/ Ennerdale - WARNING - Whins farm

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ben b - on 25 Apr 2004
Just to warn anyone wanting to use the footpath shown on the OS maps from Ennerdale Water to the lane by Whins farm. This is the logical route from the waters edge to the access track to Great Borne and the start of the Ennerdale Round.

Our Ennerdale round was rather torpedpoed yesterday:

At approx 0930 whilst trying to find and follow the footpath shown on the 1:25000 running from the lake shore to the minor road by Whins farm. The path was not clear on the ground and initially blocked by a fence with some corrugated iron across it to prevent access. We negotiated this without causing any damage and followed the line of the path into a field by an old barn. Although the lane was 2m from the field edge it became apparent that there was no safe way of exiting the field - two barbed wire fences a few feet apart with barbed wire zigzagged between them - so we decided to retrace our steps. At this point a man appeared and became very abusive, shouting obscenities and demanding - in a very intimidating manner - to know what we were doing on his land. I tried to explain that there appeared to be a right of way crossing the field and we were trying to get to the lane beside the field. He became very irate and shouted further obscenities. Fearing further confrontation we felt that further attempts at rational discussion would be futile so we apologised for disturbing him and asked him how we could most easily leave his property. He informed us that the footpath had not existed for years and he couldn't understand why all these people kept trespassing on his land. The man was extremely aggressive and the encounter very unpleasant. His suggestions of how we should have left his property were also anatomically impossible.

A quick Google search on the farm name shows he has a bit of form here, and I was relieved to see he had had his firearm license revoked earlier in the year. This man clearly has some serious problems and I'd suggest giving him a wide berth until access is sorted out. Now I'm off to find out who the Rights Of Way Officer is for the area...
James Jackson on 25 Apr 2004
In reply to ben b:

Mr grandparents used to own Routen Farm, just down the road from Whins Farm - we got our milk every morning from him.

He was put in jail not only for obstructing a right of way, he also hit a park official. Oops!
ben b - on 25 Apr 2004
In reply to James Jackson: He was certainly pretty up tight when we met him. Kept well out of reach...

Published in News & Star on Tuesday, January 13th 2004

A WEST Cumbrian sheep farmer has surrendered himself to police after more than three months on the run because a row over a footpath on his land.

Thomas Ireland, 48, of Whins Farm, Ennerdale, is now in custody at Durham jail, where he will spend two weeks for contempt of court. He went on the run to avoid imprisonment after repeatedly breaching an injunction preventing him from blocking footpath on his farm, which he maintains is not a right of way.

A county court judge in Carlisle found him guilty of contempt of court in October after he failed to appear to answer any charges, and issued a committal order for 14 days. The fugitive farmer went into hiding, leaving his home and his children in the care of his brother.

He told the News & Star how they had endured a miserable Christmas because he was on the run, and how he had been sleeping rough in a bid to avoid being caught. “It’s been very hard. You have to do what you can but it’s been tough. I have been sleeping outdoors in woods a lot of the time. It’s just not right.”

Ireland said he was not a criminal and as a single dad, was not prepared to leave his children by going to prison. He also said a large percentage of the 2,500 animals on his farm would die if he was jailed for two weeks.

“I am a fugitive on the run – but this is a civil matter. I have not committed a crime. All I am trying to do is solve a problem that has been going on since 1988,” he said. Ireland claims he is being victimised by “officious bullies” from the National Park Authority. He is locked in a legal row over the 300 metre long path on his land at Whins Farm, which his family has owned for 50 years.

But he finally gave in and surrendered himself to police on Sunday, three days after police raided his home and seized a number of firearms. They also revoked his gun license and charged him with possessing shotguns. About 20 officers were involved in the search of his house, which was not a planned operation but was sparked after Ireland was seen in Cockermouth and followed as police tried to catch him.

Ireland accused the police of taking a heavy-handed approach and of not respecting his property by walking through with muddy boots. He claimed they had even taken his son’s toy guns, dart games and old spent bullets from his collection.

The National Park Authority said the footpath is on the Definitive Map and it is up to him to prove that it is incorrect.

Jonno on 25 Apr 2004
In reply to ben b:

Sounds a nasty nutter but I'm afraid he's not a one off.
One particular farmer in Nantlle,North Wales was notorious for firing his shotgun in the direction of climbers.
The Cwm Bychan access to Castell Cidwm and Wolf's Head is still a controversial issue where the local farmer has fire arms history.
God knows how they're going to react after 'the right to roam comes in ' !
Bob on 25 Apr 2004
In reply to Jonno:

I thought that the nutter in Cwm Bychan had passed away and the farm was now run by his son. Anyway the Cidwm hotel has changed hands and they aren't too pleased to allow climbers the short cut anyway.

Mike Simmonds on 25 Apr 2004
In reply to ben b: Can anyone think of a better place for the next picnic?
James Jackson on 25 Apr 2004
In reply to Mike Simmonds:

There is some lovely cragging around there...
Simon Caldwell - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Bob:
> the Cidwm hotel has changed hands and they aren't too pleased to allow climbers the short cut anyway.

Good to know their business is doing so well that they don't need our custom
Chris the Tall - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to ben b:
I remember cycling over the bridleway that goes to the north of Great Bourne from Ennerdale to Buttermere about 12 years ago. There were loads of hand written signs saying things like "Keep to the bridleway", "No access to Great Bourne", "Cyclists welcome, walkers are not" and "Wainwright walkers bugger off", so I guess this dispute lingers on.

(Incidently GB remains the only mountain in the lakes I've not climbed, decided the only way I'll do it is at the end of the Ennerdale round, but I'll avoid descending to this guys farm!!)
Anonymous on 26 Apr 2004 - mono2.nutreco.nl
In reply to Chris the Tall:
> "Wainwright walkers bugger off ......

