/ How to stop out of bounds Cheddar climbing before a ban?

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ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
It really looks as though we are heading for a ban on climbing in the part of Cheddar controlled by Cheddar Caves and Gorge (CCG). So many people are ignoring the restricted periods, and not having insurance coverage (e.g. through BMC membership), and abusing the CCG staff. It would be grim if we got banned and only then the wider community of Cheddar devotees really took seriously the importance of putting our own house in order. At one level, it's not 'our' house in that there are plenty of us who won't see those breaking the rules as part of our group. But that won't stop a ban. So this thread is aimed at us collectively discussing what we might do to help prevent a ban and sort this out. Of course, coordination with/approval from Martin Crocker, CCG and so on makes sense. But we should show willing now to come up with ideas. I know there have been some threads in which these things have been raised, but this is aimed at really pulling all this together to see if we can find something useful. Here are some initial thoughts:

1. More/better signage. I've always favoured this but I understand that CCG don't want it (I don't know why) and there is the point that many of those breaking the ban ignore it (though I think it makes it harder for some to ignore and easier for the rest of us to point out when we see someone.

2. More of us taking the initiative to stop what we are doing and, as soon as we see climbers heading for banned areas, go over to them and explain. I've done that quite a few times and always successfully so far (with no abuse).

3. An online signup for volunteers managed by Martin to do some patrolling at weekends/bank holidays to speak to anyone who is about to head up to a banned area or starting to gear up at one. I would be up for some of that. You could sign up with your climbing partner and do say two hours ot two one hour blocks and climb the rest of the day. It would only take six teams to sign up for this and it would cover 8am-8pm. Volunteers could be provided with a bit of basic training on what to do/not to do, etc. to keep it non-confrontational.

4. Martin/trained volunteers going up to teams on the day climbing in the right places and asking them if they are prepared to patrol for say just one hour. There could be split so that a single trained volunteer could patrol with one or two untrained people and in effect train them as they go round.

5. A really clear leaflet for Martin/volunteers to give climbers as they arrive, getting the gear out of their car. That would help with the ego thing - people could save face by pretending they were never going to break the rules in the first place.

Whatever the specifics, the fundamental thing I think is that we all see it as our collective responsibility rather than leaving it to Martin.

Maybe these are good suggestions, maybe they suck. Views/alternatives welcome.









Choss on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I would go with Having volunteers in car parks talking with people as they are Gearing up... less confrontational than Dealing with things when they may already be climbing in a Banned area. And more effective at keeping owners happy.

I wouldnt leaflet, that could add littering to our communitys sins.
mattrm - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Being gigantically cynical (and I'm not a local and don't know the situation at all) could it be that they don't want signs cause they don't really want climbing so are happy to make it easier to go 'people are flaunting restrictions'.

But signs seems sensible to me. A small leaflet/poster which can be put on climbers cars would be a good idea as well.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

Yup, I agree that speaking to people before they head into banned areas is best.

Good point re the leaflet! Okay. how about this modification - that the leaflet is for showing those who are in or heading to a banned area, and only giving to them if they say they want to keep it.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to mattrm:

I'm a pretty sceptical person too but I am pretty sure that is not happening with CCG. The closest thing to proper signage they allow is a small notice at entry points on the rock fall wire mesh barrier.

Choss's point about the potential litter that may result from generalised leafleting I thought was a good one.
Choss on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

could make leaflet Right Size and on a post it style pad, so sticky and can be inserted/stuck into Front or Back of guidebook?
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

Excellent idea.
mattrm - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Fair enough. Good to hear that isn't the case.

I know at Pembroke they have small red concrete cones to mark out areas of restriction. What about a similar system instead of signs? However I will admit that doesn't always work as a couple of my mates (total berks the pair) abbed into a bird banned area once and afterwards went 'we wondered what the little red cones were for'.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to mattrm:

It's well worth thinking about that suggestion. I suppose the underlying thing is to find out exactly what the reason is for CCG's aversion to signage and see if it can be addressed. It is possible that it is basically an aversion to visual pollution, in which case something small and removable by Martin/volunteers might be the answer (but not too easily removable by ban-ignoring people e.g. a base in the ground, sign padlocked in place)
Ffion Blethyn - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Is there a local gear shop / cafe who might sponsor
the leaflets and have a voucher on the reverse, giving
it some value? Might help the littering, and you may ppersuade them to hand a few out.
Bob on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I'm most definitely not a local and don't know how obvious the boundaries between the allowed and banned areas are, so these are more general musings.

