[MUSIC starts - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]
FRAN: Hello and welcome back to On the Outside, the podcast that shares diverse views on outdoors news. And today we are talking about the 90th anniversary of the Kinder Scout Trespass, Kinder in Colour and decolonising the countryside.
FRAN: My name is Francesca Turauskis. I am the producer of On the Outside and your host for today. And after a bit of a break, I am back again with a panel of outdoor enthusiasts for you. If you are a fan of the show, you will recognise all of the voices on our panel today. But I will get them to introduce themselves for those of you who don't know. Frit would you like to remind the listeners about yourself?
FRIT: Of course. Yeah. So hi, everyone. My name is Frit. I am a British-born Chinese transgender film maker and photographer with my film studio ‘Passion Fruit Pictures’, whose sole mission is to add colour and diversity to the outdoors through adventure filmmaking.
FRAN: Ani, would you like to remind listeners a little bit about yourself?
ANI: My name is Ani Patas. I am a South Asian mixed-race outdoor enthusiast. I'm an outdoor disability activist and I am the writer for the blog ‘Outside our Way’.
FRAN: And our last panellist for today is for Vedangi Kulkarni. Vedangi, would you like to introduce yourself to listeners that aren't familiar with your antics?
VEDANGI: Hello, everyone. I am Vedangi. I'm a 23 year old adventure traveller. I run an expedition management company called ‘The Adventure Shed’ to which I help plan and manage expeditions and adventures. I am also a writer and model and a public speaker. Best known for being the youngest woman to circumnavigate the world on bicycle, which was done in 2018 and I was 19/20 years old. Most of it was solo and unsupported, but yeah, that's me.
FRAN: Ani. You mentioned in your introduction there that you are the curator of the blog ‘Outside our Way’. Can you just give listeners a little bit of an idea as to what's been on that blog over the past couple of months?
ANI: Absolutely. So the entire blog’s idea is to normalise the conversation of disability in the outdoors, needs and disability and how people participate with disabilities in the outdoors. So recently we've had Yasmin Lazarus or Kenny now actually, she's married, who is a power climber with EDS and chronic fatigue syndrome, and another South Asian hiker, Firri, who has endometriosis. Which is a really interesting one, actually, because I didn't know very much about the disease. It mainly just talks about how they access the outdoors, what their barriers are, what they'd recommend to other people within the same situation that they're in and what other people who are not disabled and non-chronically ill can do to help them access things better.
FRAN: Yeah, thank you Ani, and I would recommend anybody to go and read the blog posts that are up there. The links, of course, are going to be in the episode notes for you. Frit, I'm almost a bit scared to ask you what you've been up to because I know you've been busy to say the least, but can you give us a little bit of a rundown as to your current project that you'd like to shout about
FRIT: One singular project? Yeah, oh wow. Okay. The one singular project I would like to shout about is my new podcast called ‘Transatlantic: a Trans Masc Experience’. It's a podcast between myself and another trans guy called Ryan, who's based over in the States. So that's why we came up with the name Transatlantic. We're both in a really similar stage of our transitions at the moment. We're both quite early on, and we both just wanted to document our experiences in terms of the similarities and the differences on both sides of the pond. So we've got three episodes out at the moment. We come out fortnightly, which is a really sort of nice pace for us at the moment. But who knows? Maybe we might pick that up to weekly. We'll see. But for now, I'm just really enjoying having these conversations with someone else who is in a really similar stage to me.
FRAN: Yeah, beautiful. And that's not specifically outdoors related, is it? It's going to be talking about it a bit, but it's more to do with your journey.
FRIT: Yes, yeah, I mean, there are outdoors topics that pop up because Ryan is a really big endurance cyclist, bike packer. And so we talk about sort of everything and anything. As soon as it comes down to movement in our bodies, then you know, we talk about everything that we possibly can, so there will be lots of outdoors topics in there too.
FRAN: V, you've been up to some very exciting things as well. Can you tell us quickly about your latest project?
VEDANGI: Yes. So I only recently came back from a Svalbard crossing. So most of the people that I've spoken about this would have asked me where Svalbard is. So imagine the northernmost point in Norway and then imagine where the North Pole is. Bang in the middle of that is ocean. And in the middle of that, there's this, archipelago, is that the right way to pronounce triple ago?
