Kings of the Castle.
Well, half term has been and gone without too much heartache this time. The weather was good to us, fine enough to enjoy but damp enough to stop the “Neds” from setting more that one wildfire in the quarry area.
The mortal remains of Whitesides plantation were finally carted away leaving debris scattered around the car park, which people might have thought a mess if it wasn’t for the comparison with the fast food wrappers, beer cans, condoms and “Handy Andies” all over the place.
The moor was busy of course, the recent publicity and good weather brought the people out in good numbers. Most of them enjoyed the moor in a responsible fashion but there was also the inevitable increase in underage drinking, drug abuse and “dogging” in the car park area.
Even our council has been busy on the moor, we’ve seen daily visits from the rangers over most of the last fortnight
Now you might think that these visits have been to deal with the increased litter or drinking camps in the woods. You might even hope that they were here to repair the fences or close the gates to prevent illegal access to the moor.
That would be a vain hope indeed. We’ve been told many times that the rangers do not have the time, manpower or resources to deal with the problems at Crompton Moor. We are told that the only way these problems can be addressed is as part of the proposals to turn the moor into an activity park.
No, they had something much more important to do............ Play “King of the Castle” with the notice board.
It all started with a small notice placed in the cabinet advertising this web site.
This is nothing new, we have used the notice board many times before and in fact, when the council first started putting proposals forward, it was one of the only ways most people got to hear about it, because the council persistently “forgot” or “didn’t get around to” putting any notices up of their own.
So you wouldn’t think a neat little banner saying:
would present much of a problem would you?
Indeed many of the user group have the same banners on open display as stickers in their car windows.
Well one day, while I was sitting on the edge of the quarry, watching the world go by, I saw the ranger’s new Landrover pull into the car park. Two bodies jumped out, examined the notice board, photographed it and then removed our sign and drove off with it.
I was rather amused at the furtive way this was done, but imagine my surprise when another member of the user group then removed his car sticker and replaced the missing sign almost immediately.
When he saw me a short time later, he asked if he could have another as he had mysteriously “lost” the one he had.
Of course I gave him half a dozen and I’ve received a few more requests from other people since as well.
From what I can gather, this was the start of a daily competition between the rangers, taking down the signs, and people vying to be the first to put them back up again.
This charade continued as the rangers fitted locks to the cabinet and even tried to crowd out the notices.
All to no avail, the notices kept being replaced every day.
Now, while this has provided considerable amusement to the regular visitors to the moor you might wonder what else the rangers were doing in all this time spent visiting the moor?
Well they certainly weren’t clearing up the car park area. The remains of the barbecue you can see above, lay there, just the other side of the wall, for almost a week before someone finally picked it up and put it in the bin. In fact, all the pictures you can see here, were taken shortly after the rangers had completed their important assignment of removing the notices.
I should say at this point, that since a comment was made at a user group meeting that the rubbish in the car park was not really a big problem, quite a few of the regulars that used to clean up this area, have now shifted our attention to the moor itself which seems to be just too far for the rangers to go when they have a tidy up.
You might also wonder at the main access gate open in the picture above, you can see how close it is to the notice board. Surely they must have seen it in the five days that it stood open? Apparently not, because during all this time, the trail and quad bikes were driving on and off the moor with impunity.
But never fear, the vital job of removing those seditious and troublesome little notices continued every day.
Now you might think that our council has their priorities a little wrong but apparently the “correct use of the notice board” was a matter of such importance that Richard Vink had to ring me at home just to advise me that this weighty issue was to be put on the agenda for the next CMUG committee meeting.
After all it’s not like we might have anything of any real importance to discuss, like the future of Crompton Moor, is it?
Given the lack of official publicity from the outset of this project, it is little surprise that word of mouth, our notices and this web site have been the main driving forces in getting people to the public meetings so far.
They only “remembered” to put a notice up about the workshops they have organised, a scant few hours before the first one was beginning, and only then because I goaded them into action. These are supposed to be part of the important job of public consultation.
If I was a suspicious type of person, I might wonder if our council actually wanted anyone to know about the proposals or what was really going on at the moor at all.
Perhaps they are just not interested in what we might actually have to say?
Ironically, I’ve just finished designing the new poster that the CMUG committee commissioned me to produce. This notice is to be put on the very same notice board. To me, there doesn’t seem much point to it if the rangers are going to keep playing silly games really.
Contact the Rangers on 0161 620 8202 (Strineside Centre) or 0161 627 2608 (Tandlehill) Other contact details
All text, artwork and images on these pages, unaccompanied by a separate credit, are copyrighted material and property of Gary Waidson. All rights reserved.