/ NEWS: Hay Tor Damaged by Geology Students
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=66968
As an ex-geology student and now geologist (well, of sorts) I CAN say that no, you can't really collect good samples from areas of heavy erosion and weathering. You need fresh rock that's not been exposed to the elements, ideally. Additionally if you're undertaking work on a certain area, you have to take samples from that area!
That is not to say, however, that you should trash any rock willy-nilly. Hay Tor is obviously a popular and important place, so discretion should have been used.
It gets worse as Haytor is a SSSI by virtue of 'Earth Heritage' (ie Geology)
If they were within the SSSI, the student may have committed a criminal offence:
"It is an offence for any person to intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy any of the features of special interest of an SSSI, or to disturb wildlife for which the site was notified."
If they'd done their homework they could have wondered a little further to one of the old quarries only yards away, rather than damage a beautiful site that people come to see and admire.
Use your head.
The old quarries may also be in the SSSI, so be careful what you recommend!
Sad to say that when I was a geology student (A-level), I was actively encouraged to do this on field trips. Seems things haven't changed very much. I'd advise everyone to email the person given in the link, attitudes won't change without input.
I was a postgrad in Bristol's Earth Sciences Department so I'll contact them today because this kind of ignorance and stupidity is completely unacceptable.
secondly the whole purpose of hammering is to reveal a clean, unweathered surface which is in-situ and therefore representative of the outcrop in question. having studied this on site it is often not nessesary to take the sample with you, so leaving it behind is not a sign of mindless vandalism.
Field work is an integral part of a geology degree, and crucal in training up the scientists of the future, many of which will be responsible for discovering the precious reserves of hydrocarbons and metaliferous ores in which you all take for granted in your everyday lives. without this training say goodbye to your cars, tv's, games consoles and even your precious rack!
some climbers need to get off their moral high horse - "gardening", chalk and crag base/top erosion are far more environmentally damaging than students carrying out a necesity towards their degree.
> without this training say goodbye to your cars, tv's, games consoles and even your precious rack!
I'm up for that.
I dont think anybody is taking the moral high ground if students are chipping flakes off of an established route.
Its fine, just hook up the students with some of our dry tooling fraternity. Everyone's a winner :-)
>"gardening", chalk and crag base/top erosion are far more environmentally damaging than students carrying out a necesity towards their degree.
>"gardening", chalk and crag base/top erosion are far more environmentally damaging than students mining holes into rock faces.
Could some one please translate this for me?
It seems to have been written in a dialect of 'tw*t' that I am not familiar with.
The person who wrote this seems to be suggesting that the UNDERGRADUATE students WOULD know exactly what their legal and responsibilities are.
after all if 'they say they are then they probably are' - what does that mean exactly?
And In reply to Webster, as a professional mineral resource geologist I don’t think the sustainable use of out natural resources is really going to be helped by some students going against the advice of there peers and hammering the S**t out of a piece of rock, valued by a much wider community the climbers which to be frank Neither requires the use of a hammer to study geologically (being of pretty simple composition) nor would this be of much use due to the deep weathering profile!
Which bit have they breached?
Perhaps they weren't carrying warm and waterproof clothing?
It's just a weak bit of guidance that doesn't tell them anything about environmental or other considerations.
Apart from in this case where they clearly did...
I didn't know if Hay Tor was an SSSI eather, so I checked http://www.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk/lookingafter/laf-naturalenv/laf-ecologywildlife/laf-wownaturereserves...
> Field work is an integral part of a geology degree, and crucal in training up the scientists of the future, many of which will be responsible for discovering the precious reserves of hydrocarbons and metaliferous ores in which you all take for granted in your everyday lives. without this training say goodbye to your cars, tv's, games consoles and even your precious rack!
No doubt it is, however given the large number of bits of rock in the Dartmoor area this probably wasn't the most appropriate place to do this training was it.
Yes you are right all of the climbers and walkers who have ever been to Hay Tor have caused, in totality, more damage than one student with a pick, still rather missing the point though isn't it. And you're wrong, hacking apart *Hay Tor* isn't a necessity of their degree.
I didn't ever get near a chainsaw during my Forestry degree. If I had it might have actually been interesting. I think aboriculture students learn to cut trees down.
Glad to hear that others are just as outraged as myself. I'm in agreement with Tiberius and iamhoppy about emailing the Department. Hopefully enough of a reaction would prevent it happening again in the future.
I counted 4 references to not hammering where you shouldn’t and respecting the environment when sampling so i'm not it says nothing about environmental considerations.
I can't help thinking that an email bombardment of the Head of Department by angry climbers bearing pitchforks is not the most appropriate course of action.
Maybe this is something the BMC should be involved in. OP - have you contacted one of the BMC area reps?
> I counted 4 references to not hammering where you shouldn’t and respecting the environment when sampling so i'm not it says nothing about environmental considerations.
Have you posted the wrong link? I can't see a single reference to the environment per se, H+S doesn't count, respect private property doesn't count, take some sandwiches and a flask doesn't count.
8. Use your geological hammer sparingly, and only at sites where hammering is permitted.
Given that it is a geological SSSI, it's safe to say that this isn't such a site.
Surely, if it is a geological SSSI, it is so that geologists can research it. There would be no point in it being an SSSI if it was not a good example of some specific geological feature.
I think the way the Bamford incident was dealt with is probably a model to follow http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=308103&v=1
> 8. Use your geological hammer sparingly, and only at sites where hammering is permitted.
> Given that it is a geological SSSI, it's safe to say that this isn't such a site.
Did they use their hammers sparingly?
Did they have permission?
We caught a bunch of geology students chipping away at Dyffryn Mymbyr http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=12176 when I worked at the Brenin. We suggested that they could take away some of the smaller chunks of rock lying around the foot. They said no, the rock had to come from the crag itself as bits lying around hadn't necessarily come from the crag. They did go away eventually without any more chipping, but I don't know if they returned.
