Response to Bleck Cra
I have been a Mountain Views member for some time and I have to say I have enjoyed reading the contributions of the other members over the years. Few are more entertaining than those from Bleck Cra, but I feel I must take issue with him regarding his views on efforts being made to improve tracks, counteract erosion, etc.
When I started walking many years ago, you could be out all day and not meet a soul, but nowadays, there are a lot more people out on the hills. This is a welcome development but unfortunately it has its down side in the shape of serious erosion. There are places where I once struggled through waist high heather and where now I'm walking waist high in a muddy trench the width of a good sized road.
What can be done about this? Bleck Cra's approach seems to be to do nothing, to just ignore the problem and snipe at the efforts of anyone who tries to do something about it. He complains about the Binnian track repairs, now I have to confess that I haven’t seen the work in question, but as a regular Seven Sevens participant, I have to say that the tracks in that area have been deteriorating at an alarming rate, and I am of the opinion that someone somewhere will have to try to do something about it soon. In some places, the authorities have attempted to put in place sustainable tracks, and to be fair, some of these have been very successful. Personally, I hate the boardwalks, but nobody who remembers what the Spink and White Hill were like before the sleepers went down could say there has not been a big improvement. The real problem with the official bodies is that they are trying to get the job done as quickly and as cheaply as they can, and therefore are not as particular about what the finished job looks like. A good example is at Glenealo where they have cut steps in the boulders using a con saw and put down a gravel path that would be more suited to the gardens of Versailles.
Then there are the voluntary “vandals” (as Bleck Cra would have it) - a group to which I have to confess I belong, being a member of Mountain Meitheal for many years. When I first joined, I have to say I had some doubts as to what we were about, but as the years go by and I see the erosion becoming worse and worse, I am convinced that what we are doing is the right thing. Every year, Mountain Meitheal volunteers give up thousands of hours of their leisure time in an attempt to stem the tide of damage, and certainly we don’t always get it right, but surely it is better to try than to do nothing and hope the problem will go away. The feedback we get from people passing indicates that most of them appreciate the work we do and agree that this indeed is the way to go.
We must confront this problem instead of ignoring it – in my opinion, doing nothing is not an option.
P.S. Mountain Meitheal start back on the last Sunday in February and we can always do with more help, so why not come out and join us (even Bleck Cra, he might even enjoy it!).