The radio piece went well, I got to say what I though was most important: ban the neds, watch out for folk on the WHW; folk like us will carry on as normal. The TV bit was all murder and mayhem, and after the live bit was cut where we were all geared up for giving a positive spin, we feared that the edited piece might be too negative, but it was better than I’d feared.
I spent the day with the Park folk, and went back to HQ to meet some of the other parties that are directly interested in the byelaws. It turns out there are as many reservations and concerns in there as there are out here.
The Park is full of outdoor folk who’ve sought the job out, looking for a change of life, so I don’t think we should regard this situation as “them & us”, it’s a necessary process that we should be involved in, so that we do keep them honest. For example, the WHW officer has exactly the same worries as me, that hikers will get caught out. The WHW isn’t affected until it reaches Balmaha, and after that it does cross Salochy, the worst affected area I think next to Rowardennan. But, they’re setting up an informal campsite in there with some facilities, so they’re not all problems without solutions.
If you know the area in question, you know its beautiful, and you know it’s almost an urban area too. From Drymen to Rowardennan is populated along its length, sometimes sparsely, but there are communties there, farms, houses. In Tom Weir’s day, maybe we could have camped at Salochy and been welcomed in for scones and tea at one of the houses, but we’ve changed all that, it hasn’t beed inflicted upon us. The world is what we’ve made it, we can either say stop or we can let the bastards grind us down.
I’ll be staying in comms with the Park, I’ll be watching this closely. If I’m worried by the way it’s going, I’ll stand up and shout.
But, we’ve got plans under discussion for a project to promote and explain low-impact wild camping to both Park users and the general public. Education by positive example is the way forward.