A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

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MattBibbings
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A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:37 am

How about this as an example of why pursuing voluntary access agreements is futile.

I have been eyeing up a particular beck for ages. It has to remain nameless unfortunately as it would seriously affect other people if I divulged the name and location. Please don't ask me to name it or speculate. Just disuss the facts.

Beck A as we shall call it is on private land, so I approached the landowner on Friday last for permission to come and paddle Beck A and cross his land to do so. He said yes! I was over the moon. The only condition was that I submit to him a signed disclaimer to the affect of "I undertsnad the risks and take full responsibility, blah, blah." This I duly did. We went up on friday and when we had stopped gasping at the shear volume of water, we turned around and decided Friday was not the day.

Then, late last night, we decided to give it another crack today. It had to be early (7am) to allow for other commitments. So we went, we did it (bit low but got it done) and were back at our cars by 9am. We ummed and ahhed about knocking on his door but decided 7am was too early on a Sunday and besides, we had permission. Let me remind you too, a signed disclaimer.

At this point the landowner arrived and immediatley demanded to know who we were. I Politely introduced myself as the guy he had spoken to on Friday and given permission to run his beck. To which he replied

"That was permission for friday, not today. You have abused my trust, I knew I should never have let you up there. What the hell do you think your playing at? I need to know exactly whats going on on my land at all times" Rant, Rant, etc.

We eventually (2 conversations later) got things to a civil level, agreed there had been a misunderstanding and shook hands. However, there now stands a blanket ban on us asking permission again for what is (and I do not joke here) possibly one of the top three best runs of Slides in the North.

So I give the facts. We asked for permission. Were granted it. EVEN SIGNED A DISCLAIMER! Yet the landowner still felt we had abused his trust! (His words)

In the UKRGB tradition, Discuss.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by morsey » Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:50 pm

Why exactly did you try and enter into an agreement? Sounds to me like you decided to try and sort yourself out and ignore what paddlers have been saying for years.

Your attempt back fired and now you try and make out as if it was done with the intention to show example!

If you really want to make an example of this then give us the location and then paddlers can then make their own decisions about paddling.



The chap was right though really, you had no intention to adhere to the letter of the agreement!

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by Adrian Cooper » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:05 pm

If there is no access available across public land then you would be committing trespass by crossing private land to access the river. This is a civil offence so asking permission was entirely the right thing to do. There are of course other issues around the CROW and the areas of land across which one is able to walk, am I correct in assuming that it was unlikely that the land would fall into this category.

The law on navigating rivers is vague. The law on trespass is pretty clear.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by tape34 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:18 pm

That's probably an example of an access agreement that did work, you asked for permission to cross private land, you paddled, there was a misunderstanding which was repaired well done you - a good result on what sounds a great piece of water.
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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:20 pm

morsey wrote:Why exactly did you try and enter into an agreement? Sounds to me like you decided to try and sort yourself out and ignore what paddlers have been saying for years.

Your attempt back fired and now you try and make out as if it was done with the intention to show example!

If you really want to make an example of this then give us the location and then paddlers can then make their own decisions about paddling.



The chap was right though really, you had no intention to adhere to the letter of the agreement!
Bit harsh. Why an agreement? Because of an ongoing relationship with the landowner. A bandit run was totally out of the question given that relationship. Thats all I can say on that one.

I cannot give the location, that I have already stated.

There was never any "letter of agreement". Meerly a conversation coupled with a bit of paper with my siganture on it saying I understood the risks. I adheared to the spirit of the agreement that we had made. He chose to retrospectivly modify that agreement. I don't appreciate you telling me what my intentions were. If I hadn;t wanted to adhere to an agreement, why would I have entered into one?

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:22 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:If there is no access available across public land then you would be committing trespass by crossing private land to access the river. This is a civil offence so asking permission was entirely the right thing to do. There are of course other issues around the CROW and the areas of land across which one is able to walk, am I correct in assuming that it was unlikely that the land would fall into this category.

