/ Slipstones Closed!
I received this email today from a long standing area regular who was pretty disgusted by recent goings on at the crag. The Nidderdale/ Slipstones area has always been sensitive from an access point of view. If anyone knows who these climbers (or the instructors) were. Please have a word!!
.... I visited Slipstones last Thursday and again yesterday. At the left end of the crag we found signs of rocks been thrown/damage to boulders, and a lot of embedded blocks were upturned - a right mess. We tidied things as best we could. Talked to a group from Ripon who said that mess was caused the previous week by a group of "bored teenagers" on a climbing course, these same teenagers also lit a fire!! Unfortunately we are not sure where the course came from.
On the climbing side.... I found the starting holds on Wisecrack Direct Start had been improved [again] by chipping...no longer 6b. Who are these morons?
Yesterday [Sunday], we were just leaving the crag when I spotted SMOKE rising from Lay-By Area. On investigating we found three lads and two girls [climbers] having a Bar-Be-Q using two disposable units. The group looked to be uni-students about twenty years old. We pointed out firmly but politely, that fires were not allowed / high fire risk etc. They said they would put the fire out and we left. However, on looking back at the crag from the moor gate smoke was still rising....looks like they ignored our warning. By the way, the NO FIRES sign was clearly displayed at the gate so they must have seen it! Also, the NO DOGS sign at the gate has been defaced and two groups had dogs with them!
I would hate to see the crags closed due to blatent selfish acts like these ....
Not climbers but local idiots again - seems to be a recurring theme these days...
>>> On the climbing side.... I found the starting holds on Wisecrack Direct Start had been improved [again] by chipping...no longer 6b. Who are these morons? <<<
Thats sad - who would want to bother doing that? We have this in the Peak Dave and it always seems to be the consensus that its non climbers thinking thats how you climb rock (as per Robin Hoods Stride - Ilkley and Caley)
Are the holds treatable to restore them do you think & is bad enough for that ??
- if so - we might be able to help.
Peak Access Rep
The lot with the barby were climbers :-(
> The lot with the barby were climbers :-(
If I had to pick anything out of that lot that wasn't too bad was the barbies as long as they put them out
- still bit stupid on a moor though ...
- but I have to admit that we used to have disposables in the woods for a picnic when we were kids - put them on rocks to stop any damage and took them home doused in water.. whose to say they might have done that?
Here's hoping they did - not ALL climbers are necessarily enviromentally freindly I guess...
I LOVE Slipstone by the way - it pains me to say it as a Peakite - its the best Grit in the world!!
Lighting a BBQ at a crag when there is a big sign on the gate you walk through to get to it with "NO FIRES" in large letters on it is more than a bit stupid.
As for the chipping I just don't believe it's "local idiots". Slipstones isn't a crag full of chipped holds and carved graffiti like Almscliff or Caley, like it or not the person that chipped those holds was a climber who felt the need to bring that bit of rock down to their level. Just like whoever it was all those years ago that chipped the pocket on the Keel.
I suppose they would object to a Trangia too? What's the problem?
All the rest of it I agree with wholeheartedly. It's annoying to hear about the climbing group thing because I'm an SPA too. I would make sure none of that nonsense happens. I don't put up with any shit like that from any youth group. And if it did happen and they refused to repair the damage, then I would have to do it myself as best I could. Best thing is make sure it doesn't happen in the first place of course.
And as for chipping - well what can you say? I just can't begin to fathom the mentality of these people - what the f*ck are they thinking? They must be PROPER meatheads.
I suspect they are thinking "I've climbed a load of problems on Yorkshire gritstone with obviously chipped/improved holds, why shouldn't I make these holds a bit bigger too?"
Don't get me wrong, I think chipping is inexcusable but it's pretty short-sighted to dismiss the improvement of holds on climbs as an act of ignorant non-climbers perpetuated by the same people that carve their initials into the rock all over the country. It seems to me that there are a few climbers that either fail to understand, or deliberately disregard, the difference between cleaning/brushing and improving holds.
Thats what one would hope that is not the case - but you have a point and its not something to rule out - but my god in these days - you would hope not...
The question is how can they be identified and shown that what they have done is unacceptable?
>apart from the BBQ part which I think is REALLY ANAL. Disposable BBQ units are NOT 'fires' as such - the signage is meant to prevent fires on the ground, not in a bloody foil thing that isn't damaging anything.
Words fail me, they are more likely to start a fire than a cigarette end, keep the things well away from anything that could burn, and pour water on the hot ground where anyone has had one.
