ashesXashes

dustXdust

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JH
12/03/2006 at 12:59
When TGO arrives I always like to read Cameron's editorial (View Point) first, he seems such a likeable chap, and his enthusiastic writing is a tonic in this increasingly mediocre world. This month Cameron is a bit dubious about the MCofS's code of practice suggesting that the scattering of ashes on mountain tops should be discouraged. I was a little uneasy about Cameron's point of view.

Jim's article has to be read when I'm in the mood, which wasn't until this morning. Spot on Jim, my sentiments entirely. Jim's article is about some types of recreational use destroying the countryside, and how this might be stopped.

I then reread Cameron's piece. The crux of the matter is highlighted as if to invite discussion - 'how many hillwalkers reach the top of a mountain and say: Look at that offensive patch of grass"?'

I wonder if the editorial of 4x4 Monthly has the words 'how many off roaders drive to the top of a mountain and say: "Look at that offensive patch of churned up mud"?'

Whilst it is right for the editorial of a walking magazine to question any manmade change in the landscape which will spoil our particular activity, I don't think you can condone an activity just because it doesn't affect our particular enjoyment.
JH
12/03/2006 at 13:02
If I get burned alive for saying the above please scatter my ashes at Hurlstone Point. Along with all the others. On that springy patch of turf that's sprung up in the last few years.
12/03/2006 at 13:06
I might be wrong, but it could all be linked to story that originated this thread.

Mountain-top memorials
JH
12/03/2006 at 15:11
I didn't really want to raise the issue of scattering ashes specifically, but the bigger picture - if we don't notice it is it doing any harm?

I just finished re-reading the Swallows and Amazons series in which Arthur Ransom goes out of his way to tell us how his characters dispose of their litter responsibly - shove the orange peel down a rabbit hole, sink the lemonade bottles in a pool and on the houseboat throw the empty tins overboard. Out of site, out of mind. Laughable now. I should think the water under the houseboat was deep enough to hide the tins, but it's unthinkable to do that now.

'how many hillwalkers reach the top of a mountain and say: "Look at that offensive patch of grass"?'

Is the important thing a respect for what other hillwalkers might think or a respect for the landscape?
12/03/2006 at 16:42
Human marks left on the hills bring up mixed feelings in me. I can walk to the end of the Glyder range and look down into Penrhyn quarry and feel apalled by the rape of the mountain, or by the huge quarry on the side of Breidden hill near Oswestry. Don t get me started on Wind farms, or the Snowdon railway. But i love to explore the old slate works at Rhos quarry on Moel Siabod or at Cwmorthin. I don t feel in any way that these are eyesores, more as part of the overall experience and intrigue of British mountains.

Why is it that tracks left by 4x4s are seen as hateful things, yet an old trackway or well trodden path are accepted and even enjoyed after a hard walk? Is it bcause making a mark on the hills was a necessity of years past and an act of vandalism now?

I love the feeling of wildness that our landscape can give us if we know where to look. The Rhinogs are my all time favourite range. Even in that small area, where you can see very little human impact, it is nice to come across a cairn or the Roman Steps (which aren t Roman at all). I feel it provides a link between myself and those who have gone before.

Often the arguments against off roaders etc are accompanied with tales of aggression, discourtesy and even violence from those being complained about. There are also positive accounts, but it is the negative ones that stand out. But i have come across ignorant walkers, people who have tried to barge past when im on a narrow path stopping for two seconds to catch a breath.

I think the problem is less that most people who walk are like this, most who go greenlaning are like that etc, it s just that people are generally people the world over. In this i mean that it is impossible to go through life being yourself without winding up many who you meet along the way.

To come at long last to the ashes question, i dont have a problem with it. Plaques and memorials are more of an issue, but in moderation i feel that they have their place also.
12/03/2006 at 16:46
Wow that was a long post...

Apologies for the rambling comments and poor composition, but im tired!

I guess what i am trying to say is that i can see both sides of the human impact argument, and if i spent enough time with either party or any of the degress between, i would find myself agreeing with them...

This issue is has no good or bad sides to it, just better or worse factors depending on your viewpoint. Debate is great but becoming vehement about such things serves no purpose...

And i don t like Paramo! :-)
12/03/2006 at 17:08
Shingsowa -

I have mixed feelings about quarries, on the one hand they are a scar on nature, but on the other they are an invaluable source of geology that otherwise may not be available to the geologist.

Oh, and I love Paramo! It's the mutts! 8¬P
JH
12/03/2006 at 17:20
I havn't made my point very clearly have I? I'm not asking if ashes, windfarms, slate quaries, plaques, red tents, 4x4's etc etc are okay or not, I'm asking if it's okay to create an impact on the landscape if it goes unnoticed.

For instance, Cameron's editorial accepts that scattering ashes changes the mix of plant life, but Cameron thinks few people will notice and therefore it's okay. At least, that's my understanding of what he's saying. This attitude seems to put the interests of other hillwalkers first, rather than the landscape itself.

