Last friday I went up Kinder Scout with some undergraduate students. Counting a series of family holidays, summer camps, and one solo camping trip, it would’ve been my
5th 6th time visiting the mountain, I’m pretty well acquainted with the area by now.
So, we all got on a coach very early in the morning and trundled drowsily towards the Peak District.
Here’s our group stopping to look at the reservoir.
Walking along the snake path.
The weather wasn’t great at this point. Damp, windy, and cold.
There were a few information boards and signs about the history of land rights in the area.
I stopped at the monument to the mass tresspass in 1932; the students with me didn’t seem too interested and we moved on.
And after a brisk march we were soon back in Hayfield, well ahead of time, and without any incidents or (significant) injuries. So, overall a successful field trip.
There was a little shop somewhere around here which sold cheap and plentiful millionaire’s slices. I definitely remembered that, but I wasn’t in a position to go wandering around the village in search of home-baked shortbread.
In preparation I did some more reading on the history of the Mass Trespass. I got a copy of Howard Hill’s book Freedom to Roam.
Howard Hill was a participant in the Mass Trespass, as well as the secretary of the Sheffield branch of the Communist Party. The book does well to place the mass trespass in the context of other struggles over land rights, such as the Abbey Brook trespass. It also makes the astute distinction between the absolute right to walk on land, and the practical process of neogitating access agreements with landowners. There’s a lot to learn from there, especially in relation to urban corporate public spaces, such as shopping centres.
A shopping centre is open to the public, but as a citizen you don’t have any legal right to be there, and in exceptional cases a security guard can force you to leave. To put that in land-access terms: access is permitted, but you have no right of way.
And to make it clear, I have never successfully been kicked out of a shopping centre, yet.
Here’s some further reading:
- This short documentary about the trespass.
- This radio broadcast with Clare Balding.
- This pamphlet from Unite on the life of Benny Rothman. On similar lines there’s also this pamphlet published by the Communist Party.
- This coffee-table book, featuring some pretty pictures.
- Lastly, this article in the Telegraph on the ways in which public spaces are subverted and challenged by… Pokemon Go players. It’s a funny one.
At the weekend I went to see Captain Marvel at the cinema. There were a bunch of people celebrating the festival of colour - Holi. They blasted the car park with colourful powder.
Also over the weekend, I worked on my dissertation proposal/plan. I ended up rewriting it twice, and the end result is a clumsy mess, but I am proud of this gantt chart.
I used the pgfgantt package. There’s an easy way of colouring the bars, but no option for fill patterns. I prefer patterns because you assume academic papers are going to be printed in black-and-white. There are a couple of other people who’ve tried to print hatches and dots and stuff in PGF/Tikz, so that’s a procrastination exercise for another day. The other thing to note is that this stuff really slows down document rendering, compared to much larger documents without charts.
There was some brief excitement on monday morning when a car had a fiery breakdown near Victoria Park.
Eventually the fire brigade turned up and I left.
Brexit is in the news, more than ever as the Article 50 deadline approaches, and the media are entranced by parliamentary theatrics. It’s brought out that very particular group of people, who might otherwise consider themselves progressive, but for a singular and deeply weird attachment with the European Union.
As an antidote to that, here’s James Butler on Novara, going into a short polemic about the wider social problems in Britain.
No matter what the Tories decide, nothing has changed.