Harburn Village Hall - Litter Pick 2014-16


Once again, a well organised Litter Pick. Chairman Guy does this every year, liaises with W.L.C. and Keep Scotand Tidy to make sure we have the equipment
and planning in place for all our routes around Harburn.
Although there was fewer volunteers this year...this was not matched by a reduction in the amount of rubbish chucked out of vehicles on the Harburn roads.
I was busy telling everyone that with the Brucefield road being closed therefore no traffic to dump rubbish...how wrong could I be...carpets, clothes, an ironing
board...and bags and bags of rubbish was picked up.
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Personally I found the same amount of rubbish on the section between the Golf Club and the Waterhouse...but it was good to see an empty pack of golf balls
beside a Hamlet cigar pack...remember the advert?

Fags, drink bottles, the usual bud bottles ( this must be the same person...same place every year) an increase in bits of cars and lorrys...presumably the number
of large vehicles going to wind farms are the cause of this.

Well done to all those who managed out over the weekend to make Harburn a tidier and cleaner place...even if it is just for a few days...
More to follow we hope...........

The Rural outing to Dumfries House was a good excuse not to go litter picking on Saturday 23rd April, writes Isobel, However feeling a bit guilty I took a black bag with me when walking the dog on Sunday. As I litter pick regularly (it keeps grandchildren amused on dog walks), and had filled a bag with cans and bottles only the previous Wednesday, I wasn’t expecting to find much apart from the Sky box which has been lying at the side of the road for at least 2 months.. How wrong I was!  Between Turniemoon and Torphin I managed to fill another bag, As well as the Sky box, I found cans, bottles, sandwich wrappers, cigarette packets, car wiper blades, broken tail lights, gloves, a hairband with antlers and sunglasses. I left the bag at the end of our drive but as it hadn’t been uplifted by Tuesday it went in our black bin. I don’t know about anyone else but after the annual litter walk I get quite annoyed when I see that more litter has appeared and I find myself checking out where things have been dumped when I pass in the car and then picking them up when I’m walking the dog. I would say I average at least one black bag full of litter a week. At the moment it all goes in our black bin. But what will I do if they give us smaller black bins?  Will the Council give me an extra one or will I have to stop litter picking? 

We had a quick check of the ever changing weather forecast, email the Nichol Family, and decided to start our litter walk in the morning on Saturday. The girls (including the dog) as usual were full of enthusiasm at the beginning of the walk. By the end of the walk Isabel's enthusiasm remained, partly due to her discovering all by herself, a huge carpet in a ditch, which she managed to haul out single-handedly (see photo)
litter 16

Maeve and Midge however were pretty tired by the end. Midge went on strike, refusing to walk further and kept Maeve company, whilst Maeve lay down on a litter-free grass verge and directed operations, shouting words of encouragement to us, like 'HURRY UP'! Lots of litter, lots of exercise and fresh air and a job well done!

Chairman Guy reports: The litter walk was once again a great success if collecting a large mound of detritus from our streets can be deemed success (see Guy's photos belowfor a sample). After all it should not have been dumped there in the first place. It is tempting to blame MacDonalds and Budweiser who make such a generous contribution to the collection, but in fairness they are not responsible for the behaviour of some of their customers.

However I cannot help wondering why some of their clients are such unsociable louts. While chucking bottles & other rubbish out of car windows is completely unacceptable and of course illegal, how an ironing board and unused fire extinguisher came to be dumped on our verges can only be a source of conjecture.

On a positive note, thanks to all the volunteers who gave up a few hours of their own time to help with the clear up and also to West Lothian Council and Clean up Scotland for their support.


litter again


THE SUN SHONE, THE WIND DROPPED AND EVERYTHING WAS SET FOR WHAT HAS, AT TIMES, BEEN A NEARLY PLEASANT RAMBLE THROUGH THE LANES. NOT SO THIS YEAR. NOT FOR A WHILE, COME TO THINK OF IT. THOSE THOUGHTLESS. MINDLESS MORONS WHOM WE TRY TO COMBAT IN OUR ANNUAL CLEAR-UP, ARE NOW ENDANGERING LIVES........ SERIOUSLY. Regulars on the Golfie to Watercross section of the course will nod their heads and say: ‘Toldya!’ as they remember hair-raising encounters with speeding multi-wheels on this stretch. In truth, it has been becoming more and more dangerous as the years pass. And it’s not just a boy racer or two out to impress on a Saturday burn-up. Now the speedsters take up a good half of the road, are multi-wheeled and still manage to move at a speed beyond the aspirations of an MG Midget (for those who can remember these marvels.)       The two days of the Litter Walk yielded a mountain of full bags,as well as doors, wheels, tyres and, indeed, most of the front half of a van. There was, it has to be admitted, a smaller turn-out than normal and this was possibly a good thing as someone might have had to volunteer for the Waterhouse towards Brucefield sector. And that stretch is LETHAL - slightly better visibility at times but still LETHAL. On these pages you can read the thoughts of assorted Harburnites who undertook Trial by Traffic. ISOBEL WRITES………………..’How does it all get there?’ is the question that stumped me yesterday as I picked up the
various bottles and cans (mostly beer) and other assorted rubbish including bits of cars  and gloves.

