One man and his dog lead clean up of Oban beaches
A MAN who is walking the coast of Britain picking up litter as he goes visited Oban earlier this week and organised a litter pick-up at the town’s beaches.
Wayne Dixon, 44, from Blackburn in Lanacshire, set off from his home on February 1 to fulfil his 20-year dream to walk the coastline around the UK.
So far he has walked 1,200 miles, raising around £4,000 for charities in the process.
Wayne, who walks and camps with his Northern Inuit dog, Koda, has 6,000 miles to go and anticipates that it may take them four years.
He organises a litter pick-up event in every town, village or city that he stops in and Wayne was joined by a few Oban volunteers last week who helped clean the town’s beaches on George Street and the Esplanade.
Wayne and Koda sometimes receive free accommodation from businesses and kind-hearted individuals as they go, and Oban was no exception.
During their time in the town, they were invited to stay in the homes of residents via social media and received a free night’s stay in the Lancaster Hotel.
Wayne was also invited to give environmental talks at both Dunbeg and Achaleven primary schools. The 44-year- old, who suffers from depression, has been a hillwalker all his life, ever since his dad encouraged him to take up the activity.
‘My dad passed away four years ago,’ he said. ‘I am doing this for him. He left me a house, which I am renting out, so that’s my budget.
‘I finally have a chance to do it; you only live once. It’s a good platform to raise awareness about things I am passionate about.
‘ We have to start taking more pride. People have to get rid of the attitude of “I pay my taxes; I’m keeping someone in a job”. They need to be more proactive [in looking after the environment].
‘At the end of the day, it’s us who live here. It seems like it’s someone else’s responsibility, especially a place like Oban that relies on tourists.
‘Five years ago, I lived on a farm and I would walk to the shop and see litter.
‘I got really annoyed to the point that I was thinking about putting up my own signs.
‘But then the penny dropped and I thought, “Every night I will pick up litter on my way to the shop,” and when I did the anger stopped and I felt a feelgood factor.’
Kay McDonald, town ambassador, said: ‘I think what Wayne is doing is amazing. I wish more people took that responsibility. In fact, I wish everyone took responsibility for their own litter.
‘But the world is not like that, so to have people like Wayne to pick up the shortfall is amazing.
‘ When we do litter pick-ups in Oban, it’s the same people every week. We have a strong core group.
‘There are lots of people who do it in a quiet way. There’s a gentleman in Oban who brings a bag when he goes out with his dog.
‘Sometimes it seems overwhelming, but people are going about it.
‘I think during the summer the litter does get bad, but during the winter it’s not. But our population doubles in the summer.
‘And it seems to be chip boxes, takeaway containers and cigarette ends – it’s disgusting the stuff that comes off them and goes into the water. I think people are thoughtless rather than deliberately bad.’
Wayne and Koda with the volunteers who helped tidy the beach.