Lake District is "exclusive, mainly white, mainly middle‐class club..."

Discussion in 'Media Links' started by Lempo, Dec 29, 2019.

  1. Daymoth

    Daymoth Ultralighter

    I personally dont think it matters? Accessibility should be in place no matter how many wheelchairs users are around and use it. It should be the default.
    OnOne Jockey, cathyjc and Michael_x like this.
  2. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Accessibility to what? Bowness lakeside path is doable for sure. How about the summit of Great Gable? No? Where do you draw the line?
  3. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    Agreed. Although I'd hark back to my first post on this thread.

    There is a wealth distribution and poverty question here. There is a significant part of the population who can't afford to visit and enjoy the Lake District or other outdoor recreation. They lack the money, time, energy, and/or health. Now maybe if they had the leisure time and could afford it they still wouldn't visit. I suspect that you are correct and a lot wouldn't, some however would, that's why I feel, at least part of the lack of diversity, is a symptom of other political and societal problems.

    Looking back at various earlier posts most agreed some small changes would be a good thing. Examples included: more and better public toilet facilities, improved car parking, litter bins that are emptied often enough, affordable reliable public transport. It's hard to argue with things like these unless one has a hidden agenda and actually wants to discourage visitors and tourists doing more than shopping and spending money in towns.

    A few days ago I walked between South Head and Brown Knoll, south of Kinder. It's lovely blanket bog. The first half of the path however was eroded and torn up by walkers and mountain bikers, looked a right mess. The second has been tastefully paved by the NT. Rough, gritstone tiles that blend in beautifully. That section has vastly less erosion and the bog was not torn up by cyclists and hikers. So I'd argue there is a case for hardening heavily used paths, done right it can reduce environmental impact. Even low down, mostly out of sight, a bit of tarmac (the stuff that covers hundreds of miles of Lake District roads) might be reasonable in a few spots like old railway lines.

    Small, modest, changes such as the above would benefit everyone.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
    OnOne Jockey, cathyjc and Patrick like this.
  4. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    While I whole heartedly agree with the sentiment I also agree whole heartedly with Rog Tallbroke's last post. You both can't and should not make everything accessible.

    Where one draws the line is the question. I'd certainly not draw it at doing nothing. Nor do I want a railway to the top of Scafell Pike, its not Snowden ;)

    Who is actually opposed to decent public toilets, reasonable car parking, litter bins being emptied, wheelchair friendly paths in the right place.? On the subject of paths usable by wheelchair users, come take a look at the one the NT put in at the bottom of Winnat's Pass, not an eyesore.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
  5. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Seems to me the problem with lack of diversity in the LD is a problem in society, not a problem with the LD.
    Maybe more "Country Parks" around our cities and towns might lure the "stay at homes" out into the outdoors more effectively, and act as a stepping stone to them then engaging with the "bigger outdoors" ?
    OnOne Jockey likes this.
  6. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    I don't actually see any of this as a "problem" and I don't think that most of the hypothetical solutions set out in the discussion above could ever be tested.
    FWIW I think that the Lakes has far too many visitors already but fortunately they tend to gather in hot spots and those of us that are prepared to make the effort can still enjoy many areas in relative solitude or whatever level of friendly interaction we want. If that (too many already) is right, in order to do what the park board have stated they want to do, they have to find a way to make it easier for the under-represented groups to visit while putting off those that currently go. Its just futile.
    Michael_x likes this.
  7. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    When I was a young Tallbroke, I hitch-hiked to the Lake District with the rucksack, tent and sleeping bag I bought doing a paper round for two years and snared a rabbit to eat. That gave me the energy I needed to get healthy by climbing hills.

    As an older Tallbroke, I can afford to buy Shewie a pint or two when he gives me a lift up there, or fuelshare with some mates in my 1998 thirsty beast of an old Ford.

    Can we please stop asking for National Park budgets large enough to spoonfeed the world and just encourage people to get of their ar5es and make their own way as best they can?
  8. Daymoth

    Daymoth Ultralighter

    Agree, but thats what i said in my previous post, ideally we would have all levels from a wheelchair accessible trail to areas where vehicles and farming is not allowed.
    OnOne Jockey likes this.
  9. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    The only real problem I see here is some people having the arrogance to think they can decide who ought to be doing what with their free time.

    Alfred Wainwright (yes, him again) didn't go to the fells or write about them because somebody told him to, or because access was easy, yet for an entire generation his work served to attract more people to Lakeland than any other single factor. Even though he doesn't sound like the nicest of people, the only piece of advice he felt entitled to offer us was to watch where we put our feet. Richard Leafe appears to have put his in his mouth.
    gixer, Enzo, Rog Tallbloke and 3 others like this.
  10. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Many of the differences in outcome could be drastically reduced if everyone, of all cultures agreed to completely give up their culture and traditions in favour of one generic way of life.
    I don't think anyone wants to do that. Multiculturalism implies differences in outcome, it's a bug and a feature surly?
    dovidola, Michael_x and PhilHo like this.
  11. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Trail Blazer

    So you went from broke to bloke by getting a job etc, and then back to broke by spending all your cash on expensive gear? !!! :greedy:
    Heltrekker likes this.
  12. PhilHo

    PhilHo Thru Hiker

    Well spotted, I think I need to employ you as a proof reader.
  13. Heltrekker

    Heltrekker Summit Camper

    Just read this thread, everyone else seems to have got it covered, but a couple of observations FWIW.