Does anyone know the answer?

I know it appears overnight as this morning on my way to church I had to pick up two beer bottles, one can and some paper which I noticed between  my house and Coalheughhead.

I say had to as this picking up litter has become very addictive. I had a spare bag and the ‘tools’ in the car so stopped when I saw it and really felt quite annoyed that my tidy roadside had been littered again.

I was in the car today but I’ll find out next time I walk the dog if there is anything else.

As I’ve said this litter picking is addictive. I  fill a couple of bags every few weeks! A few words from Richard ‘n Heidi, East Torphin : Completed my 3 bags worth at 4:30.....phew.....quite a workout!!!!
Messiest part....opposite the golf club.....lots of empty milk cartons....I can only imagine that the workmen who dug up that stretch of the road last year deposited their garbage in the process!!! Oh well. Observations :  the chosen beverage of the non-litter conscious passing motorist is undoubtedly Irn Bru with Red Bull a close second.    By the way, thanks to new East Torphiners Shona & Stevie Moffat a special thanks for helping with the litter walk.  What a welcome!
Oh and a quote from David McDonald which summed things up  quite nicely... ‘If I catch one of these b########s chucking their litter just now, they’re getting this black bag full in the back of their car!!!!!’ Tonight Harburn will be at its cleanest (for a few hours at least!!!!!!!!) And the Nichol Regiment weighed in (see photo page one). The family writes....

So we covered the Sawmill Road. It was a warm sunny day, perfect for collecting dry litter and walking the dog at the same time! After the first quarter of an hour the novelty of spotting and collecting the litter had worn off for wee Maeve (and Midge), but Isabel’s enthusiasm didn’t dwindle at all.

We filled about 5 bags of rubbish - the usual energy drinks cans, beer cans / bottles and McDonalds’ packaging made up about 80% of the rubbish we collected. No Christmas decorations this year - 4 tyres instead and some dodgy DVDs.
After collecting litter along a particular stretch of road you become quite proud of how nice it looks and quite put out when you see litter starting to appear again. I’ve stopped my car twice along it since the litter walk to pick up some new litter - you guessed it - an energy drinks can, a beer bottle and a McDonalds coffee cup!
There seems to be a run on office chairs, writes Claire Duncan That’s the second one this year to come out of the ditch. Not sure what to think of that. At least the tyres have dwindled in numbers. Whilst on the topic of questionable happenings. I always seem to find a condom or two near the Moss Park intersection. While I am happy there are those who are practising safe sex, I wish they would dispose of the evidence properly.

“White Van Man and Corsa Boy Strike Again”, headlines Chairman Dave, This year they have been mainly smoking fags, drinking Red Bull and eating sandwiches.Lots of Bud bottles found near the entrance to our local airport, further up the B7008 nearer the Golf Club, Buckfast bottles and interestingly a pair of gents underpants...how lucky am I?. “Never in the field of human detritus was so much picked, having been chucked by so many to be cleaned by so few.”
Winston Vernham April 2015 This year Guy and I shared the dangerous and messy Golf Club to Waterhouse section...but it still was around 15 bags...same as last year. Well done Guy for the organising...I could be wrong...but we seemed a bit short on volunteers this year. To those who did manage...you made a difference...well at least until WVM and Corsa Boy are back on Monday. For the final word (and a discussion of the Mystery of the 3-Legged Jogger) see Wilkie’s Take. Link to Wilkie’s Take



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Grey and nippy or not, there was a great attendance and all the more so because of the excellent turn-out by the young and the very young. What inducements or threats had been used we may never know, but their presence was one of the best aspects of a successful and well-attended Litter Pick, which we believe established a record number of black bags.

Also available on harburnvillagehall.org.uk Chairman Dave reminisces in a report headed The Return of the Fag Packet: As usual my route was the Golf Club to the Waterhouse. Busiest and most dangerous of the routes we have for the litter walk. I choose to do this route as I have done so for many years and know the appropriate areas to move into and the bits where you have to run... It may not look it, but I was my secondary school athletics champion specialising in the 100 metres and long jump... however I think many drivers would be concerned at what damage could be caused to them if they hit the lumbering fat bloke with the Hi - Vis vest on.