VEDANGI: Archipelago, yeah, right. Archipelago called Svalbard. Yeah, I went on an expedition there to cross the island of Spitsbergen from east coast to west coast. And the route we took went up and down a few glaciers, and it was my first proper polar journey. And I'm so, so, so impressed that humans can exist in, like, -25 or absolutely ridiculous degrees centigrade comfortably. I remember when it was like, -10, -15, we called it warm. And when it was sunny, we were – again, It was minus ridiculous degrees and I was sitting outside of our tents and, you know, having tea and biscuits. And it just blows my mind that we can exist in temperatures like that and be comfortable and be happy, you know? And that was like, really kind of not strange to me, but it was like, really, I enjoyed, I enjoyed that fact.
FRAN: That does sound incredible. And, like you say, mind blowing that you can go through those such low temperatures. I went to the Arctic Circle myself a couple of times just on nice little family holidays, and I spent one night in an igloo and I didn't make it through until morning because it was so cold. So I'm in awe of you. For listeners who would like to know more about that, make sure you are following V on instagram. She is wheels and words?
ANI: Yes, yes, I'm still @wheelsandwords on Instagram. I keep trying to change it to something, something that's less specific to cycling. But I haven't found anything, so yeah, maybe one of my call to actions for today's episode should be ‘suggest @wheelsandwords a new instagram name'.
FRAN: So, as I mentioned at the top of the show, one of the main topics we're talking about today is the 90th anniversary of the Kinder Scout Trespass. So my big question to start with is, what do you know about the Kinder Scout Trespass?
FRIT: Well, what I think I know about the trespass, is that 90 years ago the access to what we now see as public lands was just non-existent. So national parks didn't exist. Areas of outstanding natural beauty didn't exist. Long distance hiking trails that we know like the Pennine Way didn't exist. Workers at the time wanted to find a way to show a visual demonstration that they should have access to the outdoors in terms of a place that they could go for leisure. And so they decided that what they would do is they would create this huge protest in the form of a trespass on Kinder Scout. And what it did was that it ultimately ended up creating the national parks, the areas of outstanding natural beauty, the long distance hiking paths that we have now. And so it had a huge, huge knock on effect in really positive ways for us all now, but at the time, it's really hard to imagine that they just didn't have access to any of that at all.
FRAN: Yeah, I think that is a really good summary of some of the reasons that the trespass took place. So, the Kinder Scout Trespass – Kinder Scout for those that don't know is up in the Peak District. And, as Frit said, not a national park at that time. So this was something that was happening onto private land, and it was land that was owned by, I believe the Duke of Devonshire, so is kept for grouse shooting and all other leisure sports that were for the higher ranks of society. Ani did you know very much about the Kinder Scout Trespass before we started doing the recording?
ANI: I didn't know as much detail as that. I knew little bits that I've seen from being in the Peak District quite a lot, and it's quite a proud thing there, especially in the areas near Kinder Scout a lot of the venues at the cafes and stuff like that advertise what happened with dates and memorials and stuff like that, and I knew it was a working class movement which lived for, but yeah, so not really. I didn't know much about it, but I knew it was like a mass trespass that happened 90 years ago by a bunch of workers that were local and that it did change the way we can access the outdoors now.
FRAN: And how about you V? Are you familiar with the Kinder Scout Trespass? Was that something you were aware of before we did the recording?
VEDANGI: No. I'm going to be very, very honest. I absolutely did not. And in fact, Kinder in Colour, that was my introduction to the trespass itself. And I found it quite interesting because again, as I said, I only moved to the UK in 2016. And in the history, the talk growing up, obviously the UK was the villain. So, you know, like, we didn't learn a lot of good things about the country. And since I came here, I've only been to Peak District for a few bike rides I didn't quite know a lot about Kinder itself. So yeah, just only recently found out about it, So yeah, it's interesting.
FRAN: Yeah, lovely. And I love the fact that you have found out about it through some of the anniversary stuff, and you mentioned there Kinder in Colour, which we will come onto later in the episode. But for the moment, I thought it would be quite nice to talk about the right to roam and some facts and figures about access to the countryside in the UK. So we know now that the trespass happened 90 years ago. So 1932, for those of you like me that have bad maths. What time do you think we actually got national parks in the UK? I'm going to go around and ask all of you very quickly. Frit. What's your guess?