The law on navigating rivers is vague. The law on trespass is pretty clear.
Indeed, we needed to cross his land and be able to land on his banks in multiple places that lacked public RoW to successfully navigate the beck. We were not able to simply 'float through'.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 2:25 pm

tape34 wrote:That's probably an example of an access agreement that did work, you asked for permission to cross private land, you paddled, there was a misunderstanding which was repaired well done you - a good result on what sounds a great piece of water.
Pete Ball
It really didn't work. He told us that after our initial conversation when permission was granted, he had 2nd thoughts and decided if we called again he would revoke the agreement. He has also stated that we need not ask again as permission will not be granted again.

I state again, we asked, got permission and then the agreement was revoked by the landowner, in his own mind without telling us untill it was too late.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by TechnoEngineer » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:16 pm

MattBibbings wrote:We ummed and ahhed about knocking on his door but decided 7am was too early on a Sunday
I'd suggest this is the critical false assumption. (Yes I know it's easy to be wise after the event).
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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:19 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:
MattBibbings wrote:We ummed and ahhed about knocking on his door but decided 7am was too early on a Sunday
I'd suggest this is the critical false assumption. (Yes I know it's easy to be wise after the event).
You are right. Indeed, he said afterwards that he was up since 6am. However, he was going to stop us anyway if we had asked him to reconfim our permission. This much he said.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by DaveWortley » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:21 pm

So when do we get to see PIcs/Videos?

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by tape34 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:35 pm

No chance of a local paddlefest then?

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by morsey » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:18 pm

MattBibbings wrote:Bit harsh.

I don't appreciate you telling me what my intentions were.
Harsh, or maybe a different point of view. If you invite discussion, especially whilst refusing to give the full details, do you really think we are not going to question your intentions?

Did you have to access through a track/farm yard/court yard etc to get to the river? If yes, then it is polite to ask.
Did you need to gain bank access during the descent which would cause you to venture close enough to dwellings that you can be viewed (i.e. roughly closer than 50metres) or are likely to cause disturbance? If yes, then again polite to give prior mention so as to ease concern.

I take it you have informed BCU of the incident!?!

Tape34 I am confused by your first reply. A good result on what sounds a great piece of water! Did I completely misunderstand the opening post? Not only was access refused, but those involved are feeling pressured into not discussing where the location is? I guess there may be some local chat about the river that we are missing, but how exactly is it a good result for paddlers at large? Perhaps I missed something!?!

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:39 pm

morsey wrote:
MattBibbings wrote:Bit harsh.

I don't appreciate you telling me what my intentions were.
Harsh, or maybe a different point of view. If you invite discussion, especially whilst refusing to give the full details, do you really think we are not going to question your intentions?

Did you have to access through a track/farm yard/court yard etc to get to the river? If yes, then it is polite to ask.
Did you need to gain bank access during the descent which would cause you to venture close enough to dwellings that you can be viewed (i.e. roughly closer than 50metres) or are likely to cause disturbance? If yes, then again polite to give prior mention so as to ease concern.

I take it you have informed BCU of the incident!?!
To deal with your three questions.

- Yes. Through Private farm yard and land.
- And Yes. Very close to two other means of income for the landowner.
- Is it any of the BCUs concern? No. On the grounds that they would do bugger all about it anyway.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:42 pm

morsey wrote:
MattBibbings wrote:Bit harsh.

I don't appreciate you telling me what my intentions were.
Harsh, or maybe a different point of view. If you invite discussion, especially whilst refusing to give the full details, do you really think we are not going to question your intentions?
A different point of view? Whose side are you on here? Either you think voluntary access agreements (be they big or small) are the way forward (in which case you are a significant minority) or you think they are about as much use to the paddling community as a shackle round our necks and your just trying to yank my chain here.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by IanDobbs » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:49 pm

I agree with the land owner.

On the day you asked, the farm or land could have been quite, nothing going on. Cows / Sheep miles away, no shooting etc going off.
The next day could have been totally different, sheep/cows back for a vet visit or a days shooting going off.

Im my mind you took the piss and assumed thimgs were ok, He should have shot you, which would have prevented your whining n the internet.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by IanDobbs » Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:50 pm

Scumbag_Scout wrote:So when do we get to see PIcs/Videos?
Please get out of the house and enjoy life, rather than watching it on you tube.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by Ollieswims! » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:00 pm

IanDobbs wrote:I agree with the land owner.