I curently live in a foreign city where use of disposable BBQs at the weekend is rife; in parks, road verges, beaches, any and every public space. No doubt they are fine if used and cleared up carefully but reality is that a high proportion of the burnt charcoal gets spilt, permanently damaging vegetation and in the wrong circumstances certainly a fire risk. Dave is quite right to mention it IMO.
And I live (not much longer I hope) in southern CA.
Every year some git manages in a single moments thoughtlessness to cause millions of dollars in damage and sometimes take lives; you've all read about the firestorms here. Last firebug killed 5 firefighters.
Agreed if NO FIRES is posted theres a damned good reason for it.
Should be able to get some access signs up on the path.
I've been going to Slipstones for years and to my mind it is the best crag in britain. Sadly however following my last visit I think I'll be going back less and less, it can't take the number of people using it and remain as it is. What was just 3 years ago a quiet unspoilt crag is now getting to be a real mess, there are deep paths everywhere, cigarete ends scattered here and there, snapped patches of heather. It just can't cope with the volume of people using (and in some sad cases it seems abusing) it. I wish the mags would stop running articles on it in light of this. I was also sorry to see it appear in the Rockfax database recently too.
The whole thing is very sad especially considering I no longer think a ban would be the worst thing that could happen to the crag.
> I've been going to Slipstones for years and to my mind it is the best crag in britain. Sadly however following my last visit I think I'll be going back less and less, it can't take the number of people using it and remain as it is. What was just 3 years ago a quiet unspoilt crag is now getting to be a real mess, there are deep paths everywhere, cigarete ends scattered here and there, snapped patches of heather. It just can't cope with the volume of people using (and in some sad cases it seems abusing) it. I wish the mags would stop running articles on it in light of this. I was also sorry to see it appear in the Rockfax database recently too.
It's a real connudrum and is getting serious .....there are more and more reports of litter at the crags.
See Eagle Tor, Secret Garden etc here http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=237019
Also this from the Moonblog.
POSTED BY: BEN MOON
Rubbish at Burbage West
It really was a lovely day out in the Peak but slightly spoilt by all the rubbish at Burbage West. I hate to lecture but everyone, climber included should make sure they take they little home. And if you didn't know, climbing tape, tooth brushes, footmats and old towels all count as litter! "
Look at the ground at any popular picnic site - all those black / yellow square scars on the ground? - guess what. It's heat not fire that causes irreversible damage. At least a conventional BBQ is usually on legs. Those disposable things just sit on the ground.
> I suppose they would object to a Trangia too? What's the problem?
Could the BMC do a Boulder Smart Campaign, similar to the Access Funds in the US? Using high-profile climbers.
Just a general point about 'pointing fingers'.
The guidebook/mag/interweb/climbing dvd finger pointing misses completely. Lots and lots of crags are in guidebooks and mags....ha.....there is no cause and effect there. It is climbers, or rather some climbers who leave litter.
Crags can take a lot of traffic and still stay beautiful. There are many examples in the UK.
In some ways though, I think this particular crag is evidence of the fact that guidebooks and databases have very little effect on traffic at crags. Slipstones has had very little coverage over the years, missing out on a full blown entry in the Yorks Grit Bouldering guide.
Perhaps a responsible entry in the new North of England guide, highlighting the problems, might be beneficial since at least people would be aware of the issues before they go.
An interesting counterpoint Alan, I accept that, good information is better than no information. I'm just commenting on what I've seen over the last few years, the number of people visiting soared after a couple of magazine articles ran (2002/3?) and I assume from the eroded paths and general shabbyness it has continued to rise. Back when I started going it was unusual to see another party there on a nice Saturday or Sunday.
It might be worth contacting bewerley Park as they have been using Slipstones, all be it infrequently. I can not see them being responsible but they have had a few "chav" courses there recently.
Also I fear I might know who the BBQers are, next time they come into my shop I'll let them know the situation.
To be honest, it's probably just the massive rise in popularity of bouldering in the last couple of years, seeing as Slipstones is predominately a bouldering/ highball crag. I can't imgaine mags having such a drastic effect and it only receives a passing mention in rockfax but maybe your right.
Slipstones used to be an isolated and lonely crag, really very beautiful (or maybe I'm looking through rose-tinted spectacles), it'd be a real loss to see its decline.
where are all the boulders overturned and where has the damage to the rock occured?
i also dont agree with the idea that it was simply caused by "bored teenagers". who told you that?
I think it's inevitable that Slipstones would go this way, you can't keep something so beautiful unspoilt, it'll be Callerhues next, mark my words.
It's popularity comes from the present style of climbing, people love to carry pads not racks these days so Slipstones is always going to be higher on the agenda than Dovedale Church. It suites the current trends.
