By: Blonde Two

Today is Back to the Future Day.

For those who did not spend their teenage years in the early 1980’s; this means that it is the date that main characters Marty and Doc (not of Snow White fame) travel to in the second film in the series.

Because many of my courting moments were spent in the cinema watching Back to the Future films; it would be churlish of me to refuse to watch the three of them with Mr B2 (also, I think that my children would divorce me!)

I love any story about time travel; and firmly believe that a paradox a day keeps the bed bugs away. Imagine then, what we would see on Dartmoor if we could launch ourselves twenty six years into the future.

Probably some good and some bad changes; but my saddest prediction is the disappearance of teams of youngsters hiking across the moor.TT 15th March 2

There are those who, for various reasons, do not like to see these youngsters; these naysayers are shortsighted; but they may well end up getting their wish. In twenty six year’s time, if governments and school managers continue with present policies and trends; I fear we will have lost almost all outdoor education. Challenges like Ten Tors and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award have, in recent years, been downgraded within a political regime in which exam results are the be all and end all of personal endeavour. Schools are being turned into businesses, and gain no recognition for outdoor education. Fewer and fewer school managers care about, let alone understand, the days and nights of voluntary work that go into making expeditions happen. The volunteers have gone past expecting praise, and are now having to steal time to make outdoor education happen at all. I should know, I can see it happening all around me, the undermining isn’t even subtle anymore.DBY TT11 2015

So what, I hear you say. Children can grow up without the outdoors; they can’t get jobs without exam results. But you ask Mr Average Employer; a Duke of Edinburgh Award requires a level commitment, teamwork and determination that he would pay his eye teeth to find in his employees; a GCSE in maths does not.

So, a Dartmoor without youngsters? That is clearly a Dartmoor without a future. What can you do about it? Well I suggest that you start asking questions; ask schools, ask local government, ask your MP, ask the business community … ask them what they want to see in twenty six year’s time, and who they want to employ!