Yes it is a geological SSSI, I did a field trip there as a geology student. Doesn't mean they can (or even need) to hammer bits off the Tor, I suspect it was some t**ty undergrad who felt they should get some use out of their hammer, rather than a specific need to study the rock. Chipping off that much doesn't show you an unweathered surface, as the weathered profile is much deeper than that anyway. If you want a slightly fresher surface to look at you could pick up any lump of granite from the floor and split it open to see the same thing.
As someone else says, as a student you are encoraged to buy a hammer, but not necessarily taught when, where and how to use it without causing undue damage.
If students need to learn skills for their degree surely the university has a responsibility to make sure it happens at suitable sites. You wouldn't expect a student dentist to remove perfectly good teeth "for the practice".
> I think the way the Bamford incident was dealt with is probably a model to follow http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=308103&v=1
I read that (the opening post, not the whole thread). While it's pretty good, it doesn't strike me as the perfect approach. It doesn't contain all the points I would want to get across, and it's has I tone I wouldn't use.
Personal opinion, of course.
It's just that I can already imagine the poor guy's inbox. There may be a couple of well-written emails, covering most of the points, in a reasonable manner. There will be several poorly-constructed rants. There will be some sarky comments, possibly a few threats, and a lot of gibberish. There will be somebody who claims to 'speak for the majority of climbers', when they haven't actually asked you or me for our opinion.
I just think a rational approach by somebody who has the gravitas of a national body behind them might bear more fruit.
I wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from emailing him if they feel strongly moved to. But please, draft your email and sleep on it before hitting the send button, lest you do more harm than good.
> We caught a bunch of geology students chipping away at Dyffryn Mymbyr http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=12176 when I worked at the Brenin.
I myself was mapping that area in the summer along with several other students. as a climber i can spot a route and know not to damage it, but most students arent climbers and therefore are going to treat every outcrop the same. and yes you cant map pebbles from the floor and therefore the occasional bit of chipping is required.
"Required" is the wrong word here; the fact that you're doing a geology degree doesn't entitle you to damage things.
Equally, the fact that we have chosen climbing as a pastime doesn't give us an inalienable right to pursue that pastime unhindered by the rest of the world.
> I myself was mapping that area in the summer along with several other students.
Well it wasn't you as the time I referred to was 26 years ago.
But I find it depressing that this still happens. Apart from climbers' interests, don't geologists ever question what they're doing to nature and the environment when they chip at crags. When climbers occasionally chip a route there's normally an outcry.
> to pursue that pastime unhindered by the rest of the world.
Everyone agrees, for example we all accept agreed bird-bans.
> Everyone agrees, for example we all accept agreed bird-bans.
Actually, bird bans were running through my head as I was reading this thread.
I've never broken a bird ban. Partly because I've never had the opportunity to. Partly because I put my faith in the BMC, and I don't want to ruin things for other people.
But in truth, I care not a jot about fulmars or ring ouzels, and I quite resent the fact that they seem to automatically trump climbers, with no room for debate.
I don't know about geological SSSIs, but those that are designated due to wildlife don't encourage people to kill the wildlife so it can be studied - that sort of thing went out of fashion many decades ago. And of course it would take rather less time for a new plant to grow than for a new tor to be formed :-)
> It gets worse as Haytor is a SSSI by virtue of 'Earth Heritage' (ie Geology)
I don't know what I'm talking about but surly the very fact it's of special 'scientific' interest means that scientists (including geologists) don't want us lot trashing it because it's a venue that is of interest to them, and as part of their science that is so interesting to them may want to do experiments or take samples help work out whatever it is that interests them so much?
I don't think anyone has said it explicitly. But there is a thin vein running through this thread (as it does in other threads, and other disputes, and access problems) that paints a picture of climbers merrily going about their business, only to have their innocent pastime rudely threatened by a bird, a landowner, a geologist, and so on.
The truth is we park badly, we piss, we litter, we get changed in front of people's houses, we bring dogs where we shouldn't, we ignore bird bans and access agreements, we shout and swear, we erode, we chalk, we drill ruddy great holes in the rock, we frighten old ladies, we don't spend nearly enough money in the local shop. (Not you, or me, but 'climbers'.)
I'm sure other interest groups do it too, but sometimes I wish we could see what we, the broadly cohesive group that we are, look like from the outside.
Were do they get these hammers from?
You come across as rather selfish, the environment should trump recreation. Plenty of crags without bird bans.
As a climber AND a geologist, I'm pretty appalled that Uni undegrads are going onto a honeypot tourist location & SSSI like Haytor and just hacking off lumps of granite. Looking at the photos, there is NO scientific/research justification for it.
And this is worse than climbers, as they are there under the control of an academic institution, unlike climbers who are just part of the unwashed masses.
> seem to automatically trump climbers, with no room for debate.
Those involved in the negotiations say that there is room for debate, with reasonableness on all sides, and that the scope and duration of bird bans can be minimised.
In practice bird bans are only a fairly minor inconvenience for climbers, in that all crags can be climbed on at some times of the year, and even at bird-banned times of the year there is usually plenty of climbing available elsewhere.
> You come across as rather selfish, the environment should trump recreation. Plenty of crags without bird bans.
Well yes. When he said this:
I felt moved to say something like you did. But then he said this and confused me:
Climbers have long put themselves above everyone else. Often referring to 'tourists' as if climbers are somehow different. So when Richard said:
I tended to agree with him.
we are sold them by the department at the start of a degree
This is possibly because in the real world people don't redo debates every 6 months a la UKC. "Let's see what this year's few thousand newcomers to climbing/biking/walking/paragliding/geocaching think of the plan!" That's one reason we have organisations like the BMC to have the debates for us. It also stops 'radicaljohn95' (as a hypothetical 16 year old dry tooler) from sticking his ignorant oar in.
If you'd said "birds" instead of referring to particular species then many would be inclined to agree with you. But given we don't have bird bans for pigeons it suggests to me that there is no automatic trumping of human activities, but rather a recognisation that particular species need help from us. Quite the opposite of automatic, as is the assessment of where/when/if a bird ban is required at all for that particular area, every year.
I am not taking sides, just giving a work of caution.
