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Can you believe this?

Leeds Festival: Tents left behind at Bramham Park – BBC News

What happens to the leftover tents at Leeds Festival? – BBC News    I would be in tears too.

I know this is not wild camping’s ‘leave no trace’  but what does it say about our disposable society?

The young people attending these festivals are more than likely our hope for the future survival of the planet – what hope?

Should the organisers of these festivals take some responsibility and issue guidelines to the audiences about leaving no litter?  It seems to have become the norm in some circles to just dump anything. I see it in the streets.

In these days of austerity why leave valuable equipment and then probably later complain about the cost of living and visit a foodbank?

Too many questions?

Just putting out my recycling bin.

A Beginner’s Guide to Rights of Way and Access Law — Country Ways

I’m sharing this post as I feel it is important that the public are aware of their rights in the confusing world of access. Please have a read, no matter how experienced you are.

This courtesy of the Ramblers Association – worth printing out for reference. A beginner’s guide to rights of way and access law 25 May 2022 Can you tell a bridleway from a BOAT? Do you know what that pink patch on your map means? And is it really impossible to commit trespass in Scotland? Find […]

A Beginner’s Guide to Rights of Way and Access Law — Country Ways


How many Bank Holidays do we need? I’ve eaten all the sprouts. I’m getting bored walking up and down Longridge Fell. The New Year has come and gone, and I have nothing to write about. A quiet news week, as they say. So, I would like to share with you this simple video. Not a lot of explanation is necessary. I have some vague hope for the future of our precious wildlife with people like Chris Packham about.

I’m sure that will have resonated with a few of you. There is now real pressure on landowners to stop trail hunting on their properties and public opinion is swinging that way after Mark Hankinson, the director of the Masters of the Foxhounds Association, was recently found guilty of encouraging others to hide the illegal hunting of live foxes behind a “smokescreen” of trail hunting.  But don’t rely on any help from our Government if this is the attitude of our Prime Minister…

Boris Johnson article describing his ‘semi-sexual’ love of fox hunting resurfaces

Here’s to 2022 whatever it brings.


Last month I wrote of a vote by National Trust members to ban trail hunting on their land.  Understandably, a few of you raised concerns, as it was non-binding and would depend upon the Board of Trustees ultimate decision. Well, today, the good news is that they have announced in a fairly strong worded letter that they will no longer issue licences for trail hunting.

I applaud their decision and expect it will send shock waves through the hunting fraternity, as hopefully other landowners will probably follow their example. Watch this space.


I’ve just switched on my laptop to write up today’s cycle ride and I find this in my notifications

As a long-standing member of the NT I feel vindicated by my membership, which I have sometimes doubted with some of their past decisions. This is good news and I think if it had gone the other way I would not have supported them any longer. Sadly I do wonder who are the 38 thousand against and their mentality. No doubt there will be a barrage of bleating from the hunts to their Tory backers.

This is what the League Against Cruel Sports had to say.

“We’re delighted that the National Trust and its members have finally made the right decision and banned hunting from their land. Following the Hunting Office webinar expose and Mark Hankinson’s conviction they really had little option but to distance themselves from the criminal countryside gangs that hunts have become. The webinars contained blatant admissions of widespread illegal hunting and the use of smokescreens to confuse the public. Any respectable landowner knows their reputation will be forever tarnished if they don’t permanently distance themselves from the hunting community.” “We expect other corporate landowners including Forestry England, United Utilities, the various National Parks and the Ministry of Defence to also permanently ban hunting. The National Trust decision alone will deny the hunts access to 620,000 acres of land and when these other landowners follow suit they will be banned from millions of acres. We expect some hunts will be forced to shut down completely as a result.”

Further to that I have just emailed other major landowners asking them to deny hunting on their lands. It’s easy to do here.

I feel that at last public opinion is changing and pressure is being mounted on the hunting fraternity and the establishment that supports them. Let’s keep up that pressure.


Two things have upset me this week. What can you say?

I initially hesitated to share them but this undercurrent of cruelty to animals, and humans, usually goes unreported and the politicians and judicial system fail to tackle the problem.

[Perhaps ignore any vitriolic or negative comments on their sites]


Friday 15th January.     6.75 miles.    Longridge.

