Nine hours, five miles and fourteen bags of roadside rubbish.
All in a Kiltwalk day for OAP Angus environmental campaigner Dr Elspeth Stirling.
Thousands across Scotland stepped out over the weekend to take part in the fundraiser within their own communities in this year’s pandemic-hit virtual event.
For 70-year-old Ellie, that meant a trek along the roads around her Kinnettles home, near Forfar in a day-long litter pick.
Ellie is hoping to convince Angus Council to adopt a one-cut regime on many of the area’s roadsides.
She said: “We do not need verges stripped back, either for safety or tidiness.
“We want to save emissions, and we want verges and hedgerows to become ‘nature’s larder’ again with wildflowers, insects, birds, amphibians and hedgehogs able to thrive.
“If it were autumn I would have sown wild plants, but instead I decided to take my wheelbarrow and do a litter pick.”
Ellie, who previously took a campaign to save Scotland’s wildcat to Holyrood, said she was “thoroughly chuffed” by the support from neighbours who joined her on the litter pick.
She plans to continue to press the local authority for only one autumn cut, apart from sightline splays at road junctions.
Council cutting regime
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “We work closely with our local communities and environmental organisations in relation to the maintenance of verges in Angus and follow good practice guidelines in this regard.
“Examples of good practice include a one-cut agreement with the Scottish Wildlife Trust on the A92 next to the Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre for conservation purposes.
“We also work with BEAR Scotland to preserve plants such as northern marsh orchid and cowslip on slipways off the A90 and encourage local communities to highlight their favourite wild flower-rich verges.
“Doing so helps us to protect a number of local sites, with the presence of wildflowers including dandelion, re campion, sweet cicely, ox-eye daisy and orchids recorded and reported to us.
They added: “Our rural grass-cutting regime currently sees two cuts along A, B and C-class roads per year, which involves a one-metre swathe with extra sight lines where line-of-sight and safety takes precedence.
“Verges on unclassified routes receive one cut in mid-summer.”