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Thread: SPIRIT OF KINDER Event, 25th April 2015

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    Smile SPIRIT OF KINDER Event, 25th April 2015

    I attended this event yesterday in Edale at the foot of Kinder Scout. The MC was Chris Townsend, the hill-walking ambassador for the BMC. It was very well attended by walkers and climbers and covered the history of both the Kinder Access Campaign and the creation of the Pennine Way, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

    The main speaker was David Morris a hugely influential figure in the Scottish Access Campaign. His talk outlined the background to the Scottish Campaign and in particular the tremendous work done by Alan Blackshaw in his extensive research into the Trespass Laws in Scotland. The work done by Alan showed that there was a "Presumption of Freedom" dating back to the 19th century and that the tighter restrictions imposed by the landowners from the 1960’s onwards had no justification in law. This is very similar to the work done by the Rev Caffyn on our rivers. In essence the Scottish Land Reform Act 2003 formalised the existing legal position. He stressed that the critical element of Scottish Access is the “Code of Conduct” as this gives a framework for everyone to work within.

    David went on to give his opinion of what he thought was achievable in extending the access to land in England. He felt that extending access to woodlands and riverbanks within the CROW Act would not be achievable. The reason being that it would be far too complicated and prohibitively expensive, the huge cost of implementing the original CROW Act and Coastal Path would be a barrier to extending access in this way. When English politicians realised how little it cost to implement the Scottish Land Reform Act they were amazed, one of those being Nick Clegg who was very interested and took a long walk with David to see the effects of the open access for himself. His response to this meeting was to come back and give a boost to the work in establishing the Coastal Path.

    David’s opinion is that the best and most achievable way of extending access in England is to make changes to the Trespass laws to give a "Presumption of Freedom" as a basic human right, controlled by a robust “Code of Conduct” similar to that used in Scotland.

    His advice to walkers is to carry a copy of the Scottish Code of Conduct and claim their right to the land by not keeping to the footpaths but using all the land in a responsible manner. If challenged by landowners they should refer to the Code of Conduct and ask them to explain why if it is OK in Scotland why not England. If the walker has been following the code it would be near impossible for the landowner to prove that any damage has been caused so leaving little option but to either accept the situation or try and use intimidation. They would of course be committing an offence if they did that. He felt that the campaigning groups should produce a simpler version of the Scottish Code of Conduct to be used by walkers. He was preaching to a very receptive audience as from my experience militant walkers and climbers have been taking this attitude for decades. The BMC had a large presence at the meeting but notable by their absence was the Ramblers Association, it will be interesting to see if they adopt this approach to increasing access?

    The similarity in this approach to that being taken by ourselves is encouraging, as we are already claiming our right to Navigate the Rivers by just doing it. I think the idea of a printed Code of Conduct booklet would be a useful tool.

    Bio of David Morris
    http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/...etire/0011484/

    Bio of Alan Blackshaw
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obit...Blackshaw.html

    Kinder Trespass Link
    http://www.kindertrespass.com/
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    Very encouraging.

    I think the code book is a good idea!

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    Very useful stuff and interesting, thanks for sharing it.

    A river users code,whilst emphasizing the underlying public right of navigation on English and Welsh rivers but based on the Scottish code would be a very good idea.
    Mike

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    David Morris was suggesting a Code of Conduct booklet covering both land and water, the contents to be agreed by all concerned as a forerunner to open access. Unfortunately that would be difficult as not all parties have the same aims, so I think at this stage a freestanding rivers access code would be the best option.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    I think at this stage a freestanding rivers access code would be the best option
    There is one based on the scottish model (respect for all users). Will have to see if I can find it

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    In my opinion we have two problems, one is that the anglers and riparian owners are very wealthy and against it. The other is that the BCU seem to have too much of a very softly softly attitude. Maybe it is time we followed the ramblers with a high profile mass trespass . I do know what a bloody affair the mass trespass was, but maybe the time is coming when we need to act.

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    The difficulty with the mass trespass approach is that the Kinder protesters were actually trespassing...

