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Thread: Canoe protest over river access

  1. #1

    Default Canoe protest over river access

    Canoeists prepare to stage a protest at the Welsh Game Fair after being denied access to a river.

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  2. #2
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    Looks like the protest went well....

    http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/f...25799&start=31

    Roly


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    Default Direct action

    Is anyone organising any direct action to highlight the river access issue? To my mind asking politicians politely doesn't seem to be getting us anyhwere. I am reminded of the Ramblers when they campaigned for open access and only seemed to be granted it after direct action and even the odd clask with game keepers and land owners in Edale and such places. Perhaps padlers should turn up on mass and deliberately trespass on private rivers that should be open to the public. Just a thought.
    JonathanW

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    I think that the more subtle approach of just paddling any water we beleive we already have the right to anyway. Discrete small groups is the way forward I think.

    Not sure that we would do ourselves any favours by ploughing down in large groups.

    Roly.


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    I've heard the following been said, which seems like good advice:

    - If there is a reasonable access agreement, abide by it
    - If there isn't a reasonable access agreeement, or no access agreement, paddle it responsibly

    A "reasonable" access agreement is probably open to interpretation, but I'd say something that allows you only a few days a year isn't reasonable, whereas on an environmentally sensitive river allowing only certain months of the year for small groups could probably be rated as a reasonable agreement.

    In my mind responsibly means minimising the number of cars and parking them in appropriate places, using suitable access and egress points, taking steps to minimise disruption to fisherman (eg. if it's heavily fished at weekends try to paddle during the week, or if there's a lot of match fishing check dates before you go out), paddling in small groups (I think 3-4 is probably a good number for a small river, up to 6 for a larger river), minimising your obtrusiveness during stops (leave the fireboxes at home), etc etc.

    All I think a mass trespass would result in is confirming people's fears that this is what it'll be like on their river if they allow access. Instead we should be trying to show how little impact paddlers can make if they are allowed access.

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    Default Peaceful Protest

    I think it is possible to read history and see that peaceful protest is a very effective way of obtaining rights... in many ways it is the most effective way to obtain rights from entrenched and conservative interests. Being timid and trying not create a fuss is generally not as effective as direct action, albeit peaceful action...

    Many much more important rights have been gained by oppressed peoples in this way... it would be ridiculous to compare the struggle for river access with these great and noble struggles, but the same method will work for both...



    Doug

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    Default

    Thanks for the responses guys. It's good to generate debate. I just find it frustrating that we are so shepherded in England in comparison to parts of Scandinavia, Scotland, canada and the US to name a few.
    Anyway, if any of you fancy a paddle on the Thames near Henley this sunday, please let me know.
    JonathanW

  8. #8

    Default dissertation on access

    hi will be sooon undertaking research on access so any clippings will be usefull and will be sending out a questionaire on issues paddlers come across

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    if the fisherman can throw line and hook into water leaves old bait on the floor and tangled lines in trees so that even when he has left his/her presance is still obvious normally from the patch of mud leading to the river bank from which he/she has collected the prey of the day, what harm can a canoe do,nobody goes mad when a log floats downstream, i know that you have to get on and off the river and with that there are are other issues but to paddle is to commune with nature not to distrupt it, and if you continue to paddle and dont stop then you are on the same bit of water that you were on when you first got on the river i think that makes us like water hitchikers that cant haveany rules for that surely.

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    Another one bites the dust. If only it were the other way round.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  11. #11
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    Default Pet Hate.

    I've had my middle aged rant about this on other threads, but I can't help myself........ We will go on politely debating this issue till we are 6 foot under. It would still be the case with the right to roam - the Law will NEVER change - its simple, people in the commons and Lords are land owners - they fish and receive income from fishing. This debate has nothing to do with reasonable negotiations. Nothing, but nothing has ever changed in this country without civil disobedience. The fact that so many paddlers say peaceful negotiation is the way forward is music to a fishermans ears! Emily Pankhurst did it, the Ramblers association did it, Frech fishermen do it all the time - let's break the Law and make a change! Sorry, forgive me folks but I am a grumpy middle aged man and this is a no brainer.

  12. #12
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    Hi Martin

    Sadly, what you say make sense.........

