been made to remove the other mess!
The two tubes were actually fairly easily towed though it did probably increase the training load of the paddle! Our plan for the waste had been to take it home for disposal via our own domestic waste collections but as we arrived at the river gardens, we saw a Amber Valley Borough Council waste vehicle and took the opportunity to get rid of the salvage in a more streamlined manner. The guys were familiar with the previous Paddle Peak river cleans and were more than happy to take the waste. Thanks again!
Mission accomplished which was satisfying, it is however disheartening to see such wastage and disrespect for the environment. The fact that it has become so easy to buy cheaply made consumables and to just abandon them when they become inconvenient is upsetting.
Use less more! Great work John and Chris!