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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)
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.
Just a follow on t.. by mcrtchly   (Show all posts)
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RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 18 Next page >>
Track
Look out for easy path to summit from forest track.
Bunsen7 an hour ago.
Largely replicating track 1291, but showing the trail now going eastwward from the summit to T23444 94039.Views were ... walk, Len: 6.4km, Climb: 304m, Area: Carrick Mountain, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland

  
Summit Comment
Carrick Mountain: If I got there quicker than you it's because I was...
Bunsen7 2 hours ago.
Visited on a beautiful, mild sunny day in Dec 2017. Parked at the forest entrance at Ballylusk as suggested by Track 1291, which I followed. Also had the benefit of the East-West Mapping East Wick...

  
Summit Comment
Ben of Howth: Here's to Howth!
Bunsen7 a day ago.
Having made my first proper visit there this afternoon and doing the Purple "Bog of Frogs" waymarked route (anti-clockwise with the detour to the Ben early in the walk), I found myself marvelling ...

Track
'Off-Grid' in Arctic Sweden: Trekking the Dag Hammarskjöldleden
mcrtchly a day ago.
We first visited Arctic Sweden in September 2016 and walked the middle section of the Kungsleden trail (MV track 3332). walk, Len: 110.7km, Climb: 1726m, Area: Sweden, Norrbotten ()

  
Summit Comment
Spinans Hill SE Top: Brissels or Brussels
Bunsen7 2 days ago.
Climbed both hills on 16/12/17, following the main route described by others here on MV.The forestry between the tops has thinned out a little (or so it seems by reference to previous comments) an...

  
Track
Glen o' the Downs Wood
jgfitz a day ago.
This woodland track can be accessed directly from N11 heading South. After Exit 9, there is a road sign for Glen o' the walk, Len: 5.9km, Climb: 183m, Area: Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Cloghnagaune: There must be an easier way!
Bunsen7 2 days ago.
This is a rather painful hill to summit from the obvious parking spot at the forest entrance to the south east. Following where others have gone I found myself wading through head high gorse to at...

  
Track
Cloghnagaune Summit and Stone Circle
Bunsen7 2 days ago.
This is a rather painful hill to summit from the obvious parking spot at the forest entrance to the south east. Follow... walk, Len: 4.0km, Climb: 144m, Area: Cloghnagaune, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) C

  
User profile
IainMiller
IainMiller 3 days ago.
A rock climber, hillwalker and guidebook author living, working and playing on the sea cliffs, sea stacks, mountain ranges and uninhabited islands of County Donegal. http://uniqueascent.ie/sea_sta...

Summit Comment
Roaninish: Roan Inish
IainMiller 3 days ago.
Roan Inish (Roaninish) is a low lying storm lashed small archipelago comprising five main islands and a large collection of tidal skerries. The islands are reasonably remote being 4 KM from the ne...

  
Track
The Beara-Breifne Way Day7
mlmoroneybb a week ago.
On Sunday, we were not attacked by the MacCarthys of Drishane Castle but started our walk on the O?Keefe Booning Castl walk, Len: 27.7km, Climb: 362m, Area: Paps/Derrynasaggart (Ireland)

  
Summit Comment
Inishbarnog: Roan Inish
IainMiller 3 days ago.
Roan Inish (Roaninish) is a low lying storm lashed small archipelago comprising five main islands and a large collection of tidal skerries. The islands are reasonably remote being 4 KM from the ne...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 18 Next page >>