Friday, 17 August 2018

Theme Park or National Park?

In among all the anger and doom and gloom surrounding the steady but relentless limiting of access to the hills for the less well off, and of course the drive to turn our National Parks into cash generating theme parks, I learnt a new word today after sharing these images on Twitter and highlighting how wonderful the woods where I live smelled in the rain. The person commenting said “Petrichor is a wonderful thing”.  Petrichor incidentally is the pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long spell of dry weather.  

That morning while standing in the pouring rain, the sights, sounds, and smells of those woods were indeed a wonderful thing. I don’t have a single word to describe those feelings, but they are with me now as I look at the images. They remind me how lucky I am to be able to enjoy the outdoors without needing to be enticed out there.

Do you feel anything?

Perhaps a bit deep for some, but enjoying the outdoors is so much more than just looking at the view. If you don’t immerse yourself in the landscape and feel it with all your senses, you are merely an observer.  If you don’t have any spiritual connection to the landscape and it’s not a part of your very soul, then you may never understand how much it means to enjoy the outdoors regardless of how well off you are.  Perhaps it is that lack of empathy that explains in part why some folk only see the monetary value in such places and have no problem with theme park developments, or  the notion of paying for access.

Sadly for some people the choice is now becoming head to the hills, or spend money in local businesses.  Certainly for my own well-being the choice must be the hills…. at least it will be until I am priced out too.  I would prefer it otherwise but there you go.

Talking of the olfactory senses, after all those years of hard won protections and freedoms to enjoy our landscapes, over in the Lake District we now have the repulsive stench of corporate greed to contend with. Its pervasive odour, often disguised as promoting and even conserving the landscape has now found its way onto the boards of our National Parks.  Perhaps it has always been there and people like me have been naive in thinking otherwise.  In the Lake District the battle lines have been drawn yet again and after the fight to save the area around Thirlmere, we now face another to fight, this time the cable car plans which threaten to overwhelm the quaint village of Braithwaite. 

Theme Park, or National Park, that’s the choice now, so if you are sitting on the fence it really is time to wake up and decide which you prefer.  

The hills above Braithwaite.  Is it just a view to you, or does it run deeper?

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