I wondered how the eightieth celebrations of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass could match up to the earlier anniversary events-Kinder 70 when the Duke of Devonshire apologised at Bowden Bridge for the actions of his predecessor and his keepers in challenging the trespassers, and Kinder 75 in New Mills Town Hall when the environment secretary, David Miliband, spoke.
But Kinder 80, at the Moorland Centre, Edale, on 24 April, was as good as any. Roly Smith and his organising committee did a fine job.
Mike Harding was once again master of ceremonies, a job he does extremely well. He recalled conversations with the trespass’s hero, Benny Rothman (whose son Harry was there), and as ever he made us all laugh. Fiona Reynolds, director general of the National Trust, whose early campaigning was in the Peak Park, spoke of how so many children are deprived of freedom and fresh air: the battle of Kinder was fought for them. I spoke for the Open Spaces Society and covered the numerous present-day threats, urging everyone to keep the Kinder torch aflame because we never know when we’ll need another Kinder moment. I introduced the new CEO of the Ramblers, Benedict Southworth. Then Stuart Maconie , opening the week-long Kinder festival, argued that the Kinder story should be taught in schools. To round off, Mike led the Chapel-en-le-Frith Male Voice Choir in singing the Ramblers’ anthem, The Manchester Rambler.
There was a great turn-out (though it was allegedly invitation only) including friends from the British Mountaineering Council, Campaign for National Parks, Peak District National Park Authority, Ramblers and Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland (SCAM) which was celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. Also present was 96-year-old George Haigh, probably the last survivor of the trespassers, and my dear friend, 94-year-old John Bunting, vice-president of the Ramblers, who was not on the trespass but, with his wife Irene, has been campaigning for access ever since.
We then set off on a walk, up to Grindslow Knoll and around the rim above the Edale valley, on the edge of Kinder.
When I returned I was delighted to find Alan and Elsie Gaskell, both of whom celebrated their ninetieth birthdays this year, another pair of great campaigners. Elsie’s father would not allow her to go on the trespass in case it was dangerous, and I have the feeling that Elsie has never quite forgiven him.
It was a great day, full of memories of the sacrifice of the brave Kinder comrades and what it achieved for us all, 80 years ago. They must never be forgotten. The spirit of Kinder lives on.
There’s lots more information on the Kinder Trespass website.