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Following recent serious allegations that were made by Mark McClure of Try-Cycles Ltd and the North West Riders mountain bike club I feel it is important to clarify that my support for the Crompton Moor User Group web site has no connection to my professional life or the associated web sites promoting my educational work, photography, bushcraft or wilderness skills other than provision of web space.

The implications made that I was involved in the destructive practices of shelter building and starting fires on Crompton Moor are entirely unsubstantiated and without any basis in fact, deed or intention.

The information contained within my web sites could in no way be interpreted as encouraging these sorts of practice and in fact I have now received a full apology from Mr. McClure.

I publish here for the record the full texts of the allegations, my response and the subsequent apology made on the “What do they know” web site.

If you wish to proceed directly to the Crompton Moor User Group web site click here.

I am sorry about the need for this distraction.

Mark Mcclure left an annotation (22 February 2009)

 

I cannot understand what it is exactly Mr Fulton or Mr Waids0n are hoping to achieve by questioning plans which should improve facilities for everyone who currently uses and potentially would like to user Crompton Moor as a recreational area.
Gary Waids
0n is certainly a hypocrite, he offers the public view of a man concerned about the countryside who is keen to go against any plans to make the borough of Oldham a better place for its residents. His negative and biased reporting of events on his www.nemo.me.uk site contradicts the other sites he runs which even tell us how to light fires on the moor and to build shelters (i wonder how the 'bushcraft' shelters appeared in Whitesides wood?) see www.ravenslore.co.uk for more info.
Why are you wasting the time of the majority of users of Crompton Moor and the resources of our town council in your selfish endeavour to halt any plans for recreational development of the area?
If you listened at the CMUG meetings you wouldve heard the justifaications for improving facilities on the site. You are narrow minded unsocial people with a chip on your shoulder in relation to any change.
This Moor belongs to the people of Oldham who in time will have an excellant facility to enjoy, hopefully without bigots such as yourselves.
A final note; The Litter (Animal Droppings) Order 1991 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 obliged councils to keep public walkways, pleasure grounds, gardens, recreational sites and popular parts of the sea shore clear of fouling. The Dogs (Fouling of Land) Act 1996 made failing to clear up dog poo an offence punishable by a fixed penalty of £50 or, in court, a fine of upto £1,000.
Crompton Moor is classified as a recreational ground and therefore dog walkers MUST pick up faeces left by their pets.
Lets hope that Oldham Council utilise the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 which gives the Council the power to enforce Dog Control Orders where appropriate. This range of controls spans from enforcing that dogs are kept on leads in certain areas through to banning them completely from a chosen site.

I personally have had to deal with the aftermath of hitting a steaming pile of dog dirt on Crompton Moor, fortunately non went into my eyes or mouth (which can result in Toxocariasis) and have also heard the complaints of many riders AND walkers who use the moor about the amount of dog fouling that goes on on the site.

I am sure that most of the dog walkers are responsible for their pets and clear up accordingly, much of the point of this post is to highlight that THERE ARE SELFISH, IDIOTIC PEOPLE IN ALL USER GROUPS on Crompton Moor

 

Gary Waids0n left an annotation (28 February 2009)

It saddens me to see that Mark McClure of Try-Cycles Ltd. has descended to making ill informed personal attacks against me in such a public arena. It forces me to defend myself and my reputation from allegations that are bordering upon libellous.

I will deal with his posting point by point.

It is our democratic right to question plans put forward by our council and the need to do so is raised as we have been presented with a scheme that is being hastily implemented without due and proper scrutiny by the public at large. This seems to be, as is often the case, because there is a race to spend some money from the budget before it is lost. The plan will surely change the facilities at Crompton Moor but there are people who do not necessarily believe that such changes, in their current form, constitute “improvements”.

As the council is an elected body, it has a duty to consider the opinions of all user groups on Crompton Moor before proceeding with these plans, and that open and transparent debate is what we hope to achieve.

If Mr. McClure fails to understand that, perhaps it is because he and Try-Cycles Ltd. have a vested interest in seeing these plans proceed without opposition.

I can only assume that his attempt to brand me as a hypocrite is an ill advised attempt at character assassination.

It is true that I run a number of websites, some promote my busy education business working with over 6000 school children a year, some promote my landscape photography that has won numerous regional and national awards, one of them does indeed promote bushcraft and wilderness skills.

The Ravenlore site and indeed bushcraft in general, promotes minimum impact practices, so it is hard to see how my site or activities could possibly relate to the destructive practices in the Whiteside plantation that I myself alerted the council to, and were at the time of my discovery, being perpetrated by two cyclists.

To imply that I have been building shelters on the moor is both a flagrant distortion of the truth and completely at odds with the material and information on my websites. To further suggest that I tell people how to light fires on the moor is an outrageous lie, and one I am considering passing on to my solicitor.

Mr McClure’s next rant ,“Why are you wasting the time of the majority of users of Crompton Moor and the resources of our town council in your selfish endeavour to halt any plans for recreational development of the area?”, seems to be devoid of any reason whatsoever.