Bristol is a good school and you may find that they did have permission and you have upset some research. I would suggest that you word any letter with care as a lot of time is spent planning work and its very tricky to get new permission once something has lapsed. undergrad's are frequently used in these situations as very cheap labour. futhermore field classes (where "damage" is normally done) will have 30+ people. this sounds like a mapping exercise which is why I make the caution I do. you are not in "Uni' mapping season" and these people are likely to be there for a reason. (or they could just be idiots)
Im not taking sides because I don't know the full story
> "Required" is the wrong word here; the fact that you're doing a geology degree doesn't entitle you to damage things.
If this wasnt a popular climbing spot then nobody would have noticed, and geologists would keep going about their business as always. if it was a monument or sacred site then this would be considered vandalism, but hammering a rock outcrop, be it a tor, sea cliff or grotty quarry in the middle of nowhere is not damage. if the hammering hadnt been observed then the chipped rock would be indestinguishable from any other freshly exposed piece of rock and nobody would raise an eyebrow (with the exception of climbers if it is on a route).
climbers dont have an unquestioned right to all rock to do so as they please, resulting in anybody who crosses their path being deamonised.
jonny2vests. I really don't understand how you see that as selfish. I said that I don't care about them, not that I like to pull their wings off and cackle to myself from my underground lair. Despite not caring, I still abide by the bans for the benefit of peaceful harmony. I could go and climb at banned crags anyway, to make a point. *That* would be selfish.
When I say 'don't care' I really mean that - zero interest - rather than an active dislike. To be honest, I hesitated before posting, in case my comments were misconstrued. It seems I was right to be worried :/
Perhaps I've been to quick to accuse the birdies of automatically trumping people. It seems there really is more negotiation going on than I thought.
Anyway, this thread is in danger of going off-topic.
I disagree, when it is a major landmark tor like Hay Tor, then it is damage.
> freshly exposed piece of rock
But on a place like Hay Tor there is little or no freshly exposed rock, unless someone goes along and deliberately creates some. And if this sort of thing were routine (and there are thousands of undergrads going geology across the UK) then it would quickly add up to highly significant damage.
And nor do geology students, that is the whole point.
> If this wasnt a popular climbing spot then nobody would have noticed, and geologists would keep going about their business as always.
Which raises an obvious question...
"you cant map pebbles from the floor and therefore the occasional bit of chipping is required."
Are you sure about that? I have produced many geological maps, I havent always found it necessary to hammer. Often pebbles from the floor are perfectly adequate, certainly are at the level you are studying at.
I did my first degree at Hertfordshire uni back in the days when they had a geology department. In one of our field trips one studemt in particular kept hammering everything. he was told over and over again to stop. Eventually, he was told once more and you are banned from all future trips. He stopped straight away.
You resent not being able to climb past nesting fulmars?! Seriously?
Perhaps they were investigating something that could not be observed on the lumps of granite on the floor?
It looks like there might be more than one type of granite there, from the photos.
I think that's very unfair. if a undergrad/field assistant came to me with a map built from float I would be very angry/disappointed (business vs research).
I agree with Webster - you cannot do field geology without taking the odd chip, esp' at undergraduate because you cant tell when a float sample is telling the correct story. I wouldn't be hammering SSSI's without some paper work but you must chip to fully understand the rocks.
drilling campaigns cost millions and if geologists don't learn how to make maps then you may as well drink it down the pub
Is Andy Dusfraine at it again?
But then again, I'm not an undergradute with a shiny new hammer
> Are you sure about that? I have produced many geological maps, I havent always found it necessary to hammer. Often pebbles from the floor are perfectly adequate, certainly are at the level you are studying at.
as you said "havent always found it necessary to hammer", which implies at times it is necessary.
Yes at somewhere like hay tor which consists of only 1 rock type, loking at pebbles from the floor can sufice. but at many outcrops you cant assume the rock you find on the floor corresponds to the outcrop you are looking at and therefore you cant and shouldnt use it.
Im sure everybody agrees recklessly excessive hammering is wrong werever it is, but i dont call hammering off a couple of small rocks excessive
we appear to be on the same wavelength here so i dont know why we are arguing.
Of course it's damage - the question is whether or not the damage is acceptable. In this case, given that the local geology is already pretty comprehensively understood and given the guidelines above, to damage a popular landmark in this way seems pretty unjustifiable. Of course, if it turns out to be part of some exciting new research throwing light onto a whole set of conundrums associated with, err, Dartmoor granite, then I'll eat my words but twenty quid says it doesn't.
Regarding students with hammers - we were never encouraged to buy hammers as undergrads and those that did have them were encouraged not to use them unless absolutely necessary. In my whole time at university I hammered maybe 3 or 4 outcrops - little lumps of rock sticking a foot or two out of the ground.
That's probably the funniest thing I've read on here in ages.
Bristol is a well respected geology department so it would be interesting to hear an explanation...
As for having to hammer I just don't buy it I'm afraid... not during training which is what the University is doing. At best they should take some samples once (I assume they do the same trips annually); store them properly and then take them with them to the outcrop to compare against the weathered face. Yes if you're mapping in a virgin area then getting clean faces is more important but the geology of the UK is pretty well understood....
My guess is that it was a somewhat self important undergrad who got bored with doing the actual task and took a swipe at the rock..
"Funniest thing I've read on here in ages"
Well perhaps not well written but I think it has a grain (only a grain mind) of truth.... I personally do think field work has it's place and I use a lot of analogue work personally. Having a decent understanding of 2D / 3D variations and scales all comes from fieldwork.
But I like being outdoors and doing a bit of field work now and then is partly why I'm a geologist so I'm not the most unbiased person :o)
BREAKING NEWS: Geologist takes rock sample, rock climbers offended.
The thing that bugs me is that these people think that because they are studying something they are therefore qualified to do as they will. If they were qualified geologists they wouldn't the students they'd have jobs or be teaching students and hopefully by then they'd know better.
Following this line the lecturer or tutor is equally responsible for this event that at a minimum shows a shocking lack of forethought and respect for the environment.
I totally agree with you, I think that sensitive and considerate research is fine. However, this is not what I witnessed. The damage was caused without thought and large chunks of granite simply left where they were broken off.
