Archive for the 'Wildcamping e-petition' Category

Acknowledged but not answered

Posted by on May 5th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

As suggested on the Legalise Wild Camping site, I used the "theyworkforyou.com" and the "writetothem.com" services to contact my MP regarding the matter.

I used the service on April 21st, and the following letter was received here on April 26th:

You'll note that it wasn't signed by my MP, but by an underling on his behalf. That's typical of my MP... never around to do even the simplest of jobs, never gets his hands dirty, not even prepared to pick up a pen.

According to the criteria in the follow-up email that I received today from "writetothem.com", said letter, IMO, constitutes an acknowledgement, not a reply.

FWIW, here's an extract from the follow-up email:

"Your feedback will allow us to publish performance tables of the responsiveness of all the politicians in the UK. The majority of MPs respond promptly and diligently to the needs and views of their constituents. They deserve credit and respect for their conscientiousness.

Likewise, we're keen to expose the minority of MPs who don't seem to give a damn."

I like that attitude!

If I ever get a real reply from my MP, I'll let you know.

 p.s. We reached 1700 signatories today.

Another milestone reached

Posted by on April 20th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

The current total number of signatories on the online wildcamping e-petition now equals the 1350 responses to the public consultation on the draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code (March – June 2003).

Now this total might not seem to be much, but bearing in mind that official support from most of the major outdoors organisations (such as the Ramblers Association and the BMC) and from many online communities (such as UKC and OM) has been sadly lacking so far, I reckon it's a great response. It's good to see that many members of these organisations are signing up anyway, in spite of the apparent apathy of their governing bodies.

So, next stop 2000? Why not? Size isn't everything, but the bigger this thing gets, the harder it will be to ignore it.

If you've already put your name to this, you have our thanks for a job well done. If you've yet to sign up, what are you waiting for?

Political support?

Posted by on April 15th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

I just flicked down the list of e-petition signatories and noticed that one Tom King has just signed up. There's a Chris Smith on there too. Anybody noticed any other "famous names"?

(As you can tell, I'm not too hot on politics.)

Connect Four

Posted by on April 15th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

In a fine example of block-voting, Russell, Keith, Wendy and Jack Henley have taken the wildcamping e-petition count to 1282.

Nice one.

Or should that be "Nice four"?

178

Posted by on April 7th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

178 is an even natural number between 177 and 179.

178 is a semiprime, a product of two primes, namely 2 and 89.

178 is a digitally balanced number: in its binary numeral system representation it has the same number of zeros as ones (10110010).

178 is a 31-gonal number.

178 is the number of new signatories required on the online wildcamping e-petition in order to equal the 1350 responses to the public consultation on the draft Scottish Outdoor Access Code (March – June 2003).

Scotland... the country that has the common sense and the balls to publish this for wildcampers:

 

 By comparison, England and Wales tend to give you this...

 "No Wild Camping" signs on Malvern Common - geograph.org.uk - 1482410

Enough said.

1k

Posted by on March 27th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

Well, the number at the top of the petition page may well say 999...

but there are actually 1,000 signatories on the list now!

Don't believe me?

You'd better count them, then.

:mrgreen:

One thousand. 1 grand. 1,000. A kilo. Mille. Tausend. Duizend. Mil. Ettusen.

Whichever way you look at it, it's something to be proud of.

Well done! Keep it up!

Next stop: 2,000

🙂

Petition update

Posted by on March 10th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

The total number of wildcamping e-petition signatories has just clambered over the 750 hurdle. Let's hope that the weekend campaign at the Outdoors Show results in a big boost in the number of supporters.

If you've already signed up, don't forget to enlist the rest of your family, bribe your friends and brow-beat your neighbours. Every signature counts!

If you've not signed up yet, well, need I go on?

Our(?) green and pleasant land

Posted by on February 28th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

According to the informal rules (not laws, there are none) of the game, wildcampers are supposed to pitch only on land where they've been given permission.

Sounds easy. But is it? Half of the land in my(?) fair country isn't even registered. Finding out who owns the other half is a nightmare.

Here's a snippet:

"There are in the UK over 40,000 people who own land worth at least £1 million. Who many of these people are and how they acquired their land is a mystery. Most figures concerning private land ownership are only estimates because 50% of the land in the UK is not registered. The Land Registry only registers land when it is sold. Those who have held estates for generations are under no obligation to tell anyone about their holdings. How did this state of affairs come about?"

If you're the slightest bit interested, follow these links:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article786116.ece

and

http://libcom.org/news/article.php/land-ownership-right-roam-uk-10032006

I watched Peter Snow's 2006 documentary on the Beeb and it was quite an eye-opener.

