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Thread: The new River Access Campaign website.

  1. #1
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    Default The new River Access Campaign website.

    The new RAC website is now visible here. What do you think? Is it a major step forward or lipstick on a pig? If the latter what would you like to see on the site to make it an effective campaign?
    Keith

  2. #2

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    This simply a re-hash of the old site. Certainly much better from a cosmetic point of view.


    A "campaign" is a set of actions planned to achieve a desired result. This website contains no plan of action and cannot be called a "campaign".

    There is no plan to;

    - Actively encourage people to lobby their MPs in the way we have done here and create a database of MPs with their position on the issue
    - Encourage people to paddle on disputed rivers, with advice on how to do it, and how to use the media to get publicity
    - Publish details of incidents reported to them
    - Enlist access advocates in every part of the country with advice as to the best way to push for access
    - Run regional workshops to get feedback from members and encourage action
    - Organise demonstrations along the lines of Kinder Scout
    - Reach out to other parties like the swimmers for combined campaigning
    - Create a map of rivers with their access status and history, or work with Keith to further publicise his map. Get people to take action for access on their local river
    - Encourage clubs to create an access campaign in their local area
    - Create a National River Access day with paddles on disputed rivers all over the country
    - Provide a forum like this one
    - Take a professional approach and hire an experienced professional campaigner with a real budget and backup.
    - Utilise the Social Media.
    - Create a plan to reach to Anglers and resolve difference
    - Recognise in practice, that canoeists can paddle where they like and no one can stop them


    And that is just for starters


    The Ramblers and 38 Degrees have "campaigns"; the BCU does not.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 27th-June-2012 at 08:42 AM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  3. #3
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    Default

    Just noticed: a conspiracy to trespass is a criminal offence. So an organized, intentional and well-published mass paddle is likely to be attacked from this side of things. Ughm...
    There's madness to my method.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    Just noticed: a conspiracy to trespass is a criminal offence. So an organized, intentional and well-published mass paddle is likely to be attacked from this side of things. Ughm...
    Yes but canoeing/navigating any river in the UK would not be trespass, there is a legal right to use all waterways that are navigable (see Caffyn's work). Gaining access to some rivers may involve tresspassing on private land, but the protests could be planned to only use land where this wouldn't be a problem.
    If CE are not prepared to take on this legal fight, they could organise mass paddles on rivers such as the Hampshire Avon, where access is strongly disputed, but there are specific Acts of Parliment granting the right to navigate. This would at least be a step towards increasing access.

  5. #5
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    I don't see the new website as a major step forward, my first problem with the site is that it was slow to load, and I was unable to add my name to the list of supporters. These kind of technical problems are easily preventable, and seem to me to indicate a lack of relatively small investment or real concern from CE.

    The content of the site is not particularly inspiring and doesn't seem to say anything new, in a way it seems the RAC, and the new website, are being used by CE to hide their involvement with the access campaign.

    If CE genuinely want the RAC to be an effective campaign they should have got other organisations representing people who would benefit from increased access to add their names to the website and to promote it amongst their members. Eg Ramblers, Wild Swimmers, RYA, Rowing clubs etc.

    There needs to be a list of the actual steps that are being or will be carried out to achieve the aims of the campaign, the RAC/CE/BCU still don't seem to be doing anything to actually make things change. Lobbying MP's behind closed doors etc, may have a small effect but we need a larger scale public campaign using some or all of the ideas listed in Doug Dew's post.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pav View Post
    Just noticed: a conspiracy to trespass is a criminal offence. So an organized, intentional and well-published mass paddle is likely to be attacked from this side of things. Ughm...
    I am not a lawyer but my reading of Mr Google suggests that a successful conspiracy to tresspass action is unlikely if the event is handled properly. This is supported by advice on the CWA web site... Pav do you have legal training?
    Last edited by dougdew99; 27th-June-2012 at 10:23 AM.
    Doug Dew
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Pav do you have legal training?
    Nope, all my training is 100% illegal
    I know what you're saying, but judging by the fact that there are conflicting views on the matter of waterways' ownership expressed by those 'in the legal know' (say, Rev. Caffyn vs. that dude from the fishing law firm, what's-his-face, can't remember), being legally trained doesn't mean you'll know for sure if canoeing is legal or should be punished by hanging, drawing and quartering.
    I just think that a prospect of criminal proceedings will probably take the last of willpower to act out of CE. It's one thing to do what Barney is talking about and to mass-paddle where navigation has been proven to be OK, and totally another one to paddle en masse on something like the Lune in order to provoke a test case in the hope that it will clarify once and for all that water can't be owned. See, the risk of that hope not coming true is being convicted of a criminal offence. Of course, you can always try to play ignorance - 'I dunno, guvn'r, all two hundred of us just happened to be here', but the whole idea of a mass protest is that you PR it right: we're gonna paddle here because we know we have the right to, and if you try to deprive us of that right, we'll take you to court. See, now they'll think - gosh, and what if the court decides in the landowners' favour?