 At the risk of becoming repetitive…

Again I set off from home on familiar paths to Gill Bridge where I skated up the icy road before I took the path along Elmridge. Elmridge is a small eminence in the Vale of Chipping between the Bleasdale Fells and Longridge Fell, its position giving  it good views of the area. These views are better on the road across the top rather than on my footpath along the southern side, but I’d not walked this way for several years. A friend has moved into a little house along here, so I was able to have a few words in passing. The family have adopted lots of stray kittens and have some fine fowl. The next farm along, again owned by a friend who has recently died is surrounded by woodlands that he planted over the years, a fitting memorial.

It wasn’t the clearest of days but Longridge Fell was always there.

In Hesketh Lane I passed the site of an old mill now strangely used as a depot for a local coach firm. The mill stream is clearly visible and a notice tells of recently installed fish ladders to allow fish and eels access higher up the stream. The Dog and Partridge is sadly closed, like several other old inns of the area. Notice the cheese press stone, a common sight in this area of Lancashire. I took the curiously named Judd Holmes Lane through frozen fields leading me back to the Knott Farm where I was the other day.. This time I made the detour to visit the little church at Lee House.  Be sure to have a look at – for some interesting history.

I then joined the crowds walking along the pavements to Longridge. We should all be a lot fitter after this pandemic is over.

                                                                                     Bleasdale Fells.



I would like to share with you these episodes of Raptor Persecution from this last year.


Here are the top ten most read RPUK blogs over the last 12 months…

  1. Satellite-tagged white-tailed eagle found poisoned on grouse moor in Cairngorms National Park (here)
  2. Golden eagle Tom disappears in suspicious circumstances on Scottish grouse moor (here)
  3. Missing eagle’s satellite tag found cut and wrapped in lead, dumped in river at Strathbraan (here)
  4. 45 hen harriers ‘missing’ or confirmed illegally killed since 2018 (here)
  5. The five brood meddled hen harriers from 2019 are all ‘missing’ (here)
  6. Scottish Government commits to develop immediate licensing scheme for driven grouse shooting (here)
  7. The eagle’s satellite tag found in the river: poetic injustice (here)
  8. Licensing scheme for release of pheasants and red-legged partridge in England following Wild Justice legal challenge (here)
  9. Post mortem reveals Welsh golden eagle had suffered gunshot injury (here)
  10. RSPB announces its ‘new’ policy on gamebird shooting (here)

I’m sad and angry at the same time.

Sad because of the cruelty and persecution of our birds of prey.

Angry because I have no confidence that the powers that be, government and law enforcement, will deal with these criminal acts.  I would like you all, in 2021, to spend a little time to keep abreast of the problem and make representations to your elected MPs that this situation cannot be tolerated.

Thanks and all the best. BC



Stop awhile this weekend in your Covid-19 angst, especially if you live in the north, and have a listen to Sting…

…now we have all calmed down lets look at the problem.

From the figures things seem to be getting worse. So what is the solution? Well the government will slowly, what’s the rush?, try and tell us next week.

Oh! And by the way where do all these ‘leaks’ come from?

 The above is just one example of ‘Brutal trading conditions’. Conditions repeated in the hospitality and drinks sector, the tourism and airline sector, the performing arts sector, the fashion sector and most other sectors you can imagine. Our economy has been allowed, nay even been encouraged,  to depend upon these honest but nebulous sectors. Where is the backbone of our economy?  In pubs or in industry?  Years of free enterprise and privatisation policies have led us down this cul-de-sac.

We can’t even rely in these Covid-19 pandemic times on a ‘test and trace’ system which has been put into unsuitable private hands.

So as the situation worsens by the day I don’t know the answers any more than you, the scientists or the politicians. But I do feel that we should never have been in this situation in the first place, virus or not.

No one wants to be one of those 87 or those millions out of work. A cleft stick situation.

How fragile we are.



I have become somewhat dilatory on the walking front despite the fact that we are allowed out more. There is nothing to stop me from driving up to Langdale and climbing the Pikes. Nothing that is except common sense. I posted a few days ago a piece from the Coniston MRT advising against fellwalking at the moment. I think I’ve become disorientated by the confusing Governments announcements giving us greater freedom and others telling us to stay at home. The death rates seem to be staying high so stay at home is the obvious choice.