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    Mass occupation then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Bell View Post
    The difficulty with the mass trespass approach is that the Kinder protesters were actually trespassing...
    Pam, why is this a problem?
    Doug Dew
    "The best is yet to come" My Father


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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpydave View Post
    Mass occupation then.
    The difference with the Ramblers is they had to overcome an well established common law right and a long history of its enforcement by the courts. They were being arrested and sent to jail, so the mass actions were needed. Eventually their campaign resulted in an act of parliament setting up legal public rights of way (on land).

    For navigation there has been very few attempts to prevent it as 'trespass' through the courts, and none since people have become aware of the historical evidence for a public right of Navigation. So a mass protest isn't needed

    The only 'mass' needed is lots of people going about their lawful paddling in a responsible manner, and politely pointing out that its not trespass to navigate (and why) when challenged (which is rare). Paddling just needs to be seen as a normal acceptable river activity.

    If there are genuine issues with other river users then I personally can see a place for sensible voluntary agreements to refrain from paddling at certain times. It would benefit paddlers if all river recreation prospers equally.

    Brevan
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    I think there may be occasions when a mass paddle could be of use, for example the situation at Charlecote Park on the Avon. The National Trust are being ridiculous in putting a barrier across the river plus a No Access sign and pretending it is a dear fence, wouldn't it be useful to have a mass paddle and film say 20 canoes trying to get past this obstruction? Even better get someone from the press to film it and put the NT in the embarrassing position of trying to justify why they of all organisations have put up the most aggressive barrier designed to block a river in the country. Their public liability insurers may also be concerned that the barrier is also putting the safety of the public at risk, with no legal authority to do so. This could be a far more effective way of getting them to deal with the problem than a legal approach.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brevan View Post
    The difference with the Ramblers is they had to overcome an well established common law right and a long history of its enforcement by the courts. They were being arrested and sent to jail, so the mass actions were needed. Eventually their campaign resulted in an act of parliament setting up legal public rights of way (on land).

    For navigation there has been very few attempts to prevent it as 'trespass' through the courts, and none since people have become aware of the historical evidence for a public right of Navigation. So a mass protest isn't needed

    The only 'mass' needed is lots of people going about their lawful paddling in a responsible manner, and politely pointing out that its not trespass to navigate (and why) when challenged (which is rare). Paddling just needs to be seen as a normal acceptable river activity.

    If there are genuine issues with other river users then I personally can see a place for sensible voluntary agreements to refrain from paddling at certain times. It would benefit paddlers if all river recreation prospers equally.

    Brevan
    Can someone point out blogs on this site of trips on disputed rivers? Are there any?

    How can voluntary access agreements be made on rivers where there are multiple landowners, (this the vast majority of rivers) ? landowners are almost impossible to identify, let alone make agreements with. Who would be the parties to such agreements?

    I fear that the picture you suggest that canoeists are currently paddling on the 96% of rivers in dispute with let or hindrance is a fantasy not supported by any evidence whatsoever. This will remain the case as long as canoeists are too timid to actively claim their rights publically by organised action.
    Doug Dew
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pam Bell View Post
    The difficulty with the mass trespass approach is that the Kinder protesters were actually trespassing...
    So paddle a stretch of river with a VAA, like the Wye between Builth Wells and Glasbury, outside the terms of the Voluntary Access Arrangement, (not Agreement)
    I’ve attended a couple of the SACC meetings at Builth showground and each time a representative from the Wye and Usk Foundation stood up and stated “Our VAAs have been in place for a number of years and appear to be working quite well” (the last time it was Mr Alfred Pope, owner of The Nyth fishery, Erwood). I think you can be fairly confident the Welsh Government will be told exactly the same thing by WUF at every opportunity. The only person at the meetings I’ve attended remotely connected with paddling was Mr Charters of the BOPA, who confirmed they had assisted in setting up the VAA.
    I suggest the Builth to Glasbury stretch because, as well as Mr Pope, several other members of the WUF steering group, WUF personnel and WUF trustees own fishing rights there, (including Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE) and they’ll do everything in their power to prevent paddling on “their” river.
    It would be quite a sight, hundreds of canoes and kayaks of all shapes, sizes and colours setting out from Builth one fine summer weekend.

