As we are celebrating the one year anniversary of our „Freedom to Roam“ group, we would like to share with you some of the successful projects that the group has been working on over the past 12 months
The group was initially set up to provide a platform to better represent the rights to „free to roam“ and give like-minded individuals (and groups) access to all of the information that they need to plan their next outdoor adventure. Having a platform alone was not enough though and we knew that the huts also required some much-needed love and attention. We began by renovating the Obrubovanec hut and in doing so we learned the skills necessary to help plan and implement much-needed improvements to other huts also.
The founder began discussing the premise of freedom of movement sat by the campfire in the 1980s, a premise that would later find traction on the Internet forums as other outdoors people looked for a similar way of life. Forming the Freedom to Roam group allowed those people spread far and wide to come together to a central place where ideas could be discussed and ultimately a community with the same ethos formed.
It began with the registration of the name „Freedom of Movement“ which is the literal translation (Freedom to Roam is more appropriate). Then the first important milestone was the creation of the website itself, finally giving us a tangible platform from which our ethos of Freedom of Movement could be represented. One might say that our declaration is a bit of a bold one! But we believe that positive changes are brought about when there is a shared vision to help capture the imagination of like-minded people. Only when people identify with a cause and come together as one, can it become a reality. We believe that as self-powered tourists (hikers, trekkers, backpackers, cyclists) we can become free to escape the trappings of modern life, allowing us to tune back into nature and our natural surroundings.
2) Hut renovations
– Obrubovanec hut
Other groups can get caught up in discussion and planning only. Not ours, however! We are keen to get outdoors and practice what we preach 🙂 The renovation of the Obrubovanec mountain hut was the first true test of whether we could really pull together as a team to achieve something real and actually make a difference. The tourist portal www.hiking.sk helped us a lot in representing our work and updating people with our plans and ongoing renovations. People began to contribute financial donations, and many that promised to participate in the work party quickly got together. The whole event had to be planned in detail, each step was published on the relevant page. The key person was Kubo without whom we can’t even imagine being able to achieve what we did. Not only did he carry out a huge amount of work, but he also acted as a mentor to the group, helping educate one person after another. Those learned skills then slowly being passed on to others in the group who shared the same passion to learn new skills.
The amazing experience could only have been achieved because of the people who came to help. In the end, we had two work parties, almost twice the number that was reported. They all worked like bees with one common goal, their enthusiasm for the cause empowering the experience and driving the entire renovation.
As well as online this work party also featured in print. One article even being posted in the membership bulletin of our friends at the MBA, the Mountain Bothies Association from Scotland!
In addition to repairing the roof and replacing the rotten supporting beam at the bottom of the north wall, we rebuilt the water well, built a latrine, and fixed many minor things to make a stay at the hut a more enjoyable and practical experience. After finishing the initial work, Braňo took up the unofficial position of the hut caretaker, ensuring that this hut originally built in 1857 will be maintained and cared for in the future.
– Drina shelter
The repair of the Drina shelter took a few attempts. Eventually „Chodec“ taking over the coordination of this and many other group projects. It is fair to say that he works like an „energizer bunny“ never seeming to run out of energy and, together with the help of a great team of voluntary workers and caretakers, made a number of major improvements to the shelter. Installing a new stove and chimney, replacing the windows, building a new woodshed, repairing the roof, laying and leveling a new hut floor, insulating the building, prepping wood for winter fuel, and many other things of which we simply do not have space for here.
– Zlata Studna shelter
On the ridge of Kremnické vrchy, we improved the shed at Zlatá studná, turning it into a functioning shelter by making it water-tight and adding a sleeping platform/sitting area. This place is now a cozy retreat, where you can hide from the elements and stay overnight if needed.
3) Assistance to other groups and other activities
– Mowing the Pasque Flower meadow at Mackov Bok.
Together with several authors from hiking.sk, we contributed to an autumn work party organized by conservationists and OZ Prales, where vegetation from overgrown meadows was cleared to allow new growth. If this were not done, the beautiful Pasque Flowers growing there would eventually disappear.
– Cabanka cottage.
Although this cottage is under the administration of the city, we decided to help out here as well and built a new latrine, prepared wood for the winter, and are planning future events to help upgrade and fix the place.
– Chamkova Stodola barn.
The repair of this iconic building was organized by the guys who came to help us in Obrubovanec, in return we were happy to help repay their help and help them repair the roof on this lovely building
– Log Cabin Renovators website.
There has been a traditional log cabin and wooden architecture protectors and renovators movement for the last 50 years. These saviors of folk architecture became our allies in helping preserve the much-loved timber buildings that allow us to move through the mountains. Therefore, our cooperation with them began by creating the website www.dreveniciari.sk with the idea that in this way we will gradually write a chronicle of important activities of the movement and document not only the saved buildings but also the procedures and traditions on how to maintain them that would otherwise be lost.
4) Gifts and donations
People have very kindly supported us with financial gifts and donations exceeding the value of € 2,500 and we would like to thank them for their generosity. We regularly publish our accounts on the relevant page on our website, where you can view the complete accounting of our group.
Finally, I would like to take this moment to thank everybody, who has made this incredible journey possible. Without you all, we simply would not exist. From volunteering for work parties, becoming donors, and being avid supporters of the cause, it simply would not be possible without you. It warms my heart to see your enthusiasm and willingness to put yourself out there to help others. This shared love of the outdoors embodies everything that the group represents and between us, we can help others find and embrace the joy of nature and free movement in it. Many thanks!
Translated by Pavol „Chodec“ Horvath