At the back of my garden 40years ago I planted trees to give shelter and some privacy, They have grown to 30 or 40ft and need their crowns taking out before they grow any bigger.

Now is the time. Actually, it isn’t the best while the trees are in leaf but there you go.

Out come the ladders and the bow saw. I’m very much aware of not having an accident in these lockdown times so I securely fix my ladders, top and bottom. My climbing harness is brought into action to prevent any tumbles from a great height.

The trees have lost some limbs but suffice to say I’m typing this with all my limbs intact.

After a couple of days sawing and pruning, shredding and logging I’ve spread a decent amount of wood chippings as a mulch on my flower beds and have a nice pile of logs for my log burner next winter.

Following on from Woody Herman’s rendition above [was Woody a common factor?]  another old favourite tune came to mind –  Woodman Spare That Tree sang by Phil Harris, a regular on Saturday morning’s  Uncle Mac’s Favourites on the radio’s Light Programme back in the ’50s.  Uncle Mac would play tunes requested by children who were thrilled if their name was read out on the radio – he never played any of mine.


I’ve just found out that the above quirky tune was based on an original poem by George Pope Morris, 1802-64.  Set to music in 1837 by Henry Russell. It is one of the earliest known songs to champion a social cause, in this case, the preservation of nature.

Woodman, spare that tree!
⁠Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
⁠And I’ll protect it now.
‘Twas my forefather’s hand
⁠That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,
⁠Thy ax shall harm it not.

That old familiar tree,
⁠Whose glory and renown
Are spread o’er land and sea—
⁠And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
⁠Cut not its earth-bound ties;
Oh, spare that agèd oak
⁠Now towering to the skies!

When but an idle boy,
⁠I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
⁠Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here;
⁠My father pressed my hand—
Forgive this foolish tear,
⁠But let that old oak stand.

My heart-strings round thee cling,
⁠Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
⁠And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
⁠And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I’ve a hand to save,
⁠Thy ax shall harm it not.

I despair at the trees cut down in our village to make way for developments. I hope that the pruning I’ve done the last few days will ensure my mature trees will survive for many more years long after I’ve gone.





I’m being lazy today and sharing a disturbing report from the RSPB’s Investigations Team.

I make no apologies for this as I am sickened by the rising crimes against our birds of prey. Living on the edge of Bowland makes me acutely aware of these as this area has had more than enough incidents. A few years ago Hen Harriers were a relatively common sight if you knew where to look and now they have been virtually wiped out. 

As we possibly make a slow return to the hills our observations of the wildlife, positive and negative, will be important. As Superintendant Lyall says at the bottom of this report  –  If you have any information about birds of prey being killed in your area, call the police on 101 or the RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime Hotline: 0300 999 0101. 


The RSPB has received a surge in reports of birds of prey being illegally killed since lockdown began.

The majority of incidents have been on or close to sporting estates managed for game bird shooting.

The public are being asked to stay vigilant and report crimes against birds of prey.

The RSPB’s Investigations Unit has been ‘overrun’ with reports of birds of prey being illegally killed in recent weeks. 

Species involved in raptor crime incidents since lockdown began in March 2020

Police have been called out to investigate multiple cases involving the shooting, trapping and suspected poisoning of birds of prey following reports by the public.  

The RSPB is currently aware of many confirmed incidents involving the targeting of birds of prey involving hen harriers, peregrines, buzzards, red kites, goshawks and a barn owl in the last six weeks. Amongst the cases being dealt with by the police are a number of significant ongoing investigations on land managed for grouse shooting.  

On 29 March a buzzard was found shot at Shipton, near York. Its wing was fractured in two places and an x-ray revealed several pieces of shot within the bird’s body. Thanks to the care of a local wildlife expert the buzzard recovered and was released.  

Over the Easter Weekend, a red kite was found shot dead near Leeds. It had 12 shotgun pellets lodged in its body.  

The following weekend, wildlife presenter Iolo Williams recovered a dead red kite in Powys, which had been shot. Reports also came in of a further two shot red kites in the area, which is managed for pheasant shooting. 

Red kite shot in Wales

And in Scotland, the police are following up several raptor persecution cases and multiple reports of illegal trap use on grouse moors. 