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    Originally Posted by Pam Bell

    The difficulty with the mass trespass approach is that the Kinder protesters were actually trespassing...


    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Pam, why is this a problem?
    The point I am sure Pam is making is that the Kinder protesters were trespassing and did not have the law on their side, they were variously punished for this. Paddlers on rivers would not be trespassing so it would be difficult to mount a mass trespass on rivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    Can someone point out blogs on this site of trips on disputed rivers? Are there any?
    Not sure about bloggs, but here is a list of rivers and lakes I have paddled:

    Allen – during Tyne Tour weekend
    Allier – France
    Ardeche – France
    Arkaig – Scotland
    Arun – no agreement
    Ant - Broads
    Barle – no agreement
    Bure – Broads
    Beaulieu – private river
    Bala – controlled lake
    Bulstake Stream – Thames trib
    Banwy – no agreement
    Claree – France
    Crake – no agreement
    Coniston – NP lake
    Clywedog – no agreement
    Canche – France
    Cuckmere – tidal section
    Cherwell – no agreement
    Dart (Upper and Lower) – agreements suspended
    Durance – France
    Dee – no agreement
    Dordogne – France
    Derwent – no agreement (I think)
    Drome - France
    Exe – no agreement
    Eden – agreement for only part
    Findhorn - Scotland
    Guil – France
    Guisaine – France
    Glaslyn – agrrement
    Garry (Perthshire) – Scotland
    Garry (Inverness shire) - Scotland
    Herault – France
    Hamble – tidal
    Hennerton – Thames trib
    Itchen – no agreement
    Isis – acknowledged navigation
    Jubilee – Thames trib
    Kennet – no agreement
    Loy – Scotland
    Lune – no agreement
    Lot – France
    Lodden – no agreement
    Leven – no agreement
    Morlich – Scotland
    Mole – no agreement
    Monnow – no agreement
    Medway - tidal
    North Tyne – agreement in place
    Orchy – Scotland
    Orb – France
    Great Ouse – no agreement
    Roy – Scotland
    Rother – no agreement
    Rothay – no agreement
    Ray – no agreement
    Spean – Scotland
    Swellies – tidal
    Spey – Scotland
    Severn – acknowledged navigation
    St Patrick’s Stream – Thames trib
    Seacourt Stream – Thames trip
    South Tyne – agreement in place
    Soca - Slovenia
    Tees – no agreement
    Tyne – agreement in place
    Thames – navigation
    Tarn – France
    Teifi – no agreement
    Tryweryn – agreement in place
    Twymyn – no agreement
    Trent – navigation (I think)
    Thurn – Broads
    Tanat – no agreement
    Tweed – no agreement, border river
    Tywi – no agreement
    Thirlmere – NP lake
    Tavy – no agreement
    Teign – no agreement
    Usk – agreement in place
    Ubaye – France
    Ullswater – NP lake
    Vezere – France
    Vyrnwy – no agreement
    Wye – part navigation part agreement, paddled outside
    Wey – navigation
    Windermere – NP lake
    Yare - Broads