1. It may be that CCG don't want a general proliferation of signs - spoils the tourist's view and all that. What's the current means of indicating the boundaries? At Pen Trwyn it used to be 2x2 posts sticking up about 6" painted red on the banned side and green on the allowed side

2, 3 & 4. Could work but it does require continued commitment from everyone and there may be times due to holidays, etc., when a rota system falls down.
Choss on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

If Volunteers at car parks say we are Handing out guidebook inserts to all Climbers on the current Access Situation, it is non confrontational, gives you an in to discuss the restrictions with them without them feeling they are being Prejudged, and if they were going to Deliberately Climb in a Banned area, would now be less inclined to do so Knowing that climbing 'wardens' are about.
toad - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Well off my patch, but a general point about long term volunteers. It's very hard to get volunteers to commit in the numbers you need in the long term- you might manage a short term effort, but I would expect numbers to drop off in the longer term so maintaining an ongoing "patrol" might prove problematic for you. Having said that, a short term blitz might be all you need to get the message across.
ianlaw - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I haven't been down the wall in a few weeks so not sure if this has been done already, but a stack of leaflets and posters (gurt big uns) down Redpoint, UCR and the bouldering centres would raise awareness. Publicity is mainly being pushed through UKC, Facebook and BMC, and I would hazard a guess that a lot of those breaking the ban may not have seen the articles or be fully aware of the implications. Of course there is a small percentage of climbers who will break the rules and are fully aware but mainly it's just ignorance... I would hope.

The Ex-Engineer - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol: I completely agree with you about 1). There needs ot be a discussion about the exact reason for objections.

Out of the other suggestions I think 5) is the way to go, plus some element of 3) in order to have a group of people not to 'patrol' but to hand out leaflets to everyone they see.

ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to Ffion Blethyn:

Good idea - there are a bunch of them and a bunch of climbing centres
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to toad:

Yes, agreed that sustainability is an issue. I think a way forward would be for Martin to have a list of people's names and mobile numbers and coordinate for specific periods (esp bank hol weekends) rather than week in week out.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Good point re choice of words - 'patrol' doesn't have the right ring to it
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ianlaw:

Another good idea - leaflets at walls.

Which triggers another one - maybe some 20 minute well publicised briefing sessions at climbing walls?
thermal_t - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Right, I'm going to be the next cynic to line up on this thread. I simply don't believe that it is an awareness issue with most people climbing on the banned areas. I tried to stop 2 guys setting off up Coronation Street about 2 years ago when it was out of season, their justification "It has been wet every other time we've tried, and besides, we've come a long way." When you're dealing with that kind of selfish mentality, then you have a job on your hands.

I also know of people that have climbed there without BMC insurance because in there own words "I've never been checked." Unfortunately it seems to be human nature for some to try and push their luck before they will comply.
GridNorth - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

IMO labelling areas as "Summer Season" was a bad idea as it gives the impression that, well, you can climb there in Summer which of course is not strictly true. I'm sure many first time visitors just see that and assume that they can. The first time I tried to make sense of what the guide was trying to tell me I ended up even more confused. It took me several reads to understand. It is complex but I'm sure it could be made a little more clear than it is.
Choss on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

> IMO labelling areas as "Summer Season" was a bad idea as it gives the impression that, well, you can climb there in Summer which of course is not strictly true. I'm sure many first time visitors just see that and assume that they can. The first time I tried to make sense of what the guide was trying to tell me I ended up even more confused. It took me several reads to understand. It is complex but I'm sure it could be made a little more clear than it is.

It isnt very easy to Understand is it... this ambiguity Itself Means people will go, not sure if this is in or out of season, then go for it anyway.

perhaps a first Step would be getting Someone to Straighten the whole thing out in a plain unambiguous way.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to thermal_t:

I am sure that you are right that a significant part of it is not awareness. There will be some who won't pay any heed, no matter what. However, there will also be those who know about the restrictions but climb anyway who rationalise it themselves that it doesn't matter, they haven't been told, no-one really cares etc but who could be influenced by high visibility community disapproval and high visibility of information. Also, if it is widely publicised that authorised climbers are voluntarily out doing awareness raising (let's call it that rather than patrolling), then it will I would guess reduce the number of incidents a lot.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

Yes, I agree completely that it takes a bit of effort and there are then those who are lazy or who use this as an excuse. So clearer info would be better and yes 'Summer' is unhelpful as a label
Choss on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

would a Clearer Better way Possibly be to have Aerial maps Like in Front of CC guide, with each wall labelled, one map for each Period of the year, with restricted areas for Those dates in Coloured red.