All birds of prey are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. To intentionally kill or injure one is a criminal offence and could result in an unlimited fine or up to six months in jail.  

Mark Thomas, RSPB Head of Investigations UK, said:  

“Since lockdown began, the RSPB has been overrun with reports of birds of prey being targeted. It is clear that criminals on some sporting estates both in the uplands and lowlands have used the wider closure of the countryside as an opportunity to ramp up their efforts to kill birds of prey. 

“Spring is the time when birds of prey are most visible and therefore vulnerable, as they put on courtship displays, build nests and find food ready to breed. It is clear the criminal actions are targeted and malicious in nature, taking out birds before they have the opportunity to breed, often in areas where they have previously faced persecution. 

“We welcome the fact that the public is remaining vigilant and encourage any suspicious incidents to be reported. But please observe government guidelines at all times.” 

Superintendent Nick Lyall, head of the Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group, said:  

“Over recent weeks, I have been sickened by the number of raptor persecution cases that have come to my attention as chair of the Raptor Persecution Delivery Group. I know that there are officers currently investigating a number of crimes against wild birds of prey which have occurred since lockdown began. 

“It is clear that lockdown has been seen as a green light by those involved in raptor persecution offences to continue committing crimes, presumably in the belief that there are fewer people around to catch them doing so.  

“I remain grateful to everyone involved in investigating these crimes, and thankfully in the vast majority of the cases I am aware of, it looks like some really good lines of enquiry are taking place which should lead to arrests and interviews.”  

If you have any information about birds of prey being killed in your area, call the police on 101 or the RSPB’s confidential Raptor Crime Hotline: 0300 999 0101. 


The lockdown goes on and on…

In contrast to recent sunny days with pictures of vibrant flowers the weather has changed to dull, wet and grey. My mood has quickly changed with it. I didn’t feel like getting up today.

I’m not the most house proud of people, preferring outdoor activities whenever possible. As it was raining  I did eventually do some hoovering and general tidying of rooms neglected in the last few weeks of sunshine. Not the best way to brighten my mood but I smiled when it came to my bedroom and the state of the unmade bed.

It looked as though Tracy Emmons had been sleeping in it.

They say a person’s bedroom reveals significant details about their personality, habits and emotions. Make of it what you want but I do use my bed as a study, library and cafe at times, I spend a lot of time in it during normal circumstances, something to do with security. That’s where I am now typing this. I’m surprised the cat was not in residence on the duvet.

More depressing news of the loss of life on the TV. I usually listen in at lunchtime and then get on with the rest of the day unencumbered.

Today however I’ve learnt from his wife, Pat, that one of my best friends has died. I met Mel as a cheeky faced 5 year old in our first year of primary school. From that time our lives have interwoven between all the highs and lows. He has featured on these pages many times either visiting ‘up north’ or on our yearly backpacking trips. I will put a little story together at a later date, Something strange has just happened – as I was in the very process of uploading this picture of Mel his wife phoned me, uncanny. Fragile times…



I could keep this theme going for some time, like bad movies they often, perversely, bring out a sequel.

The weeks go by at a slow pace since the problem started in my left hip. I’m waiting for the Xray results. In the meantime I’m trying to walk a few miles on the flat. Any stepping up on the left leg however still produces instant pain.

There have been some beautiful frosty days and this morning the Bowland Fells were covered in snow. My friend Sir Hugh is 2 weeks post knee operation, the second he has had done. He must have walked thousands of miles on the first. A trip up to Arnside was suggested. Driving up the Lakeland winter vista across the Kent estuary was magnificent, mocking our present inabilities to step foot in the hills.  [poorly captured above on my mobile]

Pleasantries over he requested help in putting up his Christmas Tree.This proved more difficult than I’d imagined. The artificial tree came in many sections, supposedly colour coded. The process was similar to erecting a tent for the first time, though in the comfort of his living room we had no wind to annoy us. He hopped around on his crutches whilst I built up the pieces from the bottom. Strangely when we had finished there were several branches spare. Anyhow it looked good enough so we retired to a nearby eating emporium for a well earned drink with excellent fish and chips. No17 is the clue. He’ll soon be back on his legs and we look forward to 2018.