FRIT: I'm going to say 1980s?
FRAN: Okay, Vedangi.
Vedangi: I'm gonna go with whatever Frit said. I'm gonna say about 50 years ago.
FRAN: OK you're making me do maths again.
FRIT: So 1970s.
FRAN: That's 1970s. Cool. And Ani?
ANI: I'm sure the Peak District was the first national park, and I'm sure that it recently had, I think, its 70-something anniversary.
FRIT: Oh, has it?
ANI: Yeah. 70th. It might be 72/73/75. I'm going with seventies because I think I'm the nearest. So what’s 70 years ago from now?
FRAN: We have a winner, our peak district specialist. Peak District was the first national park. And it was the 1950s that we first had them. So a good 20 years there between the trespass and when we were actually getting the national parks. My next question is, how much of the countryside do you think we actually have a right to roam on. And I want a percentage. Ani I'm going to come to you first this time.
ANI: I think the number is 7%. Is that too low? 17%. I'm going for 7.
FRIT: This is not play your cards right. You get one answer.
FRAN: What is your one answer Frit?
VEDANGI: Yeah, 8%.
FRAN: You are correct.
VEDANGI: I think that's the only thing I would get right in this conversation.
FRAN: Yes, you are correct. 8% of the UK's land is actually available for people to walk on, and that is not taking into account anything like camping and stuff like that. So, right to roam gives us access, but it doesn't mean that we necessarily have access for camping and other pursuits like that. My last question in this little quick fire round. How many people do you think took part in the original Kinder Trespass? V I'm coming to you first.
VEDANGI: I'm going to say, like, 100 and something? Frit don’t laugh at me I don’t know these things. Like Fran asked for a guess. I'm giving my wildest guess.
FRAN: So we have 100 and something from V.
ANI: I'm not taking that. Because then we could potentially get anything from 100 to 199. It's not happening. I need a specific number here and now, please.
VEDANGI: 175. There we go
FRAN: 175, are we locked in on 175 V?
VEDANGI: Alright maybe let's go 145
FRAN: No, 175 locked in.
VEDANGI: Alright. Okay. Yes. Let's lock that in. I don't know the answer, so I may as well say something, you know?
FRAN: Ani, what's your guess for this one?
ANI: I'm gonna go with 89.
FRAN: 89. Frit?
FRAN: Very precise. Yeah, Frit is the closest. So, there are loads of different accounts for it. I think at the time it was actually said that there were about 100 people, but it's more commonly accepted now that there was about 500 people in total at their original trespass. There is a folk song by folk singer Ewan MacColl who participated in the walk, and he remembered it as 3000 people.
VEDANGI: What? Were people just bad at maths back then?
FRAN: Potentially yes. Would you like to hear the trespass folk song from Ewan MacColl?
[MUSIC - ‘The Manchester Rambler’ by Ewan MacColl]
VEDANGI: They are into wild camping. Rucksack as a pillow. That's awesome.
ANI: Yeah, he's literally just talking about how he illegally camps everywhere, which is fab. I'm down for that.
FRAN: The next story we're going to talk about is related to the Kinder Trespass, and you heard V mention it ever so slightly; the ‘Kinder in Colour’ event. Now Frit was at the ‘Kinder in Colour’ event, so I'm going to pass over to him to tell us what that was all about.