Could form an easy to understand guidebook sticky insert to distribute?
thermal_t - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Also, what happened to the summer climbing festival? I wonder if this restarted and gave people the chance to climb the winter crags in the summer, it might reduce the temptation at other times? Would also give a chance to educate a massive group at the same time. Possibly grasping at straws now.
Ramblin dave - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

> I am sure that you are right that a significant part of it is not awareness. There will be some who won't pay any heed, no matter what. However, there will also be those who know about the restrictions but climb anyway who rationalise it themselves that it doesn't matter, they haven't been told, no-one really cares etc but who could be influenced by high visibility community disapproval and high visibility of information. Also, if it is widely publicised that authorised climbers are voluntarily out doing awareness raising (let's call it that rather than patrolling), then it will I would guess reduce the number of incidents a lot.

I'd guess it'd also help to demonstrate to CCG that the BMC and the local climbing community are entirely on-side and doing everything they can and that anyone still climbing is knowingly flouting the ban (and hence presumably would try to ignore a total ban if there was one, too)...
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to thermal_t:

Launched by the 'Rock Arrows' (!) last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF4ecr2OKn4 I don't know what is happening this year.

The climbing festival could be a useful part of a comprehensive approach

Ffion Blethyn - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:

> I'd guess it'd also help to demonstrate to CCG that the BMC and the local climbing community are entirely on-side and doing everything they can and that anyone still climbing is knowingly flouting the ban (and hence presumably would try to ignore a total ban if there was one, too)...


I'd agree with all that. I've dealt with similarish issues and think it's good to do something to resolve the issues but it's as important to be seen to be doing so.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to Ramblin dave:

Yes, definitely - we have to show we are doing our bit.
elliptic on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

> IMO labelling areas as "Summer Season" was a bad idea as it gives the impression that, well, you can climb there in Summer

A clearer term for those would have been "Off Peak".
GridNorth - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Future editions of the guide and any supplements could have a diagram of the gorge with the crags colour coded to illustrate when climbing is allowed in clear unambiguous wording. This could be followed through by colour coding the climbs themselves as re-inforcement of the message. The front cover could be a bold statement of the issues and not a picture of a pretty girl climbing and retailers could be encouraged to endorse the message that the area is particularly sensitive to every purchaser prompted by the no nonsense cover.

Unfortunately I don't think anyone can do anything about climbers who knowingly flout the rules but I would imagine that most transgressions are a case of misunderstanding.
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to elliptic:

Yes, better
ericinbristol - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to GridNorth:

Good idea about the cover.

To all: I will collate all these and pass them on.
Kemics - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

That's a great idea. I must admit myself, that it still takes me a while to work out what's in and when.

I think the vast majority of people climbing on the closed stuff is due to ignorance. Not everyone has a guide and even if you do it take some decoding. The bit about Bmc insurance is even more obscure. A much plainer system for when stuff is acceptable to climb (preferably colour codes) signs as the crags and possibly leaflets at local walls is definitely the way to go.

Have an amnesty of a couple of months, then after that go around vixen tor style and cut people's ropes with garden shears :)
Kemics - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to elliptic:

Why be euphemistic just call it 'summer banned' or something very plain...if grammatically clunky
switch - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Are the routes bolted, that are commonly being climbed while restricted? Is it best to remove the bolts from these, so as to reduce the temptation to ignore the restrictions, and thus sacrifice a few routes, in order to reduce the risk of losing access to the whole place?
andrewmcleod - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to switch:

You can just remove the hangars at Cheddar from the first couple of bolts. I have heard this is done for the bolts above the first belay on Castles Made Of Sand (banned outside winter, but the first pitch is still OK in the summer season).
tomrainbow - on 04 Jun 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod: Are CGC legally entitled to prosecute/fine those who break the rules? That would soon reduce the number of perpetrators...it looks as though, once again, the innocent majority are going to lose out due to the selfish acts of an few idiots.

ericinbristol - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

That could be useful. One of its limitations is that it would involve a lot of routes/hangers though, and when restrictions are just bank hols that is a lot of taking down and putting up again. But maybe there is a compromise. My impression is that the people breaking the ban are overwhelmingly lower grade climbers up to F6b. Using the UKC logbooks, the most popular routes can be identified.

Another thought: it wouldn't surprise me if some of the people doing these routes on out of bounds days are logging them on UKC. Maybe they could be written to, and maybe their ascents could be removed from the database by UKC?


ericinbristol - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to tomrainbow:

I don't know. It certainly is worth finding this out, as it could then be explained to people.
thegorge - changed - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

> I don't know. It certainly is worth finding this out, as it could then be explained to people.

I think there could be some issues with this, firstly someone is going to have to follow it up time wise, most likely CCG staff, easier for them just to say no climbing, also and I'm no expert but it would probably be under trespass which as a civil offence could be loads of work for them
ericinbristol - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to thegorge - changed:

Good point, could be counterproductive to even raise this.
JJL - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Great thread - overdue.

