Kinder Scout Mass Trespass Plaque, Bowden Bridge Quarry, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

Kinder Scout Mass Trespass Plaque, Bowden Bridge Quarry, Hayfield, Derbyshire, England

There was a time when the right to roam would have seemed an unrealisable pipe dream yet much of it has happened for us, especially since the start of this century. There is a plaque in a quarry near Bowden Bridge that acts as a reminder of days that were not as enlightened as our own, when the mass trespass of April 1932 was needed. Hefty death duties have seen much of the area pass into National Trust hands since then and that helps to guarantee access. Still, the process that has lead to the access that we have today all began in the 1930’s so let’s not lose it in the name of cutting back on red tape in an age when hereditary wealth is building yet again (just have a read of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century to see what I mean). In this light, it sounds appropriate to share the words of Ewan MacColl’s The Manchester Rambler:

I'm a rambler, I'm a rambler from Manchester way
I get all my pleasure the hard moorland way
I may be a wage slave on Monday
But I am a free man on Sunday

I've been o'er the Snowdon, I've slept upon Crowden
I've camped by the Wain Stones as well
I've sun-baked on Kinder, been burnt to a cinder
And many more things I can tell
My rucksack has oft been my pillow
The heather has oft been my bed
And sooner than part from the mountains
I think I would rather be dead

The day was just ending as I was descending
By Grindsbrook, just by Upper Tor
When a voice cried, Eh you, in the way keepers do
He'd the worst face that ever I saw
The things that he said were unpleasant
In the teeth of his fury I said
Sooner than part from the mountains
I think I would rather be dead

He called me a louse and said, Think of the grouse
Well I thought but I still couldn't see
Why old Kinder Scout and the moors round about
Couldn't take both the poor grouse and me
He said, All this land is my master's
At that I stood shaking my head
No man has the right to all mountains
Any more than the deep ocean bed

I once loved a maid, a spot-welder by trade
She was fair as the rowan in bloom
And the blue of her eye matched the June moorland sky
And I wooed her from April to June
On the day that we should have been married
I went for a ramble instead
For sooner than part from the mountains
I think I would rather be dead

So I walk where I will over mountain and hill
And I lie where the bracken is deep
I belong to the mountains, the clear-running fountains
Where the grey rocks rise rugged and steep
I've seen the white hare in the gulley
And the curlew fly high over head
And sooner than part from the mountains
I think I would rather be dead

The first verse of the above is the chorus and the rest are verses. Certainly, I empathise with many of the sentiments so it is something that needs to be retained in folk memory.

See more photos from this album (Peak District, England)