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrongangle View Post
    So paddle a stretch of river with a VAA, like the Wye between Builth Wells and Glasbury, outside the terms of the Voluntary Access Arrangement, (not Agreement)
    I’ve attended a couple of the SACC meetings at Builth showground and each time a representative from the Wye and Usk Foundation stood up and stated “Our VAAs have been in place for a number of years and appear to be working quite well” (the last time it was Mr Alfred Pope, owner of The Nyth fishery, Erwood). I think you can be fairly confident the Welsh Government will be told exactly the same thing by WUF at every opportunity. The only person at the meetings I’ve attended remotely connected with paddling was Mr Charters of the BOPA, who confirmed they had assisted in setting up the VAA.
    I suggest the Builth to Glasbury stretch because, as well as Mr Pope, several other members of the WUF steering group, WUF personnel and WUF trustees own fishing rights there, (including Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE) and they’ll do everything in their power to prevent paddling on “their” river.
    It would be quite a sight, hundreds of canoes and kayaks of all shapes, sizes and colours setting out from Builth one fine summer weekend.
    The point to remember is that the agreement between the WUF & BOPA is a private arrangement only concerning the two parties involved, BOPA has no mandate to represent anyone other than their members. A number of access point have been made on private land so are not public rights of way, the land owners are within their rights to set and conditions they wish for using those access points. So as long as you launch from a public place and are not a member of BOPA the agreement has no effect on your activities. The way this agreement is being marketed as binding on the general public is a fraudulent use of a private agreement to intimidate the public into not using the river. Mr Charters is only interested in personal gain he has no interest in the general public.

    Going on mass down this section of river would be used against us as propaganda, they would say we are intentionally disrupting the fishing. As we already have the right to paddle the river nothing would be gained, we just need to just paddle it as often as possible in a responsible manner.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    Going on mass down this section of river would be used against us as propaganda, they would say we are intentionally disrupting the fishing. As we already have the right to paddle the river nothing would be gained, we just need to just paddle it as often as possible in a responsible manner.
    I, and the team at RAFA, share this view. We can't have a mass trespass because you can't trespass where you have a right to be. We don't need a "Protest" paddle to protest about our lack of rights because we don't lack the right to paddle. Any mass event seen as being staged to disrupt others would be counter productive. But we can "celebrate" our PRN here and everywhere. Lots of smaller groups, involving good representation of the public (women, children, dogs etc) not large enough to unreasonably inconvenience other river users or local roads/car parks etc and with the evidence to support the PRN is what's called for and the Magna Carta celebrations represent a newsworthy focus in the very real future.

    It looks as if the General Election will not continue to dominate press & media coverage to the exclusion of almost everything else over coming weeks (is this wishful thinking? ). RAFA will produce a "celebration of PRN" press release that will help informal local groups communicate what we are celebrating. We already have "Remember Clause 33" T-shirts etc. There are many rivers with not only the compelling evidence of PRN which applies to all rivers but with similarly compelling evidence from specific statutes for individual rivers (e.g. Wye above Hay, Avon above Stratford, River Itchen, Salisbury Avon etc. etc.)

    I suggest you
    1. Just Paddle in small/modest groups within the natural capacity of the river
    2. Take photos of willful obstructions and restrictive signs etc
    3. Provide the local press with details (after the event). We are not trying to provoke a hostile reaction to create additional obstructions to the event but a sympathetic and supportive reaction to any obstructions that already exist.
    Keith

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    Forgive my ignorance but who/what is BOPA. What you are saying makes sense.

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    BOPA is the British Outdoor Professionals Association. I'd never heard of them either until they entered this "arrangement" with the WUF.
    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithD View Post
    BOPA is the British Outdoor Professionals Association. I'd never heard of them either until they entered this "arrangement" with the WUF.
    And what's the WUF again?

    Thanks.

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    "

    1. Just Paddle in small/modest groups within the natural capacity of the river
    2. Take photos of willful obstructions and restrictive signs etc
    3. Provide the local press with details (after the event). We are not trying to provoke a hostile reaction to create additional obstructions to the event but a sympathetic and supportive reaction to any obstructions that already exist.

    "
    This is where I differ from Keith, (for whom I have the greatest respect). I do agree that small groups are the way to go, but 'hostile reaction' is the key issue we face. If there were no 'hostile reactions' , then there would be no problem of access to the rivers themselves. Hardly anyone in the general public or among politicians has any idea that canoeists are treated in this way.


