BY CAPTAIN ED SWALES “Have we got this right?” opined Finlay Carson MSP, the Convenor of the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee, assessing the practicality of the proposed Hunting with Dogs (Scotland) Bill; the committee’s aim to provide recommendations to Mairi McAllan, Minister for the Environment, to move this Bill into law. That was 3 weeks ago during the earlier sessions of the … Continue reading Hunting With Dogs (Scotland) Bill – The Alternative
BY SARAH GREENWOOD The truth about the ‘Trail of Lies’ cartoon produced by Keep The Ban, with Chris Packham and Peter Egan. The recent cartoon, ‘Trail of Lies’, produced by Keep The Ban group, is as slick a piece of marketing as you would expect from a one man band who founded an ‘organisation’ dedicated to bigging up its profile, and intent on making a … Continue reading The Founding Myth
BY NOEL YAXLEY 90 years ago a merry band of visionary activists set out to reshape where we could walk in the English countryside. This group of young workers — made up primarily of communists — staged a mass trespass on Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District. Known as the Ramblers’ Rally, hundreds of men and women decided to join the gathering … Continue reading Ramblers in Clown World
BY GILES BRADSHAW Has there been a dramatic fall in numbers of badgers killed on the roads? The Badger Trust charity is running a campaign Give Badgers a Brake. (No this is not a typo but a pun). They want drivers to slow down and stop killing so many badgers. They invite campaigners to make the following post on social media: #Badgers are the number … Continue reading Badger Trust’s Dodgy Maths
BY ROCHELLE BLAKEMAN Having lived in the heart of the sticks and the heart of London’s smog, and possessing the discerning female eye, I have observed a thing or two about the divergent quirks of male behaviour in their opposing natural habitats. Identifying the features and instincts of the opposite sex from both worlds is a practicable art: the country boys referred to being so … Continue reading Country V City Men
BY ROGER WATSON The Lake District, that jewel in the Cumbrian crown of England, is a case study in how mismanagement of what transpired to be essentially just another virus can lead to near economic catastrophe. After all, Covid-19 did the usual things that viruses do. Although not exclusively—it hastened the demise of people whose demise was imminent along with people in certain ‘at risk’ … Continue reading The Lake District: How to Turn an Emergency into a Catastrophe
BY JIM WEBSTER Now we live at the actual point within our postcode area that the postcode refers to. This can happen with you in a rural area. Rural postcodes here in the UK can be quite big. So from any given point in the post code you cannot see all the houses in it. But in our case, the point your satnav will bring … Continue reading The Rural Delivery Nightmare
BY ROCHELLE BLAKEMAN “Minerva save us from the cloying syrup of coercive compassion! What feminism does not need, it seems to me, is an endless recycling of Doris Day Fifties cliches about noble womanhood.” Camille Paglia, Sex, Art and American Culture It didn’t matter whether you were intrigued, indifferent or making a conscious effort to avoid it at all costs, last month’s Veganuary campaign was … Continue reading Ecofeminism is Ecosexism
BY IAN COGHILL Back in August I failed to notice that Steve Carver had written a lengthy attack on my book Moorland Matters, using Country Squire Magazine’s ‘right to reply’. He started with a complaint that the oft repeated claim that the UK holds 75% of the world’s heather moorland is incorrect and that saying that there is less heather moorland in the world than … Continue reading Moorland Does Matter
BY JIM WEBSTER One job I have, every year, is cutting next year’s firewood. This winter I’ve been tidying up corners of the yard from time to time, mainly with an axe and chainsaw. Out here (a mile from a gas terminal) we don’t have gas, and one of our main sources of heat is the open fire. One side effect is that I’ve been … Continue reading Preparing for War
BY NIALL MCCRAE AND ROGER WATSON Protests and protestors do not have a good reputation in the mind of the public, being characterised by self-righteous agitators pursuing marginal and possibly subversive causes, while causing disruption to others. This image suits the authorities, but it is not always sustainable. People attending massive demonstrations, like that against war in Iraq in 2002 and 2003, could not be … Continue reading Covid Rule Sceptics & the Countryside: Different Battles, Same War?
BY ROCHELLE BLAKEMAN In late December, it appeared that Dr Seuss’ Lorax had a man after his own hairstyle and heart. Ed Sheeran, one of the world’s most popular singer-song writers, announced his plans on BBC Radio London to buy up “as much land in the UK as I possibly can and plant as many trees as I can”. Revealing a penchant for green fingered … Continue reading Ed Sheeran ‘Ever Green’?
BY SARAH GREENWOOD In the recent ‘Trail of Lies’ cartoon, produced by LACS and narrated by Chris Packham, there was an assertion that: ‘During a decade long study, hunt monitors reported that only 1% of so -called trail hunts lay a potentially genuine trail’. Hmm! Hunt Monitors! An interesting use of words. This appellation makes them sound like a peer reviewed group of people lawfully … Continue reading The Truth About Hunt Monitors
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN Around this time of year some time ago I was sitting outside a café in snowy but sunny Prague overlooking the rather nondescript building of the Ministry of Industry, also known as Petschek’s Palace, near the top of the city’s Wenceslas Square. I remember happily puffing on a cigar being talked to by a superfluously chatty yet elegant Spanish acquaintance who thought … Continue reading Reforming Petschek
BY SARAH GREENWOOD Dear Editor, Having watched the recent ‘Disney’fied production narrated by Chris Packham about ‘fox hunting’, there are some comments about this ‘production’ I would like to draw your attention to: Overall, the Chris Packham et al portrayal of the countryside is misleading, claiming it is a place of ‘tranquility’ and ‘serenity’ with all creatures living in harmony, when it patently is not. … Continue reading Fantasy Cartoon Cobblers
BY NIGEL BEAN The National Trust say they have now banned trail hunting on their land due to potential reputational risk associated with this activity after the conviction of Mark Hankinson over the notorious ‘smokescreen’ webinars. Drag hunting will be allowed to continue on their land. What is the difference between Trail and Drag hunting? Trail hunting is an activity that traditional fox hunts have … Continue reading National Trust Jump the Gun?
BY MARK BIRD Recently Mark Avery of Lottery-funded Wild Justice alongside the RSPB lost an appeal against Natural England’s “brood meddling scheme” with regards to the Hen Harrier. Translocation a.k.a “brood meddling” is widely used by conservation bodies to bolster the genetic diversity of isolated populations or to reintroduce a species to its historical range. The RSPB have blocked a reintroduction scheme for the Hen … Continue reading Hypocrisy or What?
BY GARY MCGHEE There are three TV series being broadcast next year that I’m really looking forward to watching. One is the final series of Better Call Saul, the excellent spinoff from Breaking Bad, the other is the next series of the wonderful crime drama Vera, with the brilliant Brenda Blethyn, with sweeping shots of the stunning moorland countryside of Geordie-land, which has created a … Continue reading Diddly Squat
BY NICK PEARCE From the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust: Four of the gamekeeping community’s key membership organisations recently announced they would be donating £1,100.00 to the Gamekeepers’ Welfare Trust (GWT), saying on social media “This charity gives fantastic assistance to those who do the hard yards to manage the countryside on our behalf.” The donation came about as a result of Wild Justice’s attempt to judicial … Continue reading Disreputable ‘Wild Justice’ Lose Again
The countryside holds great appeal for anyone looking to take their business into another location. Find out why rural businesses are thriving. Pros and cons of running a rural business Running a business in the country has its benefits and drawbacks, but if you’re prepared to handle certain key issues, it can be a rewarding experience. Rural areas tend to have fewer companies competing for … Continue reading Running a Rural Business: Pros & Cons