I was informed by Mr Vink at one of our meetings, that the council has not made a demographic study of the visitors to the moor. This is unfortunate because it would without any doubt prove that the majority of users of the moor are dog walkers by a huge margin.

We did listen at the CMUG meetings and what we heard was a plan that completely ignored the majority users, because the council has never once asked us what facilities we want.

“You are narrow minded unsocial people with a chip on your shoulder in relation to any change.
This Moor belongs to the people of Oldham who in time will have an excellant facility to enjoy, hopefully without bigots such as yourselves.” Here we have another slightly illiterate rant.

A “bigot” is defined as “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” As far as I can see, there seems to be only one person who is intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion in this sorry episode and, as is often the case, I feel this accusation does more to reflect on Mr McClure’s character than anything else.

If he had bothered to properly acquaint himself with the information contained in my websites, instead of trying to use that information to discredit my perfectly valid concerns, he would realise that I have been calling for constructive changes to the management of the moor for some time.

I have also been regularly picking litter up, reporting criminal activity and caring for Crompton Moor in a number of positive ways for many years.

Meanwhile I have watched this story develop from the early days when the cyclists broke down walls and cut trees to build their unofficial trails through the woods. Now I am relieved to say that most of that destructive behaviour has ceased, but not all, and so far no guarantees have been made that it will not resume in the future.

In general most of the cycle riders are responsible in their behaviour just as most dog walkers are, that was never an issue.

If the council had bothered to ask us what facilities we wanted they might be surprised to hear that we would like more dog waste bins so that the dog waste issue could be addressed.

“Lets hope that Oldham Council utilise the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 which gives the Council the power to enforce Dog Control Orders where appropriate. This range of controls spans from enforcing that dogs are kept on leads in certain areas through to banning them completely from a chosen site.”

Now we get to the crux of the matter. Far from the assurances that have been given in open meetings, here we have a key member of Try-Cycles Ltd. an organisation pushing the council hard for this plan to be implemented, stating publicly and on the record, that he would like to see the council ban dog walkers or force them to keep their dogs on a lead on Crompton Moor.

I could not conclude this reply any better than Mr. McClure himself. “THERE ARE SELFISH, IDIOTIC PEOPLE IN ALL USER GROUPS.” But I would sadly have to conclude that some are more selfish and more idiotic than others.

 

Mark Mcclure left an annotation (3 March 2009)

An apology to Gary Waids0n.

Gary in response to your reply to my annotation of 22nd February 2009 I apologies for the content of my message.

Gary Waids
0n and his associated websites do not actively promote the lighting of fires or the building of shelters on Crompton Moor.
I understand that what you do for a living and promote through various work websites has no influence over how you conduct yourself on the moor or indeed instruct others to behave. Your bushcraft work, as you say, always promotes sustainability and best practice and this is something that many users of outdoor spaces across the UK should take note of. I have had personal reports that your education work is first class and that you are a consummate professional, I hope that my rant does not affect the excellent work you are doing with schools across the UK and unreservedly apologise for my attacks on your character. I understand if not necessary agree with what you are trying to achieve, but I also disagree in part with the way that so far you have conducted yourself to achieve your goals.
I do not wish dogs and their walkers to have restricted access to Crompton Moor.

I am not trying to justify my post, much of the content is out of order plain and simple but please hear me out to my reasoning to as to why I would write such allegations.
I wrote what could be viewed as a knee jerk reaction, I was angry at the way you behaved during the recent CMUG meetings and also with the propaganda you have released through nemo.me.uk website.
It is easy to write something which is controversial or even wrong and the publish it on the internet ( I think I have provided the perfect example of this).
It is also easy to get annoyed when you have spent the last ten years campaigning for something and then the last two years seemingly getting so close to achieving one your biggest personal lifelong goals and then it appears that someone is tying to block you from it for no real reason.
Your website does not represent a true and balanced overview of the real feelings of all users of Crompton Moor, more your personal views portraid as those of CMUG.
I am as guilty as you are of portraying personal views but do not speak for club members or my employer, merely myself – Mark McClure
My work at Try-Cycles has no bearing on the plans for Crompton Moor and is also unassociated with my role within North West Riders.
As I am clearly not as well educated as yourself and therefore am semi-literate I am sure you can forgive me not making my argument in a manner in which my point was obvious.
You do have a right to question plans and to have your say when it comes to public plans but im not sure you realise how rude, intimidating and aggressive you can come across, especially during a heated debate about a subject which is obviously close to your heart.
I am pleased to see that you have started to come up with some ideas to propose to the powers that be that would be useful to the user group that you predominately represent. This is surely the way forward to achieving a mutually beneficial situation in the long term.
We are all a little intolerant of each other at times, hopefully in the future there will be better communication between the different user groups and we can start to understand each others needs a little more.
Incidentally you have answered my questions within your response, so in some respect this whole debacle for me was worth while.
I'm sure that you will still think I am an idiot after all of this, and that's fine, we are never going to be best mates but hopefully can co-exist in some sort of harmony in the future.
Mark

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Click here to proceed to the Crompton Moor User Group web site.

Sorry for the distraction.