National Trust … disappointed.

While mountain biking today, someone claiming to be a National Trust ranger said we “shouldn’t be here” and “we were doing the sport no favours”. The irony was we were on Black Crag near Skelwith. Looking at my map of the area indicates there are no access rights for any person. The area is open moorland, uncultivated and used for grazing of sheep and cattle.

This isn’t a case of “the cyclist on the footpath”, as there’s no footpath up there. Footpath in the legal sense of the term.

It seems to be that organisations like The National Trust seem to be perpetuating this “image problem” because it serves their own end of encouraging access to their land only for people who support their own views.

The National Trust seems only to notionally tolerate mountain bikers, over the years many of my favourite routes have been changed from challenges to smooth and wide motorways. The NT seems to be ignoring that there are bikers willing to make the extra effort, and achieve the levels of fitness to ride bikes to away from the crowds and bustle, all for enjoying what the British countryside wilderness has to offer.

In my view the NT ranger is doing the NT no favours, going around making unverified and arbitrary statements like that. It only serves to make the NT look poor from my point of view. I would be disappointed and saddened if this was genuinely the view of the NT.

I do not feel it is appropriate for NT rangers to risk disturbing the peace by making comments like that. I fear they are putting themselves at risk, especially with people who tend to be physically fit, and wear body armour. I would be saddened and disappointed if an NT employee got hurt because of this irrational need to confront people.

I’m going to close the “allow comments” because I haven’t the time or energy to de-bunk the usual nonsense claims made of mountain bikers. If the NT wanted to limit and contain trail damage, they would prevent another drop of rain from falling from the sky.

As a sport, mountain biking is here to stay. You can suck it up, or embrace it. The choice is yours.

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