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Topic - Calling North East Climbers

The Mole - on 23 Jul 2012
Dear North East climbers,

At recent BMC North East area meetings there have been discussions about a clean-up of Crag Lough. See below for background and rationale.

The National Trust (land owner) has been consulted and is supportive of the idea.

A date has now been set for the clean-up:

15th 16th September

The basic proposal is clean-routes on the Saturday and climb on the Sunday with a BBQ at Haltwhistle campsite on the Saturday evening. Beers in the Twice Brewed Inn are optional but recommended!

There will be a meeting art the Newcastle Climbing Centre (St Marks Church) on Thursday 9th August at 8:00 pm for anyone interested in helping out. If you cannot attend the meeting but are interested in volunteering or have any questions please contact me directly through this site.

I must apologise for the relatively short notice but is hoped that a significant number of North East climbers will be able to participate.

Best regards,

Mark Anstiss

Crag Lough

The crag is an extensive North facing Whin Sill Dolerite escarpment offering over 100 recorded routes the majority of which are in the perennially popular HS to HVS range. Although North facing the rock is generally clean, extremely hard wearing and does not tend to polish. The crag was one of the earliest to be developed in Northumberland and the classics at this fine crag bear comparison with the best outcrop routes anywhere. However over the last few years the crag has fallen out of fashion, with many climbers tending to focus on sandstone outcrops further North in The County. The relative neglect of the Whin Sill crags has resulted in increased vegetation on all but the very most popular routes resulting in the familiar cycle of less attention and further encroachment of vegetation.

The vegetation of concern tends to be grass and small shrubs encroaching on ledges and in cracks; unlike on sandstone, lichen formation in the winter months is not a significant problem. The timing of the clean-up towards the end of the season is to allow for the departure of any nesting birds and since the vegetation will not return during the winter months the benefits should be enjoyed throughout next year as well as the closing part of this summer

Unfortunately the erosion at Northumberland sandstone venues is a serious problem, especially on routes in the popular middle grades and it has been argued that that a clean up of Crag Lough may result in more mid-grade climbers making more use of this venue, thus taking some pressure of the sandstone, as well as improving the climbing there for it's own sake.
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