walking on Porty beach on a blustery day is one of the great joys of life in the Capital. It is great fun on sunny days, too, as long as you don’t mind the crowds that gather whenever the temperature shoots up.
It is true, there are other major cities which can boast a beach less than three miles from the city centre, but not many of them – and very few have the unspoilt charm of Portobello. An asset like this should be enjoyed by everybody and that, at least in theory, is what happens just now. But not everyone is happy.
The beach is hugely popular with dog walkers, the vast majority of whom keep their dogs under control and leave nothing unpleasant behind them. It would be hugely unfair to stop these owners and their pets from enjoying the sands.
Yet there are other owners who are not as diligent – and that is where the problems come in. Stumbling on to dog dirt is not just disgusting, but also potentially dangerous for young children because of the parasites it can contain.
And the trouble doesn’t stop there. There are complaints that some youngsters and older visitors have been left shaken by dogs bounding up and climbing on them. Yes, some dogs are just trying to be friendly, but it can still be a very frightening experience.
The seaside has always been about family fun and it should, as far as possible, be a safe and welcoming place for young and old alike.
So what is the solution to what is in many ways an age old problem?
The commonsense proposals from the Portobello community council are an excellent starting point. Closing off a section of the beach at certain times of the day and year will hardly curtail dog walking, but could go a long way to making other worried beach-goers feel safe. Compromise on all sides has to be the key.