/ Blue Scar
From now on permission will only be given to those who apply in writing in advance. The landowner has issued the following statement:
... 'With effect from the 1st July 2011 permissive access arrangements have changed and access is only with written permission obtained in advance. Proof of current BMC membership will be required. Application forms from firstname.lastname@example.org'....
The owner has agreed that once obtained, permission will last for a season.
Parking and other details will be included on an information sheet available with the application form.
The landowner states that his permission was always conditional on BMC membership (for insurance / liability reasons) but from now on proof of membership will be required. The new arrangements come about because of the problems caused last year by congestion around the farm by parked vehicles. New parking arrangements will be detailed in the information leaflet.
The BMC Regional Access database will be changed from Monday to reflect this.
Dave, there are no new parking arrangements save a warning not to obstruct. I am concerned that your posting is suggesting some new facility eg off road which does not exist. The information sheet provided when requested relates to the circumstances in which BMC did not reach terms.
I can't see anything on the BMC site about this. I only spotted this thread because I was talking to someone in wales about going to Blue Scar next week and they mentioned that hey had seen "something about Blue Scar Access" on UKC.
I would be devistated if we lost access to Blue Scar altogether.
Out of interest; what effect does BMC membership for individual climbers have on owner/occpiers liability...if any?
BMC membership gives a significant amount of civil liability insurance cover. I believe the landowner feels that if a member causes an accident which leads to a claim by a third party the claimant will persue redress via the BMC insurers. If not a member and not covered by insurance the landowner feels the claimant may sue him instead.
There is a note about the potential changes to the access situation now on the RAD.
This is I believe unacceptable. Are we really accepting these conditions? Every land owner will demand the same if this happens. Will we have to apply to climb at Shipley Glen, Almscliffe, Malham, Ilkley?
Climbing has taken place at this crag for many years and no claim has been made against any landowner as far as I am aware. Climbers are aware of the implications of undertaking a potentially dangerous sport and accept that accidents and injuries are their responsibility. If we accept these changes we are implicitly agreeing that we will no longer take responsibility; we're covered by the BMC now?
Some climbers, myself included, are not members of the BMC. We should not have to be to go climbing. Are the BMC colluding in this agreement in order that climbers have to join the BMC to climb at any location or are the BMC opposing this situation?
In the past people have opposed land owners who have tried to restrict access to what they, the landowners, consider to be theirs through privilege or wealth. The BMC in my opinion should be leading a campaign for freedom of access. A date should be set for a mass climb at Blue to defend our freedom of access to this crag and put down a marker that the climbing community will not tolerate this at Blue or any other crag.
A date should be set for a mass climb at Blue to defend our freedom of access to this crag and put down a marker that the climbing community will not tolerate this at Blue or any other crag.
I could answer this in just one word: Foredale
Climbing has indeed taken place at Blue for years but that does not mean we have a God-given right to carry on climbing on someone else's property. It's a priviledge and one that can be withdrawn, as has happened this year at Foredale. There has been a history of niggling problems at Blue created by a thoughtless minority - again as happened at Foredale. Things have only got worse lately with the opening up of mid-grade sport routes which have attracted more climbers (including me). In the past Blue was largely seen as a hard man's crag to be avoided by the majority (including me).
It makes sense to co-operate with landowners rather than try to stand on rights that I suspect may not actually exist.
> A date should be set for a mass climb at Blue to defend our freedom of access to this crag and put down a marker that the climbing community will not tolerate this at Blue or any other crag.
that sounds like a bad idea for so many reasons
You might want to re-read that in the cold light of day, Gerainte.
If, as you suggest, you care about access to crags maybe you should join? They are far and away the best chance we have of securing access to this and other crags. Answer honestly:
If an ansty landowner who allows climbers on his land in restricted numbers suddenly sees a mass climb of the sort you propose on his land, do you think he would:
a) Just say that's ok I'm going to lift all the restrictions I opreviously had in place
b) Close access altogether
I suspect it was more likly to be b than a. In which case what would be your next step?
