26 2 mins 12 yrs

RIP Hope Bourne, a truly remarkable lady who has passed on aged 91.

There’s little more admirable than living your life to your own satisfaction. Hope Bourne – farmer, hunter, angler and trout tickler, journalist, author, artist and a fine example of keeping yourself to yourself – did exactly that. For most of her life she lived alone on the wild and glorious Exmoor being almost entirely self-sufficient in that primeval place.

In 1979 Daniel Farson interviewed her for The Sunday Telegraph Magazine. She told him: “I have never taken a penny from public money. Friends tell me I could live better on National Assistance, or whatever they call it now. Over my dead body!

Hope Bourne once declared: “I’m bloody-minded. My independence is the most important thing in the world to me: freedom and a vigorous outdoor life.”

Convinced that the wildness of Exmoor can teach self-reliance, she lamented the proliferation of paths and signs, which prevented people from finding things out for themselves. She further believed that hill farming and the hunt (which she followed on foot) had been the backbone of Exmoor life, and mourned their passing.

Freedom and a vigorous outdoor life; what else does anyone need? For the rest, the genuinely wild places places are precious enough in these islands without National Trust busybodies turning everything into an “experience” with their visitor centres and guided walks. They’re even asphalting a track up Snowdon for goodness sake. It’s a mountain!

So farewell then Hope Bourne. If I were born sixty years earlier she’d have made a fine wife.

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26 thoughts on “TO THE GREAT CARAVAN IN THE SKY

  1. "trout tickler"

    Well I guess she was as entitled to her private pleasures as much as the rest of us.

    RIP Hope. A great example of that most English of characters. An unashamed eccentric individual. I won't bother you. You don't bother me.

  2. Great post Pete.

    Shame you had to spoil it with this:

    the genuinely wild places places are precious enough in these islands without National Trust busybodies turning everything into an "experience" with their visitor centres and guided walks.

    Without the National Trust (and the National Parks) many of these precious wilderness areas would not have survived. Your beloved free market would have built houses all over Exmoor so that tax-dodging millionaires could enjoy the views.

  3. Completely correct.

    Same deal here – if the National Parks had not been established in America, Yellowstone and Yosemite, etc would be condo estates now.

    Preservation of large wild or scenic places is one of the many things that governments can do well. The National Trust is a great organization.

    Wiki tells me that the National Trust came about in 1895. The US National Park Service came about in 1916 – undoubtedly influenced by the similar organization across the water.

  4. Peter/Phantom

    Please don't spoil Pete Moore's infallible opinion that govt. can do nothing good.

  5. Peter –

    Great opening sentence.

    Shame you had to spoil it with:

    Your beloved free market would have built houses all over Exmoor so that tax-dodging millionaires could enjoy the views.

    Tax-dodging?

    On Exmoor?

    I'll have to submit a tally of my free camping time on Exmoor to the taxman. I didn't know it was a haven.

    Now look old son, there have been wealthy people on these islands for as long as there has been wealth. Since Ogbag the Bad was roaming in neolithic times justabout.

    Yet it's the National trust and the various national park authorities ("keeping the wild places wild since 1895") to which we must give thanks for keeping our glories glorious? The reason why few have chosen to live on Exmoor and such places for a long time is that the economics dictate against it.

    "You want to build a home in the arse end of Exmoor or the Noth Yorks Moors or the Howgills or somewhere up the Ogwen Valley? Fine, add a few million quid to the price of the gaff to bring in water, power and foul drainage."

    That's why it these places are still as they are even though Britons have had the opportunity to be there for much longer than the nitwits at the National trust have been interfering.

    By the way, as I know, the National Trust makes a very pretty penny attracting visitors to these kind of areas, selling them tat, selling them guided walks and so on. But still, it's the free marketeers who are greedy eh?

    So, I'm with the admirable Hope Bourne on that point.

  6. Pete

    That is a daft analyis. Of course building a solitary home in the middle of Exmoor would be prohibitively expensive, but building thousands of homes, offices and shops would not be. Legislative protection of natural areas of unspoilt beauty is a necessity as is the existence of bodies to manage such areas deftly.

  7. The reason why few have chosen to live on Exmoor and such places for a long time is that the economics dictate against it.

    ROFL.

    Millionaires work to their own economics. Helicopters, sceptic tanks, whatever it takes.

    Oh, and big fences to keep the riff-raff off their millions of acres. The "Right to Roam Act" is the worst commie legislation ever.