This might come across better in the full unedited account at http://rustypeg.co.uk/news.html
> I can't help thinking that an email bombardment of the Head of Department by angry climbers bearing pitchforks is not the most appropriate course of action.
I did try to speak to the Tutor on site, however he'd gone for a walk, leaving the students unsupervised. I requested that he come speak to me when he returned, but unfortunately he never did. The next day I rung the Department itself and politely requested to speak to the Tutor or somebody who could talk to me about the conduct of their students. However, again there was nobody available to speak to me and I've still not heard from them despite leaving contact details.
It was only after this that I decided to let other people know what had happened and email if they thought it was unacceptable. I hoped that people could be adult enough to be measured in their emails!
I will try to contact the Area Rep tonight, good idea.
It because you're being a complete fud. hth
"The next day I rung the Department itself and politely requested to speak to the Tutor or somebody who could talk to me about the conduct of their students. However, again there was nobody available to speak to me and I've still not heard from them despite leaving contact details"
A bit of a devils advocate here - they might still be on the field trip and the department is perhaps waiting to see the students / tutor face to face before taking this further. However they could always say that anyway....
I have rung the department and spoken to the individual involved.
In short, there has been an enormous misunderstanding - bu tI hav etrie dot deliver our collective apology for inappropriate witch-hunt that was initiated.
The student is not a geologist. That was simply an assumption we had made - and we should learn never to make assumptions.
They are a sculptor and this is art. As such, we are merely failing to grasp the pearls that fall before us.
> I have rung the department and spoken to the individual involved.
> In short, there has been an enormous misunderstanding
> The student is not a geologist.
Many thanks for alerting me to this very unfortunate incident. I have been away in Liverpool all day, at a PhD examination, and have only just read all of your e-mails.
I will be in a better position to comment on the incident tomorrow, when I am possession of all of the facts. I do know that we had a class of nearly 50 students on a fieldtrip at Haytor that day. I was not personally on this trip.
Regarding this particular fieldtrip, the students are told not to use their hammers and this is also written explicitly in their handouts.
I can assure you that the School of Earth Sciences takes such acts of vandalism very seriously. I will look into the incident further and report back to you. I will also meet with the entire class who was on this trip. Finally, I will e-mail all students and staff to remind them of our fieldwork rules.
I dont know the status of Hay tor, but the student probably did, so i cant say weather they were alowed to in this instance or not, but if they say they are then they probably are.
Well Webster.......i can tell you that they were not allowed to take a hammer to Lowman.
How do i know?......i have had an email from the boss and here is a quote from it. I hope i am allowed to do this.
"Regarding this particular fieldtrip, the students are told not to use their hammers and this is also written explicitly in their handouts."
I remember Mike Kendall being a pretty decent bloke as well so i'm fairly sure someones gonna get a rocket up the arse about this now.
I don't know him, but you're probably right. Unfortunately he failed this time. Hence I totaly disagree with the person above who doesn't think emailing him will do any good. If this wasn't brought to his attention then how would he know?
He will hopefully be as dissapointed about his failure this time as we are and will endevour to prevent it happening again.
> we are sold them by the department at the start of a degree
Thanks, I'd say that is the problem.
On most other courses equipment would be provided as needed. Nobody from my department tried to sell me an Oscilloscope .
But if you were a doctor, they'd sell you a stethoscope...and you'd probably try it out on every girl you met. Unfortunately give a man a hammer and he will smash things to bits.
when I was a geology student, I seem to recall that hammers were banned from field trips. There's always a fresh piece of exposure if you look around long enough. It's not like they were doing groundbreaking research - the constituents of the tor are well documented.
Nowadays, I use anfo, a Cat 2900 bogger and a hosepipe when looking for a fresh exposure. I reckon we could remove Hay Tor in a week.......
> It's not like they were doing groundbreaking research
Surely the problem is that they were doing groundbreaking research?
poor choice of words on my part. What I ment to say was that they'd be hammering for the hell of it; just an ill-founded justification that it's what geologists do. Once qualified, most geos run a mile from hammering. Too much like hard work
have hammer... must hit stuff...
Follow the link to here:
The facts are quite clear. One or more individuals on an Earth Science / Geology field trip to Haytor used their hammer in an inappropriate manner, damaging a legally protected SSSI environment.
I am quite sure the staff organising and managing the field trip did not intend for this to happen and probably had made the students aware of what was acceptable and what was not.
However, those responsible for the damage need to be made aware that their actions were illegal and that such actions could result in a prosecution by the relevant authority. In this case, probably Natural England who hold statutory powers in such situations.
This kind of intellectual superiority annoyed me when I was an undergratuate and it annoys me now.
I'm not a carpenter, but if a chair is uncomfortable to sit in I don't feel I need to be to pass a judgement.
These were students out on a field trip. We can all recognise children playing with their new toys. Your continued defence of this actually worries me. I hope and assume that the book will be thrown at these vandals. I expect them to be thrown off their course and if criminal damage has occured then I would expect the constabulary to consider charges.
Further I'd like to know what supervision they were under, this does not appear to have been of a satisfactory level and whoever was lax here should also be held accountable.
As you pointed out in previous notes, scientists are responsible for a lot of good work...this wasn't one of them.
I'm a sport climber. If I went and stuck bolts on say Stanage then I'd expect to be vilified and probably prosecuted. Your agument is purile and verges on the offensive. This was pure mindless vandalism done by people who thought they were untouchable because 'it's ok, we're geology students'
Your agument is purile and verges on the offensive. This was pure mindless vandalism done by people who thought they were untouchable because 'it's ok, we're geology students'
I think he has a point actually. Bolts, chalk, gardening, even just climbing all affect rock quite substantially and have no purpose other than being fun. Much like using a geological hammer can I imagine be fun. Asking geologists not to chip rock that is used for climbing is fine and will generally be accepted I am sure. Demanding it in a superior "I am a climber, do as I say" manner is not and can I imagine lead to people doing so just to wind climbers up.
Yep, and judging by the age on his profile I suspect that Webster is not exactly a scientific authority qualified to pronounce on this himself.
