Peak District – Access for All – Vasudeiva Kutumbakam

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About ‘Peak District – Access for All – Vasudeiva Kutumbakam’

Evidence shows that although about 10% of the population is of an ethnic minority background, only about 1% of visitors to National Parks are from ethnic minorities. The National Parks were created for the benefit of the public.  This project (British Raj in the Peak District: Discovering, recovering and sharing Colonial History) is a novel way of linking heritage and the National Park and aims to create new ways of interpreting and exploring the National Park by involving the Indian community in Sheffield and their friends.

Background

A national wide project known as the Mosaic project ran from completed its life in June 2012.  Mosaic was developed in response to evidence that although about 10% of the population is of an ethnic minority background, only about 1% of visitors to National Parks are from ethnic minorities. Mosaic succeeded in recruiting a cohort of 200 individuals who are caring and committed to the promotion of National Parks, who have brought 28,000 visitors from ethnic minorities to the National Parks during the project period.  The National Parks were created for the benefit of the public. Mosaic works to make sure that all people have an equal opportunity to enjoy the many benefits that National Parks offer. Mosaic works to make sure that all people have an equal opportunity to enjoy the many benefits that National Parks offer.

For more details on the evaluation of the mosaic project, click on link below (opens into a pdf document)

Mosaic Legacy 18 Final Evaluation Exec Summary

Activities

Caving

The next activity planned is a caving trip. See details below

caving flyer

Our Caving Experience

Chamu Kuppuswamy

Walking the innards of the earth is an amazing experience. It is a different world in there. The quiet, the darkness and the absence of anything organic is all quiet liberating! Exploring the world, over-ground and underground, helps one understand one’s place in this world. It helps us think beyond what our consumerist individualistic society would like us to think about when it comes to spending our time, energy and money.   The wonderment and the excitement  is greater and longer lasting than when one buys something exciting from the Mall because the wonder that is nature and its various parts, above ground and underground are infinitely more complex, highly connected, span across vast time periods, and much grander!

Walking through narrow slits in the earth under the ground, wading through water, gazing at stalactites and stalagmites, crawling through holes in the ground under the ground! and sliding through slits and rock tunnels – surprisingly it doesn’t take long to endear oneself to this Paathala Loka – or underground world! Sage Narada is quoted as saying in the Vishnu Purana that Paathala  is more beautiful than Svarga (heaven)!  According to the Puranas there are seven regions in the Paathala Loka.  Paathala is described as filled with splendid jewels, beautiful groves and lakes. The soil here is white, black, purple, sandy, yellow, stony and also of gold. There is no sunlight in the lower realms, but the darkness is dissipated by the shining of the jewels that the residents of Paathala wear. There is no old age, no sweat, no disease in Paathala. As we emerged out of the cavern doors (there is a barn that covers the mouth of the cavern, where the claustrophobia test is done before the group goes down under!) it felt like we had emerged into a different world. There were two worlds now!  The extent of the cave system was amazing, we turned back after a point, but it seemed to go on forever. No wonder it elicited the following comment from a famous visitor.

“All this country is hollow,” Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “could you strike it with some gigantic hammer it would boom like a drum.”

Imagine that! Could be great fun and a technological challenge to undertake this task!

I have been reading about interesting caves in the area. Not far from where we were, in Stoney Middleton, the famous lead mining town in the Peak District, there is a cave system called the Yoga caves, where beginners can go in, and experience the Corpse Crawl! Takers anyone?! I mean, we did see Shivji a number of times in Bagshawe, now we take on the ‘Shav’ role 🙂 Maybe that’s for Lash! Should give it a go guys!

We passed our time singing and idly walking, stumbling and wading through the crevices and cracks recounting what those above had said about our trip. Here’s one to amuse. One of group said “ I told my mother I was going caving” She said “ If you want to do something – drink, why go inside a cave to die?” I am almost verbatim on the quote. Curious logic but there it is! And then there was a barrage of responses to this, all in agreement with what the family thought of this activity. We were surprised to hear from Nige that statistically the most dangerous activities in the Peak District were horse riding and cycling.

Well..driving a motor bike in India is more dangerous than caving, that’s for sure!

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Longshaw Estate Walk

Berries, mushrooms, slugs and drip-drip Woods – The ASHA Walk!

 

It rained the whole day that Saturday. I was out on patrol, visibility was low, and the constant rain meant less people in the Park! As I took the path by the café in Grindleford station, the trees rained water and leaves on me, the steep path was carpeted with yellowing oak leaves. Past the road and on to Oaks Wood, the path was lined with blackberries – all washed and ripe, ready to eat! I couldn’t stop myself lingering on the path, picking blackberries. Slugs of all sizes sat on the blackberry stems and as I climbed higher, the slugs got bigger!  The bilberries had reduced, still, I picked a few.

I hadn’t expected to meet cattle on the path. They were huge and in a big herd. I just wanted my path clear, so I could walk on, but they had other ideas. A wall to my left, bog to my right, and cows ahead. Three of them eyeing me, now had stopped nibbling on the grass and took positions dead front of me. I wasn’t looking for confrontation. I got closer to the wall, and inched forward. They stood their ground, but I didn’t stop. Then they moved, to my relief. I wasn’t going to risk my 500 mm lens J I was glad to get past the stile.

Walking through Longshaw is not my usual choice, but I was meeting a group of University students this afternoon. They had a ‘meet and greet’ session for a group called ASHA – which supports educational charities in India. The University of Sheffield branch had just enlisted their new batch of volunteers and wanted to introduce them to the organisation and enable informal chats by going on a walk in the Peak District. I got the call late, but luckily I was going to go on patrol that day, so as a happy coincidence I was able to lead the walk. We had students from India and Kenya on the walk –  question was how many wild animals do we have in the Park?! The idea was to go see the deer, and perhaps rut, but the weather played havoc – visibility was very poor, so we had to abandon our plan and came down to Grindleford instead and walked back up to Longshaw visitors centre through Padley Gorge. Plenty of drip-drip in the woods!

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Chamu Kuppuswamy

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One thought on “Peak District – Access for All – Vasudeiva Kutumbakam

  1. The walk was amazing. Thanks a lot Chamu for leading us to such a beautiful trail on a short notice. We definitely had the best and most fun filled meet and greet activity.

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