Bill Mitton Song (Looking for a Tune)
LITTLE DID THEY KNOW
Little did they know that day
Those gamekeepers with staves
That we came there as freemen
This was not our day as slaves.
Did they think they’d frighten us
When we’d spent six days in the dark
Hewing coal by helmet light
We were more frightened of a spark.
We’re Benny Rothman’s tresspassers
And we’re off to KinderScout
Now we’ll put our best foot forward
And their bylaws we do flout
From the Factories and Cotton Mills
To face privilege and wealth
If they’ll not give us the right to walk
Then we’ll help our bloody self.
How could they frighten Salford lads
Who work their night’s away
In factories and foundries
Facing real dangers every day.
These boys and girls all marching
To gain the right of way
To walk across their native soil
And to forge a Pennine Way.
From warehouses in Manchester
And from Trafford Park they came
There’d be no more defeats like Bleaklow
No more turning back in shame.
To Nab Brow on up to William’s Clough
And as they marched they sang
So from the Downfall’s craggy edge
Their joyful and defiant echo rang.
In the end the trespassers paid the price
Gaoled by a jury of “their peers”
And as the sentences were handed down
These Generals and Captains cheered.
Six months for the vile crime of trespass
For the love of the moor and the sky
Love that in a decade's time these young men
Were to fight for and to die.
So think on you modern hikers
As you roam the hills and moors
Of Benny Rothman’s young Trespassers
Breaking laws to open gates and doors.
All long gone but not forgotten
Nor should their trespass ever be
National Parks and our Right to Roam
Are their gifts to you and me.
by Bill Mitton