Better To Have Fizzled Than To Have Never Tried


Hikers on Blencathra, in the Lake District in England. Two years ago, ramblers, climbers and hill-lovers banded together to try to buy the peak, but the effort has now fizzled. Credit Phil Moore for The New York Times

I admit to being partial to the idea of rewilding, as I have come to know about it, which I admit is limited; but with our bias for restoration of wildlife habitat clearly stated I find this story worth sharing:

In English Lake District, Tradition and Conservation Clash


THRELKELD, England — It was to have been a grand gesture, a deal that would transfer a mountain in the fabled English Lake District from the landed gentry to those who roam its heights, reversing a centuries-old pattern of ownership by the upper-crust few.

Two years ago, ramblers, climbers and hill-lovers banded together to try to buy Blencathra, a modest peak by Alpine standards, yet one whose ruggedness and steep summit arêtes challenge even the boldest walker. But the effort has now fizzled in a welter of worries about whether those who pooled together 250,000 pounds, or about $325,000, to buy the mountain will get their money back.

The campaign to buy the mountain fell apart at a time of broader questions about what the Lake District is for, setting old ways against newer challenges. Much of the debate revolves around land.

Take, for instance, the valley of Borrowdale, just south of Threlkeld at the foot of the 2,848-foot-high Blencathra. There, traditional hill farmers are worried that a recent purchase by the nonprofit National Trust, one of the country’s biggest landowners, presages an attempt to “rewild,” or return to a more natural state, a slab of sheep-farming territory in the interests of environmental renewal.

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