Chris Maloney, the man behind the ‘Keeper of The Peak’ Twitter account, has been nominated for an award, and we’d like you to vote now and help him win it. Voting is only open until 30th June, so do it now!
He’s been nominated for ‘National Parks Volunteer of the Year’ in the Campaign for National Parks’ ‘Park Protector Awards’. We’d like him to win – we think he deserves it.
As well as the Keeper of The Peak Twitter account – which shares trail condition reports with riders so they know where’s good to ride, where to avoid, or any likely points of conflict, Chris also gets involved with wider advocacy projects and groups and sits on the committee of Peak District MTB. He has been instrumental in helping to bring media attention to the notorious Derbyshire Country Council trail ‘repairs’. He’s one of those people that endures meetings with council officials, landowners and other user groups so that your favourite bridleway doesn’t get covered in steps, or closed off and rerouted because someone wants to build a tennis court in their garden. That’s a lot of volunteer hours, and hard ones at that. There aren’t so many people prepared to spend their free time in meetings.
For the fact fans out there, the term ‘Keeper of The Peak’ started as a bit of a jibe on the Singletrack Forum:
Keeper of the Peak started nearly a decade ago from me giving route advice against using a waterlogged path on the STW forum. “Who died and made you keeper of the peak?” was the not unfair challenge. I thought I’d turn the negative into a positive and set up the feed soon after. It was really just an extension of other things I did in the Peak; leading novice rides, encouraging shy or nervous riders into the hills with friends, all the while looking after the place and encouraging people to care about the places they ride. KoftheP was a quick and easy way to connect people to caring for such an important place – in such a simple way.Chris Maloney
If you need further persuading, here’s what Chris got up to in 2021 alone:
2021 was “THE YEAR EVERYONE WENT BACK OUTSIDE”. For the National Parks, the lessening of pandemic restrictions led to more and more people getting out into the hills, brilliantly so. As more people came back, more people looked for guidance and KoftheP was right there, sharing updates from guid, keeping up with the trail conditions updates, but then also importantly, connecting groups like mountain rescue to wider audience as they managed the challenges of pandemic outdoors access. Keeper of the Peak is a hub to connect people and groups and as things picked up again; events, rides, activities, the feed came alive again.
In 2021 I worked hard to build stronger communities and this started delivering rewarding relationships in 2021. Landowners and authorities have started looking beyond covid, and KoftheP has been at the centre of a lot of that – all from a daft idea for a twitter feed! But at the core is that Twitter feed. It’s one of the first things I check in the morning and the last thing at night – keeping a watching brief on what’s going on and help people to enjoy the park responsibly. It’s gone beyond just mountain bikers too – walkers, horse riders, runners and more use and share the updates from KoftheP. It’s grown far beyond where I thought it would originally.Chris Maloney
While we imagine that the other candidates for this award are excellent volunteers worthy of recognition, Chris is the only mountain bike focussed nominee there. With the Peak District being such an important destination for so many outdoor enthusiasts, it would be great to see Chris’ work being recognised. Elevating the voice of someone so enthusiastically but also so pragmatically pro-mountain biking would surely be a positive thing for the mountain biking world more generally – not just those within the boundaries of the Peak District National Park. Go press that button and cast your vote before 30th June!
Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.
Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.