Kinder Scout

I always love it when someone starts singing the priases of the mass trespass at Kinder Scout. Because this insisttence on open acess to a resource just shows that you cannot in fact have such mass open access to a resource:

It\’s interesting what the effect was:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/local-to-you/midlands/view-page/item727286/

\”This iconic landscape welcomes hundreds of thousands of walkers and other visitors each year. Its popularity can unfortunately create problems such as erosion, we therefore need to manage Kinder Scout – and other areas of the Peak District – to preserve their beauty for future generations……..Overgrazing and erosion caused by people walking across the moors leads to areas of bare peat, which are then in danger of being washed away by heavy rain, forming deep gullies and releasing carbon into the atmosphere. \”

Gosh, you mean Garrett Hardin was right? You cannot have open access to a resource?

Such access must be limited one way or another? That the ramblers are wrong?

26 comments on “Kinder Scout

  1. The ramblers were right: if you undermine private property you can get the state to take control if it and manage it in the (supposed) public interest.

  2. The Ramblers Assoication were a direct offshoot of the Communist Party. Never trust a man in a bobble hat and stout boots.

  3. You can have mass access – you just restrict it to a very small number of the right kind of people, I.e. Guardian readers.

  4. The late Duke of Devonshire, on the other hand, thought the trespass was right and issued an apology for the way his family had barred access to open spaces they controlled, ultimately, because of ancient armed theft.

    Garrett Harding was a prototypical eco-loon who thought the world’s population needed to be halved. Yet, as Matt Ridley has pointed out, there never has been an example in practice of the ‘tragedy of the commons’. This isn’t one. The landscape erodes whether you walk it or not, and if you do walk it, however little, you contribute to the one-way erosion. Unlike, say, fish stocks, landscape can’t be ‘conserved’.

    The National Trust commit this widespread fallacy of viewing the world as static, rather than in a constant process of change.

  5. Which rather makes the argument for the academic publishing model does it not? The advocates of ‘open access’ never explain fully how the process will be funded – even in a world where publishing costs are falling.

  6. Ref academic open access, papers are already published online. Storage of that sort of data is so cheap it’s hard to measure the costs, ditto bandwidth for downloading on the scale that could realistically be expected.

    On the other hand, the scientific method is: theory -> prediction -> test prediction -> test reproduced by others.

    What has been the cost of NOT making research open to this process for everyone interested?

  7. What’s the big deal–they can put in a few turf roadways across the moors that would be harder-wearing and replacable. The walkers would still be walking on greensward.
    Meanwhile, do some research into hardier plants/grasses that can take more wear or,like some pervert politician, actually enjoy being walked upon.

  8. Peter Risdon

    The late Duke of Devonshire, on the other hand, thought the trespass was right and issued an apology for the way his family had barred access to open spaces they controlled, ultimately, because of ancient armed theft.

    Although what the views of the Duke have to do with anything escapes me. He may have thought his family was wrong. The National Trust have now proved he was wrong about that. What act of ancient armed theft gave Kinder Scout to the Devonshires?

    Garrett Harding was a prototypical eco-loon who thought the world’s population needed to be halved.

    So he would find a good home at the Guardian.

    Yet, as Matt Ridley has pointed out, there never has been an example in practice of the ‘tragedy of the commons’.

    That is an interesting claim because the problems of cod would suggest otherwise. As the low number of whales to this day would also suggest. As the extinction of large mammals across Europe but especially in Britain might suggest as well.

    This isn’t one. The landscape erodes whether you walk it or not, and if you do walk it, however little, you contribute to the one-way erosion. Unlike, say, fish stocks, landscape can’t be ‘conserved’.

    Of course landscape can be conserved. In just the same way fish stocks can. Fish stocks change all the time, but sensible management means they do not become extinct. Just as the landscape may change all the time, but it still remains aesthetically pleasing if managed properly. By not letting fools walk all over it as they please for instance.

    The National Trust commit this widespread fallacy of viewing the world as static, rather than in a constant process of change.

    Ahhh, so we should not be bothered with animal extinctions because species go extinct all the time – indeed 99% of all species are extinct – and there is not point fighting it? So tough luck for the tiger and panda?

    5Simon Cooke – “Which rather makes the argument for the academic publishing model does it not? The advocates of ‘open access’ never explain fully how the process will be funded – even in a world where publishing costs are falling.”