FRIT: ‘Kinder in Colour’ was a really, really, really special event. It happened on Sunday, the 24th of April, on the actual trespass anniversary, and it was set up by two people called Sam and Nadia from right to roam. And essentially, what they had decided to create was a sort of once to our initial event gathering at the start, followed by a number of differently lengthed hikes afterwards, based on just providing variation for people's different requirements and needs on the day, but still giving them a chance to hike if they wanted to. For me, though, I was only able to attend the event at the very start, but that in itself was kind of enough for me. I've hiked, I've sort of been really lucky to hike up Kinder Scout numerous times, and what I really wanted to be there for was to really just be part of a community of black and brown people and white allies who all understood that this event was about sort of a sacred holding of space for people of colour in the outdoors. I'd sort of been a part of other events like this before in terms of other meetups and other hikes. But this one felt really different in the sense that they had talks from four people. Two of them were Sam and Nadia themselves, the organisers of Kinder in Colour. Another person was someone called Maxwell, who is a PhD research student in black studies. And they just provided such a wonderful recounting of the history of the lands and that we ourselves are very much a part of that history and how we need to continue forward, because, really, the land also definitely belongs to us as well. And then the final speaker, was someone called Anita Sethi, who is an author who wrote a book called ‘I Belong Here: A Journey along the backbone of Britain, which was about her journey along the Pennine way and how that healed her from that racial abuse and all of that was sort of bookended by two rituals. So there was a ritual just before where we were welcomed to breathe in the air and connect with the space and to connect with the presence of other people before the speaker spoke. And then afterwards there was a tent that they set up just for people of colour, to do another ritual where we were welcomed to again connect with the land that we were on and to also sort of call upon people in our lives both present and past who we could then carry with us whilst we were hiking. I just thought all of that was just so beautiful in terms of creating this really sort of rounded and full experience of the day and of where we were and the historical context of that, but also where we're trying to go moving forwards. I knew that it was going to be really special, but I left with it feeling so empowering, so much more empowering, really than I first anticipated. I really wish that I had managed to go on the hikes as well. I think you know, from what I've seen from social media and stuff, everyone just had this really, really beautiful day together. But just being part of the initial event at the start for me was, yeah, was just a really lovely way to mark the occasion of the anniversary. And I'm really hoping that we just have more and more events like this where we can gather in a way that is respectful and loving, not just of each other as people, but also of the land that we are occupying at the time and knowing that we do truly belong there because, you know, we have a long, long history of feeling like we don't. So yeah, it was honestly, probably one of the most special things that I've been to all year so far.
FRAN: Thank you for telling us a bit about that. I have to say that I saw about Kiner in Colour and I saw some of the pictures on social media and some of the videos, but I didn't have an idea of the scope of the event that they put on there. And it sounds like there were an awful lot of different facets to it. There's so much to go into. Ani, V, I'm just gonna chuck it over to you and see if there's anything in particular that either of you have any questions, or if there's anything there that really resonates with you.
ANI: I think for me, I really love the fact that it was just – there's something so empowering about being around a) people that share the same mindset or are into the same things as you, but to have, and I saw the numbers, that amount of people to be able to have that special connected moment, not just being like okay, we're brown and black and we're here but also having that conversation about the impact it's had on us and the way we might feel like we don't belong, but we do. That is radical in itself. It's not radical, but what's the word? It's not even empowering. It's like a form of protest in the sense of it in its own right that we took that space up, you know, said that we should be here just as much as anybody else and had the discussion of why and how that makes us feel and how it's been previously and stuff like that. That sounds like, that bit to me, added on to the actual hike, makes it everything to me that I wish I was there.
FRIT: You just reminded me actually, that there was a way in which the organisers conducted the event that I really liked in terms of usually when you're filming or documenting in a visual way, an event that's going on, you usually have signs up in places that say this event is being filmed and photographed. So if you step in this area, you give consent to be photographed or filmed. And actually, at this event, they asked all the people who were filming and photographing there to come forward onto the stage and to speak about why they were there, who they were working for and if they wanted to take photographs or film someone that they had to go and ask them permission so that the onus was not now on the people who were being filmed and photographed to go and talk to those people to say, ‘Hey, actually, I'd rather you didn't capture me at this event’. The onus was actually on the filmmakers and photographers themselves, which, actually if I think about it, I think all of them were white. So there was just this real thing around, protecting the people who were there and the organisers were so good at that that I just watched it happen and was like, wow, there's a certain way that we've been doing things for a really long time, to the point where we don't question them. And having seen that, I now question how we hold the space for people in which we photograph and film events at. Yeah, it really sort of changed the way that I thought about it. It was great
FRAN: That's a really interesting point, and this is something which I have thought about. Both in the context of doing media and podcast, but specifically with photography and filming, there is a very big power dynamic there, isn't there, if you are the person that is capturing somebody else on a media. So like you say, having that option of being able, being able to opt in rather than being having to opt out of something. Yeah, it seems like a massive shift in something which I think particularly given the context of what you say this, I almost don't like to use the word safe space, but kind of like kindred event as it were, to have people that are as photographers, outsiders, anyway, having to ask if they can be invited in to do that photography every time they're doing it is a really big shift and very interesting.