The man does have a sense of humour.
Anonymous on 26 Apr 2004 - serco1.serco.com
In reply to Chris the Tall: believe it or not the tall bloke that works in the druids inn wasnt at all chuffed at us telling him we were going climbing at rowter. arsey bugger by all accounts. told us it was his property
Anonymous on 26 Apr 2004 - [wwwcache2.cumbria.cleo.net.uk]
In reply to Anonymous:
Im replying anonymously as I have some professional contact with Tom and would not want to sour our relationship.

There is a right of way through the farm but be warned, Tom has a violent temper and is aggressive in his general manner. He is also 6 foot 6 and built like a brick shithouse, so dont think you are a rufty tufty climber and can handle him, youll just end up very sore. There are rumours that he has shot at the local mrt when they crossed his land on a rescue.

You do have right of way just take great care
Dave Garnett - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to ben b:

There I was thinking this was about a TV rural soap opera.

I live in a rural area, and I have to say that this 'this is my land and I'll decide what the law is round here' attitude is depressingly familiar. Whether it's rights of way, slurry desposal, animal welfare or control of 'vermin', there is a view, from otherwise apparently reasonable people, that what happens on their farm is quite outside the rules that the rest of us have to abide by.

Often this results from years of isolation and grinding poverty (sometimes compounded by a failure to claim benefits and aid to which they are entitled) and an independence and self-reliance that verges on the pathological. In some ways it's admirable, the 'right stuff' that has allowed them to survive.

On the other hand, where else would such behaviour as described above be tolerated? Farmers round here tend to act first and think later, if at all. Like the guy who demolished a neighbour's new wall and parking place because he believed - wrongly - that it was on his land. He didn't check, or discuss it with anyone, he just drove his tractor through it! Such people behave like this because they've simply never had to consider anyone else's point of view.

ben b not logged on on 26 Apr 2004 - hide-219.nhs.uk
In reply to Anonymous: Interesting - thanks for the info. He appeared considerably bigger than his brick outhouse from where we were.

I'm certainly not a rufty tufty climber but even with a pack on I'm fairly sure I can outrun him in my Walshes - on a good day - downhill with a following wind...if only the rest of my fellrunning career was so speedy!

I'm glad he's got some contact with 'services'.


Martin Brierley - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Anonymous:

"so dont think you are a rufty tufty climber and can handle him, youll just end up very sore"

God that sounds like a good challenge! A bunch of six of you could really shut him up. And once you've all finished kicking him around, you could drag him to his fence, and make him open it up again. Nobody is too big or too aggressive. Growing up around welsh farmers you soon learnt that. They start off all agressive, but a quiet word is usually sufficient. Especially when you start off to aggravate them into giving you all a reason.

I'm in a bit of a mood at the moment actually, anybody feel like a trip to Ennerdale?
Niall - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Al Urker: Unofficial picnic? Or official Rocktalk Mass 'Trespass'?
Martin Brierley - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Niall:

I always prefer it to be a casual meeting. No banners or slogans or names for the landowner to recall later.
earlsdonwhu - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to ben b: Sounds familiar.. he's been like this for years. I remember bivvying with a group in a sheepfold( not on his land) about 50 metres from the right of way which crosses his land.At about 6.00 am he roared up on his motorbike and sat and watched us pack up. This took an hour or so! As soon as he realised that we were clued in about his behaviour and so took a slightly more circuitous route back on to the path, he roared off evidently frustrated that he had no 'legitimate' cause for an early morning ruck!!
I'm sure the ba*tard was happy enough accepting the handouts from us taxpayers to help sustain his existence on marginal land though!
Martin Brierley - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to earlsdonhammer:

So you fancy a picnic as well then?!!?
Niall - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Al Urker: lol, just you and a couple of large hexes eh?
Martin Brierley - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Niall:

No, that marks you out as a climber, therefore infinitley more traceable.

I prefer an axe handle wrapped in gaffer tape for such eventualities, which, of course doubles as a walking stick.
ben b - on 26 Apr 2004
In reply to Al Urker: I seem to have sparked a bit of RT vigilanteism.

Perhaps going round with an axe might be a bit...umm...inflammatory? Nothing like pouring petrol on troubled waters. Thanks for the support, but suggest we put our willies away and let the BMC/Police/NHS/RA sort it out if you see what I mean. Rather than going in with a twin #10 hex bolo...

In reply to ben b:
I Prefer Video and a phonecall to the police, threatening and abusive behaviour is an offence, the way he has buggered the police around I bet they would enjoy visiting him again, especially for re-offending and contempt of court
He is breaking the rules, so use the rules to nail him
big steve at work on 27 Apr 2004 - whois?
In reply to Rob cant be rsd to log in: but think of the compensation claims if he did attack anybody. Would be enough to buy lots of new kit, or a trip abroad.
James Jackson on 27 Apr 2004
In reply to big steve at work:

He's a fell farmer - bound to be broke.
Simon Caldwell - on 27 Apr 2004
In reply to big steve at work:
> think of the compensation claims if he did attack anybody

You never quite know who would end up having to pay compensation to whom. Loss of earnings due to broken fist sustained in self defense?
dave at castell cidwm on 16 Jun 2004
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

I just found all this on the internet. I have just bought Castell Cidwm and I'm not a funny bugger! Is there somethig I should know????

Simon Caldwell - on 17 Jun 2004
In reply to dave at castell cidwm:
I assume that was directed at Bob since he mentioned the problem and I've never even been there.
So what's the position re allowing use of the shortcut - do you have a problem with it or not?

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