‘If we don’t keep hold of these rights and extend them then they’ll slowly get taken back’ says Boff Whalley on Kinder Scout trespass anniversary

A former member of rock band Chumbawamba took part in the annual Kinder Scout trespass to highlight the need for continued action surrounding land rights in the UK.

The 91st commemorative mass trespass took place on Sunday with walkers setting off from Hayfield. 

Boff Whalley attended with the Commoners Choir, accompanying the walk with music. 

He said: “The trespass really resonates today, the reason the mass trespass happened was that we were in a time when there was austerity and people didn’t have a lot of money.

“There was a right wing Conservative government, there was a lot of unemployment, basically conditions were pretty much like what they are now.

“The trespassing movement is on the rise again because the [political] right has been bringing in loads to reclaim land.”

Mr Whalley stressed the importance of continuing to take action.

He said: “If we don’t keep hold of those rights and extend them then they’ll slowly get taken back.”

The event was led by Martin Porter, an environmental campaigner whose grandfather took part in the initial walk in 1932.  

The original trespass consisted of almost 500 ramblers fighting for access rights to land restricted by rich landowners.  

The historical event left a significant mark, and continues to impact the battle for public access rights across England. 

The Commoners Choir performed their song ‘Just Jump In’ alongside the walk and wild swim in Kinder reservoir. 

The song was created as a collective piece, composed of lines written by different members of the choir. 

It featured lines including:

‘We go where we please 

Our pools, your reservoir 

Your lakes, out peace 

When the sign says keep out just jump in’.

The choir was built on a manifesto, which was heavily inspired by 20th century arts movements, including the works of Sex Pistols manager Malcolm Mclaren.

One aim states: “We’ll sing our own songs, about the world immediately around us, about inequality, hope, and Tory politicians”.

Mr Whalley described the group as a ‘protest band’, melding hard core punk with four or five part harmonies. 

He said: “We try to use that kind of thing with harmonies and melodies that are just quite beautiful and use them to say something really angry or strong or political.”

Written by Emily Shenton

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