Please be assured that we are working hard to negotiate the best deal possible to secure continued access. The current options may not be ideal and the conditions Mr Walker is currently proposing may not in reality be workable in their current form but negotiations are far from over. The land ownership issues surrounding the cliff face and over the current approach route, and possible alternatives are complex involving several owners, tenant farmers and possibly the Arncliffe Parish. I have spent the last 6 weeks working on this issue involving considerable amounts of my time in meetings, with the landowner, National Park, and talking to local people in Littondale. I have many pages of email communication between the involved parties.
If you do not believe that BMC is serving your interests then please feel free to negotiate your own deal with Mr Walker or organise your own mass trespass. Just don’t do it in the name of the regular Yorkshire climbing community most of whom, I believe, support a slightly less militant, and hopefully, more productive, approach.
Spot on, Dave. Thanks for all the good work you are doing.
Just strip all the sport routes on the right hand side - et voila! job done - no more parking congestion.
Nowhere in my email do I suggest that you have not been working hard on this or that the BMC do not do much good work.
As to how long I have been climbing and membership of this site I fail to see what that has to do with this discussion. How long to do need to have been climbing before one is eligible to express an opinion, would close on 40 years be enough? Will being a member of this site give me more insight into climbing and the work of the BMC?
What you have not addressed in your reply is my central argument that we should not be agreeing to restrictions to access: a booking system, membership of the BMC, in order to climb, however “prominent a lawyer” he made be.
If landowners see restrictions accepted at Blue will others not push for the same at other crags? Will we have to be a members of the BMC to climb at Shipley or Stanage in case the owners think they may be liable for some accident? From what I have read on here, a precedent might be set.
I have not said anything in, “the name of the regular Yorkshire climbing community”, I used my own name. What I am suggesting is that if negotiation does not produce results, and I am sure we all hope your hard work does, more direct action may be necessary, which is I believe a valid point to make.
however “prominent a lawyer” he made be.
I agree that his status as a lawyer does not affect the legalities one jot. However it may be prudent to think that he might have a pretty firm grasp of what they are.
Then these legalities will apply at every crag, therefore each landowner might seek to impose the same access restrictions –is this the way we should be going- I believe not.
You mention Foredale previously; unfortunately despite the hard work of Dave and the BMC here negotiations have failed, at the moment at least, so negotiation does not always work.
As to, “God given right”, I certainly do not believe that, ordinary people have never received any rights from any God. God is always claimed by those with power, the landowners, who say ordinary people cannot walk across a piece of rough pasture and a hillside.
While I’m here, in reply to Tyler, there was a very clear example earlier this year of where direct action and public opinion stopped a move to restrict access to woodland, so option A can work.
Finally in reply to N Foster, I was raising a question, but look across the water at canoeists who have to be members of the British Canoe Union to access British rivers as far as I am aware.
I can't really see this helping where the access in question is over private land with no public access. More helpful would be drawing land-owners attention - via the BMC? - to recent case law where the landowner has not been held responsible for accidents involving cliffs.
As an occasional visitor to the excellent main wall of Blue Scar,must I now get all potential partners ,from north of the border, to also register and supply all possible car registrations (spouses,friends and even hire vehicles!)I know the parking is an issue, but surely its still a public road and the land owner has no need of registration details
Also,as a member of an affiliated club to the MCofS, how can I go about obtaining a BMC membership card to carry south of the border!
Hope the situation can be resolved and allow for the occasional non-local to access Blue Scar
Can have some clarity here; are the negotiations, "far from over" or as Mr Walker's statement suggests, and Septic's application pack would appear to confirm, negotiations have now been concluded?
I have sent you an email direct. Please all be assured that negotiations are continuing.
Dave Musgrove et al have already organised their own mass tresspass when they bolted every square metre of rock on the right hand side. This may have seemed like a good public spirited gesture at the time but they should have considered what this would do in terms of increased popularity, usage and potential problems when access to this crag was always sensitive. I am therefore pleased that Dave is working hard to resolve a problem that he was partly responsible for making! If climbing gets banned at Blue Scar then the bolting of all those new routes will not have been such a good gesture!