    Pav
    There's madness to my method.

  8. #8
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    Let's get this clear, I have told the BCU about this several times and they still persist.

    CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TRESPASS IS NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE

    Conspiracy to commit a criminal offence is a criminal offence. Inasmuch as trespass is not a criminal offence then their advice is rubbish.

    Aggravated trespass is criminal but simple trespass is not.

  9. #9

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    Thanks Adrian
    Great insight and common sense from you as always...


    Now, where were we? Oh yes, do BCU have a real access campaign? If they did, what would it look like?

    - A set of often repeated platitudes on a web site? I think not...
    - A set of invitations to action? That would be a start!
    - Management by one or more professional savvy campaigners? Yes please!
    - Allocation of peanuts to finance it out of the millions they get from us? No way!
    - A real budget, not hidden behind claims of "commercial confidentiality? Essential!
    - Use of networks of clubs, regions, paddlers, forums, social media? Of course!
    Last edited by dougdew99; 27th-June-2012 at 04:51 PM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    Let's get this clear, I have told the BCU about this several times and they still persist.

    CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT TRESPASS IS NOT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE

    Conspiracy to commit a criminal offence is a criminal offence. Inasmuch as trespass is not a criminal offence then their advice is rubbish.

    Aggravated trespass is criminal but simple trespass is not.
    How marvellous. I mean, it makes sense, but makes me also wonder: if this is the level of their understanding of the legal situation, we don't have a dog's chance to get any access to anything this lifetime, do we?
    There's madness to my method.

  11. #11
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    Canoe England has no real desire to actively campaign for greater access. Their focus is only on competition.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne View Post
    Canoe England has no real desire to actively campaign for greater access. Their focus is only on competition.
    That would be my impression, too.
    There's madness to my method.

  13. #13

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    I have been reading recently about Winston Churchill. One of his characteristics was an abhorrence of negativity and defeatism. He was not interested in any stories about how the war could not be won. He simply said "We are going to win this. Tell me what you are going to do make that happen"

    If he were around today, he would say "Stop this endless discussion and take action."


    You can start by adopting your local MP and making sure he or she is well educated by you on this issue. You can paddle on your local river and report it's access status based on your experience. You can organize a clean up with some friends and get the local press involved. Report what happens here, thereby encouraging others to follow your lead. Some discussion here about how to take action would be very refreshing.


    I just wrote an email to my new MP. It took 5 minutes, following the advice here


    http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/for...ing-to-Your-MP
    Last edited by dougdew99; 29th-June-2012 at 09:14 AM.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  14. #14
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    Originally the video I produced on rivers access was to be on this new site. Doesn't seem to be at the moment, will look into it.

    Other than that a much better site visually, not much change in the text content though.
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  15. #15

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    I'll start this post with some back story. I've been paddling for about a year now and as most of my paddling has been on canals I've not really looking into the access issue much. Last week however I got into a dispute with a local resident (I behaved myself, was very polite and launched elsewhere, I would hate to make a stance and it turn out I was in the wrong). This got me thinking more about the problem and when I saw this thread I thought the site would be a good place to get info.

    The site strikes me immediately as all mouth and trousers. It doesn't make it easy for me to work out what the situation is, or how I can really help (other than "logging my support" or printing some posters) which seems like an immediate weakness. All the info on there is contained within large blocks of text, yet I can read and at some point I will but it has to be considered that many people are lazy like me and will simply be put off.

    The overriding feeling I get is that the page merely exists to show a front of inaction, whilst CE actually sits happily on the fence. Now I may be wrong, as I have said this is quite new to me, but this is simply the impression given by the site.

    30 seconds spent on the access campaign section of SOTP has already given me more of what I need than RAC. Just saying.

    Instructor at Ember Survival

  16. #16

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    Anybody know the start point and the finish point for the Fording Bridge Regattas held on the Hampshire Avon Navigation. It started about 1850 and went on until 1928.
    It sounds like it could be a good time to revive it or extend it.

    2012 is the 380th Anniversary of the 1632 Confirmation of the Right of Navigation on the Avon.

