/ SHORT REPORT: A Sexy Guidebook and the BMC Area Peak Meeting
Mick Ryan also reports on the BMC Peak Area Meeting last Wednesday. The topic of bolted belays at Millstone was on the agenda and it was discussed whether Martin Kocsis should be writing personal opinion columns under the BMC logo in Climber magazine.
Finally why do the Climbers' Club want to borrow £200,000 off the BMC?
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=2806
"an application by The Climbers' Club to borrow £200,000 from the BMC to help the CC purchase a new club hut in Grange, Borrowdale"
I hope if granted it'll be on condition they make it available to all other BMC clubs
The one with his hand to his ear? Think he was getting the translation from Yorkshire into Staffordshire dialect through his earpiece.
For one, despite the fact that it gets published and printed in many thousands of magazines, you pretty soon come to the frame of mind that nobody reads them. In my experience they get written, printed and sent out and that's the last you ever hear of them. You virtually never get any feedback.
I don't know if this is that same for martin, but the offshoot is that you just end up writing whatever pleases you, just for your own entertainment. I don't know if he gets any positive feedback. I have read and enjoyed his column, but I certainly wouldn't tell him so - and i work in the same office!
Martin seems to have got a lot of stick for this. It doesn't seem all that to me, but if people do feel their efforts are undermined by it all I'm trying to say is that in that role it's easy to write what is on your mind for your own entertainment. Also a lack of response may well ead a columnist to stray into more provocative terrain to try to stir some interest in their pieces. Provocation and offence can often be the same thing seen from different sides.
Or who knows. Maybe he was just trying to offend.
The guidebook is brilliant, thanks to family offwidth and the rest of the team.
I'm not sure I agree with Mick's report on this, but he'll get upset if I say it's inaccurate, so I'll just tell you my view.
First and foremost I think it's important that BMC officers care about the sport, are enthusiasts, have opinions and aren't afraid to voice them.
I also think Martin's piece in climber is very useful - it adds a bit of flesh to the bare bones of the BMC news, makes the BMC a bit more human, a bit more accessible to the climber/hillwalker in the street etc. And as you say he's been doing it for some time, probably hasn't had much feedback and probably thinks each month "what the hell am I going to write about"
The big problem with the latest article is the comments about other bodies access reps have to deal with, which simply should not have appeared under a BMC banner, but I'm sure that's a mistake that won't be repeated.
The more difficult question is whether it's right for Martin to express more contentious ethical opinions under a BMC banner. My personal view is that all debate is healthy and there is no such thing as heresy - I diasagree with him over Millstone, but largely agree with him over neglected limestone crags. Maybe he could have been a bit more balanced, but there will always be some people offended by the very notion of placing a bolt and you can't please all the people all the time. Should it be under a BMC banner - why not ? Why shouldn't the BMC promote active discussion about ethics ?
But here we have the other problem - both of Martin's last two articles contained side-swipes at area meetings, or maybe just the peak area meeting and maybe one or two people in particular. So on the one hand he's saying "lets discuss this", and on the other he appears to be saying "don't bother going to a BMC area meeting to discuss it". Which didn't go down too well amongst the 25 or so people who had dragged themselves across bleak, foggy moors on a truly grim evening to do just that.
Anyway, I won't be too upset if only half a dozen people bother to turn up to the next one - looks like I have to chair it !
Or, even more so - open to all BMC members (not just affiliated clubs) and on terms equal to those enjoyed by CC members.
I guess different people get different impressions. I don't recall anyone saying Martin's comments on conservation bodies WERE disparaging, just some said that they might be read that way (and in response some disagreed in the subsequent debate). On the BMC banner issue there was also disagreement within the discussion: ranging from a view that Martin's points were clearly part 'devil's advocate' to an opinion voiced that it was all getting a bit unfairly personal.
So in respect of Martin's articles the only really clear consensus I recall was the meeting did not want fixed lower-offs in the Keyhole Cave (with possibly a abstention or two because of the personal issues above).
So another BMC meeting had some healthy lively debate. I for one was glad to attend, listen, contribute, (get sent to the naughty corner) and catch up with some people over chips and sarnies. I survived a lone foggy visit to a Newstone's grave and an even foggier drive home (when at time the verges were not even visible.... Reuben really is a star navigator). Some of us even had a very nice guidebook launch the next day.
1. Martin wasn't at the last Peak Area meeting because he spends Wednesday evenings with his frail and elderly father up in deepest Doncaster. This was explained to the meeting in an email read out by the Secretary Lynn Robinson.
2. Regarding the Climber / Sharp End article on Millstone - Martin went a bit OTT and probably said a few things he shouldn't have - he's aware of this. There's a fine balance between writing a thought provoking article and over stepping the mark.
