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What a Load of Rubbish!

With 2020 being the year that it is, Kendal Mountain Festival did an incredible job of adapting to change and putting together an awesome event. Being a completely virtual festival meant that anyone, from anywhere around the world could get involved! With an impressive variety of films, talks, presentations and even music, there really was something to get everyone’s juices flowing! Although the event was technically ‘Live’ at the time, everything is available to watch until December 31st- perfect for filling that weird time between Xmas and New Year! Or maybe a ticket to a talk, or a full event pass could be the perfect Christmas pressie for that outdoorsy friend or family member that you never know what to buy for!

Just some of the stars of the Palm & Pyranha Paddlesports Session about to start the river clean!

As well as all the awesome films and presentations, there were also some very cool activities taking place outside the recording studio. Earlier on in the festival, we had our pro mountain bikers (including my very awesome pal, Monet Adams) doing their bit for the ‘Trash Free Trails’ campaign, by collecting rubbish whilst out enjoying the local trails. The festival then finished off with the annual ‘Paddle Pickup’. Obviously, things had to be a bit different this time around, so instead of a mass gathering on the River Kent, the aim was to encourage paddlers all over the country (and the world!) to get involved on their own local river!

Bekki of Into the Outside and KMF helped us out too!

A small number of paddlers involved with KMF (including myself) took to the River Kent, armed with our litter grabbers! Within only a mile-long stretch of the river, we found enough rubbish along the river banks and in the river itself, to fill a 6-person raft, a canoe, and our kayaks!

As well as loads of drinks bottles, cans, and plastic bags, we also found a surprising amount of shoes, clothes, and old toys, plus a total of 51 golf balls!

Just some of the 51 golf balls removed from the river... and an Elf!

Although it couldn’t be the big Paddle Pickup event it normally is, the message was still clear. We have a responsibility to look after our amazing outdoors and give back to the environments that have given us so much. We gain an amazing amount from being outside, so let’s make protecting it a priority.

Thanks to Hoops of WRS for lending a raft and a hand with his family!

Wherever you are, whatever you’re in to, please please please start doing your bit. If we can all do just do one small thing, we can make a huge change. Maybe once a month, whether you’re on the river, on your bike or even out walking the dog, fill a bag with litter to throw away and recycle.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming thinking about how to make a difference when the overall problem is dauntingly massive, but together we can do awesome things!

Just some of the rubbish removed from the River Kent, including a shopping trolley, a tyre, and a traffic cone.

Thank you to all those doing their bit in their local area, as well as everyone that was involved in the Palm and Pyranha Paddle Pickup. Also, a big thank you to the guys at Kendal Mountain Festival for putting on an awesome event and for supporting such great causes!

Chris Brain found a car key in the river!

It was amazing to be involved in the Paddle Pick Up! I’ve often wondered what I can do to look after the places I go to paddle, as I’ve regularly seen litter on the bank and in the river, but the scale of the challenge can seem pretty daunting. I realise now that just doing a little bit and picking up just one thing and taking it away for proper disposal or recycling can make a real difference. I’m going to make it my mission from now on to have a little bag with me any time I am on the river or out exploring on foot and to pick up at least one thing. Whilst it might not feel like it makes much of a difference at the time, if all of us do a little something on the rivers and trails that we regularly go to it will really add up and we can have a positive impact on these places.

Chris Brain, Pyranha and Palm Team Paddler

Make sure to post your Paddle Pickup photos and use these hashtags:

#PaddlePickup #KendalLitterPick20 #TrashOff

Although we would have LOVED to all be together this year on the River Kent paddle pick up, it’s been so wonderful to see all the participation from around the UK, and indeed the globe, for this year’s Kendal Litter Pick. Cleaning up our natural world is one of the simplest and most rewarding things we can do to give back to the places we play, and often time leads to a feeling of empowerment for people to further stand up against the destruction of our playgrounds. Huge thank you to everyone who gave a few minutes or a few hours of their time on Saturday to leave our trails, streets, beaches, canals, and rivers a better place!

Cal Major, Palm Team Paddler

You can check out my interview at the Kendal Mountain Festival, as well as the Palm & Pyranha Paddlesports session, on the links below:

Sal Montgomery Live Interview

Palm & Pyranha Paddlesports Session