Getting seen on a Caithness beach clean
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CAITHNESS Beach Cleans (CBC) volunteers will be a lot more visible across the county's coastline thanks to the sponsorship of a Wick hotel.
On Saturday, the proprietors of Mackays Hotel on Union Street handed over boxes of high-vis waistcoats to CBC members so they could be easily seen during the darker winter months and also help advertise the selfless work they do to keep the Caithness coastline free from plastic pollution.
Dorcas Sinclair, who started the group in March last year, came along to the hotel with her husband Allan and several other CBC members to thank hotel owners Ellie and Murray Lamont along with their daughter Jennifer.
"Today we're being presented with these high-vis waistcoats with pockets and beach cleans cards by Mackays Hotel who have very kindly given us a range of sizes – including children's ones as well," said Dorcas.
"It's really wonderful and we all thank them very much for the support."
Dorcas said that apart from making CBC members more visible for safety reasons on dark winter days there was another important function for the waistcoats.
"We have had beach cleaners being harassed by members of the public who have not realised they're doing good. Beach cleaners have been accused of dumping household waste in public bins so the jackets will identify us to everybody."
She described an incident at Thurso beach in which a female member was verbally abused by a man who "would not believe she was cleaning the beach".
Dorcas also said that the waistcoats will also help advertise the group to others in the community who might be encouraged to join the crusade to remove plastic pollution from the far north coastline.
"That's a benefit to everyone," she added.
Active CBC members can now get a waistcoat as well as litter-pickers, gloves and scales.
"The scales are how we get our statistics. Because the plastic is weighed we now have statistics from all the beaches in Caithness where members have been working."
Dorcas handed information sheets out showing that the overall total for plastic removed from the Caithness coastline sits at 17.69 tons and 1711 visits have been recorded by members to local beaches. This year alone, the CBC total currently sits at 9.15 tons.
On behalf of Mackays Hotel, Ellie Lamont said: "Dorcas came in and we had a discussion as to how best we can help. Instead of making a donation we thought we would sponsor the vests."
Ellie said she often walks with her daughter and husband on local beaches with dogs Max and Bria. "We really appreciate there are people in Caithness who take time out to clean up our beaches."
CBC member George Robertson, who was also present on Saturday, said he had discovered a strange phenomenon happening this year on local beaches.
"For some reason, near enough every visit we make there's a pair of black men's boxer shorts lying on the beach.
"We're calling 2020 the year of the underpants," he laughed.
Anyone interested in finding out more information on the group should visit Caithness Beach Cleans Facebook page .