    Sprout

  13. #13

    Default river access

    interesting issues with the common theme with anglers that they say the same about canoists leaving stuff behind . the way forward is not with conflict but to support the legislation that is trying to be pushed through by the access all areas prgramme supported by bcu where people should lobby their mps borough councilors town councilors and parish councillors. because as millibank mp said the other day did not realise that access was so bad .

    push on many fronts
    last week there was a canoe access point opened on the derbyshire derwent in bamford in the borough of the high peak to access small stretch of water this was the first canoe access point in the whole of the peak district national park . i helped as i lobbied the local mp

    but negociated access is not the only way forward how many people lobbied parliament in nov05 as max boyce said when llanethli beat the all blacks "I was there "

    who went on the CRACK tresspass years ago

    " i was there "



    any way the idea is that people should do something to move things forward and at present lobbying seems the better way
    particulary to dis prove the findings of the brighton university reports and to support the early day motion in parliament

    more details availabe from access link on the bcu website

  14. #14

    Default fishermens mess

    photograph it and email it to envionment agency
    they are taking photos and reporting canoeists to enviroment agency

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    fishermen are normally kind to me and if they arent then i stop get out of the boat and then the are always nice to me must be my warm smile, i agree that we will standin a que till we grow old as is the british way, maybe get some MP's on the water i know a little the MP for Newark (used to be in my regiment) i'll email him and ask if he wants to go for a paddle in Derbyshire lets all bombard MP's with emails and invites for paddling trips, how many emails a day can you send to your MP?

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    Default Fishermen vs Canoeists vs fishermen

    Interesting view Warthog. I use my canoe as much for fishing as I do for just paddling. What amuses me is that bank anglers don't know what to make of me! I just get confused stares that say "is he an angler or a canoe enthusiast". The answer is of course is neither and both - I'm just a bloke who does what he does. The big issue here is (and this applies to everyone across the board).

    1) Don't put too much pressure on any single stretch of water - any of us!
    2) Respect the fact that all of us want the pleasure of our pursuits and if we can't agree to share and play nice, someone else will make a ruling meaning someone will win and someone will lose.
    3) Don't even get me started on land owners banning the use of water to float down! There's something morally wrong with banning the plying of rivers...(with the exception of real conservation reasons).

    All the best

    Nik



    Quote Originally Posted by warthog View Post
    if the fisherman can throw line and hook into water leaves old bait on the floor and tangled lines in trees so that even when he has left his/her presance is still obvious normally from the patch of mud leading to the river bank from which he/she has collected the prey of the day, what harm can a canoe do,nobody goes mad when a log floats downstream, i know that you have to get on and off the river and with that there are are other issues but to paddle is to commune with nature not to distrupt it, and if you continue to paddle and dont stop then you are on the same bit of water that you were on when you first got on the river i think that makes us like water hitchikers that cant haveany rules for that surely.

  17. #17
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    Default River Access

    I've been paddling around in France this summer (as per usual). River access is great and I've found few of the restrictions you get here.
    France has a huge fishing fraternity but there seems to be no conflict between the different user groups. The Government won't listen until we all kick up a big fuss - bombarding MPs and Ministers with letters, getting the opposition parties on side, and particularly holding the current situation up to public ridicule by a campaign of letters in the press. In this country, if you don't shout LOUD, no one listens. We're too quiet

  18. #18
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    Default Get off my land...!

    If a Kinder Scout style mass trespass were to take place then I'd suggest that a key factor would be to tap into what people react positively to. What I mean is things like get the kids along - its a lot easier to demonstrate a peaceful intent when there are kids about and the media (the whole thing would need high profile media coverage) are going to be very unsympathetic to the Sir Bufton Tuftons spitting vitriol about how these smiling friendly families paddling environmentally friendly canoes PAST their land. It also means that heavy handed tactics on the part of landowners, river baliffs etc are far less likely.

    The other thing is to be clear on what the Great British Public would think - this means no landing, putting in or getting out on land without permission (most members of the GBP would side with the landowner equating it to having people trampling their gardens) - but DO paddle down the centre of a disputed river (the GBP and media will equate this with the landowners being the sort to complain about people walking past their house).

    There are many arguements as to why there should be access and they've been very eloquently explained on this forum, these are just a couple of other things to add to the mix.

    I have to say that regards a big peaceful fun trespass to make a point - I'd be in (once I actually get a canoe that is!)
    My only law is the river breeze that takes me to the open seas
    If I could choose the life I please then I would be a boatman

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanW View Post
    I am reminded of the Ramblers when they campaigned for open access and only seemed to be granted it after direct action and even the odd clask with game keepers and land owners in Edale and such places.
    Can we just get the historical facts right here. The "mass traspass" did nothing to push forward the rights of access to open country. The National Parks bill was already being discussed in Parliament before this event took place and if anything it slowed down the process, creating just the ammunition that those who opposed access were looking for.

    Saying that, though, I am all for a mass protest - as long as there is no excuse for the antis to claim that they are right.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    In my mind responsibly means minimising the number of cars and parking them in appropriate places, using suitable access and egress points, taking steps to minimise disruption to fisherman (eg. if it's heavily fished at weekends try to paddle during the week, or if there's a lot of match fishing check dates before you go out),
    Amelia, I do generally agree with your comments however, talk me through this one again. I can't quite remember when I last heard of a group of fishermen avoiding a river because they expected it to be heavily used by canoeists.

    I think we would all like a little reciprocation.