But, regardless, even if there are good scientific reasons for doing something, that does *not* automatically trump other considerations (and in many areas of science there are ethics committees set up to monitor such things).
And the relevant university department recognises this and has acknowledged the issue; Webster is coming across as one of those undergraduates who should but doesn't know better.
But is anyone taking that attitude? From the photos that section of rock is unlikely to be part of any climbing route (it is not steep enough), and the concern about the damage would be primarily out of concern for the environment in general.
>Asking geologists not to chip rock that is used for climbing is fine and will generally be accepted I am sure. Demanding it in a superior "I am a climber, do as I say" manner is not and can I imagine lead to people doing so just to wind climbers up.
Am i allowed to demand it as i live 15 minutes away from Haytor and consider myself a local?
And....if geologist students would consider doing so just to wind climbers up regardless of the guidelines given to them from their unis then they should instantly be ex geologist students
> I expect them to be thrown off their course and if criminal damage has occured then I would expect the constabulary to consider charges.
> Further I'd like to know what supervision they were under, this does not appear to have been of a satisfactory level and whoever was lax here should also be held accountable.
Really? You think one little error means that someone's future should be completely changed? Have you never done anything wrong in your life?
Also, when taking a group of 50 people out, do you think they should be individually supervised? They're adults and shouldn't need for someone to be accountable. Would a teacher get in trouble if a student decided to tear a book in half?
There's pointing out errors and asking for it to be looked into, and there's being ridiculous...
but seriously, this appears to be an honest mistake from one university student,not the entire faculty. It appears that the majority of the people posting in this thread have entirely jumped upon the bandwagon of lambasting students. I go to Bristol University, and have had the sense to ask friends of mine in the geology department about what actually happened on March 8th, which I believe none of you had the sense to do. Yes, Hay Tor is an SSSI, but it is a bit much to be crying for blood because one student was overly curious and was not fully aware of the situation. This wasn't a student hammering for the fun of it, nor were they "hammering the s**t" out of it.
The cries of "immature students" are too much, personally, I think you guys should look at yourselves getting very wound up about a small mistake.
Can you let me know when you circulate your CV to potential employers so I can keep an eye out for it and and make sure it gets, errr, 'filed' correctly....
More provocatively, why is dry-tooling OK by hammering not? Or is hammering OK on "mountain" crags?
Thank God you're not doing an English degree.
I've never known a billion dollar contract rest on the results of an undergrad dissertation either but there's a first time for everything I suppose.
I (and various others on this thread) are almost certainly more qualified than you are, if you want to make this into a cock-waving contest.
As long as I as a (hypothetical) local am free to demand you stop climbing due to all the damage you do.
> More provocatively, why is dry-tooling OK by hammering not? Or is hammering OK on "mountain" crags?
You don't need to hammer on mountain crags. Just go up The Ben right now and stand in Observatory Gully and wait on rocks breaking off in front of you and whizzing past your face.
Is this mindless vandalism too? Surely causing damage unnecessarily for the enjoyment of climbing is unjustified. Or is it okay because he is a climber?
Particularly when it's students, of whom hundreds are going to be out every year looking for something convenient to chip away at, rather than professionals doing Proper Research, who (afaict) don't need to find out what Haytor is made of very often...
I go to Bristol University, and have had the sense to ask friends of mine in the geology department about what actually happened on March 8th, which I believe none of you had the sense to do.
Good for you.......i unfortunately am not in the position to do that so i asked the boss. I liked his initial response and await the outcome of his meeting with all those on that field trip.
I would rather put my trust in him than your friends in finding out what actually happened.
> (and the associated damage) is not.
While climbers do cause some damage over time they should try to minimise it. It was that lack of trying-to-minimise impact on the part of that geology student that has led to this issue.
> while climbing is the other way around.
Flora grows back rather more rapidly than rock. Where flora is engangered or particularly fragile climbers should try to preserve it.
There is a strong strand of opinion that dry-tooling is not ok, with the possible exception of a few grotty unremarkable quarries.
Just to clarify, the ability to hit a rock with a hammer until a bit drops off is a rare skill that requires years of training and the fate of the world rests upon it?
F*ck me, I must have been born with unique skills beyond other mortals.
I do find this all pontificating about protecting the rock a bit rich coming from a community that spends their weekends burning gallons of fuel to spread chalk and rubber over outcrops that attract comparatively little public thoroughfare from non-climbers. Not to mention the very significant erosion and occasional bits of litter we cause.
Don't get me wrong, I'm as guilty of that as the next climber, but let's get some of this hypocrisy out of the debate. It is our duty as users of rock to do so in a minimally harmful way, just as it is the geologists'. But it is ironic that this far smaller academic community, who understand infinitely more about rock formation and erosion than even the waddest of wads, are to be lectured by us.
This is essentially a conflict over turf (no pun intended) and geological aesthetics (look up 'ethics' in the dictionary) that clouds our view on our sports's own environmental impact. What was that saying again about casting the first, err, stone?
> I do find this all pontificating about protecting the rock a bit rich coming from a community that spends their weekends burning gallons of fuel to spread chalk and rubber over outcrops that attract comparatively little public thoroughfare from non-climbers. Not to mention the very significant erosion and occasional bits of litter we cause.
Are talking about the same Haytor?.....the one that sees thousands of non climbers arriving by the coach load and families on day trips every week enjoying the Haytor area. Causing less permanent damage in my view than a hammer wielding student.
Oh please... that is a very mis-leading way of thinking. Field work is designed to make you "think like a geologist" so that when you are presented with half the information (like a single oil well for instance and some 3D seismic or a couple of outcrops and a structural setting ) you can make an educated attempt to fill in the gaps based on your knowledge of geology. It is only a small part of proving that you have the skills available; a lot of other things are equally important including attitude.
> rock formation and erosion than even the waddest of wads, are to be lectured by us.
If you had read the thread you'd see that it is a few wayward and out-of-line *students* who are being "lectured" by us, not the geological academic community which (on the evidence presented) agrees with us.
You make him sound truly menacing. I hope the kids are unharmed.
