Tuesday, 24 April 2012

365 Reasons To Be Proud To Be British: The Pennine Way

April 24th 1965: The last section of the long-distance trail, the Pennine Way, opens at Malham Moor.

Many walkers who like peat between their cleats will have faced up to the challenge of the 267-mile, 249-stiled walk. They will have a favourite section, one that lives long in the memory. For me, it's Kinder Downfall to Edale. It's the only section I've ever walked. It's the only section I ever plan to walk. And only if I can walk it downhill.

And it was on this day in 1932 that the Kinder Trespass took place. A political act; organised by the Communist-led British Workers' Sports Federation in protest at how rich landowners prevented public access to the countryside. Established ramblers' groups opposed the trespass, but further widespread action took place. Within years, such actions had engaged thousands of walkers to take to the Peaks, leading to the formation of the Ramblers Association and the lobbying that would herald the introduction of our National Parks.

Including the Peak District. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of following even a smidgen of the Pennine Way in the Peaks, congratulations! You now have something to add to your to-do list this summer.

"There's pleasure in dragging through peat bogs and bragging
Of all the fine walks that you know;
There's even a measure of some kind of pleasure
In wading through ten feet of snow.
I've stood on the edge of the Downfall,
And seen all the valleys outspread,
And sooner than part from the mountains,
I think I would rather be dead"

'The Manchester Rambler', Ewan McColl

Photo of Kinder Low (c) David Hayes on Flickr

By Simon Johnson with No comments


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