On the face of it this Donate and Display seems like a good way of raising income, however I sincerely hope I am wrong about this, but it must have been very costly to install a payment machine and with that in mind I suspect this is simply going to be the thin edge of the wedge and we will see drivers paying for access to the hills if they wish to park at Bowlees in the not too distant future. No doubt the official line will be we have no plans at present to operate Pay and Display here and elsewhere in Teesdale. Yea right.
|Donate and Display at Bowlees in Teesdale|
I have always been of the opinion that charging for car parking in areas where people access the countryside harms local businesses. From a personal perspective I know it certainly does. Whenever I visit the Lake District for example, if I have to pay excessive parking fees to go for a walk then I simply don't spend any money in the local shops, cafe's etc. It is not about being stingy or anything like that, it is simply the fact that after being taxed the better part of a tenner in say the Thirlmere or Ullswater valleys, coupled with the cost of running a vehicle there is sod all left over. In fact I don't think I have spent much in any of the shops or pubs in Glenridding since the parking charges were introduced years ago. Prior to that it was always a pint in the pub, a meal, or whatever with my mates.
One argument often used is that if you arrive by public transport you won't have to pay. For day walks I find this is a flawed argument and in some rural areas you will be lucky to find public transport running more than a couple of times a week never mind per day and if you are heading out climbing in winter try getting a bus before first light to give you the early start needed to leave a safety margin of daylight at the end of the day.
Nor do I subscribe to the un-elected bodies and career conservationists' views that high parking charges are required to protect the area. I am well aware of the arguments about government cuts, path and landscape restoration, visitor centres with cafes that need subsidising as well as other arguments, but with rich corporations, (some of which do immense damage to the environment) escaping paying billions of pounds worth of taxes, we really do need to get our priorities sorted here.
Free access to the countryside should be a fundamental right regardless of personal income, or the manner in which you arrive at a given location.
Anyway rant aside on a more positive note here's a pic of Holwick scars from yesterday as yet another heavy snow shower makes it way in. Can't decide if I like the flat low contrast look, but then again the light was flat so that's how it was.
|Holwick Scars Teesdale|
Holwick village from just below the scars