You're missing the point, in any case. This is about our community having our head so far up our own arse the it's really bordering on the unethical.
> If you had read the thread you'd see that it is a few wayward and out-of-line *students* who are being "lectured" by us, not the geological academic community which (on the evidence presented) agrees with us.
and if you read the thread you will see that a large portion of the comments are attacking the geological community as a whole, and its ethics and how they are managed. this debate goes deeper than 1 incident.
We may view ourselves as the guardians of this particular kind of ecosystem, but that I would find one of the most self-righteous and deluded views I have ever come across.
No they aren't.
> and if you read the thread you will see that a large portion of the comments are attacking the geological community as a whole, and its ethics and how they are managed. this debate goes deeper than 1 incident.
Only in your head, many of the people doing the criticism are members of the geological community.
> geological community as a whole, and its ethics and how they are managed.
Err, really? A few posters have suggested that when they were undergrads they were encouraged/allowed to be too free with hammers, but most posters here who are geologists have condemned this act. Almost no posts are "attacking the geological community as a whole" -- which posts are you thinking of?
In reply to Webster:
I'm a geologist and I don't think that this thread is attacking the whole geological community at all.
What it is attacking are geologists (if you are even one yet?) with attitudes like yours.
ChrisJD + 1.
I don't think in anyway this is attacking the geological community. I'm also a geologist (who works in industry by the way) and I think most of the geological community would view the damage is the same light. As some unjustified actions by a way ward student who will learn heavily from the mistake and think more carefully before breaking rocks again.
I'm saddened by apparent attempts to justify all mapping as have a need to crack rocks open as it is so much more than that. Mapping is important but in industry community relations are even more important....
Acutally, it's attacking only those geologists who dare to chip bits off one of our rocks. The armchair-and-office kind we don't mind.
Meanwhile, we stare in awe as rock star after rock star does their little bit to protect the flake on Parthian Shot. Seriously, guys, on what planet are you living?
> If this wasnt a popular climbing spot then nobody would have noticed, and geologists would keep going about their business as always.
Me thinks you is very, very wrong about that. It is a popular spot full stop and climbers are generally outnumbered massively around the Haytor area.
There is a difference between a loose flake and intentionally breaking rock off. If I seen climbers breaking rock up off a face I would be angry as well as I would be to anyone. If holds for a paricular route were damaged that would be a secondry annoyance to the damage of the rock. There are many many climbers who are very outdoors concious people in regards to erosion, litter, wildlife and damage.
I am an outdoors and hill goer before I am a rock climber and outdoor and nature ethics come before climbing ethics. Recently I couldn't protect a move because a big slug had taken up residence in the crack. I left him where he was and made the move without the bit of gear. I regularly pick up litter which has been left by climbers and non climbers alike, whether it was left intentionally or unintentionally.
This is not just an argument between "climbers and routes" and "geologists and rock". There are many fuzzy boundaries and cross overs.
Have you actually read the Parthion Shot thread?
My friend is a surgeon, in order to become a surgeon he had to demonstrate skill in handling sharp instruments that were used in operations. Not a lot of his 'field work' involved randomly slicing people open to demonstrate he was skilled in weilding a knife.
Are you saying your surgeon friend didn't take part in any surgery as part of his training? Is this normal? Sounds like exactly the sort of thing surgeons in training should be doing.
On the evidence available, I might suggest that he has time to reflect on whether geology is a suitable career path for him. If the result of this reflection is that he still wished to, then if he managed to get into such a respectable uni as Bristol, then I'm sure another uni will accept him with open arms. Having been given a second chance, hopefully he will take suitable advantage of it.
Yup, paid for it, learned from it, hopefully came out a better person afterwards.
No, the behaviour expected of them should be known and the consequences of bringing the university into disrepute should be made clear. I'm not sure of the relevance of the '50 people' to be honest, are you implying that if you get enough people to go along then at a certain number you no longer have any responsibility?
hmm....I think the main problem here is that they DID, and there wasn't
If the teacher took some student to the British Library and one ripped apart the Magna Carta, then he probably would be. I don't really understand you point tbh
There's pointing out vandalism and asking it to be dealt with appropriatly
I'm saying that his 'field work' was structured, done under close supervision and limited. He wasn't allowed to wander off unsupervised and have a play with his new toys, as evidently happened here.
> Me thinks you is very, very wrong about that. It is a popular spot full stop and climbers are generally outnumbered massively around the Haytor area.
And how many of these non-climbers would even notice?
The reaction to this minor event is a truly bizarre spectacle ;(
> There is a difference between a loose flake and intentionally breaking rock off.
No there is not. a piece of rock has been removed through the actions of humans that would otherwise still be there. you are merely arguing that your interests are more important than a different group of rock users
I would expect a fair fraction of non-climbing tourists would think it odd and dubious if they saw someone hammering away at Hay Tor and removing chunks of stone. Wouldn't you?
And the point of reacting to such an incident is to ensure it doesn't become usual. As said up-thread there are thousands of geology undergrads taken on every year, and if such practice were accepted as the norm it would rapidly do significant damage to landmarks.
Yes there is, doing damage intentionally is very different from doing damage accidently.
> My friend is a surgeon, in order to become a surgeon he had to demonstrate skill in handling sharp instruments that were used in operations. Not a lot of his 'field work' involved randomly slicing people open to demonstrate he was skilled in weilding a knife.
missing the point again (how many times am i going to say this) on a field trip you are not demonstrating your ability, you are learning the skills required for filed work, and at some later date over the course of your degree you will have to demonstrate you have these skills independently to graduate. some of these skills include sampling and analysing in situ rock, and the only way to do that is with a hammer.
to use your analouge, your sergeon friend will have practiced his skills many times on dummies, simulations, dead bodies etc, but at some stage before becoming a fully qualified surgeon they will have had to demonstrate these skills on an actual patient, whilst being observed by a senior surgoen.
> You don't need to hammer on mountain crags. Just go up The Ben right now and stand in Observatory Gully and wait on rocks breaking off in front of you and whizzing past your face.
