Fresh from the launch of this week's Kinder Trespass 80th anniversary celebrations in Edale.
We're just back from the official launch of the Kinder 80 event which celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Kinder Trespass when militant walkers from Manchester marched en masse onto Kinder Scout to protest their right to walk unhindered on the moors.
It was a seminal moment in the history of access rights and arguably the start of the progression towards the current state of play. But you knew that right - or did you? One of the more sobering aspects of this morning's launch at the Moorland Centre in Edale, was the demographic of those attending, most were 50+ at least and the majority, we'd say, in their 60s.
Of course there's nothing inherently wrong in that, but it would be a shame if younger walkers lost sight of the early radicalism that helped to put us where we are today.
Small But Perfectly Formed
The launch itself was a small but perfectly formed event taking place in the shadow of the Peak hills that Benny Rothman and his fellow trespassers fought so hard to open up to walkers. Erstwhile musician, comedian and outdoors columnist Mike Harding kicked things off with a scene-setting introduction before appearances by the likes of Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, and Kate Ashbrook, General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society Ramblers Vice President - since when has the Ramblers had a VP? - who had the good grace to admit that intially the Ramblers' Association spoke out against the Trespass.
She was followed by the new Ramblers CEO, Benedict Southworth, who like Ashbrook was keen to emphasise that the struggle for access is by no means over with constant battles emerging from the murk of the rights of way battlefield.
This Is History
The undoubted star of the launch though, was broadcaster and writer Stuart Maconie who neatly and entertainingly managed to tie the past and the present together: The Kinder Trespass, he argued, is history, real history, our history and should be taught in schools alongside the traditional takes of monarchs,high politics and military power. Quite right.
All of which set the stage nicely for a rendition of the Manchester Rambler by Mike Harding with the backing of the Chapel en le Frith male voice choir and sundry audience members.
And that was it. Except it wasn't. The mingling and chatting afterwards was every bit as significant and it was a privilege to see the two last surviving protestors, to meet Benny Rothman's son Harry, to catch up with local photographer John Beatty, who's giving his Wild Vision audio visual show in Hope tomorrow night and to chat with legendary outdoor writer, Jim Perrin, who we last saw in a basement lecture room in Llanberis dressed in black leather, wearing shades and talking about being abducted by an American biker chick on a Harley.
More Kinder 80
The Kinder 80 event goes on for the rest of this week and includes not only the Beatty presentation in Hope tomorrow, but a programme of guided walks, historical lectures and a closing Trespass-themed ceilidh featuring the Well Dressed Band and local singer-writer Sally Goldsmith in Sheffield on Sunday. There's also a free downloadable Trespass Trail booklet.
You can find full details of the event and plenty of background intormation at www.kindertrespass.com.