ACCESS TO MOUNTAINS

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ACCESS TO MOUNTAINS

ON February 15th we attended a meeting at Friends’ House, Euston Road, London, held with the object of furthering the ” Access to Mountains ” Bill. -The speakers emphasised the -crime of closing hundreds of acres of uncultivated land in this country to . hikers and ramblers. This is a matter of some considerable interest to natureappreciative motorists. If the Ramblers’ Association should feel that it does not want motorists in this unsoiled countryside, we would suggest that the bulk of the motor-owning populace follows the tail-light in front along a main road to the sea, and only a few true motorists visit out-of-the-way spots. Such motorists ,c an behave in a decent manner and would in no way interfere with the rights and enjoyment of the rambler. At the meeting of February 15th it was emphasised that in fighting for the rights of the rambler it was essential to co-operate with the public in general, and that happily farmers were already desirous of giving their support. Unfortunately, the selfish landowner who rendered his land private had a very great influence in Parliament. If this is the case, surely the Ramblers’ Association would do well to co-operate with the motorist, who, as a taxpayer of consd.crable importance, has a rather better chance of having his wishes granted, even if he is too apathetic to do much about setting his own house in real good order. In this connection it is extremely significant that when trials found disfavour with country folk the M.O.T. asked the R.A.C. to attempt some improvement, which has been done, so that trials go on much as they did before. In other words, motorists, even competition motorists, are allowed the freedom of the byways while the ramblers have not yet won their fight for access to the mountains and moorlands. So they would obviously do well to co-operate with motorists in their praiseworthy fight—already cycling authorities are lending support. If one or two trials a year traversed certain at present forbidden byways, would that matter very much if these byways and the surrounding land were open all the year round to ramblers ? Moreover, much of the country for which the Ramblers are fighting for access is wild moorland in the Lake District, in Scotland and in Wales, where the true, nature-loving motorist might well find tracks, at present private, which he would sometimes like to explore, but which would never be used for trials. This being the case, we were sorry that at this meeting to further the cause and to introduce the aims of the Bill to the public, one speaker rather frowned on a motor-cycle reliability trial and another speaker, a Doctor who otherwise seemed a cultured and civilised being, began his address by proudly announcing that he could not drive a car, which the audience, which we estimated at about 475 persons, appeared to think most praiseworthy. For ourselves, we heard of the meeting only through the motoring Press and, having attended it, we feel sorry the motorist is not recognised as capable of helpful co-operation with the ramblers in furthering a Bill of which lots of us, as sportsmen, nature-lovers and gentlemen, must definitely be in favour. Those readers who crave access to mountains for purposes other than testing ears may like to know that a Rally to support this Bill is due to take place at Pinehurst Hotel, Tillingbourne Valley, near Dorking, Surrey, on May 14th. We hope that no motor-trials will impinge on this area on this day, if for no other reason than that lots of hikers and motor-coaches

will be abroad. Incidentally, has the B.T.D.A. thought of teaming up with the Ramblers’ Association and the Progressive Rambling Club, on the matter of guarding public rights-of-way and gaining wider access to the countryside and attempting to establish good feeling between those who explore on foot and those of us who do so in supercharged automobiles ?