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Kindle book - My Lanzarote. 10 walks and a personal view

Kindle Book And A Pub For Lunch

5 Walks In The Yorkshire Dales


Blog (Current)

Blog updates are only on an "ad hoc" basis when I have something to say and will not be particularly regular. Latest entries first.

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Blog 2017          

My Cabbage and I (an everyday story of heart surgery folk!)

Pinned Blog Comment

It has been suggested to me by several people that I should charge for my walk information and indeed I have had unsolicited offers of payment (declined) from people who have used my directions. I am flattered that people think it is worth charging for but I have deliberately chosen to keep the information free to encourage walking.

For those who would still like to make a donation, you may have seen from the "My Cabbage and I" page that I was unexpectedly admitted to Leeds General Infirmary in 2014 and had a double by-pass heart operation. I had to wait between 16 May and 6 June because an operating slot was not available. This was a very trying, “stir crazy” period, because although I felt perfectly well, I was evidently "too close to the edge" to be allowed to leave. Preservation of my sanity was well assisted by facilities provided by a charity called Take Heart (the link will take you to their website). They provided:

  • Free television to each cardiac ward bed (which normally costs around £5 per day)
  • Free phone calls to land lines
  • Free internet access
  • A TV lounge area with a wide screen TV
  • A roof garden with stunning views over Leeds which provided somewhere to sit in the sun pre-operation and a gentle exercise facility after the operation.

It would be appreciated if you would make any donation to them. Go via their "Can You Help" page. Even if you think my site is rubbish, they would still be grateful for the donation!

Alternatively, if you are buying anything from Amazon, if you do it via the search box on my Hiking Store page, I will get a small commission at no cost to you.

6 January 2017

It is rather sad to have to start the New Year with a negative blog but I have felt compelled to write to the Lake District National Park to object to the proposals to install a number of zip wires across Thirlmere. This is a very pretty view which should not be spoiled by such a "theme park" style attraction but more than that, the proposal flies in the face of the principles on which the concept of the National Park is based, not to mention the practical implications of adding something like 127,000 visitors a year to the very busy A591, the primary through route of the Lake District. The full wording of my objection is as follows. If you agree, I urge you to object too.

"To Mr Kevin Richards

Planning Reference: 7/2017/2298

Proposal: Thirlmere Activity Hub: Development of a zipwire attraction, a series of improvements to the round Thirlmere cycleway, improvements to car parks, access paths and the extension and development of an existing toilet block to provide reception, changing area and toilet facility

Location: Land at Thirlmere, St John's Castlerigg and Wythburn

In considering the above application, I urge the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNP) to reject this application and consider purposes and duties of the National Park. This is set out on the LDNP website at http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/aboutus/nat_parks_history.

This states:

“As set out in the Environment Act 1995, the Lake District National Park Authority's statutory purposes are:

To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Lake District National Park; and
To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the National Park by the public.

It also has a duty in pursuing those purposes:

To seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities within the National Park by working closely with the agencies and local authorities responsible for these matters, but without incurring significant expenditure.”

Clearly the proposal makes no contribution at all to the first point. Whilst zip wires might provide a degree of enjoyment to some, this is absolutely not in the context of the “special qualities of the National Park” which are the natural beauty and tranquillity which the mountain and lake scenery provide.

The third point is “To seek to foster the economic and social well being of local communities”. In this context the only meaningful fostering is to provide 28 full time equivalent jobs. There will no doubt be some benefit to other businesses. There is no doubting that jobs are valuable and might be welcomed by some but the additional noise (whoops and screams of thrill seekers plus additional traffic noise) and the additional burden of 127,000 visitors to an already very busy National Park is in direct conflict with conserving and enhancing the natural beauty. As far as I know, there is no cultural heritage in zip wires!

In such cases of conflict, the Sandford Principle should apply, as enshrined in Section 62 of the Environment Act 1995. This makes clear that conservation must have priority.

In his article for the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, “Why Cumbria Needs the Thirlmere Zip Wire” of 4 January 2018, Julian Whittle refers to the success of the Snowdonia zip wires. However this comparison fails to address the practical problems which an additional 127,000 visitors will cause to the LDNP. Snowdonia only receives 4.27 million visitors a year. The LDNP already receives 16.4 million visitors per year (4 times as many). Furthermore, the additional 127,000 are unlikely to arrive evenly spaced but will bunch at peak times, when I think it is fair to say there are already occasions where the LDNP could be regarded as “full”.

Also, the location at Thirlmere will add the extra traffic to an already very busy A591, the only direct route through the centre of the LDNP. This will obstruct LDNP residents/businesses going about their daily activities and in that context works against the principle of fostering the well being of local communities.

Rob Johnston, the Chamber’s Chief Executive downplays the negative impact of the zip wires on the appearance, peace and tranquillity of the lake by pointing out that “The landscape of Thirlmere is already hugely altered by man……” This is true but a false argument. The entire Lake District has been hugely altered by man with deforestation and sheep grazing over thousands of years. We are where we are and most importantly we like where we are NOW!

Mr Johnston points out that the A591 is “one of the busiest roads in the Lake District” and that any noise from the zip wires will be drowned out by the traffic noise. I find it a strange argument that adding to existing noise is a positive factor.

The Lake District is a beautiful and special place. It was awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2017. The committee praised the area's beauty, farming and the inspiration it had provided to artists and writers. Introduction of theme park type attractions flies in the face of these qualities and the application should be rejected.

John Kelly


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