Friday 27 January 2023

Old Crockern disposes

We live on the edge of a rolling upland mostly comprised of dry heath with plenty of boggy bits to give you wet socks if you like that sort of thing. In a technical sense we own a chunk of those uplands - in  common with our neighbours. But I can assure you that I don't go up in jodhpurs and instruct walkers and birdwatchers to get orf my laaannd. Although I get tetchy when visitors leave tinkle-tissue behind, there is conspicuously little litter or other evidence that hundreds of ordinary folk yomp about our hills every year. Even on a busy weekend, it's easy to be out of earshot of everyone else, get some fresh air and exercise, and generally recharge the batteries.

On the weekend of 21st Jan 2023, some 3,000 people rallied to Dartmoor to protest that their right to camp wild on Dartmoor had been curtailed by a recent court case. Millionaire Alexander Darwall, hedge-funder and pantomime villain, b[r]ought his lawyers to court to make people ask his permission to camp on the 4,000 acre 1,600ha. estate he acquired in  2011. He reckons that scruffies disturb the pheasants and deer which he and his rich pals / clients like to blast away at in real life; having exhausted the delights of killing communists in video-games. Wild-camping? This sort of thing. [bloboprev]

Vox.Pop [9 mins]from PoliticsJoe. Some of the scruffies invoked Old Crockern, a troll which / who is said to live under Crockern Tor, a granite hillock in the middle of the moor. O.C. saw off an earlier interloping land-owner who tried to make money out of his investment:
"If he scratches my back, I'll tear out his pocket."
Despite being a land-owner, I'm with the wild-campers. As should be Darwall: one way to stave off a bloody revolution is to allow poor people a little recreational fresh air at the weekends so that they work better at the mills of Capital the following Monday. Mass trespass has a long and honorable history in the UK: it's 91 years since the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass of April 1932. In Finland Jokamiehen oikeudet allows people to access the countryside respectfully. More comment and context on Metafilter.

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