Hill Walking Symposium Report

Posted by Jon Chittenden on 01/01/2019
Scroll through the images to see slides from the presentations during the day
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Stu Smith, BMC Lakes Area Hill Walking Representative, attended this symposium in November 2018 and attached is his report on this first such event

I went to the first Hill Walking Symposium held at Losehill Hall Castleton on the weekend of 24th November 2018. This was opened by President Lyn Robinson and hosted by Roger Fanner, Carey Davies and Cath Flitcroft.

It was well attended, with 56 members in total, from all the regions, some in 1's and 2's with most from the Peak. Some of the attendees are also on the MT matrix of qualifications. To register on MT matrix for a qualification membership is mandatory, after that it is able to lapse. One thought for future retention was to give free membership for a year after successful assessment, along with CPD.

There was a talk by Dr Cath Flitcroft on her role of Conservation and Access giving an insight into all the complexities she and the team have to deal with to keep the wheels moving and aligned with all the other agencies involved. I don’t envy her!

Carey Davies also spoke about the Hill Walking Strategy and the 7 steps therein. The importance and growing relevance of the Hill Walking community was recognised within the BMC framework and subsequent to recent surveys. This is now under the banner of Recreation unlike previously when presented as Sport. A question of why do we go hill walking was addressed, which covers a multitude of issues including fitness and wellbeing physical and mental health, recreation, landscapes, flora, fauna, spirituality etc.

The day was split into the opening talks and workshops. I was unable to attend day 2, which was guided with a theme walk in the area.

The workshops did seem short time wise, but the input on the ones I attended was interesting. Kate Worthington, from North Wales, delivered a talk to 11 people, on the topic of cleaning the mountains and the work done by the Real 3 Peaks campaign, in relation to the three highest summits plus other honeypots. I have been on a couple of these in the past and the amount of litter is huge.

The second workshop looked at upland path erosion liaisons with Mend the Mountains and Fix the Fells, NT and National Parks. Carey Davies had 12 interested folk giving debate on recreational infrastructure; zip wires, cable cars, via ferratas and informal MTB areas. What is the rationale for National Parks for future sustainability, as well as re-wilding the uplands; greater biodiversity, fauna and flora.

I had to leave before the end of the day and managed to speak with Peter Judd, Peak Hill Walking representative to get some ideas from him regarding the particulars of that area compared to the lakes.

It was a useful first symposium and lots can be gleaned from it to build on for the next one and to pass onto the areas.


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