Thursday, 24 January 2008

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

Darren Christie (aka "Weird Darren") has had his petition approved by the UK Government's web team. He wishes that England&Wales had the same access rights to wild camping that we have up here in Scotland.

Link to Darren's post and official petition if you wish to add you electronic signature.

If you're not sure of the Access Code that we have here in Scotland, click this link to a previous article I wrote regarding this. The piece was written as a precursor to an article on BBC's "Landward" tv programme (original, and follow-up). Of course, it isn't perfect, but we have laws and we have courts.

I'm just surprised that none of the magazines have done anything like this. Nor have they written to landowners to ask them if they agree to set aside land for wildcamping (maybe as part of the CRoW activity), again, under similar restraints to our Access Code. But magazines seem to be happy to point out trails and mention the legal issues of wildcamping and then not mention that they have the owner's consent when they wildcamp, and so are wildcamping illegally. Morality has nothing to do with it, if the law says that you are not allowed to camp somewhere, and you do, then you are breaking the law.

We have a democratic right in the UK to say that we don't agree with such-and-such a law and work to get it changed or revoked. Ignoring and ignorance are no excuses. Certainly not if you are publishing a magazine or guidebook, and could be seen as enticing other people to break the law.

Personally, I couldn't have hiked the couple of long distance paths, nor the Munros that I have been up without wild camping. I just can't afford to pay for hotels, B&Bs or youth hostels. As a tourist, I brought money into the shops and bars that I frequented on the way, as well as the various gear-shops that I spent money in planning for the walks. Without wildcamping, I'd just be walking short expeditions from my car.


Anonymous said...

It is awesome when I think about it. The times over the many years spent on the hills, that I have wild camped. Each time, in England and Wales, technically, illegally. Gosh, what a court case that would be! This really needs to have support. Let us hope that that this gains momentum. That anyone with a love of the hills signs up. Dawn.