Farming and hiking

 

A chara, – There are thousands of kilometres of organised walkways and hiking routes all over Ireland, but the problem weekend hikers don’t seem to understand is that we unfortunately do not live in a rambling utopia.

Sadly, some people feel it is okay to bring their dogs, let them roam and find their wild side as they terrorise sheep and other livestock.

Sadly some people feel it is okay to discard their rubbish and maybe even camp and leave everything they brought with them behind.

Sadly others do not realise that cattle, when disturbed by people they are not familiar with, are actually very dangerous.

There have often been situations where landowners have been threatened, beaten and robbed by people “roaming” through their property.

Is it not therefore understandable that people who live in the countryside are fed up with cleaning up after these people and being threatened in their place of work?

Personally, I love hiking and over 20 years I have often ventured off on day-trips throughout the country, and I still have not covered even a percentage of the places that are publicly open for people to roam and hike.

As a farmer and a hiker, I can therefore understand both sides of this debate, but what really needs to be done is maintain and develop the public walkways we already have and respect the areas that are not public property. – Yours, etc,

JOHN FAGAN,

Co Westmeath.