FRIT: Yeah, definitely. I thought it was a great way to handle it. And for me, as a filmmaker and a photographer, it's something that I want to take forward. I don't know how I'm going to take it forward, but it definitely is making me think about it, which it should. So, yeah, I really, really liked that part of it.
FRAN: Lovely. V, I'm going to hand over to you and see if there's anything there like I say that resonates or that you’d like to comment on.
VEDANGI: Yeah, I also really agree with Ani, and I really like the fact that it must have been so, so surreal being with people who look like you who are like it and going and doing that with them. And I was really curious to know more about the rituals you said that you were involved in to kind of feel that connection with others around you and yeah, can you please tell us more about that? Because how did it feel kind of being a part of it and doing those rituals and yeah, that must be really cool. I want to know more about it.
FRIT: They were really cool. The first one felt a bit more like a meditation. So it just felt like a sort of just a subduing of, like, any frantic energy that was around with people moving and shuffling in terms of, you know, finding a place to sit for the talks and stuff like that and maybe feeling a bit awkward in terms of, you know, sitting next to someone you've never met before. And you know, that sort of awkwardness you kind of get at the start of an event. I think they did a good job in just trying to calm everyone's nervous systems down and just bring everyone back into the present moment of why it was that we were all there. The second ritual, I actually got quite emotional in it because I felt suddenly as if there was so much more to me being there than just me deciding that I would go to this cool event, you know, if I compare it to going to I don't know, a meet up, for example, or seeing my friends and we go and do something cool. It's different in the sense that I feel like some of those things can just have me be there in a way where – how do I phrase this – I can go to those events and I can be present, but I may not necessarily think about the reasons why I'm there and to really link it to the past and the present and the future. I don't do that when I meet up with my friends all the time. That's quite a big ask for me to do that. But to do that at this event and to call in the thought or the memory of someone who meant something special to me and who I felt had a particular connection to certain lands, I've not done that before, either, and being given the opportunity to do that and then discuss it with the person next to me who had not met before, that was really nice to hear the person that they were calling to mind as well. It just created this really just completely holistic approach to it all in terms of making every facet of our energy connected to where we were. And I don't think I do that very much at all in anything I do. Even when I'm working, I'm probably just hyper-focused on the present of, like, I'm here right now doing this work. But am I thinking about the past, am I thinking about what this work means for the future, am I thinking about the people who are involved and the importance of the work? Maybe not. So, yeah, all of that just made me feel just really wholesome. In fact, wholesome isn't even the word just really whole. I just felt very full, like my cup had been filled by this event. So yeah, that's how it made me feel.
ANI: I have a question, if you're willing to share. What was your reason for being there after thinking about it, why did you feel you were there?
FRIT: So my initial reason of going was almost sort of borderline FOMO. Oh, I think sort of like I have to go. I have to be there because I wanted to be able to add my face to the faces that were there and to experience it firsthand because I kind of felt like if I didn't I'd really feel like I'd missed out. But then, having gone with my sort of belief in the universe and trusting that, it sort of takes me to places that I need to go, I feel like I was sort of taken there in a way that was like, you need to be here because you need to feel what it's like to think more outside of yourself. Like the work I do is about other people and is about hopefully sort of sharing the stories and narratives of underrepresented communities to other people who can see themselves in the films and in the photographs that I take of people. But ultimately it's also for myself in terms of wanting to see these other narratives be as plentiful as the majority of narratives that we've had in the past. So there's still a slight selfishness to it and I think this event actually sort of opened my eyes more to the experiences of other black and brown people so that I can just have a better perspective on what it's like for us all as a community and then with that sort of energy, take that forward into the work that I do and how I live my life. You know, there's this real thing about energy, of land and energy, of even buildings like there's just energy everywhere, and I don't tap into that a lot. So being there at that event, it was like the energy of the people and the energy of the land combined together was just like super powerful. And I don't actually think, now I think about it, I've ever felt that before. So I think the real reason why I needed to go was to go experience that because I don't know when I will get to experience that again. But originally when I went, it was because I just didn't want to miss out in the end. Obviously, I got so much more out of it than I never imagined I could have.
