Gary and SkadiGary and Skadi

My name is Gary and I walk on the moor once or twice most days with our dog, Skadi. I run a busy education business which means I drive and work with schools over much of Northern England and sometimes much further afield.

Iím also well known for my landscape photography and promoting low impact outdoor pursuits but Crompton Moor is still one of my favourite retreats from the day to day hustle and bustle of modern life.

I get to see a lot of what goes on up at the moor and have often been the first to call in the fire brigade or police when trouble occurs.

I do my bit tidying up the place as well, clearing up the rubbish, mending fences or walls and just generally keeping an eye on the place.

Non of this is in any official capacity, itís just done because I care about the place and I see precious little being done by our council. I am now on the Crompton User Group Committee and hope that we can address some of these issues in the future.

Skadi is an old rescue dog and her eyesight is getting a little poor these days, she still loves to come to the moor though and it is one of the only places I can safely let her run free, as she has no real road sense. She is still an active dog and needs the regular exercise that running about on the moor gives her, it doesnít do me much harm either.

There are other parks where I can take her but increasingly the rule is becoming ďKeep your dog on a leadĒ, thatís just no good for an active dog like Skadi. Crompton Moor is the only easily accessible local space that still has a touch of wildness to it, and that is what we love about the place.

I enjoy watching and tracking the wildlife on the moor too. For such a small site, we have an amazing variety of species roaming and growing here, some of them very important and quite scarce in other places.

Now our council says they want to turn the place into a leisure park for mountain bikers and I canít help wonder why the local dog walkers, who are here every day, rain or shine, are being pushed aside for the once or twice a month riders that do nothing to care for the place.

Iíve been barged aside before by an out of control cyclist on the main foot path and Skadi was narrowly missed once too. I could dust myself off but it would probably kill Skadi to be hit at the speed they were going.

Iím not saying that access to the Crompton Moor should not be inclusive, but I do think there needs to be much more consideration for the regular users of the moor.

Itís all very well for landscape architects and councillors to propose grand plans for lottery funding and visitor centres but the reality is usually some ill conceived plan that nobody really wants and never gets properly finished anyway. The councillors and architects get their faces in the paper and we get left to pick up the broken pieces.

Letís not lose the very qualities that make Crompton Moor such a unique and precious place.

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Contact the Rangers on 0161 620 8202 (Strinesdale Centre) or 0161 627 2608 (Tandlehill)            Other contact details

All artwork and images on these pages, unaccompanied by a separate credit, are copyrighted material and property of Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.

Statements on these pages are those put forward by the individuals depicted and are not necessarily the opinion of myself, CMUG or the Friends group.

Crompton Moor User Group