Tourist Guides clean up Scotland

Tourist Guides across Scotland will be cleaning up beaches and other water fronts this Friday (Feb 21) to mark International Tourist Guide Day (#itgday2020)

Normally our members do free walking tours and other similar activities for this annual event.

But, in recognition of the fact that this is Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 (#YCW2020) and that Glasgow is set to host the UN climate change summit in November, they felt it was appropriate to do something to help the environment.

STGA chair Linda Arthur said: “Our message this year is about our concerns for the environment and the importance of protecting it. Our members delight in taking visitors around Scotland it is vital we do the best we can to look after it.”

The World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (WFTGA) established International Tourist Guide Day in 1989 to highlight our profession globally.

Our members from all over Scotland will be doing riverfront, loch shore, and beach clean ups.

Adrian Lairg Craig

One has been organised at North Queensferry by passionate beach cleaner, Blue Badge Guide, Adrian Laird Craig.

Adrian started clean ups randomly some 25 years ago when, on a business visit to the Isle of Man and waiting for the ferry back on the Saturday, he had an urge to clear a beach of plastic.

Adrian, who will be leading a group of guides on the clean up, believes we need to try and change habits, ours and others, to think of the sea, rivers and burns as our parentage.

‘As to the throwing of plastic- soaked sanitary material, dental floss and flossers, down the toilet, it is even now commonly thought that it will be just ‘sorted’ by the water and sewage authorities,’ says Adrian.

‘It won’t – particularly after storm water, when systems and pumping stations cannot cope. That’s why we have 80% of all marine litter issuing from our burns and rivers, often via the drains. So, for example, we can encourage friends who smoke not to stub out their cigarettes on the pavement. Filter tips are the single most common piece of plastic in all oceans.’

‘Perhaps we could make littering in general as anti-social as, say, drink driving, or not wearing a seat belt and so on.’

‘It is a rewarding hobby, good for mental health, my dog loves the combination of play and investigation, and although my efforts may only have cosmetic influence, if one single piece removed means one marine creature saved (though sadly it is too late to stop microplastics being in the system of every single one) it is somehow worth it. Scotland is admired for its fine coastline and we hold a sixth of all the wetland birdlife in Europe, so perhaps we owe our country a less polluted future.’

Rubbish found by Adrian on a recent beach clean up

On the same day another clean up has been organised by our Ross Hendrie, at Auchmithie near Arbroath.

Ross chose it because it is a beautiful cove popular with visitors and locals alike.

Other guides throughout the country will do their bit.

Watch our social media channels for pictures of what we get up to on the day.