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Viva El Trespass

The vigorous hand-clapping and syncopated rhythms of the Spanish flamenco rang out across the unlikely setting of the cloughs and groughs of the peaty wastes of Kinder Scout.

This surreal moment took place on Wednesday 5 Aug 2009, when a group of 40 Spanish walkers followed the famous 1932 mass trespass route onto Kinder, led by members of the Chapel-en-le-Frith Ramblers Club.

Kinder Flamenco

'A Desalambrar' is a group of trespassers based in the Andalusian city of Córdoba in southern Spain, who are bravely fighting the same fight as Benny Rothman and his companions did nearly 80 years ago in Derbyshire.

The event was organised after trespass expert and local writer Roly Smith of Bakewell was contacted by Patrick Philpott, the English president of the Spanish group, who was organising a week-long walking holiday for the group in the Peak District.

Patrick explained: "The situation in Andalusia is very similar to that which existed in Derbyshire in 1932; only it’s not the Duke of Devonshire who is the problem, it’s the Duke of Westminster.” Apparently, Britain’s richest man owns an enormous estate in the Castilla-La Mancha region north of Córdoba where King Juan Carlos often goes hunting, and is renowned, as he did in the Forest of Bowland before the CROW Act, for turning away walkers.

So A Desalambrar (the name means "fence-cutters”) regularly trespass armed with wire and bolt-cutters, are fined, report blocked off tracks, research rights-of-way, and organise protest marches. They now have thousands of supporters (one member of the Kinder group was from Portugal) and they wanted to come and see where the trespass movement had begun.

Antonio and PlaqueLeader of the group, Antonio Blanco, was thrilled to visit Bowden Bridge Quarry, above Hayfield, where the 1932 trespassers had congregated and to see the plaque set up in 1982 to commemorate the occasion. "We had a wonderful day,” said Antonio. "The cool and damp English weather was just great for us, because at this time of the year the temperatures in Córdoba are well over 100 deg. but everything here is so lush and green. The waterfalls in William Clough were just wonderful.

"But we also learned so much about the heroes of 1932 along the way, and we want to continue our links with the Chapel ramblers now we have made contact.”

Brian Bethune, chairman of the Chapel Ramblers, was equally pleased with the event. "We normally walk on a Wednesday somewhere in the Peak, but this was a really special occasion and one which we’ll never forget.”

The walk, which was led by secretary Tom James, went up from Hayfield via the Bowden Bridge quarry (where the 1932 trespass is commemorated by a plaque unveiled in 1982), up William Clough to Ashop Head, Kinder Downfall, Kinder Low and down via Oaken Clough.

The impromptu flamenco took place on the 2,077ft/633m summit of the walk at Kinder Low. Two girls in the group broke into the dance, accompanied by much hand-clapping and encouragement, and attracting huge cheers. The Chapel Ramblers gamely responded with Ewan MacColl’s trespass anthem of 'The Manchester Rambler'.

The Spanish group presented Roly with a beautifully-engraved silver plaque to commemorate their visit, from the "Spanish fence-busters” saluting "the memory of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass heroes” which it is hoped can be placed in the Sett Valley Trail Visitor Centre in Hayfield. Plans are already afoot for a return visit to Spain by the Chapel Ramblers in April 2010.

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