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ATV’s: a new reality of rural life

Yesterday we had the first snow of the winter. It wasn’t a particularly heavy or pretty snow, but the neighbors, who have not one but two ATV’s, invited me to ride with them on today’s equivalent of a sleigh ride: the ATV ride.

These neighbors have property on three sides of the abbey’s woodland, and fortunately we get along well. Most of the people in this area, actually, have some form of off-road conveyance. Given that something like half a million ATV’s are sold each year in the U.S. (and the market is growing), this is happening everywhere.

In the hands of the irresponsible, ATV’s can make a serious mess, causing erosion from the ruts they can create. Fortunately my neighbors are responsible. I gave them permission to build a bridge where one of the old rights-of-way crosses a stream on abbey land. Not only does the bridge look much better, a bridge avoids the mud and erosion that can happen where ATV’s ford streams.

These vehicles are not just an American phenomenon. They’re being sold in large numbers all over the world. On the Scottish islands of Mull and Gometra, which I visited in 2018, there are no real roads, so ATV’s are the new mule carts.

Sometimes neighbors ask me why I don’t have an ATV. The real reason is that they cost too much. But I show them my walking stick (which is always with me when I wander) and say that I already have one — an economy model that I picked up in Scotland.

An ATV bridge of all-local materials. Two streams come together here at the lower end of the abbey’s woodland.


  1. Jo wrote:

    Love the view of the snow from the window.

    Sunday, February 23, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  2. frigast wrote:

    Yeah, know them – here they’re called Quads 🙂
    Good to have a nice relationship with the neighbours – actually all-important 🙂

    Monday, February 24, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

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