    Sounds like a good proof of access event to me.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by oboat View Post
    Anybody know the start point and the finish point for the Fording Bridge Regattas held on the Hampshire Avon Navigation. It started about 1850 and went on until 1928.
    It sounds like it could be a good time to revive it or extend it.

    2012 is the 380th Anniversary of the 1632 Confirmation of the Right of Navigation on the Avon.

    Sounds like a good proof of access event to me.
    Good point but no proof of access is required. There is a right of access on the Avon by law. You don't even need to rely on Dr Caffyn. Just don't be bluffed by anglers or landowners. This is a problem for anglers if they want to make it one, not for us. Anglers and landowners can solve their problem by lobbying Government with us to establish a clear legal framework for all rivers. The thing they can't do is stop us paddling on our beautiful English rivers.
    Last edited by KeithD; 8th-July-2012 at 09:07 AM. Reason: fix quote
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  18. #18

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    Doug I am afraid you have completely missed the point.

    WE all know!
    Most fishermen know. (not all)
    Some members of the public may know.

    But that is just not good enough.

    We need ALL the fishermen to KNOW and most of the public to know.

    The next generation of canoeists are todays public.

    All one has to do is read through this site to see how many people have been put of by bullies on the riverbank.

    A big event puts money in the local shops & this makes the Local & County Council support canoe access. The councils control the police.

    A big event also creates publicity that canot be argued about, and that is only the start.
    Just think what benefit could be gained from free local advertising of a celebration of a navigation event.

    The next time one is stopped on the river you just hand over an official printed copy of the document advertising the historical event being celebrated if the event was sponsored by a local council so much the better.

  19. #19
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    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    If both groups sat down and at least tried to get on with each other, and as a combined force went to the landowners with a"this is what we both want to happen" mentality, then the landowners would really be in the s**t.
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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by oboat View Post
    Doug I am afraid you have completely missed the point.

    WE all know!
    Most fishermen know. (not all)
    Some members of the public may know.

    But that is just not good enough.

    We need ALL the fishermen to KNOW and most of the public to know.

    The next generation of canoeists are todays public.

    All one has to do is read through this site to see how many people have been put of by bullies on the riverbank.

    A big event puts money in the local shops & this makes the Local & County Council support canoe access. The councils control the police.

    A big event also creates publicity that canot be argued about, and that is only the start.
    Just think what benefit could be gained from free local advertising of a celebration of a navigation event.

    The next time one is stopped on the river you just hand over an official printed copy of the document advertising the historical event being celebrated if the event was sponsored by a local council so much the better.
    Hi Oboat,

    Are you proposing to organize a big event to publicize the access situation?

    If you are, I will support you all the way.
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim_Mountainworx View Post
    I've said it before and I'll say it again:

    If both groups sat down and at least tried to get on with each other, and as a combined force went to the landowners with a"this is what we both want to happen" mentality, then the landowners would really be in the s**t.
    Jim
    What steps are you proposing to take to bring this about? Have you contacted your local anglers and canoe clubs to see if they would be willing to join you?
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


  22. #22

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    Doug
    Thanks for the offer.

    Not certain about big, but small would be a good start & then work up to the BIG event in 2014.

    I would think it would depend on how much help was available & how official it would be.

    Can I feel a committee coming on?

    But then this is the sort of thing the BCU should be doing.

    Good national publicity, good access publicity, good work for the membership,
    good outcomes & after the Olympics for THEM it should be a, Paddle in the Park.

  23. #23
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    Default P,f,l,o,p

    Hello Oboat, by the bridge, from which Fordingbridge gets it's name,there is a pub called 'The Boathouse',

    I would think they would well come back the regatta. As I said on another post, Fran and myself were a bit

    taken aback by the interest in us as canoeists on the Avon, we attracted a small crowd,some had canoes,

    either home made,or bought,and seemed to be keen to get on the river, with a little encouragement !

    There is a camp site in the Town, just near the river, it could bring some income to the town.

    I strongly feel that we as canoeists should just paddle the river, more often, and not allow ourselves to be

    put off by a very few tedious individuals.

  24. #24

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    Thanks for the info

    Just been reading Frans post, looks like a great trip. Has any body found out who put the boom up & why? (Not just think they know)

    Yes, I know the Pub you mean & the public park opposite it. Great put in/out spot.

    Your comment about the locals coming out & joining in is very interesting do you know what prompted them to bring out kit?

    Was it just coincidence, or do you think your presence acted as a catalyst?
    You may have just created a spark we could build on.

    Now, I can feel a home game coming on.

    Are you both local to the Navigation?

    Sorry about all the Questions, but if we are going to organize an event we need to try and get as much accurate information as possible.

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