On the day you asked, the farm or land could have been quite, nothing going on. Cows / Sheep miles away, no shooting etc going off.
The next day could have been totally different, sheep/cows back for a vet visit or a days shooting going off.

Im my mind you took the piss and assumed thimgs were ok, He should have shot you, which would have prevented your whining n the internet.
I think you have a valid point here but shooting him may have been taking things a tad bit to over the top.

Ollie.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by MattBibbings » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:08 pm

IanDobbs wrote:I agree with the land owner.

On the day you asked, the farm or land could have been quite, nothing going on. Cows / Sheep miles away, no shooting etc going off.
The next day could have been totally different, sheep/cows back for a vet visit or a days shooting going off.

Im my mind you took the piss and assumed thimgs were ok, He should have shot you, which would have prevented your whining n the internet.
All speculation. Granted you feel you have to due to the lack of facts I can offer but knowing the location brings nothing to this issue.

May I remind you
So I give the facts. We asked for permission. Were granted it. EVEN SIGNED A DISCLAIMER! Yet the landowner still felt we had abused his trust! (His words)
If whining on the internet offends you so, why come here? All we do is whine. Occasionally we take action (Such as actively pursuing permission for quality run?)

The fact that you could defend the current access situation that gives rise to situations like this makes you look a bit, well, silly. Thanks for your contributions but so far you havn't helped the debate. Just thrown pish and accusations around.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by IanDobbs » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:20 pm

MattBibbings wrote:
All speculation. Granted you feel you have to due to the lack of facts I can offer but knowing the location brings nothing to this issue.



Just thrown pish and accusations around.
Yet another stupid comment, I never asked for the location, lets face it your one sided view is the motive behind attacking this landowner.
I hope he never lets you on his land again, if i owned a farm or land i wouldnet let kaykers on it and especially you.

So go and cry into your keyboard.

Why does my take on the current access situation make me look silly, the group i paddle with have done so for 10 years without a handfull of problems.
Sticking to the low key principles, out of sight out of mind my dear boy.

Living in the countryside and being a hunter/fisherman/kayker lets me sport any differnt hats.
Last edited by IanDobbs on Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by morsey » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:17 pm

Matt, not a case of taking sides, expressing a differing point of view.

By you entering into an agreement (Whether signed or not, you still note it was an agreement) you went against the general thinking that agreements do not work in the general favour of paddlers. I am not happy with the BCU negotiating local agreements and small user groups doing likewise simply undermines any attempt to address the issue at national level. I have sympathy with paddlers and understand they may feel restricted by this, but the longterm gain for all paddlers outweighs the need of small paddler groups in the short term. It continues to promote the thinking that permission needs to be gained to paddle rivers.

The comment that the BCU do not do anything, I agree they are useless, but entering into small user group agreements is doing exactly what we have been telling the BCU to stop doing for years! To be fair though you should let them know, if only for the sake that it fuels the argument to revoke all agreements.

Owners with riverside properties pretty much have to get used to the fact that there will be canoes and kayaks on the rivers. It is simply the way it is. That does not mean that paddlers can act how they choose, far from it, privacy should be respected and efforts made to limit any impact (No I am not talking bandit runs, you can forget them, they are a throwback from yesteryear and serve no purpose these days) made by your presence.

It is hard without all the facts, it was not clear from the opening post whether permission had been sought as an on going point or not and hence you have to extend sympathy to the landowner in this issue! The thing is the position should not, as I see it, have been entered into in the first place. Fair enough ask for permission to cross through farm yards, tracks etc. but you do not need to ask for permission to paddle, whether or not it was implied, that is how it looks!

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by jmmoxon » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:26 pm

If the river in question is totally within someone's land, that is not access land and with no public footpath, then we will still have to get permission from the landowner to get on it - unless legislation includes the right to access any river (which I seriously doubt it will in an over-populated England).

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by Wilf » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:51 am

Matt, I think you have initially been responsible and there is little doubt you have tried to do the best thing for all. It's just a shame it has played out the way it has.

He'll get over it. Think of the times people have been chased of the Greta by gun weilding land owners. We still go back for more!