As for Gerainte's comment: 'Climbers are aware of the implications of undertaking a potentially dangerous sport and accept that accidents and injuries are their resonsiblity'
Well some of people attracted to the sports routes at Blue Scar are climbers straight out of climbing walls and fairly new to the sport. They unfortunately seem to be more into this new culture of not accepting responsibility but wanting to sue anyone they can!
Access to other crags has been lost because landowners are scared of being held responsible. However this should not be a worry to such a 'prominent lawyer'
Kilnsey Crag will be the next place for problems if all those 'experienced' climbers don't park with a little more thought. The crag was rammed full the other week, cars everywhere, all as close to the crag as was humanly possible!!! It may be more helpful if people like yourself didn't apportion blame,but perhaps took a more positive attitude by helping to keep all crags open for all types of climbers to enjoy.....oh ps. other areas that have had problems, but solved by someones sensitive negotiations...Malham, Gordale...etc
Although I note the concerns expressed above, most of the feedback we have received suggests that substantially increased used of the Scar has uspet the delicate balance between farmers earning a living from the land and climbers enjoying the Scar. As as result:
1. the landowners have reviewed the risks. I do not claim to be a 'prominent lawyer' but I do know where to obtain advice. In circumstances where the risk to the landowner is increasing and yet receives no benefit or even indemnity, there is strong case for closing access completely.
2. Other landowners who could give access to the Scar have declined access and so far as we are aware, we are the only ones who have given permission and attempted to accommodate climbers.
3. Notwithstanding the increased risks, we have always been sympathetic to climbers and took the view that we would continue to permit access provided individual climbers are insured through BMC and provided a suitable indemnity and other information to help us manage access onto the site.
4. We have now done that. At no time have we asked for any remuneration for ourselves. We did suggest the provision of alternative access arrangements including off-road parking in return for a payment of £1500pa by BMC to a local charity, but the BMC considers the proposal unacceptable. We think this is pity and the sum requested is modest having regard to BMC's multi-million pound revenue and the facility which could have been provided.
5. We considered it would be unfortunate if absence of agreement with the BMC resulted in total closure of access and have therefore made new arrangements which are now in place and will be reviewed at the end of the season.
We look forward to welcoming climbers who have applied for and obtained a permit.
Hi Patrick, I'm guessing from your post that you are, or represent, the landowner in which case I'd just like to assure you that all the climbers I know are grateful for the continued access to Blue Scar. Personally I'm quite happy with the arrangements, some of the routes on Blue are of national importance and warrant the little bit of effort required to (try to)climb them. Thanks for your support of climbing, it is appreciated.
There has been some fairly recent case-law involving public access, cliffs and land ownership where the ruling has been in 'favour' of the landowner ie not liable for the accident.
Have you also considered dedication of the land containing the cliff under CROW Act 2000 thereby substantially reducing any potential liability (which is still at the moment the same for the landowner whether they have BMC insurance or not)?
Happy to forward details if you want to email me.
Blue Scar has some of the very best limestone trad climbs in the country. The fact that access is limited has always been frustrating but has ensured that the many classic trad routes have remained unpolished. An unfortunate side effect of the restriction means that when access is opened mid July then there is a rush of enthusiasm to get to Blue Scar before the season comes to a damp a dreary end usually sometime in late September!
As it is such a short season for us I for one am very grateful that you have seen it fit to continue to give some access to Blue Scar while negotiations continue.
I am hoping that some sort of off road parking and reasonable renumeration can be negotiated by the BMC on my behalf.
> Although I note the concerns expressed above, most of the feedback we have received suggests that substantially increased used of the Scar has uspet the delicate balance between farmers earning a living from the land and climbers enjoying the Scar. As as result:
> We look forward to welcoming climbers who have applied for and obtained a permit.