Support your ideas. Would be prepared to do car park patrol for a day as a volunteer if it kept access open.
ericinbristol - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to JJL:

Many thanks JJL.

I have no desire to step on anyone's toes (e.g. Martin's), but I will keep a note of anyone such as yourself willing to put in a day or a couple of hours before/after climbing, even as a one off, to help out.

To all: Any other volunteers?
Toerag - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:
You've got to stop people intending to do the banned routes before they even leave home - if you don't, people will climb to justify their journey. This means posters in every single outdoor shop & climbing wall south of the Peak, putting info in the UKC crag pages and on each banned route description, and getting clubs to let their members know (and confirm to you that they have done so). It only needs signs at the carpark and possibly some small markings at the crags. Padlock the first bolts with a sign or something or remove the hangers. A blitz on it will spread awareness quickly which is what's needed and will eductate climbers into checking the RAD before they intend to climb anywhere.
I notice Coronation Street was mentioned further up the thread - there is nothing in the route description on here to say it has any access restrictions!
Post edited at 14:53
Jim Brooke - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to andrewmcleod:

> You can just remove the hangars at Cheddar from the first couple of bolts. I have heard this is done for the bolts above the first belay on Castles Made Of Sand (banned outside winter, but the first pitch is still OK in the summer season).

I guess there are ~200 sports routes on the affected crags, and there are four separate periods during the year when climbing is not allowed. That's an awful lot of taking hangers off and putting them back on again....
climbwhenready - on 05 Jun 2014
ericinbristol - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to climbwhenready:

Thanks for that. I have just emailed Rob Dyer at the BMC drawing his attention to the thread and asking him to comment/coordinate/assist etc
Jim Brooke - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to Toerag:

> I notice Coronation Street was mentioned further up the thread - there is nothing in the route description on here to say it has any access restrictions!

Good point. Although I believe that is the one route which *does* have a sign at the bottom...

Looking more closely, I see the UKC crag page has an out of date link to the BMC access website. I submitted changes to the crag page and the Coronation St page. Hopefully the moderator will approve them soon.
Jim Brooke - on 05 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Not sure if it's been mentioned already, but an A3 version of the (new) BMC access calendar in the Bristol walls (UCR, Bloc, TCA, Redpoint) and shops (Dicks, Snow&Rock, Taunton Leisure, Cotswold) might remind some of the locals when the summer season crags are closed. (I know several Cheddar veterans who are continually confused about it...)
megamonkeyman on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Toerag:

This is what needs to happen. Totally agree.

All this scare mongering just pisses me off.
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to megamonkeyman:

Sorry, I'm a bit lost. Scare mongering about losing access?
BAdhoc - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

About removing hangers, surely you just need to start with removing the first one, should be enough to put people off at the lower levels.

Also with fining people, all they need to do is go through the effort of fining one or two groups for the message to spread.
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to BAdhoc:

Re removing hangers, sorry if I was not clear: I meant that it would involve taking off/putting on a lot of first hangers.

Yes, I see that argument re fines. Hard to know how to balance it against others.
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ianlaw:

No I am pretty sure the posters/leaflets at walls thing is not happening. Should definitely be part of the picture.
wurzelinzummerset on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I was down there yesterday evening, and a group were going to climb one of the winter-only routes before someone informed them of the restrictions. I think having a leaflet printed each year with specific dates for that year is a good idea, along with a plan view of the crag with the names of the various areas on it. That would also make things easier when approaching people, as regulars could carry a handful of these in their bag and hand them out as necessary. It would need to be as clear and simple as possible, so I think some thought would need to go in to the layout.
Nick Russell on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I'd be willing to do some 'car park awareness raising' duty! I'd advocate restricting this to a few weeks of the year, maybe just bank holidays, May half term and the first week of the summer ban?

Do you think we could negotiate some perk for the volunteers? Even something like a half-price coffee from Costa could be enough to increase numbers volunteering.

According to the latest BMC article, signage is out due to 'visual impact' or something. However, it might still be worth presenting other signage schemes. The red cones (a la Pembroke) on the ground beneath restricted crags, or plastic tags attached to the first bolt of restricted climbs. It's a lot of work to put the tags up and take them down again, but less work than having volunteers 'patrol' for the entire restricted period.
Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

The fines thing is a non starter, totally unenforcable.

Removing/Replacing bottom Hangars would be a job of work, and are they staples or Expansion bolts at cheddar?

I feel Clearer legible Access details, Preferably in visual rather than written format is the way to go, and hopefully a one season info Blitz, will make things Better.

Those determined or who dont care wont be Reached by any Means anyway.

Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Avon Climbing festival should Draw Lots of local and further afield Climbers, a good place to disseminate.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to wurzelinzummerset:

Yes, I am strongly in favour of the clear leaflet to help everyone out in understanding/explaining.