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    Theres nothing wrong with "negotiated" access & access agreements. The problem is where the negotiations are assumed to start. If the start point is that its the landowners land to do with as he/she pleases and canoeists are assumed to have no access its hardly surprising that we don't end up with a sensible agreement.

    But if you start with the assumption that the river will be paddled but we'd like to negotiate how we can do that without harassment to canoeists or avoidable disruption to the peaceful pursuits of the landowner and anglers then there is the prospect of a real and lasting agreement.

    My dad was a trade union negotiator and he taught me "If you're not prepared to walk away (from the negotiation) then you can't negotiate - you might as well just beg". That's where the BCU seem to be at the moment.
    Keith

  22. #22

    Default land access

    i think that 'bob is my idol" is quite wrong
    because
    kinder scout mass trespass was in 1932
    the national parks and access to countryside act was 1949
    and peak district national park came into being later in 1951

    many of the trespasses were onto land other than national park. as in even 1981 there were 27 moors in peak and south pennines without access agreements .

    seems that he/she is happy with few rivers we have as he was happy with limited access afforded by peak national national park with its private landowners.

    campaigning from ramblers SCAM woodcraft folk and others since 1950 has culminated in CRoW act 2004.


    reference edited by smith r. (2005)" right to roam" published by sheffield campaign for access to moorland .

  23. #23
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    I'm all for some direct action on right of access to the water, but can I just put one thing straight:

    THE KINDER TRESSPASS HAD NO EFFECT ON THE RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO THE COUNTRYSIDE.

    This myth has built up over the years, but the truth is that the National Parks and access to countryside acts were already under discussion and planning at the time of the mass tresspass. In fact it probably slowed down the passage through parliament of the acts.

    With access to water, however, there is nothing to slow down, so the need for a mass demonstration is needed to kick start the whole thing.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hellboy View Post
    i think that 'bob is my idol" is quite wrong
    because
    kinder scout mass trespass was in 1932
    the national parks and access to countryside act was 1949
    and peak district national park came into being later in 1951

    many of the trespasses were onto land other than national park. as in even 1981 there were 27 moors in peak and south pennines without access agreements .

    seems that he/she is happy with few rivers we have as he was happy with limited access afforded by peak national national park with its private landowners.

    campaigning from ramblers SCAM woodcraft folk and others since 1950 has culminated in CRoW act 2004.


    reference edited by smith r. (2005)" right to roam" published by sheffield campaign for access to moorland .
    Quote Originally Posted by bob is my idol View Post
    I'm all for some direct action on right of access to the water, but can I just put one thing straight:

    THE KINDER TRESSPASS HAD NO EFFECT ON THE RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO THE COUNTRYSIDE.

    This myth has built up over the years, but the truth is that the National Parks and access to countryside acts were already under discussion and planning at the time of the mass tresspass. In fact it probably slowed down the passage through parliament of the acts.

    With access to water, however, there is nothing to slow down, so the need for a mass demonstration is needed to kick start the whole thing.


    I've probably said this before, but I'll say it again anyway...

    I know nothing about the history of mass trespass, but I think any mass trespass event would put back the cause of water access in this country by an incredible degree. It would simply give fuel to people to say "this is what will happen if paddlers get access" while a mass of people noisily pass.

    What we should be doing is just going and paddling rivers responsibly - small groups, considerate parking, access from roads or public land (bridges are often good for this), courtesty when passing anglers, be careful when changing in public (this is always something that offends some people and causes a lot of trouble in the diving community too) and proceed quietly.

    If there is a reasonable access agreement abide by it (eg the Wye from Glasbury for a few miles can be paddled between 10am and 4pm according to the access agreement, leaving the mornings and evenings to fisherman. This is reasonable in my book, though some may not agree), and if there is no reasonable access agreement paddle it responsibly.

    This way shows people how things really can be when paddlers access a river.
    'Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure some of them are wet'

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    My answer is any bit of water I want to paddle on anywhere in the UK,
    I will do so when I like and damm the law If it means a fine well so be it, going to court gives me a chance to say my piece and therefore is worth the fine.
    As for the fisherman, when I stand toe to toe with bullies they soon see it my way believe me. It must be a charm thing Why should we not be allowed to paddle on a river it just doesn't make sense.
    This week I've mostly been painting aviators needed.

  26. #26

    Default access

    its all very well to write in capitals but you seem to be just throwing a tantrum . the literature reads different but i do realise cant belive every thing as the brighton university reports are according to bcu wrong . so please provide evidence or accept the literature (could meet in dome (uni in buxton )to check literature)

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob is my idol View Post

    THE KINDER TRESSPASS HAD NO EFFECT ON THE RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO THE COUNTRYSIDE.

