Looking after stiles is the landowners responsibility. That is when they're not fretting about the ramblers dogs worrying the sheep or the fallen stone wall (where some walkers have decided it's a short cut) that means he can't graze cows in that field. Or filling in interminable forms rained down upon him from assorted parts of national and local government. Nope, the priority is to fix a stile so Mick Melvin doesn't rip his anorak:
The president of a Bradford rambling group has called for action on “dangerous” stiles on walking routes in the district.
Mick Melvin, of the Bradford CHA Rambling and Social Club, said on an average day walkers would have a problem with up to five per cent of the stiles they came across.
He said many stiles in the district presented a danger to walkers, young or old. He said he wanted to see landowners take responsibility for problem stiles on their land, and for the Council to take action if that did not happen.
What Mick means, of course, is that those landowners should pay - in time and money - to ensure he can have his walking pleasure. A walking pleasure for which Mick doesn't pay and has no intention of paying. Despite this Mick and his walking buddies are prepared to pay £200 for a waterproof jacket, £150 for a pair of boots, £30 or so for those funny ski pole things and so on through rucksacks, nice warm hats and a host of other items.
What Mick isn't prepared to pay towards is keeping the place he walks spic and span, fixing those stiles, mending walls, cutting back weeds and shoring up paths worn out by the passing tramp of boots. Perhaps he should consider that as an option? Somehow I fear Mick and his mates will still turn first to the Council and then moan to the local paper. Sad really.