Exactly. Severe damage to rock is having half a kilometre knocked off the height of a hill by an ice sheet or somebody starting a quarry and blowing chunks out a mountain with explosives. Not a pebble size stone getting hacked off by a geology student. OK they shouldn't have done it but we also need a sense of perspective and to bear in mind the scale of natural weathering.
> to use your analouge, your sergeon friend will have practiced his skills many times on dummies, simulations, dead bodies etc, but at some stage before becoming a fully qualified surgeon they will have had to demonstrate these skills on an actual patient, whilst being observed by a senior surgoen.
Which is obviously not analogous with the incident we are talking about. The student was not being observed and the trip guidelines apparently said hammering was not appropriate. Presumably when the Bristol geology students get round to doing their equivalent of demonstrating their skills on the pateient it will be under the supervision of a turor and within the Universities guidelines.
> climbing a hard route, is as deliberate as wielding a hammer. and the end result is the same
Nope. The climbers on Parthian wanted the flake to stay intact; the student at Hay Tor wanted the rock chunk to come away. There is a clear difference in intention.
field education is more than sampling and map making. undergraduates are/should also being/be taught to read instructions and to follow rules. If you were on my site and didn't wear your hard hat or used a metal trowel to take a soil sample the first thing I would ask would be "can you tell me what you are doing wrong and did you read the field instructions plus HSSE regulations?"
Both major industry sectors and most academics are very aware of their perceived impact (be it real or not) and spend a LOT of time and money mitigating this perception, companies go bust and projects are boxed when simple mistakes are made with local people. Frac'ing is a good example of perception and reality gone walk about (some is real and some isnt), the public are scared, don't really know, assume to much and lose the benefits then industry are seen as the evil people there to exploit. No one wins.
> I would expect a fair fraction of non-climbing tourists would think it odd and dubious if they saw someone hammering away at Hay Tor and removing chunks of stone. Wouldn't you?
We all see odd things every day. Very few of them create this sort of comic spectacle!
Watch out you very nearly uttered the jaded old phrase "thin end of the wedge" ;)
It didn't happen last year, so why should it happen in the future?
A sense of perspective is needed. UKC is once again creating the impression that in order to belong to the "climbing community" you must complete a rite of passage that involves finding an inconsequential bit of "damage" and then making yourself look a complete and utter tit whilst competing to see who can express the most absurd levels of outrage on a public forum
Damn right. Besides, a lot of fine engineering (and possibly geology) has gone into devising gear that exerts the maximum leverage on rock. We even give ourselves extra vandalism ("E") points for gaining height above gear before a fall, so that an ever-higher impact on the rock is incentivised.
Live and let live, folks.
> missing the point again (how many times am i going to say this) on a field trip you are not demonstrating your ability, you are learning the skills required for filed work, and at some later date over the course of your degree you will have to demonstrate you have these skills independently to graduate. some of these skills include sampling and analysing in situ rock, and the only way to do that is with a hammer.
Amongst the skills you should be learning and then demonstrating is local awareness / discretion... i.e don't hammer everywhere..Understand if doing so will get you into trouble. In this case trouble is just a load of people on the internet and probably a telling off from the Head of Department; I've been on field work in areas in North Africa where trouble would have been at a whole different level. Not everyone plays nicely.
If you absolutely do need a sample then a small sample is sufficuent; low to the ground etc, etc.
Did you seriously just compare tearing up the Magna Carta to chipping a piece of rock off a granite outcrop? SERIOUSLY?
This thread is bewildering...
I'm sorry Tiberius, but you do a fine line in shit analogies!
> Yes there is, doing damage intentionally is very different from doing damage accidently.
Bolting and gardening are both doing deliberate damage. The only reason people here are bothered about hammering is because it might affect a climb. If it had been on a piece of rock with no climbs, no one here would be bothered. It is saying my fun (climbing) is more important than yours (hammering). This might be true, but it is dishonest to pretend it is about preventing damage to the environment.
Establishing and enforcing what is and isn't acceptable is entirely sensible.
And from you also. All that is happening is entirely valid criticism is being expressed on an internet thread. Aren't you in danger of over-reacting to that?
If this thread is being prolonged by anything it is by people refusing to accept the basic points that (1) what that student did was out of line, (2) the department is now aware of it and will take steps to avoid repetition.
End of story, except for a few (well one) who is still trying to excuse the student, and a couple who are making tits of themselves by whining about UKC threads and getting things out of proportion.
> been on a piece of rock with no climbs, no one here would be bothered.
That's not true. There is no climb up the section of rock in question, it is at too low an angle for a climb (as can be seen from the photos). And yet people do care. I for one care about the visual aspects of rock outcrops such as Hay Tor, regardless of climbing, especially those in highly scenic areas.
And while one incident is not that much by itself, establishing that this should not be the norm is important (as stated, there are thousands of geology students).
> is dishonest to pretend it is about preventing damage to the environment.
Normally, MG, you are very sensible in your posts. But that is utter tosh!
Very good analogy, so what you're saying is that these students should be learning their skills on false rock, old boulders and a some stage, before becoming a fully qualified geologist, they will have to demonstrate these skills on actual rock, whilst being observed by a senior geologist?
Ok, I can live with that. Now, using your definition above, this plainly falls into none of those categories does it? It wasn't a dummie rock, it wasn't simulation, and it certainly wasn't being supervised and observed by a senior geologist. So, getting back to our point, how do you suggest we deal with these vandals?
I am not defending these particular students, it has been well established on this thread that they were in the wrong and the situation will be dealt with by the department.
first of all i was suggesting that they could have been acting perfectly legaly with a legitimate reason, and that all students know that hammering should be limited and is banned in some places.
it has since been established that they didnt have permision and they were in the wrong in this instance, but as i have been pointing out geologists and students alike do have legitimate reasons and permission on many occasions to hammer off samples, and as climbers knowingly cause arguable more environmental damage for no purpose other than enjoyment, their objections are hypocrytical.
> Nope. The climbers on Parthian wanted the flake to stay intact; the student at Hay Tor wanted the rock chunk to come away. There is a clear difference in intention.
But if you know that there is a good chance you could cause damage, is it still okay for a climber to do something?
