/ NEWS: UK Crag Access Notes - Blue Scar and The Ormes

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UKC News - on 20 Jul 2011
Careful, 4 kb

As summer is in full swing in the UK, access arrangements at certain crags are in flux:

Good news from North Wales means longer routes on the Mayfair Wall at Llandudno, but an increase in climbers at Blue Scar in Yorkshire has lead to some access problems.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=63156

franksnb - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to UKC News: can't we give them a car park for a one off payment?
Thoms6974 - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to franksnb:

If that car park is on land that he would otherwise be able to use for making a living, probably not I'd have thought. In such circumstances I personally think the idea of a regular donation to charity as opposed to the farmer himself is a great idea.

My 2 cents
Mark Warnett - on 20 Jul 2011
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.
dan gibson - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to UKC News: There are many crags situated on private land, why does this landowner insist on seeing proof of BMC membership. Is this the thin end of the wedge in terms of access to crags on private land.
hms - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to dan gibson:
well, Cheddar Gorge requires BMC membership to climb, and wardens will periodically do a sweep and ask to see proof!
Richard White on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to hms:

That's true, but it doesn't necessarily make it right.

The Land Owner of Blue Scar is putting these conditions in place for liability reasons. However, at least he is still allowing climbing. It won't be long before other land owners prevent access as a result of "liability concerns". In other words, and in my opinion, they don't want the great unwashed on their land.

It's quite ironic really. I remember articles in the mags in the eighties, particulalry OTE, God rest its soul, about such problems in North America and restricted or no access to crags on private land. At the time, all the UK commentators were all of the belief that it would never happen here in the British Isles.

Well here we are, 2011, in such a situation, sanctioned by the BMC.

I can see the point of view of land owners, protecting their investment, income, family property etc. But where does it stop? Answers on a postcard....

Regards,

Rich.
Simon Caldwell - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to Richard White:
> It won't be long before other land owners prevent access as a result of "liability concerns".

It's already happened at The Hoff (and almost certainly elsewhere)
highclimber - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to Richard White:
> (In reply to hms)
>
> That's true, but it doesn't necessarily make it right.
>
> The Land Owner of Blue Scar is putting these conditions in place for liability reasons. However, at least he is still allowing climbing. It won't be long before other land owners prevent access as a result of "liability concerns". In other words, and in my opinion, they don't want the great unwashed on their land.
>
> It's quite ironic really. I remember articles in the mags in the eighties, particulalry OTE, God rest its soul, about such problems in North America and restricted or no access to crags on private land. At the time, all the UK commentators were all of the belief that it would never happen here in the British Isles.
>
> Well here we are, 2011, in such a situation, sanctioned by the BMC.
>
> I can see the point of view of land owners, protecting their investment, income, family property etc. But where does it stop? Answers on a postcard....
>
> Regards,
>
> Rich.

I've just posted a thread on this exact problem. I think the BMC should fight for access for ALL climbers, not just paid-up Members.
Alex Mason - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to UKC News: I took the acticle picture! nice!
landskip - on 20 Jul 2011
In reply to UKC News:
I have had many a good day climbing at Blue scar, and am fully behind the farmer on this decision, parking is very limited to maybe five or six cars, but unfortunately some climbers donít respect this and try to cram in their vehicle, thus restricting access to fields and barns. So thanks a lot guys for ruining a thirty year agreement between climbers and the farming family, why didnít you just drive on by to Malham, Gordale or dare I suggest Attamire? Take your pick from the guidebook, you know who you are!
I see similar actions at Armscliff, people parking in front of gates, how long before the farmer takes a similar action?
I understand that the landowner at Fordale Quarry has banned climbing now, due to parking issues. Whatís going on in the heads of the British climbing fraternity?
Going back to Blue scar, why is it so popular now?

robin
marksykes - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to dan gibson:
As long as I can remember access to crags on private land has been an issue.In many areas the CROW Act has made life easier for us as climbers. It may well be that the farmer(s) concerned are thinking is it the thin edge of the wedge for them as increasing numbers of climbers park irresponsibly and block lanes/gates etc, leave litter and generally behave disrepecfully.
We, as climbers, have a responsibility to one another not to f..k it up for each other by ignoring the reasonable requests placed by some landowners, whilst negotiating for access with other, seemingly less amenable, landowners.
The BMC do a brilliant job of negotiating on our behalf, so it seems reasonable to me that those who are members of the BMC get the benefits - it doesn't cost much after all.
dan gibson - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to marksykes: I understand the concerns of the farmer over parking issues, and even objecting to access on this point. I don't like this insistance on BMC membership and insurance to climb.
wilkesley - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to dan gibson:

Speaking as a farmer, I can see his point re insurance. If someone is injured on his land, he could end up being sued either by that person, or any of their dependants. This could happen for example if one climber knocked a rock down onto another, the injured party could still sue the landowner. However, if the party knocking the rock off was insured he would likely be the person ending up being sued, rather than the landowner.