Is anyone on here good at graphic design?
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Nick Russell:

That would be great Nick. I'll add you to the list of people from this thread. Anyone else?

The perk is a nice idea as a symbolic thank you. I'll add that to the list of ideas.

Re tags/cone, when pulling the discussion together into a summary, I'll put pros and cons.
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

Fines: I'll summarise the discussion in pros and ons

Yes, removing all relevant bottom hangers (and putting them back on, and taking them off and ...) would run into hundreds. However, if you check out Cheddar South in the logbooks http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=240, the thing to do would be to target the most popular routes and that would be say 20 and mostly concentrated in a few sectors, which is doable pretty quickly.

There's consensus building that clearer access info well publicised will help.

Excellent idea re publicising this at the climbing festival in Avon Gorge on Sunday 27 July
http://community.thebmc.co.uk/Event.aspx?id=3153
https://www.facebook.com/Climbbristol



Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I dont get this Concept of "fines" at All?

Under whos jurisdiction? what law? which court? Doesnt make any sense at All to me?
Nick Russell on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

> That would be great Nick. I'll add you to the list of people from this thread.

Great, thanks for coordinating. I expect I can coerce a few friends into signing up if we do implement such a system.

As observed multiple times upthread, clearer information would be great. Much as I appreciate the work that went into the current guide, it took me quite a lot of reading and re-reading to work out what the exact arrangement was. If a new guidebook were on the cards, there's a lot of room for improvement. I'm definitely in favour of 'off-peak access', rather than 'summer season': much clearer. ('Open access' and 'winter-only' are fine.)
Bob on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Nick Russell:

Would it be possible to attach a tag permanently to the first bolts of the affected routes? By which I mean some form of plastic tag similar to ID tags for cows which doesn't affect the clipability of the bolt but indicates that the route is restricted in some way.

This would mean that the bolts don't need to be continually blocked/removed then reinstated?
fire_munki on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob:

Would it be possible to attach a tag permanently to the first bolts of the affected routes?


I was about to post something similar! The bottom bolts being coloured then the access guide could have the date ranges you can climb dependant on the colour. Much like the red loops on the lower offs at Trevor Rocks. This would help clarify, what routes were in and what weren't.

This won't stop a$$hats climb as they would do it regardless but making sure everyone who cares is clear can't hurt.
jezb1 - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

What's all this talk of fines?! It wouldn't work.

It's very simple. Clearer information, be this signage or leaflets or both.

The bmc stance of saying more visual signage is out due to visual impact is ridiculous.

The people climbing routes that are banned are mostly doing so because they don't know any better.

Removing hangers would be too much hassle surely?
Kafoozalem - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Since UKC probably reaches more climbers than any other media perhaps a flashing banner advert leading to a poster/satellite map etc. would be a very effective approach.

ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

I'm no lawyer. From what has been said up thread, any fines would be a civil matter and it would be up to CCG to seek a prosecution. My guess is that they are not up for that and would rather just ban climbing (not that that would stop everyone).
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Bob:

Could be: I will add to the list of things to think about. CCG might oppose the visual pollution aspect.
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to jezb1:

It's not the BMC who don't want the signage, it's CCG on grounds of visual pollution.

Re hanger removal, see my suggestion of handful of most popular routes: already done on Castles Made of Sand
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Kafoozalem:

Excellent idea!
jezb1 - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

> It's not the BMC who don't want the signage, it's CCG on grounds of visual pollution.

Then the bmc need to work harder to persuade them that some nice wooden info signs with other interesting stuff on as well as climbing restrictions would not only look good but also be a useful resource.

Bob on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Only have to be obvious from the foot of the route(s) but I don't know the area so don't know how close non-climbers are likely to get.

You need to sell CCG the benefits of whatever proposals you decide on rather than the actual proposals.
climbwhenready - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:
> It's not the BMC who don't want the signage, it's CCG on grounds of visual pollution.

It might be worth the BMC discussing this with CCG. I see their point on large prominent signs, but a small metal tag attached to the first bolt is very unobtrusive. If you don't like that, what about the visual pollution of the bolts in the first place? Non-climbers won't notice.
Post edited at 09:51
Patrick Clissold - on 06 Jun 2014

I am confused about the whole access thing. Can I take a step back and ask a few basic questions:

1) Are the access restrictions legally binding?
2) If there was a complete ban, who stop you climbing anyway? What does the law say? It would probably count as trespass, but the police don't get involved in that.
3) Has there actually been an instance where rock has fallen and injured, caused damaged, scared people due to climbers?

These are genuine questions.
Post edited at 11:30
The Pylon King on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to jezb1:


> The people climbing routes that are banned are mostly doing so because they don't know any better.

