Celebrating a huge step forwards

eocaThe news that we have won the €30,000 European Outdoor Conservation Association ( EOCA ) grant for Cut Gate is a huge vote of confidence. At a third of the total pot, it’s a massive, massive boost to the campaign and puts us on the home straight to make the target £74,000 alongside the amount we’ve raised already.

Hats off to Moors for the Future for picking up on the opportunity and putting in the work to get the application in, and THANK YOU to everyone of you who voted for us and encouraged their friends and family to do the same.

RV-CutGate-1737So what now?

Well there’s still some way to go to hit the target, but it feels massively closer than it did yesterday.

More excitingly though, we can start thinking about the plans in more depth. With Ride Sheffield and Peak District MTB, I’ll be talking with Moors for the Future and the Peak District National Park Authority about how the pounds will look on the ground. As you know, this was a project started by mountain bikers – Ride Sheffield, Peak District MTB and KoftheP – so we’re keen to see Cut Gate protected and still be the Cut Gate you know and love.

Thanks for your continued support folks. Not long now.

KoftheP

Ride. Tweet. Update.

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New Zealand Story

Mountain bike advocacy. It’s boring isn’t it? Loads of do gooders interfering with your riding telling you where you can and can’t go, how you should be riding and when, pushing boring campaigns and even how you should be spending your money.

Yep. Bloody bunch of interfering busy bodies the lot of ’em.

But that’s not quite the whole story. Advocacy is a boring word, true. But advocacy itself is far from it. Let’s have a look at the evidence. I’ll start locally.

Sheffield

You’ve ridden Greno right? Lady Cannings? Parkwood? All fantastically fun trails. Local advocacy group Ride Sheffield deserves all the plaudits they get for getting them up and running. But it all started with Ride Sheffield putting in the ground work with Sheffield City Council and the right landowners to get the permissions in place and the opinions turned around to mountain bikers being a useful partner.

And that’s Advocacy 101 – done so well by Ride Sheffield that they’ve set the standard for creating relationships and improving mountain biking.

The Peak District

It’s a whole other world of advocacy pain when you not only have landowners to consider but also the stringent rules of a national park as well. Peak District MTB spend a lot of their time navigating those particular minefields while also putting some distinctly rider friendly features into some of the Peak District’s most popular trails. Mam Tor to Greenlands? PDMTB. Whinstone Lee Tor to Cutthroat Bridge? PDMTB and Moors For The Future. Rushup Edge? Currently being fought over to prevent flattening.

You won’t know it when you’re swooping down the flowy trail from Mam Nick, but that’s only come about after a shedload of yep, you guessed it: advocacy. PDMTB and the Peak District National Park have an incredibly close relationship that’s leading to better stuff for riders.

Over the hills

Look a little further. Bike Park Wales. Advocacy. Seven Stanes. Advocacy. Crikey, even the Alps getting bikes up the ski trails came on the back of someone talking about it the right way and with the right person.

“Alright,” I hear you say. “You’ve bonged on about it long enough now. Where does New Zealand come into it then?”

A recent report on mountain biking tourism in the Whakarerewera Forest Park found that riding in their forests brings five times the revenue of timber operations. Five times the revenue.

Five times the revenue of their primary business.

That’s incredible.

Five times more. You can’t repeat it enough. Five. Times. More. Money.

Now, the places we like to ride are usually farmland. Not, perhaps in the wheat and barley sense, but think about the sheep pastures, timber forests and cattle meadows. All farmland.

Imagine now that those farmers, land owners and visitor experience managers were to realise that a thin ribbon of trail and a few supporting facilities could bring in five times their current revenue. Imagine then, that they shifted their focus from keeping mountain bikers out, to bringing them in? How good would that be?

Farmer John did it, and look at the awesome offering over there. Imagine if the big landowners; the Severn Trent Waters, United Utilities and maybe even the moor owners did the same?

One day the penny (and the thousands of pounds. For everyone) will drop.

Your boring advocacy groups are the ones plying the machine with 2ps at the top.

So how can we get there? It’s pretty simple really. Get involved with, support and back those advocacy groups.

Back their campaigns.

Be marshalls when they ask for them. Tell your friends and family what they do.

Hey, why not even email the big landowners and tell them?

Advocacy. Bloody boring. But when it comes good, it’s the best thing in the world.

KoftheP (somewhere over Croatia on a Ryanair plane)

p.s: I never got beyond the fourth level on The New Zealand Story. I was always more into Treasure Island Dizzy. Or Chuck Rock. That game was awesome.

