26 October 2019

Festival

I took this picture of a red grouse on the edge of Kinder Scout in 2013
Every autumn, Sheffield hosts a "festival of words" called "Off The Shelf". There are lectures, book launches, writing events, question and answer sessions and special film screenings etcetera.

This year I have attended three special events. Firstly, a talk at The University of Sheffield by my son Ian and his Bosh! colleague Henry - promoting their latest book - "How to Live Vegan". Two weeks later I was at another venue to witness the film critic Danny Leigh talking about working class cinema and how ordinary working  people have been portrayed in films since the 1920's. It was fascinating and well-illustrated with clips.
Kinder Scout landscape by John Beatty
Last evening, I attended a third event at the city's other university - Sheffield Hallam. It was a promotional talk about a new coffee table book called "Kinder Scout - The People's Mountain". It was written by Ed Douglas with photographs by John Beatty and these upland country lovers were at the front of the packed lecture theatre.

Surprisingly, Ed Douglas was pretty hopeless - mumbling away and hardly inspiring the audience. If he had been a secondary school teacher the kids would have crucified him by now. In contrast, John Beatty had presence and talked through a hundred of his wonderful pictures with passion and self-assurance. He knows Kinder Scout like the back of his hand and has spent hundreds of hours up there.
Kinder Scout at sunset by John Beatty
I can hear some of you saying - Kinder Scout? What's that?  It is a mountain between Manchester and Sheffield. It sits in The Pennine Hills which are the backbone of England. Kinder Scout is a strange kind of mountain. It has steep, craggy sides all round it and they lead to a boggy and largely inhospitable plateau. It is not like one of those Alpine mountains with a peak from which you can enjoy magnificent views.

I have climbed up on to the Kinder plateau several times. It is a wild place that allows your thoughts to wander. Many people have got lost up there and before modern navigational aids several aeroplanes crashed there - amidst the boggy hags and groughs.  At the edges of Kinder Scout there are various exposed rock formations - shaped by the passing centuries.
The Boxing Glove formation on the northern edge of Kinder Scout (by me)
But humans have also played their part in creating the Kinder Scout we know today. Acid rain connected with coal-powered industries around Manchester has adversely affected the moorland vegetation and in several locations the  grouse shooting fraternity have sought to control the terrain in order to facilitate their "sport". Yes, Kinder Scout may feel like a lonely, wild place but it has not been immune from man's interference.

To illustrate this post, I have used two pictures by John Beatty and three of my own that I have just rediscovered on the geograph website.
Groughs and hags in the middle of Kinder Scout (by me)

28 comments:

  1. Lovely photos. I had to look up Kinder Scout, because I'm always curious, and the descriptions reminded me of Newfoundland. We have peat bogs here but way up north and I've never been that far north in Alberta.

    I don't think Canadians walk as much as the English, although my mum was a great walker. We don't have the same kind of rights to walk across private land but we do have a lot of provincial and national parks which allow rambling. Sadly more people seem interested in off road driving than walking which rips apart the natural environment.

    The photos are beautiful, I especially like the boxing glove.

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    1. It seems the same in The States - most leisure walking or country rambling appears to happen in national parks. As you suggest, much of this has to do with land rights and the absence of ancient footpaths.

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  2. I've never heard of groughs and hags before.

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    1. The groughs are the channels and the hags are the mounds.

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  3. Not a place for walkers with bad backs or bad knees.

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    1. Nor for fellows with weird first names like Winstanley, Bullfinch or Tasker...

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  4. Whoa! Amazing photos!
    And yes, I too am jealous of all of the walking opportunities you have over there.

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    1. We may have Boris Johnson, Brexit and unpredictable weather but at least we have also got The Rolling Stones and a vast network of public footpaths.

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  5. I've never been on top of Kinder Scout but I have had dalliances with it in my youth. I knew what a hag was but not the groughs (although I surmised from toughs). Splendid photos all though.

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    1. You had a dalliance with a hag?... Only kidding. Thanks for calling by again Graham.

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  6. What a strange landscape -- inhospitable, as you said, and yet offering lots of photographic opportunities. I wonder why it's called Kinder Scout? Where does that name come from? Any idea?

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    1. It is thought that the name Kinder Scout is Anglo-Saxon in origin and alludes to a waterfall known as The Kinder Downfall - to the south west of the plateau. 'Kyndwr Scut' means 'water over the edge'.

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  7. I love these pictures and they serve to illustrate the great variety of landscape you have in your beautiful country. I also wish we had even a fraction of the trails and footpaths here that you enjoy. I find it even more exciting that so many of your footpaths are so ancient!

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    1. Yes Bonnie. Many of them connected places before roads existed.

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  8. An interesting time you've been having, Yorkie, with equally interesting pictures to match.

    Some people have the natural gift of holding an audience...others not. Some have gifts of different kinds. (Take Santa Claus, for instance!)

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    1. Yes, Santa Claus is a very gifted chap,

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  9. We have several speaker series here. I must drag my butt out. You give me some incentive.

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    1. Sometimes it's good to break out of one's usual routine.

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  10. These photos are very interesting and I have enjoyed reading the descriptions. I spend a great deal of time exploring Beaverhead County, where I live, and those weird rock formations in your area are not unlike some we have here. Many have ancient rock carvings.
    I would like to have heard the good speaker about his book. Too bad the other chap was disengaged. Thanks for taking us along.

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    1. I found Beaverhead County on a map. It seems much more remote and wild than Kinder Scout. A good place for thinking. I have self-censored my other thoughts about the name "Beaverhead". Thanks for calling by again Penelope.

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  11. I like the idea of that festival, it sounds like many interesting and inspiring events.
    Great pictures of a fascinating place. Kinder Scout sounds like something the German chocolate manufacturer could come up,with; we already have Kinder Schokolade and Kinder Ɯberraschung, so why not Kinder Scout.

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    1. The chocolate bars could be peat flavoured! See the last picture.

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  12. A couple of days ago our youngest son came to visit and was talking about a recipe he had tried. Lo and behold it came from a book 'BOSCH'
    Briony
    x

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    1. Ha-ha! That's great! Thanks for sharing that Briony.

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  13. Fascinating landscape formations...

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    1. It's like a different planet up there DT.

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  15. Wonderful pictures - both yours and John Beatty's. And now I have two new words in my head - hags and groughs.

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