The usual approach path is really swampy so might be best to pack your wellies. Plenty of people ill equipped, or unwilling to get muddy, walking on the top of the walls and climbing over walls into adjacent fields. Some climbers and some not.
Definitely the case. Some people were using the approach via South Cave, which was certainly a lot less muddy last week.
Can't believe people are still walking on the wall. If they are climbers there is a local byelaw that I've just invented that lets you push them face down into the the mud cow pat slurry. Not much can be done about the sight seers unfortunately.
Almscliff was very busy again today. Alas, a lot of people chose to avoid the muddy corner of the field by not using the stile and instead climbed directly over the wall. Many others walked across the neighbouring field. Some even chose to walk directly on top of the wall that runs up to the crag - directly past the BMC sign that specifically asks people not to do this.
Sadly, a significant proportion of these people were climbers; they were carrying bouldering pads.
Please only use the public rights of way to access the crag (the one by the farm is less muddy).
If you are at the Cliff and see others climbing over the walls, please have a polite word with them. Thanks to the ten or so climbers who agreed to use the stile instead of climbing over the wall after I chatted to them about this.
The parking was also an issue today: some cars were literally parked in the middle of the road. The lane is used regularly by milk tankers and tractors with trailers. There are bits of broken wing mirror lying in the verge!
Having not been to Almscliff for a number of years the obvious question is why don't the local climbers fork out and buy a few bulk bags of gravel and sort out the problem?
For the swamp? I guess because the farmer doesn't want that!
Decathlon 12 quid wellies.
It wouldnt work you'd just make a gravelly muddy mess and it would get everywhere (and maybe harm the animals).
How about some planks then? They could be rested on some spare stones from the wall.
Don't mention the wall!!!!
I think the answer is just respect the farmers land and wall and get some wellies!
If you find a pile of stones somewhere near the wall, they might be spares. If it's on the wall it's not a spare.
Yeah sorry. Can’t take the post down now. Was only having a laugh, but can see the possible implications. No planks, no stones from the wall, just buy some wellies!👍
Surely a short section of raised board walk would work, only has to be a single plank wide so not too intrusive and can be placed right up against the side of the wall. Benifits the grass in the field, less erosion and keeps folks feet cleaner.
You have to pass a gate that is used to move live stock between fields, a raised plank would be problematic for animals and tractors/quads alike. This traffic is the very reason it’s a quagmire in the first place. Take a look on Google Earth and it’s obvious.
Alternatively a raised causeway along the top of the wall but not fixed to it. Doesn't harm the animals or make his field smaller.
I'd like to see the drawings for this...
The BMC Access Rep Mick Johnson is on the case and has spoken to the farmer and BMC. A solution for improving the path and signage has been proposed and funding explored. In the meantime the farmer may put barbed wire along the top of the wall - who could blame him.
Whilst waiting for this perhaps people can buy a pair of wellies or take the 5 minute walk to the S Cave path - please remember there is no parking there though.
How can I get I touch with Mick?
I'd like to help but have no way of contacting him.
As you say, use the other approach. I was appalled last week when I saw them all trooping up the wall or climbing over the wall with their pads on their backs.
Chatting to the farmer over the summer whilst he was rebuilding part of the wall higher up.
He is a really nice and reasonable bloke in my experience and puts up with a huge amount, who could make access much more awkward.
I wonder if there is a role for walls to help educate folk as to how fragile access can be and ways to help maintain it.
The wall will need next to nothing in the way of maintenance if no one walks along the top or climbs over it. The worst that will happen is a bit of settling but that will only be a matter of inches.
Climbers who want to be really helpful could chip in and buy the farmer a couple of tins of anti vandal grease for the appropriate sections of wall.
I think Ian is talking about climbing walls educating the punters.
It's a concept which has been mooted several times but has only been acted on in a limited way I think.
Maybe the BMC access department could get a load of posters printed about respecting the property of others to preserve access. These could be distributed to the various climbing walls around the country and outdoor shops. It may only make a small difference, but every little thing helps. Maybe even a hard sign to be erected near problem access areas spelling out the problem. I am sure that landowners would appreciate the efforts!
I do realise that the BMC has a lot of internal problems, but that should not hinder their work for the climbing/outdoor community in general!
My mistake. I thought he was suggesting that a spell of voluntary conservation work might get people to appreciate their surroundings a bit better.
A leaflet included with large orders of kit indicative of buying a first rack or a bouldering mat would likely be a sensible approach (if not the most environmentally friendly).
I agree with the rest of your post, Tech committee is still doing stuff albeit online.
Apologies, I realise why it wasn’t clear. I did indeed mean climbing walls.
As for the wall at the Crag itself, sniper rifles or buckshot might be my preferred deterrent, but I think such things are frowned upon, so I will stick to offering advice to folk to just get off the wall (and stop ignoring the bloody great sign)
Given that people clearly can't read the sign at the crag itself, what do you think a poster at a wall will do?
At the wall the newer climbers may have a friend who can read?
> Given that people clearly can't read the sign at the crag itself, what do you think a poster at a wall will do?
Well it can't do any harm, surely? And it wouldn't cost much. And, whatever the BMC's internal problems, surely nobody doubts that the staff are doing their best to help us?
There's obviously a huge and ever-growing need to educate folk going from inside to outside about all sorts of things. Access is one. Posters at walls, a little BMC video (Steve McClure?), signs at crags. If they help avoid grief to poor farmers and save crags from getting banned - like Craig y Forwen (sp?) - then money, time and effort well spent imho. Good idea from John.
In reply to...
As you've mentioned it.. we produced a whole set of short web films over the summer. They're aimed at indoor climbers heading out for the first time, and feature influencers such as Louis Parkinson to help spread the word.
They're on YouTube, uploaded to Facebook, were featured on UKC and we also did paid geo-targeted social ads which worked pretty well.
New to the playlist: Malham and Northumberland.
More coming soon (sounds like Almscliff is a good one!)
Have been at the crag today, a section of the dry stone wall adjacent to the road/main parking (about 8m south of and away from the access field corner stile) has become damaged/suffered partial collapse. Could have been nudged by a car or my people climbing over the wall to skirt the muddy access point. Almscliff under a lot of pressure at the moment.
This section of the wall had started to collapse by Thursday 26th November: two stones had been dislodged. The holes that had been left were covered in muddy boot prints. I was upset to discover today (Tuesday 1st Dec) that this section had collapsed further to leave quite a large hole, with only cemented capping stones remaining in place. The field had 40+ sheep in it! The farmer is aware.
Alas, at dusk on Thursday, from a vantage point on top of the crag, I watched 10 climbers - all carrying bouldering mats - walk back across the field at the end of their session. All ten of them climbed over the wall. Absolutely disgraceful behaviour.
It is true that there are many more non-climbers doing the same, but climbers carrying mats are much more visible: as a community, we must persuade everyone to behave much more responsibly than this.
If you are at the Cliff and see inappropriate behaviour, please have a word. Same goes for any other venue, for that matter.
Will be interesting to see if the pressure eases based on the advice relating to not travelling into Tier 2 if you live in Tier 3.
> Will be interesting to see if the pressure eases based on the advice relating to not travelling into Tier 2 if you live in Tier 3.
Not seen any roadblocks set up on the 658 as of yet 😄
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