The countryside can hold dark secrets

The countryside can hold dark secrets

Almost one in ten walkers has come across couples having sex in the great outdoors.

The surprising statistic was revealed in a survey of hikers by retailer OutdoorLook, which also found walkers claimed to have found punctured blow up dolls, naked hikers, foxhunters and, most incredibly, aliens, while on trips to the countryside. Less surprising is the prevalence of plane wreckage found by walkers.

In a statistic that must gladden the heart of Stephen Gough’s supporters, more than ten per cent of walkers would consider hiking in the buff – that’s unclothed, rather than wearing the neck gaiter of that name.

Ian Brookes, managing director of OutdoorLook.co.uk, said: “Our latest survey really has produced some extraordinary results. Sex is not something you expect to stumble upon while out enjoying the countryside and some of the sights seen by our survey respondents could be really quite intimidating.

Aircraft wreckage, such as this on Ben Lui, is fairly common

Aircraft wreckage, such as this on Ben Lui, is fairly common

“Although the majority of hikers will probably never come across such habits, it is interesting that the darker side of the UK’s countryside has been revealed. It brings to mind the question of whether rural areas should receive higher levels of policing to ensure the safety of walkers and hikers.”

Almost 80 per cent of walkers would like their ashes scattered, Wainwright-style, in their favourite outdoor spot – his are on the summit of Haystacks, while a surprisingly low 30 per cent head for the pub for a little rehydration after their walk.

Other facts uncovered by the survey were that 71 per cent were aged 40 or over; 46 per cent go walking less than once a month, and the Lake District and coast were the most popular destinations.

The biggest bugbear for walkers was motorbikes and off-road vehicles.

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