I think that may apply to certain a number of the offenders but i also suspect that some just dont give a shit.

> Removing hangers would be too much hassle surely?

Not if the popular routes are done only.

JPGR - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

A question for locals. Is there something else happening here as well?

We obviously have climbers breaking the ban and causing problems with CCG. I was down there a few weekends ago legitatimly on the south side. We where approached by a very hostile local insisting weren't allowed to climb.

Is there pressure on CCG from anti-climbing locals who don't want us in the gorge?

Jim Brooke - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to JPGR:

> We obviously have climbers breaking the ban and causing problems with CCG. I was down there a few weekends ago legitatimly on the south side. We where approached by a very hostile local insisting weren't allowed to climb.

I expect this is due to widespread confusion about what (precisely) is in, and when. The rules aren't *that* complicated, but a lot of people climb there, and a lot of people *think* they know what the rules are without bothering to check their facts - so frequently someone is wrong.

> Is there pressure on CCG from anti-climbing locals who don't want us in the gorge?

Not that I'm aware of. I think CC&G actually *want* climbers to climb (within the restrictions) because it gives something for their bus tours to gawp at. According to Martin on the ClimbBristol pages they are taking some royal visitors on a bus tour on Monday afternoon and are hoping for a good turn out of climbers on the unrestricted parts...
Jim Brooke - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:
From ClimbBristol facebook page :

"Cheddar Gorge & Caves (Longleat) are entertaining Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex (Edward and Sophie), on Monday 9 June (afternoon). CG&C wish to showcase the Gorge and very much its superb climbing. To that end I’ve been asked to talk with the Royals about climbing and the Cheddar Gorge Climbing Project – albeit very briefly!

Given the effort Cheddar Gorge & Caves management and staff have invested in supporting our climbing arrangements it would be very relevant, and reciprocal, if some climbers could come along and be seen in action on the in-season cliffs that afternoon. The Earl and Countess will be travelling down-Gorge on the tour bus mid-late afternoon, subject to any delays; best high-viz cliffs are: Ginsberg Wall, Pinnacle Bay, Stepped Wall, Arch Rock, Horseshoe Bend Buttress, Narrows, Sunset, base of High Rock.

Sadly this comes on the back of a difficult weekend just gone - part of the Spring Bank Holiday closed week (south side) - when no less than eight teams were caught or observed by Cheddar Gorge & Caves staff to be climbing out of bounds. This is something of a disaster for long-term access prospects, and – oddly – came after the preceding Bank Holiday weekend when there were no problems at all (I was present and talking with climbers). We’ve now been left with trying to dowse ‘the flames’ and coming up with a viable way forward to limit future problems. Doubtless it would go some way towards easing the crisis, therefore, were there to be a good showing of climbers on Monday afternoon 9 June (on legit crags, please!)."

So, this is another way to help out...
Post edited at 12:29
climbwhenready - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Patrick Clissold:

I believe 1) and 2) are a case of it's trespass if you don't abide by them, because there's no right of access other than that granted which includes abiding by the access code. So it's a civil offence.
davidbeynon - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

80 odd posts in and nobody has suggested snipers! Shame on you UKC!
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to davidbeynon:

Or a clip stick up the jacksie...
GrahamD - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to davidbeynon:

Or importing hornets nests to the affected areas :-)

Personally I think that some form of plastic tag on the first hangers (even a heavy duty cable tie / label)would make it pretty bloody obvious and a lot less work than removing hangers (and potential damage).

Of course if someone is determined they will ignore anyway but they can't then plead ignorance.
davidbeynon - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to GrahamD:

Hornets nests are probably better, as missing a shot constitutes chipping.
The Ivanator - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to davidbeynon:

The stinging nettles along the base of long wall are already a pretty effective deterrent (a recent foolhardy attempt to approach it in shorts attests to this).
Rob Dyer, BMC - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to all: Hi all, Eric has emailed me to draw my attention to this thread and ask that I engage with it. There have been some good suggestions so far which I'll feed back to CC&G and see how they feel about them. In particular, some sort of traffic light system of small coloured tags that could be permanently attached to the first bolts of routes seems like a possibility but I'll see how they feel about that.

In terms of signage, I understand that many people think this is the answer, but CC&G do not want any further signage in the gorge at the moment. It is their land, so they are perfectly entitled to decide how it is managed. Given the current situation, it's probably best to not add fuel to the fire by complaining about their decision on this on a public forum. The BMC has offered to pay for production and installation of signs for a few years now and the offer stands. However, CC&G don't want any more signs than is absolutely necessary and that's fair enough - if their position changes, we'll be more than happy to produce signs.

