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Imagine my delight.. by maclimber   (Show all posts)
A few months back,.. by Bleck Cra   (Show all posts)
The discussion on .. by Bleck Cra   (Show all posts)
It is important to.. by mcrtchly   (Show all posts)
2011-03-04 23:00:19
Cra-zily paved...
Cra’s recent point about the on-going path work in the Mournes ‘changing the complexion of the area forever’ is the crux of the issue. The problem as I see it, is one of perception. Our lives have become divorced from the countryside as we move into towns and cities to live. Most folk who visit the countryside from urban areas have a cherished vision of what it should be like, driven by the media. But dichotomies have arisen.

The concern for the care, and increased protection of, the countryside and upland areas in particular, stems from a perception of these areas encapsulated in quaint phrases such as ‘Wild Britain’ and ‘Unspoilt Ireland’. These environments are ‘the other’, the very antithesis of cities, the last bastions of ‘wilderness’. They must be protected. Large swathes of our countryside now fall under a raft of legislation.

On the other hand, there is mounting encouragement, and government funding for, schemes to introduce the countryside to a wider audience, for recreation, education and health benefits. Hill walking is seen as a pursuit that combines these to good effect. And herein lies the rub. More access means more footfall and that sometimes results in badly eroded pathways and ‘environmental degradation’.

For whose benefit is path ‘maintenance’ undertaken and on whose authority? Is it done to salve the guilty consciences of those who sally forth into the countryside, the very presence of their Vibram-soled boots inadvertently damaging the landscape they claim to cherish? Or is it policy driven, with the ultimate aim of making access easier for even more people? Watching a group of ill clad and shod Asians struggling up the path from Wasdale to England’s highest peak in atrocious weather last summer, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Wainwright lauded Scafell Pike for its roughness and ruggedness - attributes he felt were necessary for England’s highest mountain. That paved route, deceptively dangerous to the ill-equipped and inexperienced in foul weather, decimated those attributes. Wainwright would have turned in his grave if his ashes hadn’t been scattered on top of Haystacks.

Some maintained trails don’t improve safety and people are not sticking to them. Others, such as the wooden walkway of Wicklow’s Spink are far more environmentally sensitive and do their job well. Maintained pathways are not universally welcomed by hill walkers. Some are hard and unpleasant to walk on and they undermine the very sense of ‘remoteness’ that is the raison d’être for most folk taking to our hills.

In our increasingly cluttered islands, maybe we have to accept that some routes up the most popular mountains will have to be ‘sacrificed’ to allow access where there are other alternatives. But at the end of the day it’s foolish to think we can encourage more walkers to our mountains without them leaving a trace. And I’d sooner see a load of muddy footprints up a hillside than a crazy-paved pathway.
Just a follow on t.. by mcrtchly   (Show all posts)
I recently bought .. by Dessie1   (Show all posts)
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I have been watchi.. by kernowclimber   (Show all posts)

RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 12 Next page >>
Summit Comment
Knockchree: Views
Biker less than an hour ago.
More pictures

Summit Comment
Knockchree: Views from Knockcree climbing from its western side.
Biker less than an hour ago.
Climbing to the top from the Tullyframe Road, using the forestry path that runs almost parallel to the road . The views back down the valley are stunning still from this side, Felling a number of ...

Peak bagging in The Sperrins in autumn
peter1 11 hours ago.
Again, the use of a mountain bike is highly recommended for this route, if you are a solo walker. I left my bike in a... walk, Len: 16.2km, Climb: 1048m, Area: Mullaghclogha, Sperrin Mountains (Irela

Summit Comment
Trostan: Longer but More Scenic and Enjoyable Approach
dr_banuska a day ago.
This was my 4th visit to Trostan: 1st was via neighbouring Slievenanee and 2nd and 3rd were via the perpetually wet Moyle Way/Ulster Way approach to the west. On the 3rd visit we did the entire MW...

Forum: General
Cable Car to the Hellfire Club - 20/10
cave-dweller a day ago.
Hello, There is a meeting being held in the Yellow House Pub in Rathfarnham in Dublin 14 tomorrow night at 8 pm about some proposed "redevelopments" in and around the Hellfire Club/Montpelier Hill...

Slieve Foye
Onzy 5 days ago.
Sunday route over Slieve Foye and along the ridge for a bit... walk, Len: 9.9km, Climb: 439m, Area: Slieve Foye, Cooley/Gullion (Ireland) Slie...

Summit Comment
Esknaloughoge: Good parking available Oct 2016 at V 63582 65203
melohara 3 days ago.
Good parking available Oct 2016 at V 63582 65203 Followed Kerry Way until it emerged from wood at 62811 65060 where a rough track ascended NW towards Esknaloughoge. Track descends into pool at one...

Summit Comment
Coomnahorna: Good parking available Oct 2016 at V 63582 65203
melohara 3 days ago.
Good parking available Oct 2016 at V 63582 65203 Followed Kerry Way until it emerged from wood at 62811 65060 where a rough track ascended NW towards Esknaloughoge. Track descends into pool at one...

Ox Mountains: Knockalongy & Annatoran
Onzy 5 days ago.
Route taking in Knockalongy, its 2 satellites, and Annatoran.Parking is as suggested by Mountainmike in track 3166, a... walk, Len: 17.1km, Climb: 370m, Area: Knockalongy North-East Top, Ox Mountains

Forum: General
Quad bikers in the Mournes
mcrtchly 2 weeks ago.
Whilst out in the Mournes on Sunday 2nd Oct, at about 8.30am we were shocked to see a group of half a dozen quad bikers powering up the track from the Banns Road towards Lough Shannagh (below Doan...

Summit Comment
Seahan: Wet underfoot
Bunsen7 3 days ago.
Undertook the Seefingan/Kilbride Circuit taking in Seahan, Corrig, Seefingan and Seefin on Sat 15 Oct 2016. I had surmised that these must be the higher summits I can see clearly beyond Saggart Hi...

La Gomera - GR131
GSheehy a week ago.
I won?t get any five star rating for the description of this walk but it is probably one of the most memorable walks I walk, Len: 35.6km, Climb: 1374m, Area: Spain, Canary Islands ()

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