This year the rubbish on this stretch reached 15 bags...a world record. Perhaps this is the ongoing cost of the World War One re-enactment of trench warfare that was held in Harburn over Christmas and New Year. Even more could have been picked but due to wet conditions many fields and ditches were not entered. After a few years of food and energy drinks becoming the most popular items to be thrown from vehicles, this was the year of a return to Fags and Booze...lots more fag ends and empty packets, loads of beer bottles, Budwieser seemed to be the bottle of choice...indeed an American theme here as there were many McDonald packs in the food category. After their dabble with “health” foods and drinks, it was good to see that White Van man and Corsa boy have returned to their default setting.

An interesting point here...... a sign of changing times possibly, White Van man and Corsa boy had, amongst their other contributions, donated at least 6 empty Viagra blister packs. Yes, a Buckfast bottle was spotted, but out of my reach, it still stands as a monument to the Litterati of West Lothian.

Finally, we must thank Guy, chief organiser and a special thanks to those he liaises with, WLC and the Keep Scotland Tidy group who help with materials and taking the rubbish away. But the biggest thank you has to be to the good people of Harburn (these are the ones I spotted...Idle family, Pearce family, Young family, the Durhams, the Nicols, Kilgour family, the Boultings, the Wilkinsons, the Vernhams, the Shephards, the McChesneys and the Hendersons...apologies if I have missed anyone) who spend many hours over our “litter pick” weekend to help make our Village environment a joy to live in.

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Further comment comes from Fiona and Stephen: Perhaps not acouncil worker, they write with reference to the photo , but she did stop for a cup of tea at Park House. A big thanks to Duncan and Mandy for a cup served on the lawn It greatly helped the litter picking task and, by the way..... Given the amountof McDonald rubbish I do feel we should approach them for a contribution to village funds for the mess their customers make.

JW, resident artist, contributes his pennyworth under the heading YOU ARE WHAT YOU DISCARD

‘You are what you eat’. they say....
Here at Torphin we say, ‘You are what you leave behind you’. We’ve always known that Torphinians are a cut or two above the run of Harburnites, and that’s been shown this weekend by the more discriminatory nature of our litter-louts. John W continues.......... While the back streets of downtown Harburn are home to drug-crazed and priapic smokers in white vans swilling American rice beer, our quiet spring lanes are the haunt of joggers who used to smoke but now discard their water bottles into our hedges, their Irn Bru and sugar fixes into our ditches and their Spanish lager bottles all over the place. Only one fag-packet this year, and that an old one, but enough bottles in the two-mile stretch to win the West Lothian competition on our own. One selfless jogger even left a full unopened bottle of San Miguel atop a fence-stob to tempt our swithering pickerupper. But the Irn Bru that wasn’t Irn Bru had been warning enough, and the empty urn tied to another stob, its human ashes long scattered by the winds, another. It’s still there.

One aged litter-picker was heard to be singing the ancient litter-picking ditty as he tripped gaily along, his black binbags bobbing and bouncing behind him:
‘Oh, the road to Cobbinshae, where the month-old lambkins play,
And the beer-cans, lager-bottles, plastic bags bedeck the way;
Ah, the road towards Pate’s Hill, where the wind-turbines are still,
And the bright crisp-packets gleam like sunlit flowers beside Baads Mill...’
But sadly the rest of the song was lost to sight as the aged litter-picker skipped slowly round the bend..

Snippet from Chairman Guy: Staggering number of Budweiser bottles and other rubbish was collected. Only David McD made a profit (a fiver found), but that amounted to little more than £1 for every 3 bags he collected on the road between the Golf Club & the Waterhouse, so we cannot begrudge him that.

Louise Nicol writes: Isabel and Maeve had a fantastic time collecting litter at the weekend. They were fascinated with the variety of litter that they found, from Christmas decorations to tyres, bags of wood shavings to bags of rocks. They were asking why
people would drive out to Harburn in their cars and leave bags of wood shavings and rocks instead of putting them in their own bins at home?’ Good question! They did the walk with Duncan and also found lots of the usual cans and bottles too. Towards the end of the walk they were getting a bit tiredAll in all one of the most successful Litter Walks. A great turn out, an
enthusiastic and purposful labour force and bags and bags of the stuff removed.

NB writes: Mr Rennie, he of Phantassie, often mocks me when I am attacking the leaves in the autumn. ‘You’ll have just as
many by the afternoon,’ he glooms.

Yes, Robert, but at least this lot are out of the way! Same with the black bags loaded during the 2014 litter Walk. As Chairman
Dave points out, something approaching a record.
Well done all.