Maybe that's okay, I don't know. What do others think?
12/03/2006 at 17:21
I think the point about ashes is that they improve the soil - in the same way banana skins and apple cores do. This makes the grass grow much better which chokes out the natural, and, sometimes rare plant life - so instead of a thin cover of wild thyme there's a bit of lawn.
My view is that with all the human traffic on most summits, the natural flora's probably either been well stuffed anyway by now, so a few ashes aren't going to make a difference - or the continuing trampling wouldnt allow the fine green sward to grow in any case.
Interestingly (well, I thought it was anyway) there's a nature reserve in County Durham where the trail bikes have recently been excluded using some fairly beefy fencing. Exactly where the trail bikes churned up the ground, there's now a fine population of rare plants which are now supporting some very rare butterflies - all thanks to the attentions of the off-road bikers. On the "protected" areas there's very few.
Just goes to show innit?
12/03/2006 at 17:43
Ummm, banana skins and apple cores can take 2 years to decompose fully and personally speaking I'd rather not see them disgarded as some kind of compost. Take them home instead.
12/03/2006 at 20:03
There was a discussion on Radio 5 recently and, yes, it's the issue of making the ground more fertile that is in question with ashes. Can't believe it myself, as you say with that much human traffic they'll need to be a shed load of ashes to make any difference!
I've done it, on one of the Malverns that's managed by the National Trust. Their stance was, scatter what you like just don't put up permanent memorials. I think that's a fair approach.
12/03/2006 at 21:03
Sorry JH, i got a bit off track...

If it goes unnoticed, is it stil an impact? Does it all come down to the person who is viewing said impact, and indeed what they are feeling on that particular day? Until recently i ve never even thought about the fertilising effect of ashes. How does it fair in the same context as having a crafty pee behind a boulder, and so introducing minerals etc that wouldn t have found their way there otherwise? Surely just by being in an area we create an impact, cause and effect and all that...
JH
13/03/2006 at 07:42
"If it goes unnoticed, is it still an impact?"

Yes, although perhaps "impact" was a rather strong choice of words on my part. "Effect" might have been better.

"having a crafty pee behind a boulder"

Good point. I think this answers my question better than anything else that's been said.

Getting back to Cameron's remark - 'how many hillwalkers reach the top of a mountain and say: "Look at that offensive patch of grass"?' - maybe it's ambigous, but to me it looks so hillwalker-centric. Cameron's position and reputation give him a voice in the world of mountain conservation, but if it appears he only has the interests of hillwalkers in mind, that voice will be eroded.
13/03/2006 at 17:16
Having said that I dont believe that distributing the remains of one's relatives around the hills would have much extra effect than the litter we already leave up there, I must say that I was also a bit surprised by Cameron's comment about the ".....offensive patch of grass". I suspect it was probably a thoughtless remark rather than anything else.
Its all very well exercising "rights" but blundering about through the nesting grounds being incontinent of garbage, sewage and rubbish, and now the burnt and crushed up corpses of the people who were cremated on the same day as Uncle Ted isnt exactly low impact.
02/03/2009 at 14:34
Human ash. Here in Watendlath,we have our far share of human ash,it is everywhere. I dont have any problem with people chugging up the "awful" road,or indeed walking with Auntie Peg strapped to your back,its where the ashes are left,usually in piles in the most irresponsible places. The top of the fell,near the bridge, is the worst affected area. Next comes the bridge itself,2 days ago it was covered,dont people realise that there are residents,their children and tourists who have to walk through this and into my tearoom/home? Several buckets of water,most of it was removed,you may think that in bad taste,but when placed there enough is enough. also,placing ashes on the tarn edge is very beneficial to the ducks and geese,they love it....then you can go and buy the eggs from the farm to use in your homebaking,recycling grandma at her  best.
03/03/2009 at 02:58
Isn't nature wonderful!
03/03/2009 at 03:01
No different really to many of the fruit and veg crops of the third world countries imported here then, grown on recycled dead folks too! It makes no difference to nature, just base building chemicals is all. Matter cannot be created nor destroyed, fundamental law of physics! It all just changes state of being! If it wasn't like that the whole earth would be in a hell of a state littered with dead humans though, think about it!
03/03/2009 at 03:03
There is indeed though a very big difference in scattering ashes and dumping them in a pile of course, I do take your point perhaps Peter!
03/03/2009 at 15:41
 Hi Trevor,yes scattering no prob,piles dotted about the place,I wont tolerate,i dont care whose they are,where they from,or how much they loved the place,people  should think. One of the best"scatterings" was 20 "mourners" standing on the bridge,threw the box of ash into the air,gust of wind,fell all over them,priceless....am on patrol......
03/03/2009 at 15:48

Well done Peter and Trevor!

That's a 3 year old thread you've just brought back to life - I thought that it had bit the dust.

Is this what they mean by the resurrection?

Nodrog.

Edited: 03/03/2009 at 15:50
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