Historic Relationships

It’s been quiet on the blog post authoring front lately. This is not because there hasn’t been much to talk about, so much as because I’m presently on holiday in the UK and Ireland. Apologies to those people who’ve left comments which I haven’t yet had time to address. I’ve also spent a while trying to research and author an opinion piece for the FMC bulletin (which has been an experience in itself) regarding the word “closed” as it is sometimes applied to parts if the New Zealand conservation estate. That probably won’t come out until about November and I don’t want to undercut it, but I’ll post it here some time after that and probably decorate it with some lengthier detail and references which didn’t fit very well in the Bulletin edition.

The holiday has been a nice escape so far. We’re not focusing on outdoor walking/hiking/tramping so much as just taking the place in. I’ve not been to this part of the world until now, and the length and density of recorded human history and its impact on the environment is a lot to take in. So far it’s been great.

That’s not to say there isn’t lots of great hiking/walking around here, although. As many will doubtless know, the popular side of it is often based on the ubiquitous historic pathways everywhere between the ever-present population. Many of the people we’ve met in the pubs from night to night are doing what would be similar things to great walks in New Zealand, except carrying less and not camping out. On one hand it’s less remote, but on another hand it’s far more accessible.

One thing I’ve found interesting has been the contrasting relationship with the land and environment between New Zealand and the UK, and here I’m just hypothesising. Whereas in New Zealand people frequently identify with and take pride in the natural “un-touched” aspect of the place, our what remains of it that came from the land, there’s virtually nothing here which hasn’t been farmed or mined or lived on in some way for thousands of years. With that, people attach to the human history aspect much more readily. Without discounting some of the awesome scenery and outdoor experiences here (or the thousand-odd years of human history in New Zealand), it’s the history, and simply the depth of it and how it’s mixed in and continually evolving with modern daily life which, for me, is the most interesting aspect of visiting here.

Anyway, that was just some random thoughts.

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