I have seen my Public Liability Insurance rise from around £50 to £1500pa over the last 10 years, even though no one has ever made a claim against me.

Richard White on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to wilkesley:

This is the crux of the matter isn't it?

To my knowldege, there has never been a court case in the British Isles where a land owner has been made liable for the actions of individuals on their land over whom the land owner has no control or influence. Please correct me if I am wrong. In fact, I'm sure such cases against land owners have been thrown out by the courts for having no basis in law.

I'm sorry you are having to pay so much more for your insurance but this is simply insurance companies profiteering.

However, if climbers do need third party liability, then we should be able to choose our own cover and not be held to ransom and have to join any particular organisation.

The BMC, in my opinon, should be fighting such moves and not endorsing them.

Regards,

Rich.
tony on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to wilkesley:
> (In reply to dan gibson)
>
> Speaking as a farmer, I can see his point re insurance. If someone is injured on his land, he could end up being sued either by that person, or any of their dependants. This could happen for example if one climber knocked a rock down onto another, the injured party could still sue the landowner.

On what grounds?
toad - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to Richard White:
> (In reply to wilkesley)
>
> This is the crux of the matter isn't it?
>
> To my knowldege, there has never been a court case in the British Isles where a land owner has been made liable for the actions of individuals on their land over whom the land owner has no control or influence. Please correct me if I am wrong. In fact, I'm sure such cases against land owners have been thrown out by the courts for having no basis in law.
>
>
Absolutely. I've asked my mrs about this in the past and she couldn't find any case law to support this. But more fundementally, how many cases against the NT have there been for all those people that fall off Helvellyn every winter? It isn't the landowners the BMC should be talking to, it's the scaremongering by the big public liability insurers that needs facing up to head on
Eric9Points - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to marksykes:
> (In reply to dan gibson)

> The BMC do a brilliant job of negotiating on our behalf, so it seems reasonable to me that those who are members of the BMC get the benefits - it doesn't cost much after all.

Because eventually it becomes the default situation where you can't access crags until you're a paid up member...
Eric9Points - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Richard White)
> [...]
> Absolutely. I've asked my mrs about this in the past and she couldn't find any case law to support this. But more fundementally, how many cases against the NT have there been for all those people that fall off Helvellyn every winter? It isn't the landowners the BMC should be talking to, it's the scaremongering by the big public liability insurers that needs facing up to head on

Quite.

I was thinking of the John Muir trust getting sued for bad things that happen on Ben Nevis.

To my knowledge no landowner has ever been sued as a result of a climbing accident, it's either uninformed scaremongering or an excuse to forward an agenda.
Ramblin dave - on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Richard White)
> [...]
> It isn't the landowners the BMC should be talking to, it's the scaremongering by the big public liability insurers that needs facing up to head on

It's worth noting that this would probably be a Very Good Thing for the BMC if they could make anything of it, because it'd be great for the image of the access campaign to have a situation where they're securing access by representing the interests of landowners rather than asking them for concessions...

(There's a whole other thread for this side of the discussion, by the way.)
Richard White on 21 Jul 2011
In reply to toad:

Since starting climbing and mountaineering 30 years ago, I have always been a keen supporter of the BMC because it represent climbers, mountaineers, hillwalkers interests etc. etc.

However, I totally disagree with this move by the BMC to support the interests of land owners. It seems that this move is supported by those who are more interested in access to Blue Scar than the wider implications of such policies.

And yes, I have climbed extensively at Blue Scar (and Yew Cogar) in the past and always adhered to any fair and reasonable restrictions that protect the land owners interests, wildlife, other road users etc.

Regards,

Rich.
Mark Warnett - on 21 Jul 2011
Richard; i don't think this is correct unless i am missing a nuance in your point; land owners have a Duty of Care to protect invited visitors and even trespassers if they know it is happening (1957 and 1984 occupiers liability acts). there is a lot of case law where landowners have been held liable, albeit I am not specifically aware of climbing ones. this is a real issue.
landskip - on 23 Jul 2011
In reply to UKC News:
You only have to take a look at the Angling world, day tickets and syndicate waters, it's a big money making scheme for the owners, although money is put back in to replenishing fish stocks and conservation of the said areas. I would hate it to happen to climbing, pay to climb, a season ticket or a day ticket? Hard to police I hear you say! Poaching routes I say!... lets hope it never happens, but why wouldnt it?.... I say.
Craig Smith on 27 Jul 2011 - l-mid4416.smith.man.ac.uk
Just a few points.

1. There are other insurers who cover climbers so restricting it to BMC members is a little strange.

2. A car park would be a super idea. The parking at Blue and Kilnsey is very lacking.

2. Also, putting all this in place will require enforcement!

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