Should the climbing community not have tried to stop people climbing the route because it would eventually break a piece of rock off? People knew it would happen, but because it was impressive and a high E grade, everyone got psyched about it.
Is the climbing community not worse for letting it happen over a long foreseen time span than a student who breaks one little rule in a moment of absent mindedness?
Again, I'm not saying it's right but it's hardly the end of the world is it? Get some perspective!
Perhaps the student knew of another planned Royal visit and thought that her Majesty would require a new staircase to be cut for her.
This post really is utter drivel.
Because it did happen this year, and if nobody had complained then everyone concerned would have continued to think it acceptable.
Indeed it is. Just because something isn't of earth-shattering (sic) importance, doesn't mean it must be ignored.
In that case I won't ignore the misuse of "sic"
It doesn't mean "I know that's a pun". It is used to emphasise that something has been quoted correctly.
The only reason people here are bothered about hammering is because it might affect a climb. If it had been on a piece of rock with no climbs, no one here would be bothered.
Then perhaps you MG should not choose to ignore your inaccurate post. Or tell us what route was affected by the students hammering and correct me.
I believe being a climber or not has nowt to do with why somebody should be bothered about this
> Because it did happen this year, and if nobody had complained then everyone concerned would have continued to think it acceptable.
> Indeed it is. Just because something isn't of earth-shattering (sic) importance, doesn't mean it must be ignored.
I'm not suggesting that it has to be ignored. I'm suggesting that the disproportionate levels of outrage often expressed over very minor incidents makes "the climbing community" look absurd IMO.
I wonder if people leap onto these bandwaggons in order to heighten their own desire to belong to an illusory "community" of climbers.
> In that case I won't ignore the misuse of "sic"
> It doesn't mean "I know that's a pun". It is used to emphasise that something has been quoted correctly.
That's helpful. From the same article -
'While chiefly used in text that is not one's own, occasionally a sic is included by a writer after his or her own word(s) to note that the language has been chosen deliberately for special effect, especially where the writer's ironic meaning may otherwise be unclear.'
You're quite right. That was nothing like selected [sic] quoting.
Unconventional is different to wrong.
Burn the geology students.
if you want to keep driving your car and doing many of the other things that you take for granted in modern life, then you require geologists to have undergone propper training (and that includes hammering off samples for analysis) in order to accurately map and log in the field, so that a company if it sees fit can invest millions to source the metals and hydrocarbons which we all take for granted!
WE ALL REQUIRE GEOLOGISTS TO SMASH UP ALL ARE CRAG'S SO SOME COMPANY CAN (invest) MAKE MILLIONS ! Well If we are having votes on it i say save the crag's , sod the company investment's !
> The only reason people here are bothered about hammering is because it might affect a climb. If it had been on a piece of rock with no climbs, no one here would be bothered.
> I'm not suggesting that it has to be ignored. I'm suggesting that the disproportionate levels of outrage often expressed over very minor incidents makes "the climbing community" look absurd IMO.
I'm sorry to be the one to point out the obvious, but you are far too reasonable and sensible for UKC!
> I wonder if people leap onto these bandwaggons in order to heighten their own desire to belong to an illusory "community" of climbers.
An alternative view would be that they are all idiots ....
I also hope that the (by now suitably punished) geology student who's responsible for this truly heinous crime is made aware of this thread so that he can thank his lucky stars that capital punishment is now banned in the UK.
Due to bird bans which are largely adhered to by the vast majority of climbers - probably not.
Well that was a generous-spirited way of resurrecting a thread unused for three days.
Comma misuse is more painful.
What about not using capital letters at the beginning of a sentence?
I've never seen in print such a crassly ignorant, arrogant or non-sensically irrelevant response which clearly reads as a slap in the face to someone who has just highlighted a piece of thoughtless behaviour on a public site (irrespective of whether it is SSI or not). The fact it is public place, and enjoyed by the public, does not give a member of that public the right to trash it. If so, I as a car driver would be able to drive anywhere I liked in whatever manner I liked, I don't because I have a respect for other people's right to enjoy the place as it is intended to be....or is every rock on Dartmoor the rightful domain of some geology undergraduate to smash to bits in the name of progress and humanity's 'well-being'?
What a witless response and excuse you offer.
As promised, I have looked into this incident in detail and have taken a number of actions to ensure that it will not happen again.
I have banned the use of hammers on the fieldtrip that visits Hay Tor, and any other fieldtrip that involves a visit to a SSSI or site of protection for historical reasons.
I spoke with the student responsible and he is fully aware of the mistake he has made and he has promised that it will not happen again. The fieldtrip coordinator was with another group of students at another outcrop at the time.
I have e-mailed all Bristol geology students and made it quite clear what our policy is when it comes to hammering. Below is an excerpt of our newly reworded fieldwork policy on hammering. I have reminded students that in no uncertain terms will hammering be allowed at sites of historical or scientific importance - and that they should always ask before taking any samples. Feedback from the students has been positive and they seem to have taken the message on board. Most are now in the field over the Easter period, so I am expecting reports of exemplary behavior.
Similarly, I have e-mailed all lecturers and demonstrators who are involved in fieldwork and again reminded them of the rules and policy.
Finally, I have had an e-mail circulated to all Heads of Geology Departments across the UK, which describes what happened - and I have enclosed links to your various blogs on the subject. Hopefully this will lead to a heightened collective awareness of the issue.
> Due to bird bans which are largely adhered to by the vast majority of climbers - probably not.
Why do I see more species on/around Stanage, Burbage etc when its quiet and there are no climbers? Avoiding nests etc is all well and good, but I think that climbers must remember, that they have a major impact on the environment, and not a good one. Chalk marks everywhere, etc etc...
I am a climber and a mountain biker, yet also a nature lover, and yes a bit of a twitcher. I do get annoyed by the holier than thou attitude that crops up on here quite alot. Climbers only have a negative impact on the enviroment. Minimising that impact is the key, by having bans during the breeding season etc.
That's a bit stiff!
> I spoke with the student responsible and he is fully aware of the mistake he has made and he has promised that it will not happen again.
I hope he got the cane
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