  8. In the absence of protection, anything can be ruined and often is

    Hawaii is one of my favorite places, but the overdevelopment in and around the glorious Waikiki Beach is a sin.

    Some glorious areas on the island of Kauai are being fenced off for the building of gated communities- as un Hawaiian a concept as there ever was.

    There are countless examples of remote and not so remote areas that make the similar point. Without protection, if the area is in any way attractive to people with money, it will get developed.

  9. Colm –

    You're not daft. Look with open eyes. From the English Channel to Cape Wrath, the State continuously and relentlessly bombs the crap out of our wild places. If the State decides it needs to bomb the crap out of Exmoor too, it would do so. The idea that the State is in any way the protector of our natural environment is risible.

    Oh, that reminds me: the State used to bomb the crap out of Exmoor too.

    —–

    Peter –

    Oh, and big fences to keep the riff-raff off their millions of acres.

    Who do you think owns these places? The National Trust or some other bodies?

    They're privately owned. More than 90% of the Lake District is privately owned. When you walked on Catbells you walked on private land. Looks pretty unspoiled for land that has never been State owned, eh? They've always been privately owned. It wasn't until 1947 that there were any meaningful collectivist planning restrictions yet they've always been wild places. Come on, have some perspective.

  10. Pete

    Before 1947 you didn't have Ryanair, Easyjet, and a huge middle class all with family cars that could very easily get to places like that and afford to stay there.

    The change in mobility and disposable income has been very great in your country and mine.

    The average person is off the charts richer in real terms than they were in the 1940s

  11. Phantom –

    If we don't halt the Statist pathology none of us will have cheap air travel, cars or mobility to these places.

  12. Pete

    Would Catbells be available to the public if there was no Lake District National Park?

    And the Yorkshire Dales, and the North York Moors and all the rest?

    There was a mass-trespass movement in the 1930's precisely because there was no public access to these wilderness areas. That is what lead the Labour government to introduce the National Parks Act in 1948. Commies.

  13. Pete

    A question for you. Do you genuinely believe that all Land should be available for private purchase and ownership and that all private owners should be entitled to develop such land however they wish ?

  14. Peter –

    Yes, on Kinder Scout, a place I know well. An entirely unnecessary but politically motivated move by the communist-inspired rambler movement.

    Colm –

    Yes, of course.

    A question for you: Do you believe that private land should be subject to arbitrary political control?

    Now come on lads, let's not lead a thread astray. I understand you taking aim at the liberty demonstrated in free markets and I understand you needing to have a pop at me.

    I admire those who aim at a hard target.

    However, we're here to pay tribute to a great outdoorswomen and lover of freedom. Come on, let's not be State junkies all the time.

  15. Pete

    At least you are honest in your support of the supreme primacy of selfish individualism . But yes, you are right. This thread is about a great Englishwoman, whose only regret in life I'm sure is that she was born too early to be Mrs Pete Moore 🙂

  16. Yes, of course.

    Well, I will think that the vast majority of British people, who live in the real world and not the world of theory, will not agree with that one!

    Protection of wild places is good. Much of the protection of the last century came in the nick of time, too. Had they waited 50 years, there would have been a lot less to save.

  17. An entirely unnecessary but politically motivated move by the communist-inspired rambler movement.

    Rubbish. There would be no National Parks today if your Rightist ideology prevailed.

  18. Hard right / hard left / hard libertarian views cannot long survive contact with reality

  19. Colm –

    Yes, at least I'm honest in my support of of the supremacy of individualism. At least you admit to your selfishness when you are unchecked, I am not so selfish.

    Phantom –

    Protection of wild places is good. Much of the protection of the last century came in the nick of time, too.

    You may have read Peter's reference just above to a "mass trespass" movement in the 1930s. This was a mass trespass of Kinder Scout in the Peak District, a socialist-inspired movement which led to open access by right on this wild peak and which has passed into mythology.

    And here is where we are:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/20/conservation.wildlife
    Ramblers ruin right-to-roam's landmark site
    The mass trespass on Kinder Scout in 1932 began a revolution that opened the countryside to millions. Now the Peak District's bleak beauty is under threat of erosion – partly caused by its popularity.

    Gentlemen, it does pay to to heed the advice of those who know, don't you know.

  20. Yes, and protection of wild places is still a great thing, which is why all good countries have it.

  21. Peter –

    The Kinder Scout trespass was a socialist/communist inspired movement based on class hatred more than the right to access land.

    However you are correct, there would be no national parks if a libertarian sensibility prevailed. Clearly, also, Kinder Scout would now not be under severe threat of erosion.

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