Buddy ‘ell, that’s a big ‘un!

Meet Jason Budd. Climber, clock repairer, bike packer, tour guide, coach, professional Yorkshireman and all round good bloke.

Jas in his natural environment

Despite his mental calendar, over the August Bank holiday weekend Jason is doing something pretty amazing for the Mend Our Mountains Cut Gate appeal and advocacy in general.

He’s going to ride from the Dales Bike Centre to the Hope Valley, linking up as many of the crown jewels of the various advocacy groups as possible on the way. It’s an ace plan and we can’t thank Jason enough for taking it on. He’s already helped out with the Dolly Mixer and will be at the Steel Valley Ride this weekend too. The man’s an advocacy machine. Anyway, over to Mr Budd himself

Over the August bank holiday I will be cycling from the Dales Bike Centre in Reeth to Cafe Adventure in the Hope Valley in Derbyshire.

I intend to do this using as many bridleways as possible calling by the MTB advocacy areas of Hebden Bridge (Ride Calderdale), Marsden (Ride Kirklees) and finishing off in Hope (Peak District Mtb)

I will be doing this with no accommodation booked en-route, no support vehicle. Just my bike and bikepacking kit and see how it goes.

Please help to raise the necessary funds to support the BMC Mend Our Mountains campaign to repair the path over the bog of doom on the famous Cut Gate bridleway.

This bridleway is one of the most fantastic and beautiful routes in the UK, stretching in the south from Ladybower, over the wild moorland tops to Langsett in the north. We need to raise £75 000 to carry out the work to lay a path through the bogs of doom Every metre of bridleway will cost £250 so every little helps..

Legend eh?

Why not stick a few pennies in the pot? Visit his justgiving page to find out more

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-budd2

Firewatch: we can play a part

The fire up on Saddleworth Moor is devastating. The damage to the environment, wildlife and vegetation will take years to recover.

When it’s this dry, the smallest spark or trigger can lead to huge amounts of damage. Ashes blown from a barbecue, a broken glass, a dropped cigarette butt – that tiny start can lead to damage like that on the moors right now.

But we can help.

You are all in the at risk areas regularly. As a KoftheP follower you’re already sensitive to the ground conditions so can we do a little bit more? The Peak District National Park has asked for your help.

Through the experience of many years of fighting moorland fires it has become clear that the sooner a fire is reported, and equipment and personnel are sent to tackle a wildfire after it starts, the greater the chance of containing it and preventing it from becoming deep-seated in the underlying peat. The result is a reduction in both the severity of the damage and subsequent cost, plus an increase in the speed of recovery.

So please

  • Report sightings of smoke at the earliest possible moment, and most importantly, identify as accurately as possible where the fire is
  • Share the message to report moorland fires by calling 999
  • Raise awareness of the risks to members of the public who’re out on the moors.
  • Take any glass you might find home with you

The Fire Severity Index is currently “Very High”. If it reaches “exceptional” the moors will be closed. Details here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/fire-severity-index/#?tab=map

As KofthePers we can really help with keeping vigilant, so please do. If you see a fire, call it in. The fire brigade would much rather get 10 calls than have to send 10 crews up on to the moors.

cheers everyone

KoftheP

Turning up the heat on #CutGate

The hottest day of the year is perhaps not the best day to take on an epic cross-Peak ride. But for 29 riders, mid-summer Sunday found them riding from Hayfield to Lady Cannings in Sheffield via Hassop – some 37 miles across both the Dark and White Peak for MTB Dolly’s Mixer.

And it was hot. Very hot.

The ride was in support of the Mend our Mountains Cut Gate appeal, our campaign to raise £74,000 to patch up the #bogofdoom. With the riders chipping in a few pounds before they started and gathering sponsorship once they’d finished we’re hoping we’ll crank up the pennies going to sort out the bogs.

I’d like to say a huge thanks to every rider for taking part on such a hot day and some special thanks to Jason Budd, Jacquie Budd and Mal Gibb. You really made a difference to the day.

But above all, thanks to Chrissy for such a brilliant job. I know it was a big thing for you, but you nailed it and everyone had an awesome time.

If you’d like to sponsor or donate you still can. You could text cutg99 £XX to 70070 or you  can jump on to the BMC’s donation page.

Anyway, here’s a few pics – including people still popping manuals at 34 miles. Gits. Feel free to download them but please put some money into the pot.

Rushup. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein was a smart bloke. I wonder what he’d have made of this?