It does concern me that so many folk have said they don't see the problem with BBQ's at the crag! They produce a lot of heat and it would take next to nothing to get the tinder dry moors flaming. Not that I want to go putting things into order of badness but surely a roaming dog will do less damage than a moorland fire and one on a lead possesses less threat than a well watched BBQ....
A lot of mini crags seem to be taking a rough time these days, and many of them can't absorb the inreased popularity like the bigger crags can.
well its the same rose tinted specs as i wear then. I'm lost as to what could be done really. I guess theres no feasable way of leaving the odd crag as a hidden gem as the guide book writers feel they have to include everywhere, maybe rockfax could take the pictures of slipstones when its raining so only people who are properly determined get there? (or maybe not inclue it at all - pretty please ;-) - i know that this is a ridiculous request though) A recent month where 2 of the major climbing mags ran a slipstones special at the same time can't have helped.
its a frustraing issue because if evryone kept their "local" quiet no one would be able to find any climbing.
> It does concern me that so many folk have said they don't see the problem with BBQ's at the crag! They produce a lot of heat and it would take next to nothing to get the tinder dry moors flaming. Not that I want to go putting things into order of badness but surely a roaming dog will do less damage than a moorland fire and one on a lead possesses less threat than a well watched BBQ....
seconded. it might be fire in a box but its still fire. its a messy activity and even with the best of intentions it won't all get cleared up.
on a similar subject if you watch stone monekey and look at the bit where jonny walks down the track to froggat its covered in grass - not the case now
You can't blame the guidebooks. It's all word of mouth. If somewhere is no or not to taste good people won't go. I can tell you how great the Churnet is, have articles published in mags about it with great photos, tell people about projects and lines which need repeats and so on, but because it's not flavour of the month folk still won't go.
You're as well to blame yourself for telling your mate what a great time you had there who then tells two of his mates and so on than to blame the publications. It has been in guidebooks for years, everyone has known how lovely up there it is for years but it's the current trend which has got people going there, nothing else.
There's some truth in this and in some ways it's reassuring, at least like so many other hotspots (eg peak limestone) of the past it will one day eventually fall out of favour again and return to sustainable levels of use. I don't belive it's all word of mouth though, I know several people who've asked me about the place having read a magazine article on it.
This is again true and I do feel somewhat guilty of this, I have overe the years enthused almost endlessly to whoever would listen about Slipstones. It has been in guides for years in a fairly low key way (eg YMC guide), it really was a very quiet little crag until the big multipage ticklists started to appear in the mags. Whether they drive the trends or simply respond to them is an interesting question. I feel personally they've driven this trend.
I take the point that word of mouth is a big effect but I'd still say the crag got more popular after the excellent NE england guide came out with its super photo topos.
a good access sign thats says no fires (or BBQ, or cig butts or ..) *because* of the fire risks to the moorland from a spark etc is better than a NO FIRES poster.
Something explainig the access situation would (hopefully) educate climbers to not use BBQ, to maybe take home rubbish and stop dogs (or loose the crag) etc
there is no hope for the public though :-(
It's popularity is something that we can't do much about I'm afraid, but the way it is treated there is. BBQ's and litter can be from anyone, but chipping, finger tape, tick marks, towels are ours, besides, what walkers actually go up there, which suggests the litter and BBQ' will be climbers too?
The Churnet is in North Staffordshire, near Alton Towers.
No finer recommendation than word-of-mouth........marketing companies pay a premium for that type of viral marketing and have started 'planting' people in social situations to do just that....big-up products.
Honestly Mick? I can't tell if you're winding me up or not! I can completely believe it though.
Why would I lie to my friends? I told them the truth, it's great but getting trashed by over use, I'll probably even take them there one day. I would no longer recommend it on here if someone asked 'where's good in North Yorks?'.
It's hard to point the finger of blame at anyone but climbers with Slipstones, it's remote and not on a footpath. People who blame 'local yoofs', 'the public' or 'groups' are deluding themselves. Climbers, real climbers, good and bad do this damage. That includes me.
I dunno what the problem is, there's less litter at Simonside than there was in the 60's, there's virtually none at the other popular crags. The only litter at Corby's is what motorists/touroids throw over the top. Is this a peaky problem? So many people climb down there that you get more assh@les just by percentages? If it suddenly increases in Northumberland after the new Rockfax for N England comes out we'll have a better idea, won't we?
Or maybe it's just that thing where oi something is pristine and clean, people are more likely to keep it that way.
I think there's a lot of truth in that, and because of that, I think the only way to tackle the litter problem effectively is to not just say 'don't drop litter' but for us to spread a much stronger message: 'pick it up'. If those of us who don't like to see litter at crags react to its presence by picking it up, rather than leaving it there and walking away feeling sad, the problem will literally vanish.
