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Imagine my delight.. by maclimber   (Show all posts)
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It is important to.. by mcrtchly   (Show all posts)
kernowclimber
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.
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 19 Next page >>
Track
Sail Mhor
Peter Walker a day ago.
After a week of blazing sunshine in the Peak District overwhelmingly spent swimming in the pool, lazing by the pool a... walk, Len: 11.3km, Climb: 833m, Area: Sail Mhor, Loch Maree to Loch Broom (Bri

  
Summit Comment
Binnion: Hills, radios and lost leads
eejaymm a day ago.
On the 14-07-18 Ian and I headed out to Donegal to climb Binnion in North Donegal. It's a 1 pointer for SOTA (Summits On The Air - a Radio Amateur programme to get operators out portable) but had ...

  
Track
Coastal Dublin - Donabate to Malahide
Onzy a day ago.
Circuit of Broadmeadows Estuary from Donabate to Malahide walk, Len: 12.9km, Climb: 115m, Area: Dublin Islands (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Gleninagh Mountain: A sweeping vista of the Aran Islands, Fanore Beach and Galwa
Damian120 6 days ago.
This hiking trail up over Gleninagh Mountain serves up a great example of the typical Burren limestone Karst, following traditional old and now disused green lane-ways. Elevated mountain paths for...

  
Track
Tour d'Oueil-Larboust (Pyrenees)
David-Guenot a day ago.
How to turn a "GR de pays" which is usually completed over two or three days into a challenge walk. A solo tri walk, Len: 45.9km, Climb: 2128m, Area: France, Occitanie ()

  
Summit Comment
Mount Corrin: Storm damage
thomas_g a week ago.
If you plan on walking to Derrylahard East from Corrin please note that in July 2018 the sheeps Head way is closed due to storm damage 2km after Corrin. I didn’t attempt it so not sure if it’s pas...

Track
Near Beinn Ghobhlach, Loch Maree to Loch Broom (Britain)
Peter Walker 3 days ago.
walk, Len: 10.9km, Climb: 739m, Area: Beinn Ghobhlach, Loch Maree to Loch Broom...

  
Forum: General
Bushfires in Dublin/ Wicklow July 2018
Trailtrekker 3 days ago.
To answer your question, you are good to go. Happened to drive the length of the Military Road last Sunday. As of that time all the fires were north of the Sally Gap. I am not aware there having b...

  
Summit Comment
Knockaughna: Mind how you go
thomas_g a week ago.
I wouldn’t recommend driving up the track described by sandman. I did and got halfway where it became too overgrown to proceed. They only turning opportunity is a gate that requires some serious e...

Track
Suilven
Peter Walker 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 24.0km, Climb: 1029m, Area: Lochinver to Ullapool (Britain) Suilven ...

  
Summit Summary
Mouldy Hill: Rough coastal summit over Buncrana and Lough Swilly.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 a week ago.
Starting point is the large carpark at White Strand at approx C345302 on the main road into Buncrana. Walk back to the Harbour Inn and take the short journey along Tank Rd, turn left onto Hillview...

  
Forum: General
Bushfires in Dublin/ Wicklow July 2018
MickC a week ago.
Hi,Does anyone know, or suggest where I might find out, the extent of the recent bushfires in Dublin/ Wicklow? Planning a walk from the Sally Gap to Glenmalure over the next few days.Cheers.Mick


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 19 Next page >>