Tuesday 28 April 2015

Down in Edale for the Spirit of Kinder Day

Edale and Kinder Scout

Last weekend I was down south in the Peak District for the annual Spirit of Kinder Day, which commemorates the Kinder Trespass of 1932. I gave a short talk as BMC Ambassador for Hillwalking then acted as Master of Ceremonies for the rest of the afternoon.

The first two speakers looked back at the fascinating history of walking in the area, a history that is important for access and outdoor recreation. Ann Beedham gave a talk, based on her book Days of Sunshine and Rain: Rambling in the 1920s, about George Willis Marshall, a keen walker in the 1920s and 30s, who certainly didn't allow fear of proscution for trespassing stop him enjoying exploring Kinder Scout. The talk was illustrated with many interesting archive photographs of Marshall and his friends.

Chris Sainty then gave an illustrated talk about the history of the Pennine Way, which is fifty years old this year, and how it was conceived as part of the struggle for access back in the 1930s. This important story about Bntain's first long distance path is also told in Chris Sainty's new guidebook The Pennine Way: A Walker's Guide. I found the talk very interesting and it brought back many memories as the Pennine Way was my first long distance walk, at a time when it was only eleven years old.

The final speaker was Dave Morris, for many years Director of Ramblers Scotland and one of the leaders of the campaign that led to Scotland's excellent access legislation. Bringing the access debate right up to date he discussed how to gain such access rights for England. Start, he said, by stepping off rights of way and walking where you like. By doing this 'as long as you take responsibility for your own actions, respect the interests of other people, and care for the environment, you will eventually demolish the concept of trespass.” Secondly Dave suggested that an English version of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code should be produced.

Dave's challenging and provocative talk was followed by an open forum and a singing of 'The Manchester Rambler', led by a local Woodcraft Folk group.

Mam Tor

Many years ago when I lived in Manchester I visited Edale regularly to walk on Kinder Scout, Mam Tor and the other hills, usually camping on Cooper's Camp Site in the village. Although I hadn't been to Edale for well over twenty years it felt familiar as soon as I stepped off the train. I recognised the hills instantly and the village itself had changed little, though I noted that there were now three campsites and a few new buildings. There was no time to climb any of the hills but I was able to spend a few hours wandering round Edale marvelling at how green it was compared with home and determining to return for a longer visit.

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