Just remembered, someone had a nice new wooden table at Wooller last year. Set a disposable barbie up on it and last seen pouring water on it to extinguish the fire, one table destroyed by conducted heat.
> I take the point that word of mouth is a big effect but I'd still say the crag got more popular after the excellent NE england guide came out with its super photo topos.
That is a possibility, though when I was up there working on Northern England back in October there were about a dozen parties there - and they all had Yorkshire Gritstone (its the kind of thing I notice - don't ask why!).
Guidebooks are adverts for crags are they not?
found: one green towel at slipstones last night. you can't have it back as its going in my bathroom.
I've read this paragraph about five times now and someone is going to have to help me with it. Can someone with more inteligence than me please explain it word by word. Thanks
> I've read this paragraph about five times now and someone is going to have to help me with it. Can someone with more inteligence than me please explain it word by word. Thanks
> The Ent
Not that I have any intelligence but I'll try and help. The poster, Andy S, seems to think that barbecues have a cold flame and have zero chance of igniting anything.
It's a 'duh' moment Ents, even Homer wouldn't need it explaining to him.
Perhaps the poster is ignorant of the fact that countless fires have been started by barbecues, even those in the tin foil thingies....especially if you add alko pops into the equation.
That makes sense but Andy S's profile says he's 27? How do explain that?
> That makes sense but Andy S's profile says he's 27? How do explain that?
Simple explanation Ents, he isn't thinking beyond himself. It is a fairly common condition. I was afflicted with it myself once. I think it may kick in in the early 30's, but as you know I hate to generalise.
Oh bugger off.
It's now 49 years since I first went to Slipstones, and I've only managed to return a few times, the last time two years ago. It has certainly changed, and not for the better - but it's far from unique in that. Any chance of a "volunteer warden" scheme? Terry Tullis kept the villains in check at Harrison's pretty well.
While I'm about it, Dave, you credit me with a lot of firsts at Slipstones, some of which I certainly didn't do! Must have been a misinterpretation of the ancient Brownie pics I sent you ....
Anyway - keep up the good work.
The first ascent list in the latest Definitive guide just gives a list of the earliest routes and says 'Acredited to Martyn Berry with lads from Pollington Borstal'. I understood these were all routes climbed by you or various members of your groups around that time i.e. the earliest recorded ascents. If you can be more specific I'll do my best to amend things but if not I hope the generalisation fits well enough to explain the historical context. You deserve your place in the history of Yorkshire climbing Martyn.
Regarding the volunteer scheme, I think its a bit remote to expect full time wardening but long term regulars like Tony Marr and his Cleveland pals who alerted me to this recent problem do a pretty good job at reminding newcomers of the sensitivities of the place.
Thanks, Dave - you're very kind! It's far too long ago for much clarity of memory, but I know that some of the first climbs were done by not only the Pollington lads but also my fellow-students from Pembroke College, Oxford - especially John Lampen, Chris Sharp and Nick Round. I think I put the names on the back of some of the pics I sent you. I recall that John and Pollingtonian Tom Walkden (who had an incredibly long reach) did some of the bits I chickened out of. We had no ropes. Incidentally, the united college-borstal team played Repton College Catterick Cadet Camp XI at nearby Thornton Watlass and I had Sir Len Hutton's son Richard (later also an England player) stumped for two. Happy days ...
Cheers - Martyn
You mention the defaced NO DOGS sign.
I too have taken my dog to Slipstones, but I checked the BMC access site in advance and as far I can see it makes no mention of a dog ban!
Yes, I too noted this. What is the reasoning behind it, is it different access to land to other areas? Dogs on leads and under control I completely understand as a precaution for ground nesting birds but don't understand why no dogs at all? I presume they use gun dogs there when there is a shoot?
Dave B :((
i dont understand why there has been such a reaction?
yes i know that the area has become well trodden but isnt this just like any crag?
i was up there just recently and could not find any abuse, but i suppose i wasnt looking for it.
I think it is still well worth a visit.
It isn't just like any other crag.
If you knew the history of Slipstones you would know that access was always delicate.
Parking was a problem, dogs etc.
The onus is on climbers to stick to the rules so's not to f**k it up for everyone.
It's not too difficult to find somewhere else to have a f**king BBQ FFS.
Sorry for the language but some peoples selfishness really pisses me off.
My first visit there where only a few paths...
Take a wander up the valley to brownstones if you want to see what slipstones used to be like. But use the path I came to it first time accross the moors in summer bloody hard going.
Cheers Dave B
i know it isnt good; but i dont see that there is much anyone can do now with regards to the trampling and popularity.
i do however think that BBQs should be outlawed in the area not only due to the fire risk but theyre also like having a fire with all the smoke.
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