I completely understand that access in the gorge is complicated, mostly down to the layout of the crags, but I think that the current Cheddar calendar simplifies things as far as possible. I'd welcome any ideas on how to make it more understandable though. The idea behind it was to keep it on a single page to allow people to easily print it out and keep in their guidebook. One possibility which was mentioned further up the thread is to try to get a map of the gorge with colour coded buttresses/crags which could form a back side to the calendar - I'll look into this. The bottom line though is that whatever system is in place, if you're heading to the gorge make sure you check the calendar to see if the crag(s) you're heading for are currently open.

To those who have commented about scaremongering, that really isn't the case. Access to the south side of Cheddar really is at risk - I don't like being the bearer of bad news, but this is something we really need to sort out now before access is lost. We have the opportunity to help ourselves here and it's great to see the the generally positive comments and ideas coming out on this thread. It shows that climbers really do care and the majority want to do the right thing.

I'll try to keep an eye on this thread for an more useful ideas, but bear in mind that I can't always check UKC regularly if I'm out and about.

Cheers,
Rob

Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

Hi Rob

While your here can you just clarify Access and insurance needs, or not, for the north side for everyone please. Cheers

(Its Sounding a bit Ali G now :-)
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

Thanks for looking in Rob. A few things

1. You think that the current guidebook simplifies things as far as possible but many people think it is not clear enough, which suggests another look is a good idea to see if it can be clearer.

2. A decent number of people is willing to volunteer to do awareness raising on key days and at key times. You didn't comment on that. Do you see it as a good example of climbers being willing to take responsibility and put their own house in order? And if so, would the BMC be willing to provide a bit of basic support e.g. guidance on what to do/say.

3. There is quite a bit of consensus on the value of a really clear leaflet to show people, perhaps sponsored at least in part by the BMC?

4. What about the idea of the removal of hangers from the first bolts from the most popular routes?

5. And the idea of awarneness raising at the upcoming Avon climbing festival?

Thanks

Eric



Jim Brooke - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

> I think that the current Cheddar calendar simplifies things as far as possible.

I agree. If you check the calendar before you climb, it is now really hard to get it wrong. I assume the main problem is people who think they know what's in/out, don't check, and get it wrong. I would not be surprised if locals are more complacent about this, on average, than visitors. So I hope we can get some posters up in the local walls and shops, even just an A3 version of the calendar....
Jim Brooke - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

> 1. You think that the current guidebook simplifies things as far as possible but many people think it is not clear enough, which suggests another look is a good idea to see if it can be clearer.

He said the access calendar is clear. The book is hard to understand because it avoids referring to dates in any particular year, while the calendar is literally a calendar with green/red/yellow boxes on each date. Unless you print the calendar for the next couple of decades in the book I'm not sure there's obviously any way to improve on this....
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Jim Brooke:

Ah, well spotted thanks. I misread that.

So, yes, one sided A5 size calendar each year and people could stick it in their guidebook (the Crocker one anyway).
Rob Dyer, BMC - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

Hi Choss

3rd party liability insurance isn't a requirement for climbing on the north side as it's Open Access land, however given that some of the crags are near to/above the road the same risks apply as on the south side re: damage to cars/injury so I'd highly recommend it.

Cheers,
Rob
Rob Dyer, BMC - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Hi Eric,

Thanks for the reminders. Very quickly:

> 1. You think that the current guidebook simplifies things as far as possible but many people think it is not clear enough, which suggests another look is a good idea to see if it can be clearer.

As Jim says, the calendar does simplify things as much as possible (I think) - that combined with the guidebook should be a pretty good resource for Cheddar climbers. I know that not everyone has access to the internet, but a pretty hefty proportion of the population do these days in some form. So it should be pretty easy for the majority of people to download/print it off once a year.

> 2. A decent number of people is willing to volunteer to do awareness raising on key days and at key times. You didn't comment on that. Do you see it as a good example of climbers being willing to take responsibility and put their own house in order? And if so, would the BMC be willing to provide a bit of basic support e.g. guidance on what to do/say.

This is great and a really positive step forward. I've spoken to Martin Crocker about it and he agrees - I'll see what CC&G think but I imagine this will go down well with them. Could anyone who is serious and genuine about volunteering time for this email me on robd@thebmc.co.uk and I'll start putting together a list of potential volunteers to take to CC&G. This would only work well with a large enough pool of people so let me know if you really do have time to spare. The BMC could undoubtedly provide volunteer support for this.

> 3. There is quite a bit of consensus on the value of a really clear leaflet to show people, perhaps sponsored at least in part by the BMC?

Certainly a possibility, although I think the current calendar sums up what people need to know quite well? If something else was needed, it's not beyond the realms of possibility though.

