Clear as mud then !
Well I read that yesterday and thought it wasn’t very clear at all.
I interpreted it to mean I can walk to a spot from my house and climb / boulder.
Then I read elsewhere (a friends FB) a reply from a BMC employee implying otherwise.
It seems a confusing message to me.
Apologies it's not clear but we've tried to get clarity on this from Welsh Government and the advice is incredibly confusing and not clear at all. The response we are getting is to "follow the updated guidance" on exercise on the Welsh Government website and not to over interpret what is there.
I've updated the article today to reflect the most recent guidance which seems to change daily and also reflects the thoughts and some interpretation from colleagues in other outdoor recreation bodies.
The key message is to stay local. Welsh Government do have a definition of what "local" means in their guidance but it's not particularly helpful or clear (according to the WG guidance its an "arbitrary" concept!). Also, in Wales, the regulations state that you can only exercise alone or with members of the same household and that any form of gathering is illegal. For instance, if a number of different individuals turned up separately at a venue such as Castle Inn or similar place, to go climbing would this make it a gathering? It could certainly create an access issue if nothing else, if local residents were to complain to the police and landowners. The example I was given regarding travel to play golf (who are allowed to open their courses in Wales on Monday ) is that people will have to travel to the nearest golf course not their preferred golf course.
What has been made clear is that if the Government feel that people are taking the mick and are flouting the guidance and travelling to participate, then they would tighten up the guidance again....and of course this would have long term impact on access to many climbing venues and the way landowners and conservation bodies view climbing.
I might take up swimming blindfolded through porridge as a hobby after this - I'm getting plenty of practice!
Access & Conservation Officer Wales
Hi Elfyn, just a quick one for you that might well be pointless, but I'll ask it anyway and offer my apologies if you're sick of reading it: In talking to the government and so on, has there been any indication that driving a short distance is reasonable? It seems that the official line is that we shouldn't be driving any distance whatsoever to enjoy the reopened golf courses, garden centres, KFC branches, and even shopping centre in Merthyr Tydfil (as of tomorrow) and that legally anyone using these places is expected to have walked, but there's such a huge logical contradiction in that concept that I'm curious as to whether any of the official communication you've received has at least acknowledged that. Being ~10 miles from numerous out-of-the-way crags is somewhat frustrating, particularly as people seem to be fine to drive to the aforementioned places of business. I'm even at the point of cross-referencing maps of crags with garden centres so as to have a plausible reason to be out...
Diolch yn fawr Elfyn. Many thanks, appreciate it's difficult.
See the item at 19:49 on this link https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/coronavirus-live-welsh-health-chief-18247772 - Mark Drakesford said it's OK to go fishing as long as you walk there. It would be reasonable to assume that the same applies to climbing.
I wish I could answer that but the the responses on this are simply not clear. I can only restate that you have to look at the guidance. There is definitely contradiction within the guidance on this. I think Golf course are being regarded as "businesses" in the same way as garden centres that are also now open as this might be why driving to them is accepted? Realistically, walking or cycling to a venue is the only sure way to be within the law. The actual regulations have not changed at all, other than to allow exercise more than once a day and that travel to, from and within Wales for exercise is regarded as non-essential, unless for medical reasons (such as requiring a wheelchair friendly path or similar).
I actually feel for those who have to try enforce all of this!
> and even shopping centre in Merthyr Tydfil (as of tomorrow)
Places like this opening far too early will be the reason we may see another spike in cases, not a few folks going to outdoor spaces to climb etc.
Thanks for the considered reply Elfyn - "swimming blindfolded through porridge" is very apt. As others have said, much appreciation for the work you're doing on our behalf!
Here's a link to the Merthyr shopping centre story for Skip: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/trago-mills-re-opening-merthyr-18243607. Obviously pretty horrifying, and somewhat galling when weighed against our legal inability to drive to a bit of rock in the middle of nowhere.
Thanks for all your efforts on this Elfyn, I'm sure the vast majority of us are massively appreciative of it.
Trago Mills - no surprise there.
The BMC have launched a 'No Moor BBQs' campaign, after countless devastating moorland fires. They are calling on the government to criminalise the use of disposable barbeques on open moorland, with a severe penalty for anyone caught.