FRAN: I'd like to very quickly talk about some of the counterpoints to the positives that you've just given us there. This was a massive event, and it was obviously something which was particularly aimed at black people, people of colour and most of the comments that I have seen have been really positive. There are so many likes on the right to roam post on this, but there are obviously a couple of things that do come up that I think sometimes there are legitimate questions behind it. Somebody was asking about whether that amount of people out on the trails was good for the paths and whether that is something which we shouldn't be encouraging that many people out on trails. Would anybody like to talk about that a little bit?
ANI: Gatekeeping! My word for the day. I do think it's not the first time this has been said when, specifically, events regarding people of colour and ethnic minorities have turned up in large numbers, and suddenly it's ‘they’re wrecking the paths, they're probably going to leave a bunch of litter. Did they even bother to tidy up themselves? Who do they think is going to maintain the paths?’ But it's certainly not the person sending these comments and I do think to some degree it's a bit, it's not in the spirit of what the trespass represents. You said how many people went up 300 something people?
FRAN: I don't know the amount that got to the top. Right to Roam have said 450 to 500 people were in attendance.
ANI: I think the other thing to consider is how many of these people are actually going to go up multiple times a day every time. You know, for a lot of these people have travelled there. They're not going to go up Kinder again. I mean, I live in the Peak District and I’ve been up twice, you know, and it's a heck of a hill and a very wild one at that. It has got lots of paths and access and, you know, to travel across the entire thing is quite a distance, and there's quite a lot of land that you can go across on. So I think it bizarre when people get possessive over Kinder, which you could walk on for miles and not see anybody on.
FRIT: Off the back of what Ani said, yeah, I have to totally agree. I think what's interesting is that there is obviously the countryside code, and we do need to continue to educate everybody who wants to take part in these outdoors pursuits about the countryside code. We also need to educate people on protecting the environment and protecting our lands. And in order to do that, people have to experience it firsthand to understand what it is that they're protecting. So if the gatekeepers are saying ‘don't come en masse because you're ruining our trails, well, then who do you think is going to continue protecting the land once they're gone? This has to be a continual evolvement of people to continue protecting the land so that generations and generations to come can continue to enjoy and experience it. And so it's a lose lose argument for them. If they want to gate keep, then at what point do you limit the number of people who protect the land? And if the land is gone, then who do they blame then? So it's a really short sighted response, and I'd be interested to see who these people are who are calling, who are posting these negative comments and to be honest, I'd love to have a sit down discussion with them. I don't think it would last very long, particularly if it was with Ani.
ANI: But I just don't have patience for it because it is normally – I mean, include this if you want to – but it is normally targeted at those sorts of groups.
FRIT: Yes, it is. In my opinion, it totally is. And the point that you raised before that, I thought was really important to also reiterate was about how a lot of people don't have access to these types of areas. And this kind of anniversary event was really important for the fact that there were buses that were put on as transportation for people from more built-up areas who wouldn't typically have access to places like Kinder on a more typical basis. So you know the people who are getting worried about it, they really kind of need to pipe down, because the fact is that access is still such a huge problem that people are not going to be going en masse to these places regularly. There are still so many more barriers that need to be broken down before their concerns even become a reality. So, yeah, I just think it's a really short sighted response, a real knee jerk reaction, and I have to agree with Ani. It's just gatekeeping rubbish really.
FRAN: And you're talking there about the people coming via buses that have been put on and that kind of thing. And if we go back to the original Kinder Scout trespass again, it was, as Ani said, working class people. And there is a specific point on the Peak District National Parks’ website that says that people came to that original trespass via public transport. It was via trains and that kind of thing. So I think it is very important to bear in mind that the trespasses and these big events in particular they are there to make a statement and you can't do that in groups of four and five. You do that in groups of 500.
FRIT: Yeah groups of 100 and something isn’t that right V?
