Archive for February 2008

Odd one out

Posted by on February 28th 2008 in Just for fun, Rambling on...

It's not so much a question of which pic's the odd one out, more a question of why...

 

 

 

Oh, sorry, there are no prizes,

just the satisfaction of being a clever-dick if you get it right.

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...

Only the good die young

Posted by on February 27th 2008 in In the News, Photo hosting

Sad news... according to Kara, Zoto's closing it's doors.

Oh well, it was good while it lasted.  No regrets or complaints from me, the service was excellent.

Looks like I'll be hosting my own pics soon.

NEWSFLASH

Posted by on February 27th 2008 in Rambling on...

00:55 am...

We just had an earthquake! The whole house was shaking... the laptop motion-sensor stopped the HDD... plates on the floor... alarms going off everywhere...

I'd just finished an hour of setting up the scope - what a waste of time, expensive accessories all over the floor. :cry:

Fantastic.

Edit: news is that the epicentre was 15 miles from Lincoln and about 4.7 on the Richter scale.

More details here. 

Hiding in the thickets of the law

Posted by on February 26th 2008 in Rambling on...

Arrest him.

Yes!

For what?

He's dangerous!

For libel; he's a spy!

He is! Arrest him!

Father, that man's bad!

There is no law against that.

There is! God's law!

Then God can arrest him.

Sophistication upon sophistication!

No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.

Then you set Man's law above God's?

No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact - I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate, I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me in there, thank God...

While you talk, he's gone!

And go he should if he was the devil himself, until he broke the law!

So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

Yes, what would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - Man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the wind that would blow then? Yes. I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god.

Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... But I find him too subtle... I don't know where he is or what he wants.

My god wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else!

Are you sure that's God? - He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God - And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law!...

New visitor/map widgets

Posted by on February 25th 2008 in Maps, Site update

Courtesy of whos.amung.us, there's a couple of new playthings on this blog. You'll have noticed that there's a little counter in the sidebar, just below the search widget. It's a simple live display of the number of viewers. Coupled with that is a new visitor map (which I've stuck on a separate page) that displays where folk are looking from, visually it's similar to Clustrmaps, but with this map, if visitors are viewing right now, their markers flash. There are some nifty stats pages to be had, and a Firefox add-on to let you keep an eye on up to five blogs/sites from the browser status-bar. The whole shooting-match is highly-configurable and it's all free. Hop over there and have a shufty, you might find something useful. Edited to say that this isn't solely for WordPress blogs.

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

Posted by on February 24th 2008 in Great Escapes, 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.

Pick a card… any card…

Posted by on February 22nd 2008 in Just for fun, Wildcamping e-petition

No, it's not the Ace of Spades... it's the King of Trowels!

 

 

Of course, masks are optional.

:-)

>600

Posted by on February 22nd 2008 in In the News, Wildcamping e-petition

Another Wildcamping Petition Update...

Now over 600 names on there...

But we still need many more.

Again, thanks to all who have supported this cause.

You can see an updated numbered list of signatories on the page that I've dedicated to the petition.

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