    Why does it need funding? Academics work for next to nothing. In fact they are often expected to pay to be published these days. The money is made by criminals like Robert Maxwell, not by the actual producers. If they had an on-line site they would continue to work for next to nothing. Reviewers would continue to review for nothing. It is just that the Cap’t Bobs of the world would have to find another J. K. Rowling to rip off. Wikipedia works. Why not on line academic publishing?

  9. SMFS: Fish stocks are not managed as a commons and never have been, unless you go back so far the term is meaningless. For example, today, the greatest problem is up to 90% of catches being thrown overboard because of quotas, by people who need fishing permits because not everyone can fish commercially: it isn’t a commons.

    Overuse is not the same as the ‘tragedy of the commons’. Privately-owned resources get overused. For Harding’s idea to count you need overuse through common ownership.

    That people need to go back to the disappearance of large fauna from Europe and Nth America, a time we know hardly anything about, to justify this notion shows how flaky it is.

    Large landholdings derive from the Norman Conquest, largely. But that was just one of a series of armed thefts (including the enclosures and the Highland Clearances). Do you imagine people would have been dispossessed if the resources of force were equally distributed?

    Landscape cannot be conserved in the sense under discussion. It erodes and changes. It hasn’t been ruined – this is Quango control-freakery.

    ‘99% of species have gone extinct’ just shows the process hasn’t been understood by the speaker or writer. Species are snapshots of a process of change, not the fundamental units of development. There have been dead-ends and rapid changes but on the whole, things change into other things slowly.

  10. “there never has been an example in practice of the ‘tragedy of the commons’”: oh balls, I took part in one as a teenager. We overfished the Solway Firth.

  11. When the National Trust stop people walking across Kinder Scout, will they put up a memorial statue to Mr E Beaver?

  12. ” that was just one of a series of armed thefts (including the enclosures …”: if you are referring to the Parliamentary Enclosures, balls. Plain not so. Specify a few.

  13. The main problem with the Enclosure Acts was lack of registered property rights – which is still a problem in many countries today.

    The peasants who could prove rights over the land got a share in the enclosed land.

    Without registration they could have lost their rights over the land even without Enclosure.

  14. …and releasing carbon into the atmosphere.

    Fuck me, is there anything which some shite about global warming isn’t tagged onto the end of?

  15. @ Peter Risdon
    The natural erosion of English landscape is insignificant when measured over a single lifetime (which is the farmer’s principal concern). However a large batch 0f “ramblers” in hobnailed boots can, and usually do, cause visible and lasting damage, unlike the typical small boy walking in sandals (in my youth – probably trainers in this day and age).
    The Cavendish family did not acquire any part of the Peak District through armed theft (do you know that Kinder Scout is in Derbyshire not Devonshire do you?), but by purchase. I should be very interested to know who was living on Kinder Scout and had it stolen from them by whom? The crows are still able to enjoy their free possession of it – except when disturbed by Ramblers.

  16. @ Peter Risdon
    So YOU control the meaning of words by citing “sense under discussion”? English landscape erodes over geological time frames: the National Trust and I, and nearly everyone except you, are talking in terms of erosion within a single lifetime.
    If one of my friends wants to organise a cross-country race along public rights of way he still has to ask all the farmers first to make sure that the race will not cause any noticeable amount of lasting damage to crops or the land. But Guardianista “ramblers” think they can just walk across any land, cultivated or not, part of an animal sanctuary or not, as a result of the “right to roam”.

  17. New Zealand and the U.S. seem to manage their heavily-used wilderness areas reasonably well. They put in boardwalks, issue camping and hiking permits, and try to educate the hiking population who seem fairly respectful of delicate ecosystems in desert areas, for example – at least in the national parks. It’s recognized that you can love an area to death; perhaps education is the key in this country?

  18. Peter Risdon – “Fish stocks are not managed as a commons and never have been, unless you go back so far the term is meaningless.”

    Well that is not true. Much of our fish stocks are not managed as a commons. The problem with cod – and more so with whales – is that a large chunk of their range was in international waters, and hence a commons, and hence the USSR came and vacuumed them all up. We have extended the EEZ to 200 miles or so specifically because we all know that the Tragedy of the Commons exists and fish need to be properly managed.

    “Overuse is not the same as the ‘tragedy of the commons’. Privately-owned resources get overused. For Harding’s idea to count you need overuse through common ownership.”

    Sure. And all the examples I have used have been overuse through common ownership.

    “That people need to go back to the disappearance of large fauna from Europe and Nth America, a time we know hardly anything about, to justify this notion shows how flaky it is.”