> 4. What about the idea of the removal of hangers from the first bolts from the most popular routes?

I think this isn't really realistic given that it would involve a lot of work to make happen and that effort could be better used in things like volunteer car park info points.

> 5. And the idea of awarneness raising at the upcoming Avon climbing festival?

This is a great idea and something that could definitely be incorporated into a stand somewhere I'm sure. I'll feed this back to the steering group and see what we can do.

> Thanks

> Eric

>

ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

In brief

- Maybe copies of the calendar will be enough then to show people/give out, and anyone can print them out themselves for that.

- Re volunteers' contact details to you I will start a new thread and cut and paste the relevant bit of your post on that.
Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Rob Dyer, BMC:

Cheers for clarifying...

So, if in doubt on cheddar Access, stick to the north side... Sorted!
Rob Dyer, BMC - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:
Great stuff. We could certainly print out a load of calendars for volunteers to hand out, but we're getting into specifics there. Lets see how the idea in general sits with CC&G and we can sort out exactly how it will work after, providing they are happy with the idea. Regardless - drop me an email if you're interested as it will give an initial idea of volunteer numbers.

Cheers,
Rob
Post edited at 16:09
Toccata on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

As a long-time fan of Cheddar climbing, I am disgusted by the actions of a few. I don't believe it is ignorance either and suggest that tags would be removed also. Would it be possible to padlock the lowest bolt, perhaps with the addition of a small durable tag explaining the restriction? These would be very quick to place and remove and even 200 routes could be covered in a morning by two or three volunteers.
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Toccata:

The more of us that say we disapprove the better. Yes, I am sure that some just don't care and if they think the rest of us don't care either they will be emboldened.

Any specifics such as padlocks will understandably be very much a decision for CCG. They might be worried about visual pollution. I am sure Rob and Martin will feed in all ideas such as this.

The main things though are for us to speak out generally, show CCG that climbers really are putting their own house in order and volunteering to go to Cheddar and do awareness raising. Please email Rob if you are up for that. http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=589117
Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Already Emailed Rob Eric :-D
ericinbristol - on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to Choss:

Grand. I have transport, happy to give Bristol-Cheddar return lifts.
Choss on 06 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:
> Grand. I have transport, happy to give Bristol-Cheddar return lifts.

Me Too, thats at Least Two Bristol cars at our disposal already then :-)

Ps... Happier to be Driven Though, cos i Like a cider or Two
Post edited at 16:53
Dogwatch - on 07 Jun 2014
In reply to Patrick Clissold:
"What does the law say? It would probably count as trespass, but the police don't get involved in that."

Not correct. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1994/33/section/61 gives police powers to instruct trespassers to leave and if so instructed, it is a criminal offence to refuse.
Post edited at 17:36
dereke12000 - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

I'm one of the many who does find the Cheddar restrictions confusing and so tend to go for the easy option of the North side crags.

I realise a lot of careful negotiations went into arranging access at Cheddar, but if you don't climb there regularly or weren't involved in drafting the arrangements then it is not immediately straight forward to understand.

I suggest putting the access restrictions into the UKC database on a route by route basis, so you can see immediately whether you can climb a route or not at any given time. The BMC Cheddar Access Calendar might be the definitive guide, but it takes some decoding.

If I wanted to climb at, say, High Rock, the Calendar says:
"High Rock. Lower left wing: Play the White Man to Sherryland (single-pitch routes only). Right wing: The Twilight of Imperialism to Dada (single-pitch routes only)"
I'd need to find the 4 different named routes (which I don't know) to work out which of the 75 routes listed at High Rock lay in the permitted range. Not a problem if you are familiar with the place, and/or involved in writing guidebooks and access calendars, but it is not obvious...
robbo99 - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

Perhaps CCG or the BMC could publish a list of the specific climbs or at least crags where access restrictions are being violated? This might help to raise awareness further and allow other climbers to be more vigilant of those areas.

Good on Martin for investing his time in trying to preserve the access
robbo99 - on 09 Jun 2014
In reply to Dogwatch:

Police doing anything seems unlikely given they don't bother patrolling to stop the idiots racing up the gorge in their supposedly modified cars. The exhausts are so loud it's impossible to talk to your belayer from more than a few metres up.
The Pylon King on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to ericinbristol:

It's pretty amazing that absolutely no-one turned up on monday for the Royal visit to try and show good will to Cheddar caves!
ericinbristol - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

I would have loved to but I am currently working massive hours due to an upcoming deadline combined with two children in the middle of A-level exams.
robbo99 - on 10 Jun 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Only found out this was happening after talking to Martin on Sunday. Maybe I missed it but didn't see anything ok ukc advertising. Would have been glad to take the day off work too!

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