3. Regarding the Sharp End article in the current edition of Climber (i.e. on the state of Peak limestone) personally I don't think there's anything drastically wrong with this and I don't see it as criticising any of the conservation bodies / land owners the BMC routinely deals with. Very few people at the meeting had seen the article or had time to think about it, and I think people jumped to one too many conclusions on this. The last thing the BMC wants to do is to undermine the work of our voluntary Access Reps and I really don't see the article as damaging in that regard.
Ultimately the BMC needs staff with their heart in the right place and a genuine passion for the sport; you've got that in Martin - even if he does tend to wind people up a bit too much every now and again - so lets move on.
Remember 'family Offwidth' really is a convenient label for thousands of climbers linked to the BMC guidebook production going back in history. Niall (series editor), Lynn and I were just the figureheads this time around. Despite this we are 'chuffed to bits' that people are enjoying our work.
If people spot any mistakes or typos (we know many already) then they can send them on to me. Remember some (always harmless ones) were deliberate, a number to keep Niall happy, others because we loved them, most notably 'mundercur' which we felt was almost Joycian.
> Remember 'family Offwidth' really is a convenient label for thousands of climbers linked to the BMC guidebook production going back in history. Niall (series editor), Lynn and I were just the figureheads this time around. Despite this we are 'chuffed to bits' that people are enjoying our work.
Aye, that's why I said 'rest of the team' as well, I was merely acknowledging your significant contribution to this guide. You don't have to disagree with everything I say Steve :-)
We will pick the 'essential content' you mention in the support pages on the web (as stated in the relevant pages of the guide). If you want an example of such pages with the route descriptions go look at the Harthill example on the BMC site (others are due to uploaded soon). We stongly felt space in the guide should link to quality but these lesser crags won't be forgotten. Another good reason for this is that we couldn't get a lot of routes checked on such crags and relied on scripts from the old guide... saintly volunteers who want to rejuvinate such crags can now go and fully check them and post the information so we can can have a current web script. You never know, there could be queues at Beeley Quarry, Harthill Quarry, and Crich Tor for the first trime ever ;-)
A point that hasn't been clearly stated is just how big this guide is. Hand wavy estimates say things like Chatsworth and a half. Its actually twice that size in information terms. Add in new crags and newly listed routes on old crags and its about two Chatsworth guides, then for every two routes named there is a named boulder problem.
Not convinced about your Ampitheatre Chimney point... we know there were two routes but we joined them together to give a 'chimneyists' delight. There are too chimneys on the upper tier, the newly named one is the easier one on the right, Ampitheatre Chimney is the flaring left-hand one, right of the Brain's top pitch.
If you email me through this site with any detailed points I'll contact you direct.
Academics... dont you love them ;-)
(another excuse to thank everyone else... do you feel used??)
Got my hands on a copy this weekend (surprisingly, Outside had some), and it looks really excellent -- thanks! Lots of great stuff on the major crags and lots of obscure crags that I've never been to (though a few of them Fiend took me to while guide checking, so now I've got somewhere to tick them off).
We will put the 'essential content' you mention in the support pages on the web (as stated in the relevant pages of the guide). If you want an example of such pages (with the route descriptions) go look at the Harthill example on the BMC site (others are due to be uploaded soon). We strongly felt space in the guide should link to quality but be assured these lesser crags won't be forgotten. Another good reason for this is that we couldn't get a lot of routes checked on such crags (and relied on scripts from the old guide)... saintly volunteers who want to rejuvinate such crags can now go and fully check them and post the information so we can can update to a more current web script. You never know, there could be queues at Beeley Quarry, Harthill Quarry, and Crich Tor for the first trime ever (but before the rush starts, visitors should take obviously take great care at these venues, as with lesser routes on Robin Hood's Quarry and Duke's Quarry). The Matlock Quarries in the guide show the positive things that can happen with some local enthusiasm and tlc.
A point that hasn't been clearly stated elsewhere is just how big this guide is. Hand-wavy estimates say things like 'Chatsworth and a half'. Its actually twice that size in information terms. Adding in the new crags and newly listed routes on exisiting crags and its about two Chatsworth guides, then for every two routes named there is a named boulder problem (hence roughly three in total).
Not convinced about your Amphitheatre Chimney point... we know there were two routes but we joined them together to give a genuine 'chimneyists' delight. There are two chimneys on the upper tier, the newly named one is the easier one on the right, Ampitheatre Chimney is the flaring left-hand one, right of the Brain's top pitch.
If you email me through this site with any detailed points I'll contact you direct.
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