Image Credit: Pete Jeff

An Uneasy Feeling

1st September 2014

Over the Summer a section of the Pennine Way between Birkdale and Maize Beck has been inparts constructed and in parts reconstructed to enable the estate vehicle access for Grouse Shooting. I have recieved several emails concerned with the impact of the construction on both walkers and the experience of wilderness in the area. The estate have been through the planning process and with their contractors are building the track to current best practice, Im sure within time the intrusion will heal and walkers will think it no more intrusive than walking along Cam High road, the old Roman Road in the Dales. I say that, but in the pit of my stomach I feel a terrible unease.

We do get used to change,  in some ways we accept the starting point as the first time we see something. Close to Birkdale is Cow Green Reservoir, in many ways a White Elephant - built to supply water to industrial Teeside which by the time of its completion was in decline. I've known it for 2 decades, I didnt know the area before it was built.

I went fishing there earlier this summer to catch a wild brown trout - trapped for generations in the upland streams by the Dam.

Fishing where the beautiful Tees flows into the Cow Green reservoir I had that same uneasy feeling.

I guess its just as well with my job that I like wild and remote areas. I know they are not true wilderness, but at times they feel crazily wild.

I know what the unease is, not surpisingly economic development is currently high on the country's agenda, and the uplands are not removed from this - its just that I suspect we are loosing things that cant be counted.

'Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit'  Edward Abbey


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