    Some people (me included) have a passion for chucking a pack and a tent on our backs and spending days slogging up and down hills in all weathers to get up close and personal with ourselves and the great outdoors. We are also lucky enough to be sufficiently physically competent to do this. It doesn't matter what your background or ethnicity, it's a particular type of mindset.

    The great majority of people (based upon my own experience) just don't get it, and wouldn't want to do it. But an awful lot of those people do have a great appreciation of the natural world and want to experience it, be it a drive through a natural park, a short walk to a beauty spot, or a couple of days camping. There are already facilities out there to suit all abilities, from trails which are do-able with a wheelchair to complete wilderness, with a broad range of in-betweens. It doesn't take much Googling to find somewhere within a relatively short distance that suits age, ability and competence.

    Beyond erosion prevention measures, I don't agree with building gravel tracks and morphing the landscape so "everybody" can enjoy it. That is just ridiculous. The landscape is formed by natural processes, some bits of it are dead gorgeous, and the very best bits are wild, isolated and difficult to get to, which is why they stay wild, isolated and gorgeous. You don't start your climbing career with Mont Blanc, you work up to it, likewise with hiking. Those of us who want to can go and see beautiful landscape with preparation, training and planning. Yes, it's a lot easier if you stick in car parks, loos, and gravel tracks so it becomes like Piccadilly Circus every Bank Holiday, but those places are the ones people like me avoid. Me, I like the peace and tranquility of wild areas, I don't want a tourist attraction, but that is a choice anybody is free to make.

    Yes, it's a lot easier if you have a good job, but I have met so many people on the trail who save up their hard earned readies for equipment and travel, even hitch-hiking if necessary, to get out on the hills. Once you're wearing shorts and carrying a pack, everyone looks the same. Last time I hiked, nobody stopped me and asked me how much I earned or condemned me for being middle class. Some of my kit is ferociously expensive, some of it is cheap as chips, some of it is home made. I'm not sure whether it's because I live in France where they are not particularly class-conscious, but hiking and fell-running as leisure pursuits seem to be enjoyed by all backgrounds here.

    Regarding ethnicity, yes, there is a skew to white faces, but I know or have met non-white hikers on fells and up mountains, in conversation they freely acknowledge that they are in the minority as walkers, but they also freely state that their families and friends think they're mad and it's just not a thing that they do in their cultural circles - pretty much what many of my family and friends think of me.

    Specifically with regard to the NPA, it's an organisation that has to justify its existence, so getting more people into parks=more money for the parks and highly paid directors keeping their jobs, IMHO, it's a political stance. However, unless we encourage people to respect and enjoy the countryside, funding will dry up for the agencies that care for it, and we will all lose out. The countryside and wild areas are there for anybody to enjoy, last time I looked there weren't any signs in Ambleside saying "able bodied white faces with middle incomes only". It's just a pity they can't find a more positive way of encouraging people to enjoy the Lake District.
    PhilHo, Enzo, Arne L. and 5 others like this.
  14. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    No! Not shorts! Never!
    (everything else is well said though...)
  15. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
  16. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    The moniker was coined by @Michael_x

    But to answer your question, my employment over the last few years has been patchy for a number of reasons (health, politics), so my income has been variable to nil. Hence my Cheapskate backpacking rig thread, and "How much?!!" comments.
    PhilHo and Michael_x like this.
  17. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    When I was a lad we didn't even have metacommenatry let alone, oh err sorry, that's the 3 Yorkshire men thread.

    I agree, mostly, but, my reading of what little we have in the way of verbatim quotes was a suggestion that read to me as saying that changes to improve equality of opportunity be made and the implication this would result in greater equality of outcomes.

    Of course this is naive. Even the Manchester Gruniad has noticed such, long ago:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/jan/27/inequality-opportunity-egalitarian-tory-left

    But, getting back to the actual Lake District, I think we have to accept that it doesn't conserve or protect or maintain itself. That such costs money. That everyone pays taxes and that is where much of the money comes from. Seems reasonable some of it be spent to improve access for those whose money it was.

    As for using arguments about equality of opportunity to justify that allocation, well, making such arguments is part of what is required these days. Goes with the territory of running a public service. Sad but true and easier to take the p-i-s-s of, or find good arguments against, than shooting ducks in a barrel.

    Just curious but given we've pretty well mined out the original Guardian article does anyone have any other factual sources of verifiable data/information to help folk further consider how well or badly the Lake District National Park is being managed? N.B. I don't mean anecdotes.
  18. Michael_x

    Michael_x Trail Blazer

    LOL, looks like we were writing at the same time but you hit Post first. My apologies for mangling your username, it was a genuine typo and I was unaware until your most recent post drew my attention to it.

    My bad. Hope you'll forgive my error.
  19. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    No worries. Made me laugh.
    Michael_x likes this.
  20. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Trail Blazer

    That looks like it could be a useful thread. :)
  21. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    Looks like it's turned into a thread about everyone's favourite item at this time of year. ;)
    Michael_x likes this.
  22. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Removed due to me boring myself and no need to bore anyone else!
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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