    That is not all that far. The last wolves were killed in Britain around the mid-18th century. America lost the passenger pigeon more recently than that. The Bison nearly became extinct in recent times – saved by private ownership. You notice that people are aware of the problem and so have been trying to solve it for some time and then claim that proves the problem does not exist?

    “Large landholdings derive from the Norman Conquest, largely.”

    No they do not. The social system that results in large landownings does. But the Cavendish family, indeed most families, did not acquire their land in 1066. It is not impossible to find families that did get their land because of the Norman conquest but they are few and far between. Kinder Scout was, to the best of my knowledge, purchased.

    “But that was just one of a series of armed thefts (including the enclosures and the Highland Clearances). Do you imagine people would have been dispossessed if the resources of force were equally distributed?”

    The Enclosures weren’t exactly armed theft unless you count the nationalisation of the coal and steel industries as theft. Which they were I suppose. Or the formation of the NHS. Nor were the Highland Clearances. Sure the looting of the monasteries was. But you have not shown any of these apply to Kinder Scout. They may have been – but the question is would Britain be better off if we had produced a nation of down trodden marginally-viable peasants a la India?

    “Landscape cannot be conserved in the sense under discussion. It erodes and changes. It hasn’t been ruined – this is Quango control-freakery.”

    It cannot be conserved in the sense you would like to mean but that definition is insane. It can be preserved in the sense most people mean – change is slow, it is progressive and it does not fundamentally alter the landscape in less than generations.

    “’99% of species have gone extinct’ just shows the process hasn’t been understood by the speaker or writer. Species are snapshots of a process of change, not the fundamental units of development. There have been dead-ends and rapid changes but on the whole, things change into other things slowly.”

    We cannot measure development any other way. So species tends to be the unit of measure. Yes, on the whole things change into other things rather slowly – nice use of the species as the unit of interest there. Unless an asteroid hits the planet. Or cats are introduced. Or people for that matter. Then change can be rapid. There is a massive difference between the slow evolution of the dodo and the rapid extinction once the Dutch, their pigs and some rats arrived on Mauritius. I am all in favour of the former and not at all in favour of the latter. Yourself?

  19. Khrusos: NZ South Island population density 6.9 per square kilometre, North Island population density 29.6, USA ex Alaska population density 40, England population density 402. The problem in England is an order of magnitude harder.

    Re. the Cavendish family: my understanding is that they acquired their wealth through political office (today’s politicians are far more modest in their acquisitiveness), and especially through the “looting of the monasteries”.

    Re. Kinder Scout: the National Trust says that overgrazing was the main problem when it first acquired the land. That would presumably not have been the fault of middle-class ramblers.

    Re. the Mass Trespass: middle-class ramblers were against the original Mass Trespass. It was the British Workers’ Sports Federation which started it.

    SMFS: the early enclosures, I suppose including that of Kinder Scout, were indeed unilateral seizures by wealthy men who commanded the resources to impose their will by force on the users of what had been common land. In what sense is that not armed theft?

  20. @ Paul B
    Generally good points but (i) the Grauniad article talks about the “peat bogs of Kinder Scout” – they do not suffer from overgrazing because any sheep that try to graze them tend to end up as a bleached skull after they sink in and the crows pick over the dead carcasse (ii) have you ever been to Kinder Scout? Early enclosures were of arable land and pastures in and around villages and very few of them could be called armed theft, later ones were carried out by Acts of Parliament (the wonders of democracy!)
    The Mass Trespass was opposed by gamekeepers not farmers or cowherds or shepherds – they were trying to protect the grouse which, along with curlews and crows, inhabit that sort of moorland. The Grauniad claims that the gamekeepers inflicted violence upon the trespassers and implies that that the trespassers were innocent of the charges of violence against the gamekeepers – how then did the marchers reach their destination? Did they take wings and fly over the gamekeepers? Along with their pet pigs? I suggest that you take any mention in the Grauniad of historical violence (well, since the start of the iron age that made weapons generally affordable) by the few against the many with a large pinch of salt.

  21. For Pete’s sake, you can’t overgraze a bog because you sink in if you try to walk over it and sheep and cattle have much higher weight to foot area ratios than humans.
    Bloody townies!

  22. You’d best take that up with the bloody townies at the National Trust. But if Kinder Scout were genuinely an impassable bog, we wouldn’t be talking about ramblers on it.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.