    This myth has built up over the years, but the truth is that the National Parks and access to countryside acts were already under discussion and planning at the time of the mass tresspass. In fact it probably slowed down the passage through parliament of the acts. the whole thing.
    This is interesting- I like Mythbusters

    (I thought it was the second world war that slowed the process down)

    Reading with interest
    All of life is a journey ...

  28. #28
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    Whilst I share peoples frustrations about lack of access I do not think a mass trespass as the way forward.

    Although I enjoyed the end of year paddle on the Medway. 30 boats on the water was a huge visual impact and for me wasn't the style of paddling i am looking for.

    I think the numbers invading popular rivers like the Dart and Dee scare Landowners into believing that their river would face an invasion of screaming drunken uni kayakers.

    People ought to be lobbying their local MPs and visit their offices and make a noise. Stop sending money to the BCU until it becomes an organisation that represents its membership.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  29. #29
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    I do agree with some of the comments made, but action speaks louder than words.

    Although I am a non-active paid up member of the Ramblers Association, I do admire the way they go about things in both lobbying goverment and taken action, like un-blocking paths that have been illegally blocked by land owners.

    Mass protests do some times work


    Barry
    Love lots trust few always paddle your own canoe

  30. #30

    Default

    Am I correct in thinking that trespass is no longer illegal? Only aggravated trespass?

    I've been told so by a number of people.
    And if it is true, then simply paddling down rivers with disputed access in small numbers would be my solution. If any fuss is made by the bank-side fishing fraternity, then we can accumulate evidence and start informing local MPs and the like. This way the aggravation is coming from the banks not the water.

    I love the pictures of a mass march with canoes in tow, but I can't help thinking that more specific campaigns would be more effective to start the ball rolling.

    George

  31. #31
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    Default Protest over river access

    Hi there all,

    It is important that ALL canoeists lobby their MP, AM etc. It has been my experience that most will grumble about the situation over a pint (nothing wrong with that of course) but follow it up and send a letter or email to the relevant MP etc.

    I have been emailing and writing to Welsh Assembly and they are now well aware that there is a problem. Unfortunately they still believe the way forward is by vol. agreements.

    Today I took part in a proposed documentary about access where I was given a chance to put forward my views - in a nutshell legislate as in Scotland.

    If you live in Wales or paddle in Wales PLEASE write to Jane Davidson AM the lady who holds the relevant portfolio, explaining your concerns and why voluntary agreements have not, are not and never will work - it takes two to tango and one party refuses to dance!

    At least the WCA now recognise that legislation is the way to go. I agree that we should paddle the rivers we want and with respect, but not all want or seek confrontation.

    So brothers and sisters if you have not yet contacted your MP or Jane Davidson get on with it!

    By the way it seems breaking the law is OK if you get caught and just apologise - see the news about Peter Hain MP.

    Bob (at least standing on a soapbox makes me taller)

  32. #32
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    "An owner or occupier of property has a duty not to leave property in a dangerous condition, and in some circumstances a trespasser may successfully sue for damages if injury occurs. "

    So if I fall into a river and hurt myself, can I sue the "owner"?

    Mind you, how can you "own" water that is flowing into your area and out again!!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by kharga View Post

    So if I fall into a river and hurt myself, can I sue the "owner"?
    Shhh! dont say things like that out loud, it will give the health and safety people daft ideas - fences on banks, signs saying stupid things like 'Danger river may contain traces of water!'

    It all started with a folding boat I built at school...

  34. #34
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    Just to add my two pennorth I'm against a mass protest. We need to promote the image of canoeing as a harmless quiet activity carried out with low impact by nice people, which in the main it is. If people see hundreds of canoes and kayaks with associated cars, minibuses etc they will think "my god there are more of them than I thought!" and become even more defensive. Im afraid it is not good comparing England with France - difference between England/Wales and France is just - a heck of a lot more space for a similar population.

    If there is a big public debate it will only take a film crew to visit The Dart on a busy weekend to see what disruption unlimited numbers of visiting kayakers can produce for local people. As we know even the BBC cannot tell a kayak from a canoe - Let's not get lumped together with that scene.

    Some people may not like how the law stands but that doesnt mean everyone should just do whatever they like. Think of what that would mean in other walks of life.

    There are a lot of myths about the law of trespass - trespass is a civil wrong (tort), not to be confused with aggravated trespass which is a criminal offence. You can be liable for trespass without any physical damage being done. It would just be that the damages would be negligible - but in civil law the costs are just as significant as the damages, often much more. There is also nuisance, like noise, disturbance, loss of privacy which is often associated with trespass, and damages can be awarded for these. If you come on my property without my permission you are trespassing, full stop, unless there is a right of way or other right of access.

    Ok you can paddle across private land, and get away with it. Doesnt mean the landowner wont feel that they have been done wrong to and dont expect them not be angry, just as you would be if someone does wrong to you just because they know they can get away with it.

    Sorry that turned out to be more than two pennorth.

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