Derbyshire County Council have finally published their third (fourth?) set of plans for Chapel en le Frith Byway 144, commonly known to us as Rushup Edge. You know the back story, but a quick summary is that four years ago they started the process of covering it all in aggregate, people protested and we entered a crazy, slow moving game of ping-pong of slightly improved consultation.

It never needed any work doing.

From the scant information on previous consultations we’ve been able to find, we can’t see a request for the work. The ‘access for all’ argument is also a fallacy. All relevant groups have opposed the plans wholly or in part.

You are invited to comment on the new plans by DCC.

Working closely with Peak District MTB and in consultation with Ride Sheffield, you’ll be unsurprised that our feelings are consistent about the new works suggested. Though these are the best of the plans proposed so far, they remain an over-engineered and unrequested expense.

DCC have been told this literally thousands of times over but still persist.

My response is below. Note that the power of the response comes in our numbers; 2200 of you on KoftheP! Let me know if you agree with what I say here – or not – I’ll be submitting my response close to the deadline. Most likely 8/9 July.

Also, please submit your own and add to the chorus demanding that DCC actually listen to the result of a consultation for once.

Dear Derbyshire County Council

I write in response to the request for comments on the plans for Chapel en le Frith Byway 144. Keeper of the Peak is dedicated to mountain bike advocacy and supported by over 2200 followers. This number has grown considerably since the previous consultation.

While these plans are an improvement over earlier iterations; with the exception of the work suggested to section one to alleviate flooding and pooling on the path, the majority of these works are a hugely over engineered, unrequested and unnecessary expense.

Key points:

  • The route should be returned to its pre-aborted work state before any work commences i.e. removed all the material that has been placed thus far
  • Your proposed approach in sections 2 and 3 of type 1 aggregate and stone slabs on concrete will result in the type one washing away and a stone plinth sitting proud down the centre of the track. This absolutely does not mean that slab work for the whole track is preferable. The pre-‘repaired’ material placed on the path should be removed as the original surface was sufficient
  • Washed off aggregate used will fill the proposed drainage pool.
  • Concrete has NO PLACE in this environment.
  • Stone should be hand pitched, and there are only two or three locations that this is necessary – primarily at the steepest of bedrock step sections.
  • All that is required is a small amount of hand-placed stone pitching on the deepest of natural bedrock steps.
  • Derbyshire County Council is wasting thousands and thousands of pounds on this unnecessary and unrequested work.

Bedrock present is a perfectly suited surface for drainage and has been for years. As I stated in my previous response (https://kofthep.com/2016/11/15/rushup-consultation-kofthep-response/), the approach taken by the Derbyshire County Council Rights of Way team throughout this ‘consultation’ has been baffling, bloody minded and seemingly, wilfully dismissive of measured, educated and balanced responses. Remember, we are not simply a bunch of people on bikes. We are experts in a range of fields who know not only the best approaches to this kind of work in a geological and construction sense, but also the various legal and bureaucratic steps required to enact a plan of this kind. Or indeed to stop it. Help from this knowledge base has been offered and ignored by DCC already.

Do not wait four years again to act based on this consultation.

Regards

KoftheP

Let me know what you think of that. KoftheP is you lot. You are KoftheP. If this doesn’t represent your feelings, let me know.

And yeah, Einstein didn’t say that thing about insanity. But let’s not let DCC know we don’t take the first thing we’re told as read, eh?

KoftheP

Let there be light

As well as Cut Gate, the BMC are also behind the Great Ridge appeal in this year’s Mend Our Mountains: Make One Million campaign.

Tonight, hundreds of volunteers went up on to a very cold and very breezy ridge line overlooking Castleton to show their support. I was one of them. Shorts were a silly idea.

But looking out on that ridge it was breathtaking to see the support for the campaign represented – literally – in lights.

The BMC and the Peak District National Park Park have been fantastic in their support of our Cut Gate appeal. We’ve still some way to go, but seeing the entire length of the Great Ridge lit up from Mam Tor to Lose Hill is an inspiring and motivational sight.

My picture doesn’t do it justice but I’m sure the official shot will. Hopefully you’ll feel as inspired as I was.

There are events coming up in support of Cut Gate, but of course you might be inspired to do your own thing. Let me know.

Finally, thanks BMC for a great experience and thanks to all the marshalls and participants for supporting Mend Our Mountains.

Want to donate? Links here:

http://mendmountains.thebmc.co.uk/portfolio-item/great-ridge/

http://mendmountains.thebmc.co.uk/portfolio-item/cut-gate/