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Anniversary couple clear up 'total debris' left behind from Wick Bay booze-up


By Alan Hendry

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This beach towel was among the many items tidied up by Mary and Alister Richard on Sunday. They filled three bin bags with rubbish left behind after what had evidently been a drink-fuelled gathering.
This beach towel was among the many items tidied up by Mary and Alister Richard on Sunday. They filled three bin bags with rubbish left behind after what had evidently been a drink-fuelled gathering.

A Wick couple spent part of their wedding anniversary tidying up mounds of rubbish left behind after a boozy party on the coast near their home at the weekend.

Alister and Mary Richard filled three bin bags with empty cans, smashed bottles, plastic cups and even discarded beach towels in the aftermath of the gathering at a rocky expanse on the north side of Wick Bay.

The couple spent about an hour on Sunday cleaning up the mess – on what was their 41st wedding anniversary.

While dismayed by the extent of the litter and the disregard shown for the environment, Mrs Richard said she was especially concerned about safety.

The mess was strewn across an area that was formerly used as a small harbour, just along from the North Baths. Mrs Richard understands, from speaking to a passing dog-walker, that a group of young people had congregated there on Saturday night.

The couple live in Lindsay Drive, overlooking the bay and close to the North Head footpath.

“There were a couple of bits of rubbish out where a seat is in front of our house,” Mrs Richard said. “Then I thought I would go down the brae, because quite often at the weekend there’s a lot of lager tins there.

“So I wandered down and thought I would pick up the one or two bits that were lying. I met a couple and they said ‘oh, you should see the mess that’s round the corner’.

“There were plastic cups, cider tins, smashed bottles of wine, smashed bottles of beer in the rock pools, plastic bags... total debris. The kids had even left towels.”

Mr and Mrs Richard set about tidying up the area and had soon filled three large bags.

They often embark on voluntary litter-picks and are part of Wick Paths Group. The previous weekend some of the group’s members had spent two days upgrading the North Head path.

“I wasn’t involved in it last week but I’m just disappointed after all the hard work of the paths group,” Mrs Richard said. “And I am worried about the safety of the young people doing it, with the amount of alcohol that obviously had been consumed between the wine bottles and the cans that were lying about, and the danger of them scrambling back up the rocks and trying to get onto the path. It is really dangerous.

“We totally get that it’s really difficult for youngsters not having places to meet at the moment. But it's worrying to think about children rock-pooling with all the broken glass thrown into the pools, plus the danger to dogs' paws.

"I have just been watching a seal out in the bay and you’re thinking of all that plastic and rubbish. There are otters and lots of other wildlife in the bay as well.

“The fact that they would walk away and leave all that stuff… A lot of young people now are more environmentally aware, and yet this happens.”

Mrs Richard had spotted another group of young people on Saturday night heading further out along the North Head, towards one of the World War II pillboxes above the bay. Some were carrying rucksacks.

“The ones I saw heading out only looked about 13," she said. "That is a disaster waiting to happen if they are drinking down on the rocks.”


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