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

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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/

A summer of ace Mend Our Mountains stuff coming up

The Mend Our Mountains Cut Gate appeal is one of the biggest crowd funders the mountain bike community has seen here in the U.K. It’s a huge thing for us all. Every single one of us can play a part – and if we all do, it’ll be just pennies we need to chip in! In fact, if each follower of KoftheP, Peak District MTB and Ride Sheffield put in an equal share, it’s just a few pounds each – less than a tenner – to make the target. (And just a little more if you’re in more than one group). It’s even less if you get your horse riding, fell running and walking friends behind it too. And your best mate, mum, dad, sister….

We can do this and show that the MTB community can make a real difference.

But hey, we might as well have a bit of fun on the way eh? So there’s a few events you can get involved in. First up:

June 24

MTB Dolly’s Mixer – social sponsored ride from Hayfield to Ringinglow

KoftheP follower MTB Dolly has planned a ride over the peak. Nice social pace and hopefully some pretty cool things included at the end. Tickets are on sale now!

July 14

The Steel Valley Ride. Brilliant support from the Steel Valley Project who are putting a chunk of their entry fee to the campaign. Absolute stars.

With over 3,500 feet of climbing the route is a great challenge, not for the faint-hearted!

Covering 31 miles through the dramatic landscape of the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park, it goes over the technical terrain of the iconic Cut Gate before dropping down to the Derwent Valley on a descent which will fuel your adrenaline.

Go on, challenge yourself!

And finally…

The Cut Gate raffle
We’ve got a great selection of prizes from some fantastic supporters. And when I say a great selection I mean it – The total booty is currently at about £1500! I’m just annoyed I can’t enter it as I’m running the thing. Details coming up soon but keep an eye out online!

Why? This is why

A cut for Cut Gate

Are you selling any of your old parts soon? Having a clear out, spring clean or tidy?

If you are, why not put a bit of the cash you raise towards the #mendourmountains Cut Gate appeal?

Every penny helps out – so please chip in a bit: 1%? 2%? 25%?!

A cut for Cut Gate.

Chainsets for choppers… Seatposts for slabs… grips for grit…. (they took ages to think up – must be worth a few quid!)

I’ll be putting some of anything I sell to the appeal over the coming months so let’s smash the target.

ps: buy my old frame 😉

Macclesfield Forest – what’s going on?

The ‘complete closure’ of Macclesfield Forest following Storm Emma has raised a few eyebrows, so I called United Utilities to find out more

Talking to United Utilities I’m assured that the whole forest is not closed – just a number of sections of footpaths and bridleways. These sections are where there has been a significant fall of trees – at times in the hundreds on single sections alone – and United Utilities’ harvesting team need to do a considerable amount of work to tracks or make safe sections where there are still branches and trees overhead at risk of falling.

I’m told that the biggest problem they are facing at the moment is people removing tape or signage explaining what’s going on and there is a legitimate safety concern about users on those paths. It’s not in their interest to simply blanket close paths and that’s not what’s going on.

I’m  also assured me that these closures are not a stepping stone to removing access to any user group in the forest. It’s purely so they can manage the removal, making safe and tidying of the hundreds of trees that have fallen throughout the forest. It will be restored to absolutely how it was before, I understand.

It sounds like the biggest challenge is that there are simply so many trees down that the closures and diversions seem like a blanket. It might take a while to sort it all out so the best advice is follow the signs on the paths and anticipate your planned Macc Forest ride might be affected.

I’ll stay in touch with UU plc to keep you updated.

Featured image: The copyright on this image is owned by Mike Shields and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.

KoftheP