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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 .. 15 Next page >>
Track
Mournes Bird Route
Onzy an hour ago.
Route from Leitrim Lodge carpark taking in Rocky Mountain, Hen, 2 Cocks, 2 Pigeons and Wee Slievemoughan walk, Len: 14.3km, Climb: 958m, Area: Rocky Mountain, Mourne Mountains (Ireland...

  
Track
Near Bweengduff, Boggeragh Mountains (Ireland)
caiomhin a day ago.
walk, Len: 7.4km, Climb: 181m, Area: Bweengduff, Boggeragh Mountains (Ireland) ...

  
Track
Tonlagee via Stoney Top.
simon3 a day ago.
Stoney Top view south.Annalecka BridgeThis walk starts from near Annalecka bridge where there is a limited amount of p... walk, Len: 14.4km, Climb: 659m, Area: Stoney Top, Dublin/Wicklow (Ireland) St

Forum: General
RE: Morocco - advice for tackling Jebel Toubk
muzag 3 days ago.
@spiider28 Handy article with logistical tips here :https://www.irishmountaineeringclub.org/travelling-light-in-the-high-atlas-mountains/

  
Summit Comment
Slemish: tea at the top
Parts999 3 days ago.
great views my kids and i are going to as many mountian tops as we can, we call it tea at the topit great fun

  
Summit Comment
Knocknamuck: Summit of the Slieveardagh Hills
Wilderness 5 days ago.
If you fancy a longer walk you can start at the car park just outside Grange at S309566. From here I walked clockwise round the Crag Forest Loop until I reached the Wellington Monument. I then joi...

Track
Blackstairs Challenge 2018
David-Guenot 4 days ago.
Different finish on this year's challenge, adding some 3km over good forest tracks. Best weather conditions we could ... walk, Len: 34.2km, Climb: 1491m, Area: Mount Leinster East Top, Blackstairs Mo

  
Summit Comment
Sliabh Tuaidh Far W Top: All About The Journey, Not The Destination
Aidy a week ago.
I had a mixed day weatherwise, with dark skies, rain and flat light one minute, and blue skies the next, but it only added to the spectacular views to be had from the summit. If anything, the view...

  
Track
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David-Guenot 4 days ago.
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Forum: General
Kenmare next week.
simon3 3 days ago.
Anyone interested in hillwalking next week?Contact sstewart04@mountainviews.ie

  
Summit Comment
Spelhoagh: Quiet mountain
Wilderness 2 weeks ago.
I climbed this mountain coming from the West side from Oughtmore mountain. I've never tried it but I'm sure Spelhoagh can also be easily accessed from the Moneyneany Road on the East side as well ...

  
Track
Brassel Mountain
David-Guenot 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 3.0km, Climb: 458m, Area: Brassel Mountain, MacGillycuddy's Reeks (I...


RECENT CONTRIBUTIONS 1 2 3 .. 15 Next page >>