VEDANGI: I was just thinking. So yeah, events like this, yeah, obviously there's so so many people and, kind of, the people who comment on it they're pretty much keyboard warriors. We don't know who they are and if they have even ever been up Kinder, you know. But like something I wanted to say, like, yeah, obviously it is like gatekeeper behaviour. But I think events like this which do make a statement and also allow people who have never been in that sort of environment before, they kind of give a chance to educate more than smaller kind of groups would, as a, you know, with a group of 300. Yeah, maybe a couple of people did throw, like, a plastic wrapper somewhere. But then I'm pretty sure there would be, like, 10 people finding them and kind of telling them that actually, you can't do that here. And maybe no one ever told them that because they have never felt comfortable to go up something like that or, you know, go with a similar group or that sort of thing. So, you know, like an example I can think of is like until we take most of our extended family for like, a 10 mile hike in the lower Himalayas, we didn't know that our grandparents are so so accustomed to just putting chocolate wrappers and, you know, crisp wrappers just anywhere. We didn't know that, but like when we took them for a hike, suddenly we were able to tell that and unless it was all of us, and unless it was like that sort of situation, they wouldn't have even been in the like – they wouldn't have even been there and done that. So there was no way they would have ever thought twice about throwing the chocolate wrapper out of the bus, you know? So anyway, I just think events like this give a chance for that and the fact that there's so many numbers, I think it's really worth it. And, yeah, like, who cares about keyboard warriors?
FRAN: So another aspect of the Kinder in Colour event. Right to Roam on their coverage of the event, they were talking about the idea of decolonise the countryside. This is something which some people might not be familiar with, the idea of decolonising in general, but particularly when it comes in relation to the countryside. So I'd like us to talk about that just a little bit. We have to ask who owns that countryside, and if you look at it, it is historically hereditary ownership. The Kinder Trespass in particular if we take as an example. At the time of the trespass, that area was owned by the Cavendish family. They are a really old, noble family. Nearly 700 years, and as an old, powerful family, the Cavendishes had a lot of colonial interests. So William Cavendish, the first Earl of Devonshire, he had considerable investments in the East India Trade Company in the 1600s. And in the 1800s, Lord William Henry Cavendish Bentinck was governor General of India. Vedangi, some listeners might not know that you are from India and I would be interested to hear from your point of view what you think about the fact that some places that you might be going enjoying the outdoors in do have that ancestral link to British colonisation of your country.
ANI: I wouldn't have known about this until it was mentioned. But if I did know about it, I think it would have an element of me feeling slightly unwelcome into those areas even now, kind of, because the history that we learn in India is very much about British colonisation in India and how things were before that and how things were after that. And, you know, the good and the bad things. But mostly bad things, and also how, like people who fought for freedom and stuff like that. But all of that means that any person like me who is coming to the UK from another country that the UK once colonised, we come here with that doubt and with that kind of thing in our heads that everyone over here is bigger, better well versed at everything than I could ever be, you know, that's what I come here with. So then knowing something like that, that's then easy for me to then suddenly go ‘wow, like even a place that I enjoy so much like suddenly now I'm thinking, hang on there. Like all of this was actually owned by someone who very much believed that people like me were very much below them’. You know what I mean? And so when you come with from that angle, I think, yeah, that's that's how that particular fact would make me feel.
FRAN: So coming back in then, with this idea of decolonising, does that put the Kinder in Colour Trespass in a different context for you?
VEDANGI: It does, because then I see it as a rebellion, and then I see it like we are out here, we're doing this. And if you don't see people like us out and about, that's because probably you don't go out and about that much full stop, because we are out here. We're doing this and there will be many of us. And if you see all of us here together on this day, that means that all of us are into this sort of thing and are doing it in other places separately. So now someone who is seeing that knows that people like us do stuff like this. And I think that's important, you know? Yeah, I just think that's important because that's normalising people of colour in the outdoors. That's not like there's not just one of us out there doing big things and shit like that. It's all of us, we’re all out there doing this and it's normal. It's not special. It's normal.
FRAN: Ani, would you have anything to add on that one either to concur or not concur.
