Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Wind and a wind up.

The safari has not been out so much – too much to do…Patch 1 last night held the Peregrine again but he wasn’t there at 06.30 this morning. Plenty of birdsong in the mild conditions. Patch 2 this morning was a grey dead loss. Windy, for the first time in ages and a choppy sea with sea mist seriously reducing the visibility. Little to report other than our Great Crested Grebe has been reunited with its two chums and a fourth one was sat in the waves a few hundred yards away. A dozen or so Common Scoters were all we could find. Poor!
Last night we attended a meeting of the NW 4x4 Response group. A voluntary organisation whose aim is to use their vehicles capabilities to assist the authorities when requested and do other good turns for those in distress. For example in the recent harsh weather one member has been using his Land Rover to deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly and infirm as the regular delivery vans and drivers were struggling on the ice-bound streets.
The meeting was at a country pub and there was a good chance of spotting a Barn Owl along the lanes. None seen!
One topic of conversation was the vitriolic denunciation of 4x4 users in the countryside on climbing and mountain biking forum – to the point where some members of that forum were seriously considering blocking a legal road track (a BOAT - Byway open to all Traffic). Now I am the first to admit that no one hobby is perfect and there are countryside users in all interest groups who have their mavericks and down right irresponsible contingent – but vandalising the Queen’s Highway because of a few (alleged) numpties in 4x4s is not the answer. But neither is tarmacing every unsurfaced byway in the land. Recent legislation closed 98% of the green lanes to motorised traffic – the irony is that many of these are farm tracks and continue to be used by tractors and other farm vehicles, some rarely see a rambler, but we as 4x4 drivers are still denied them. In fact the Ramblers Association (our biggest critics and not only of 4x4’s but mountain bikes etc etc as well) (Thought about refusing to put the link in, but in the interests of fairness I have) themselves had a mass trespass in 1932 to put their point that people should have access to open countryside, that it was not just for the rich, upper classes or elite – six of them were eventually jailed for their part in the protest. My, seemingly, minor disability prevents me from walking far (bonkers that, as it’s my hands that are bad), I can barely ride a bike now, am not confident on a horse – if I could still hold the reins and my climbing days are long since past but I can still drive, so why do some people want to stop me enjoying the great British countryside – I’m not about to go ripping it up I just want to get away from the tarmac bound hordes enjoy some solitude, have a picnic, challenge and practice my driving skills (although I also go to Pay and Play quarries to further this aim) and see some wildlife too – a vehicle makes a good hide. But what about all the able bodied Land Rover drivers should they not be able to enjoy those tracks too. However if I was more disabled, in the leg or heart department for instance, I could use one of these Trampers perfectly legally on Public Footpaths What's the difference, it's still a motorised vehicle? If you think walkers don’t damage the countryside then think again as you can see some of the hikers tracks up to the summits in the Lake District NP from my mates’ new place 10 miles and more away.
What about all those CO2 emissions? Well many of my 5000 miles a year are fuelled by recycled cooking oil and what about the thousands of ramblers who head out of the towns and cities at the weekend, they don't walk to the hills do they?
Rant over head is well and truly above the parapet – hard hat and flak jacket donned…Look out…here come the repliesssssssssss…
Where to next? More patch work – on foot, if Frank is up to it, he’s pulled a muscle playing with his rugby ball. Out of town all day indoor meeting tomorrow - wonder if we'll get anything from the train window.
In the meantime let us know who’s been trashing your outback (allegedly).

Look no ramblers! Not even a boot print. Don't get me wrong I'm not against rambling I walked up hill and down dale conquering most of the Lake District's and Yorkshire dales highest peaks, it's bigots and the unfairness of it all I object to.


Warren Baker said...

Ive seen your head above the parapet dave.......Bang! cant agree with any vehicles being in the countryside just for kicks (or dogwalkers, pushbikes, motorbikes, paragliders, er...well anyone but me really. :-)

Forest the Bear said...

Keep up the greenlaning fight Dave, cant see the point in living in a supposedly free country, if you are not allowed to enjoy it by the method of your choice. Providing it is done responsibly and with respect to the environment I see no problem.

In Sweden you are allowed to roam throughout the whole country without being done for trespass. In the England you cannot Kayak freely down most of the rivers without risk of trespass. How can a landowner own the water? this is just stupid!!

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Forest - not so long ago I was planning a conoe trip from teh source of the river Ribble at a gooey peat bog in the Yorkshire Dales NP all the way down to the estuary and arounfd the corner to the 'slade' on the sea wall at work until we discovered the onmly bit we could legally do was an odd bit here and there the last half dozen miles ie open sea - ridiculous - what possible harm can two guys in a canoe do to a river...oh sorry we might scare 7 salmon and a dozen trout or or two.