> Patrick Walker
I am glad there is continued access and that it is being given in spite of the BMC refusing the proposal for a charitable donation in return for parking etc, which I believe the BMC were right to refuse given that other land owners might ask for similar which would significantly reduce the amount of money avaialble for situations where access is at greater risk and other areas of the BMC's work.
Lets hope people can respect the Landowner's wishes and doesn't take access into their own hands by flouting the requests.
Thanks Patrick for coming on here and explaining the situation from your perspective. I'm sure we all appreciate that.
I am sure that the BMC could contribute towards the cost of establishing off road parking, and climbers would be willing to contribute a payment for parking perhaps by an honesty box. Unfortunatley £1,500 per annum for approx 10 weeks access per year looks expensive. If that was established as reasonable and became the standard for access to every crag that we climb on then the burden on the BMC would run into millions of pounds!
I do hope that the BMC representatives and yourselves can reach an agreement for continued access.
With the problems at Blue Scar, i thought better let you know that visited Hawkswick a couple of weeks ago.
I parked as per the guide book next to the barn and ensured that ther was full acess to the field via the gate.
Not sure if it is the same farm as Blue Scar? but when i returned to the car there as a note on the screen saying please do not park here??
Just wondered if we need to park somewhere else?
The access arangements at Hawkswick were also negotiated many years ago but were still valid when the last guide was published in 2005. I haven't heard of any other problems there perhaps because the crag is not as fashionable as it once was and user numbers are, I suspect, quite low. The lane below Hawkswick was always very narrow and parking limited so perhaps there has been a change of ownership or use of the barn in recent years - or perhaps an added number of walkers using the area as well that day caused added congestion? I'll see what I can find out.
"Finally in reply to N Foster, I was raising a question, but look across the water at canoeists who have to be members of the British Canoe Union to access British rivers as far as I am aware."
This is incorrect. BCU membership does include a British Waterways License providing access to canals- however you could buy that directly from BW. BCU membership is not required to access rivers.
Mark warnett says,
Its good news that the owners at Blue Scar are being so accomodating and i really hope all climbers respect their needs and appreciates the pressures on land owners / occupiers in these circumstances.
Please, this is about crossing a bit of rough pasture and a rougher hillside, not any one's garden. All that is required is agreement from the landowner for a path to do this.
I do not believe this is about liability, any climber running to court to claim for a foothold breaking or even smacking their head would be laughed out of court. This is simply about the old argument that I as a land owner have to right to say NO.
Every other landower with a crag on their land will be imposing this settlement if this is accepted. Nigel Barker is right some very major crags will be next.
This is bad news.
If that were true then that's exactly what the landowner would have said. In this case, the landowner obviously wants to say YES but is concerned (wrongly in my entirely non-expert view) that they may become liable. Not if you as a climber damage yourself (civil liability insurance doesn't cover that), but if you as a climber damage someone else.
This agreement will not stick, someone will is bound to climb there without what ever is now required, see Foredale where some fools could not even behave in a common sense way, and then it will be a NO and who will say no, the landlowner. This is about the landowner exercising their power to say yes or no. If they wanted to say yes they would have done so without strings. Instead we are walking into a trap, in my opinion.
Useful link here;
If they'd wanted to say No then they'd have done so, rather than wasting all this time discussing options with the BMC (and presumably paying lots of money to their lawyers). There's no need for a trap, they have the right to prevent climbing with no excuse, the fact that they have chosen to allow it is to be commended.
The landowner isn't saying yes. What he's saying is no you cannot access Blue; the only way you can access is if you do what I say. This is very clear.
Are you also going to advocate this agreement for access to every crag? As Nigel barker says this is on the cards. In my opinion I suspect most climbers agree with the article on the home page of this site which says this is a bad result. How is it that the owners of the Ormes obvioulsy have a different view to the owner at Blue? The Orme situation is good news. The Ormes is busy and immediately above the road.
Have you read Richard white's comments on the home page I think he makes a good point?
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