ANI: I agree with the whole it makes you feel like you don't belong here because it's not exactly a secret in the way that India was treated and the way that you know, things happen there. I have family members and ancestors that had issue with it and how it's been different. I mean, I don't know in the depth that Vedangi would, because they don't teach that kind of history here, but it's not a secret. So knowing that that kind of person is profiting off such a beautiful land and a beautiful place, and that people that may have also profited in that previously or have ancestors that profited from that previously still may own land bothers me. Like it does bother me because, let's be clear, a lot of the British Empire earned its wealth from its colonisation, including the people who will own this land, that wealth is kind of owed to us, and that land is kind of owed to us. And despite India as well, you know, a lot of Indians have come to this country and along with other ethnicities and people of different countries have come to this country and help rebuild it, helped fight for it, helped be a part of it. So knowing that people who oppressed them when we were an integral part of this country's history, it doesn't please me.
FRAN: Those are the main news stories for today. But in other news: if you listened to the last minisode you'll know about British Cycling's decision to suspend the trans and non-binary participation policy. Pride Out have written an open letter asking them to revoke the ban. The letter says that banning trans and non-binary cyclists at the domestic level of competition is cruel, and it asks for British Cycling to revoke the ban immediately. There are currently over 500 people that have signed the letter. You can do so yourself by following the link in our episode notes.
If you are in Edinburgh this month, be sure to check out the National Library of Scotland's exhibition Petticoats and Pinnacles. The exhibition tells the stories of early women mountaineers through their writing and other creative works. The last day to see the exhibition is the 28th of May. If you can't get down, you can listen to the audio tour on Smartify. It's a short tour where you can listen to accounts of the challenging and aspiring sense, in the words of the women themselves.
And finally, libraries in Staffordshire are helping locals explore the great outdoors during Staffordshire Day. Celebration events are taking place on 1st May the first all across the Staffordshire County, and this year's theme is The Great Outdoors. The county's libraries are standing by with resources, guides, displays, and they are highlighting the best places in the county to visit for walking and discovering the countryside. And as an ex-librarian myself, I'd also like to point out that a lot of libraries do hold OS maps. So if you are ever looking for a map before your travels, head on down to your local library to pick one up.
If you would like to find out any more about any of those stories that we talked about today, please do head to the On the Outside website – that's ontheoutsidepodcast.co.uk, where you can find more about all the stories we talk about, including links to some of the articles. Now we do like to end every episode of On the Outside with a call to action. This is a small, tangible thing from our panellists that you, as listeners can do to help change the narratives that we think need changing. So, Ani, what is your call to action for today?
ANI: My call to action is to go to the Peak District website and read a bit more about the original Kindle Scout mass trespass and maybe have a think of it when you're next on your hike. Have a think of what it means for you to be able to have that access and how you got it in the end or how it came to you in the end.
FRAN: Lovely. Thank you. Frit. What is your call to action for today?
FRIT: My call to action is to check out Right to Roam's Instagram. So that's right.2roam and check out the work that they're doing. A lot of the things that they might do is try and raise funds for transportation and accessibility for people to be able to access the outdoors. And if you have any cash and you come across a crowdfunder or fundraiser like that, then please do throw that organisation a few pounds, just to be able to break down some of these financial barriers for people to be able to enjoy the outdoors in the ways that we love to do so.
FRAN: Lovely. Thank you, and V, what is your call to action for today?
VEDANGI: My call to action for today is to chat to your friends who are from countries that were colonised by Britain back in the day and chat to them about the historys that they were taught when they were in school and compare them to ones that you were taught and just just have a discussion about it and about how those things might affect their ability to explore the outdoors in the UK.
FRAN: Thank you. That's lovely. And my call to action for today is, if you liked this episode, please, can you share it with just one friend? If everybody who listens to this shares it with someone then we can reach much more people with these kind of conversations.
[MUSIC starts - Bassbeat by Alex Norton: "Funky and upbeat, jangling guitars, a fat bassline and a full horn section create the perfect soundtrack to a late summer block party."]
On the Outside artwork is by Sophie Nolan, music is Bassbeats by Alex Norton. On the Outside is produced by myself. Editing and transcript was done by Jack O’Driscoll. This podcast is now a part of the Tremula network, adventure and outdoor podcasts off the beaten track. If you'd like to find out more about that head to tremula.network. Thank you to everyone who supports us on Patreon. You can do so yourself at patreon.com/ontheoutsidepodcast. And, of course, thank you all for listening.