    When we paddle on a river, we are not 'provoking' a hostile reaction, we are simply exercising what we believe to be our right. If a hostile reaction occurs, then from a campaigning point of view, this helps our cause, because we can publicise its occurrence, making news, thus bringing this issue to the attention of the public and to politicians. If 'hostile reactions' occur frequently and are publicized, then everyone will know a real problem exists and a solution needs to be found. Particularly as, in reality, land owners and anglers are powerless to prevent us paddling.


    Imagine a National Access Day when hundreds of small groups simultaneously paddled on rivers all over the country. This would make the national press and massively educate the public, politicians, land owners and anglers. It would also demonstrate that no one can prevent us paddling, how ever hostile the reaction. Such an event would be best organised by the BCU, but they know from previous experience that canoeists are far too apathetic to participate.
    Last edited by dougdew99; 10th-May-2015 at 05:45 AM.
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    Talking

    Cheers Keith, As a newbe you sometimes wonder if everybody knows something and you are the only one who doesn't.

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    Doug Dew99 Now we are getting somewhere. Are paddlers too apathetic or are the BCU too nervous of stirring up something they can't control. By the way Aldi are selling 'adventure cameras' god for recording incidents. £35

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    An idea has just occurred to me so I'm putting it in while I think of it. There is an online petition website '38 Degrees' which has petitioned against various government actions. Maybe they could be of use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dougdew99 View Post
    When we paddle on a river, we are not 'provoking' a hostile reaction, we are simply exercising what we believe to be our right. If a hostile reaction occurs, then from a campaigning point of view, this helps our cause, because we can publicise its occurrence, making news, thus bringing this issue to the attention of the public and to politicians. If 'hostile reactions' occur frequently and are publicized, then everyone will know a real problem exists and a solution needs to be found. Particularly as, in reality, land owners and anglers are powerless to prevent us paddling.
    I don't disagree with the publicity value of hostile reactions but it is vital that we are not seen to be provoking them with an unnecessarily aggressive stance. If, whilst pursuing our peaceful activity considerately, we get frequent hostile reactions they should (and will) be publicised. That's what we created the incident reports on the Access Map for. But, judging from the number of incident reports, they are not that frequent and (armed with the evidence of public navigation rights) many now end with an agreement to differ and a continuation of the peaceful paddle. If we don't get those reactions we still have the publicity of the public celebrating the rights that we have enjoyed since time immemorial.

    An idea has just occurred to me so I'm putting it in while I think of it. There is an online petition website '38 Degrees' which has petitioned against various government actions. Maybe they could be of use.
    We should play to our strengths. In the past the best we have achieved is a petition with a few thousand signatures, easily countered by the more tribal angling organisations and worthy of no press or political attention. OUR strength is the evidence that public navigation rights have existed since time immemorial, our pastime is environmentally benign and we are happy to share our nations rivers responsibly.
    Keith

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    And what's the WUF again? Thanks.
    The Wye Usk Foundation, http://www.wyeuskfoundation.org/ Home to the most active anti canoeing brigade, including Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE the arcitect of both the so called Upper Wye access agreement and the Welsh Dee agreement at Llangollen, both of which are private arangements between the WUF & BOPA.
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    As long as we do not intentionally provoke a conflict, then any aggressive behavior from the anglers can be used against them, if we go out of our way to upset them it will be used against us. They have a legal right to fish, we have a legal right to paddle, we should not lower ourselves to their level.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpydave View Post
    god for recording incidents.
    He is a bit busy on a Sunday when most of the paddling is done.
    "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men"
    Grp Cpt Sir Douglas Bader CBE,DSO,DFC,FRAeS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cloudman View Post
    The Wye Usk Foundation, http://www.wyeuskfoundation.org/ Home to the most active anti canoeing brigade, including Stephen Marsh-Smith OBE the arcitect of both the so called Upper Wye access agreement and the Welsh Dee agreement at Llangollen, both of which are private arangements between the WUF & BOPA.

    Thank you for that, Cloudman.

    There are a lot of acronyms in the Access debates, that are confusing for a layman.




    (At least I know now that BOPA and the WUF, is not a reworking of Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf', set on a modern day Welsh river... )

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