By Pam Bell, member of the British Canoeing Access Advisory Group.
On Saturday 27th April 2019, local people and many from further afield battled against Storm Hannah for the short distance from Castleton to the Kinder Trespass commemorative site in Winnats Pass, to celebrate the‘Spirit of Kinder’, then down to the Peveril Centre for tea, speeches and singing.
This cold, wet, inspirational and emotional event combined commemoration of past successes with looking forward to new challenges. A number of inspirational speakers, each in their own way, addressed the new challenges that we all face, and on which lovers of the outdoors are uniquely placed to act; environmental protection and fighting climate change.
Lynn Robinson, British Mountaineering Council President said: “The task we face in caring for our landscape is one we all share together."
Musician and BBC Radio 2 Presenter Jarvis Cocker said: "The land is everyone's - we need to preserve it"; and, for me the words which resonated most from David Blunkett: "This is not just about nostalgia, it's about learning from the past, and how success was achieved......The real homage is to pick up the cudgels"
In a moving ceremony, the ‘Kinder Elders’ outlined the campaign that led to the first National Park in the Peak District, the others that followed, and the continued opening up of access to the outdoors. They went on to hand over the campaign to the new generation, as represented by young people from a number of local groups, some of whom stepped forward and read out their pledges to take on the battle for our environment.
At a time when our very planet is under threat, it was a moment of great hope.
With the hope, comes a more sombre reflection. The right of the ramblers, climbers and runners who love the mountains to protect them is rightly assumed. As a lover of the waters as well as the mountains, even in the midst of the celebration, came the inescapable realisation that we still face the challenge of needing to fight to claim our right to engage fully with the protection of the environment we love.
The battle for access to water started at around the time the Kinder trespassers were beginning to see the fruits of their efforts, and while it is daunting to reflect that we still have much of the battle still to fight, we know it can be done - we have seen it happen for the mountains, and we are standing on the shoulders of giants.