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by c.blyth » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:04 am

Matt, just out of interest, if there was no access there and the river was well within the farmers land, how did you know this 'beck' even existed?
Surely with some scouting you could somehow get there without crossing that particular farmers land?

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by snapper » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:18 pm

Were I you i'd wander by in a day or two with a decent bottle of malt. Even if he doesn't drink it will be appreciated...might even patch things up. Maybe add a letter, with your contact details on in case he gets pissed and decides you can come back.


Good point about knowing what's going on - shooting, calving etc are things that can alter life on the farm on a day-to-day basis.
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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by IanDobbs » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:12 pm

Wilf wrote: Think of the times people have been chased of the Greta by gun weilding land owners. We still go back for more!

Wilf
Paddled it loads and portaged the last rapid, never once had an issue.

I do know that the area is prime deer stalking land, so any landowner in the area will make a substantial income from taking clients stalking.
So id expect some controls, as a gun that can take a stag down will make quite a mess of you and me!

Remember, the majority of landowners will have a valid reason for not wanting you there. They are not just one minded fence errectors.

If you think getting permission to paddle is hard, try getting permission to walk on someones land with a firearm or shotgun.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by clarky999 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:56 pm

If you think getting permission to paddle is hard, try getting permission to walk on someones land with a firearm or shotgun
And do you not think that it should be harder?!! There's a big difference between a harmless plastiv kayak, used purely for enjoyment, and posiong no threat to others, and a lethal shotgun that's designed to kill things! You'd have to be a lunatic to let random strangers with guns onto your property!

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by tape34 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:45 am

morsey wrote: Tape34 I am confused by your first reply. A good result on what sounds a great piece of water! Did I completely misunderstand the opening post? Not only was access refused, but those involved are feeling pressured into not discussing where the location is? I guess there may be some local chat about the river that we are missing, but how exactly is it a good result for paddlers at large? Perhaps I missed something!?!
No it's not a result for paddlers at large but that wasn't what Matt was trying to acheive (I assume). He was crossing private land to get to a beck so had to ask for permission. The good result was tongue in cheek, he did paddle the beck he had his eye on for some time, the intention was for personal permission and then when it didn't work out he has tried to make it a wider access issue. I guess if the access had gone smoothly he still wouldn't tell us where it was, by the way I don't know either.
My point is that I don't consider that this to be an example of why voluntary access doesn't work, this is not in the context of voluntary agreements.
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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by jmmoxon » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:14 am

I don't consider that this to be an example of why voluntary access doesn't work
However, if landowners aren't even prepared to allow access to people they know, then there is no chance of them allowing general access.

One time on Dartmoor a landowner phoned the Rangers to inform them that we were trying to get on the river, then realised he knew one of us so told us that he had & that we should get downstream before they arrived.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by Chris W » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:53 pm

I personally would try having another chat with him, if you can't find an alternative access.

Do bear in mind that landowners owe a duty of care to visitors, regardless of whether they're invited onto the land, have rights of acesss or are trespassing. However, a Court is likely to ask what what may or may not be reasonably foreesable. Potential liabilty is one reason trotted out by the landowning lobby for refusing legislation, but it's a weak argument.

The presence of kayakers on this particular river may not have been reasonably forseeable, until you introduced yourselves, but if brazenly marching through the middle of the farm really was the only way of accessing the river, you had little choice. The disclaimer probably won't have been effective in excluding him from liability anyway, but, if you were given a copy, it will have provided proof of the fact that he was aware of what you were doing and had given express or deemed consented. You don't say whether it was a DIY indemnity that he made up himself or whether the indemnity given by you was expressly in return for consent to access his land, or the river.

As a landowner, in any case, he has to regularly inspect waterways on his property, to check for any obstructions, such as fallen tress that might increase the flood risk downstream, or for any other potential environmental hazards, such as dead livestock. Maybe he hasn't done so for a while. I'm not surprised he had second thoughts about liabilty.

This does illustrate why kayakers and landowners really do need to act collectively, for all sorts of reasons.

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Re: A real life example of why Voluntary Access DOESN'T WORK

Post by shanclan » Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:11 pm

http://www.rics.org/NR/rdonlyres/33C907 ... idents.pdf

This seems to say that the real risk of liability is low. Ask him to read it thoroughly...

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