If only I had a copy...

So, this wildcamping, what’s it all about?

Posted by on February 24th 2008 in Wildcamping, Wildcamping e-petition

I'm aware that there are quite a few folk out there reading this blog who've heard a bit about wildcamping but have never tried it and so don't really get the gist of what we're campaigning for. Hopefully you'll take the time to have a look through these blogged reports about a few of my most recent wildcamps, they should give some idea about what we're going on about. Just click the links below the pics to see the relevant report pages.

Ennerdale wildcamp

Ennerdale October 2007

Easedale wildcamp

Easedale June 2007 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Far Eastern Fells wildcamp

Far Eastern Fells May 2007

Looks like fun, eh? Something worth fighting for, perhaps?

The e-petition – why bother?

Posted by on February 24th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

I'll start off by saying that I'm not trying to shoot down arguments against the petition, I'm just airing my views on the matter.

We all know that wildcamping has been going on in England and Wales for many, many years and that, on the whole, there haven't been too many problems. By and large, landowners have been commendably tolerant (or blissfully unaware) of dedicated walkers overnighting on their wild property, and there haven't been many complaints reported. This suggests that there is a "status quo" which is not to be upset, and often leads to anti-petition voices proclaiming "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Well, I've got a car. It's not broke, so I'm not going to fix it. But it'll still get a regular service, I owe it that much. It's served me well for many years but it needs some TLC, the bits that wear out, like the tyres and brake-pads, still need periodic replacement before they fail in a catastrophic manner. Or maybe I should just ignore the maintenance schedule and let the machine kill me and my family when a tyre blows and the brakes fail while driving back on the motorway after a trip to the Lake District?

Looking again at the wildcamping situation as part of the bigger picture of recreational land usage, I see that it's not a "status quo". The amount of land in England and Wales is more or less finite, allowing for the effects of erosion versus deposition. There's a variation in the number of landowners as property is bought and sold, split or amalgamated. But overshadowing these minor variables is the increasing number of people taking to the outdoors, and particularly to the hills.

This in itself has both positive and negative effects: on the plus side, getting out there and doing stuff is good for body and soul, fresh air and regular exercise in a thrilling environment are to be encouraged. One of the knock-on effects is often an increased cash-flow into a local, often rural, economy, which is an obvious plus if you're a local resident and your living is based on a tourist-dependent economy. More visitors = more cash. Simple. On the minus side, the increased pressure on the land can put some areas at risk due to the damage caused by the number of boots/vehicles/whatever. More visitors = more pressure. Simple. I see another downside - more people taking to the wilds and taking up semi-permanent residence there, but unaware of the code of practice that is required to preserve the land for others. I've seen large encampments in wild spaces: groups of tents and teepees set up around a scorched open hearth, open latrine trenches dug behind bushes (often the few bushes that remain after the search for easily-available firewood has proved fruitless) and lip-service being paid to any care for the environment. If this is getting back to nature, it's not for me. I'm not "anti", I'm just of a different opinion. The thing is, these groups are becoming more common, and so there is potential for a corresponding rise in the number of conflicts that can result.

Now, the way I see it is this. If we don't identify ourselves as being different to other groups such as new-age travellers, weekend revellers, ravers and the like, we'll always be pigeonholed with them (I've nothing against these other groups, btw, it's just that I see distinctions based on objectives). This is all the more likely while our activity has no basis in law and while there is no regulatory body which could offer support. If offsite-camping is banned (and I mean banned in law or bye-law) because of the inappropriate actions of one of these other proliferating groups, we'll all be tarred with the same brush so we'll all sink together, which would be unfair, and I can imagine that the outcry from bona fide wildcampers would be much louder than the current outcry against the petition.

I like the idea of being part of defined groups, rather than being pigeonholed inappropriately. I don't like over-regulation and card-carrying any more than anybody else does, but if it's looked on as a privilege rather than an Orwellian jackboot, it's more appealing. Yes, I would carry a card if it meant that I could carry on enjoying my wildcamping while other groups are prevented from doing so because they have overstepped the mark. There have been questions about how a card scheme would be administered, and to be honest I don't really know, but I do know that it's not rocket-science. Cards are everywhere... gym cards, credit cards, debit cards, Camping and Caravanning Club cards, supermarket points cards, driving licences etc. etc.. OK, so it might not be a free system, some payment may well be involved, but a proportion of any registration fee could be donated to a suitable organisation, such as Mountain Rescue, Air Ambulance, CPRE, there are many options here.

What's the problem? Me. I'm the problem. Because I have an opinion which differs.

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