/ The biggest access and participation issue the BMC faces
It's effectively accessed from the Kent village of Groombridge.
The area is in the Wealden AONB
it's the closest crag to 12m people (next one 100miles) .
It is used intensively by school and young people's groups.
The the uncertainty and potential loss in November of the car park, camping and facilities IS the biggest access and participation issue the BMC have dealt with in decades. So where is the BMC input in securing it?
I could have sworn that old Southern Sandstone guidebook I've got is more than 6 pages thick.
We also use simple words in them for all abilities!
I thought it had been secured? What's gone on this time?
Only until the end of the current lease. Which is November(ish) this year.
I agree it's a heavily used crag, and has a large catchment area... But I don't understand what is important about these points?
Lots of crags are accessed from a village and in Areas of Natural Beauty of special scientific interest...
You'd get a better response from those not directly connected with your cause if you wrote something useful and somewhat moderated like
"The uncertainty ... is *in my opinion* the biggest access and participation ... *for the following reasons:*"
Your OP just makes you sound like a bit of an idiot. Especially since only the 3rd of the things on that list actually seems to obviously make it unusual.
Thanks for your advice. Do you know of a bigger access and participation problem facing the BMC currently?
Is that meant to be an insult? Classy. Sorry for exposing your lie.
I don't know much about exactly what the situation/problem is. If you want people to get on the back of a cause you need to convince them, not just moan, which will only attract support from those already interested. E.g. Explain the points in your first post clearly, since at least 2 of us on here have already not got what's unique about some of those aspects.
From what I can gather the issue is that you're going to lose some toilets and a campsite. I wouldn't call that an access problem, more a facilities problem, though I can see why it would impact on participation. So yes, I can think of bigger access problems - anything that's got anything to do with actual access to climbing(banned crags, agreeing restrictions etc)! The issues at Cheddar - which genuinely threaten access to climbing, not just access to supplementary facilities, spring to mind.
Surely if it's that popular that you need a campsite and toilet block then it's commercially viable as a business so the BMC shouldn't really need to get involved? That's the kind of question you need to address if you want to convince people from outside your niche to care..
> Your OP just makes you sound like a bit of an idiot.
No "bit" about it.
There was a very long thread about this several months ago. BMC are involved, but don't want to take on the lease from the Forestry Commission, they have offered to support a community enterprise to operate the campsite / parking / toilets. Seems like a good solution, but requires more than complaining from local climbers.
Are you really losing access to a crag or just the facilities that make climbing there a little bit more convenient than it would otherwise be?
Hundreds of crags in the UK don't have their own car park, camping or toilets. We just get on, work around it and enjoy the climbing.
As someone with no interests in Southern Sandstone, I supported (and I think voted in the petition?) the idea that local volunteers should be able to repair and support toilet facilities to enable the campsite to operate. The BMC should take reasonable efforts to encourage Sports England/FC etc to this aim, but it is hardly a national priority.
This just makes you look silly, naive and ridiculous. I do not want BMC money subsidising a toilet (go before you go, like at every crag in the UK!) and accompanying campsite (should be self-funding or locally-subsidised).
The idea of there even being an access issue at a crag the BMC own is frankly laughable. I'm not even sure the BMC should, in general, be in the business of owning crags.
PS Vixen Tor, amongst no doubt many others.
Actually, not only is the campsite self funding, all the profit from it currently goes here.
How are the BMC involved? Via a connection in the spirit world?
Local climbers have been instrumental in driving the development of the Community Enterprise but this is going no-where because the forestry commission will not engage with a start up and only want to offer a new lease to an organisation which has the real and tangable backing of an established partner: these groups could be Sport England, the BMC and or the Parish Council.
That is an entirely understandable position from the Forestry Commission's point of view. From what I can see they are willing to retain the toilets but are not prepared to bear the cost, and the issue facing any body which takes them on is where funding is to be obtained.
In my view the Council would be the most appropriate body to take this on. I think many BMC members would not be happy about it taking on potentially onerous lease obligations. This is not about access and not what the BMC is for.
Should not the campsite be taking responsibility for the toilets? It appeared to be charging only £2 per head, which is ridiculously cheap, and reliant on someone else providing essential facilities. If the site and its toilets are so important to local climbers why aren't they prepared to pay more to finance proper facilities?
The campsite is not a business. It is a clearing in the woods next to the car park. All the profits from camping go here.
So, no, the campsite can not, unfortunately, run the toilets.
Interesting that you say profits, rather than income. Won't be any profits, if there is no campsite. Profits are what is left once you have covered your costs.
If there is a fee to use the campsite it seems entirely reasonable that there should be some structure in place to allow those fees to pay for the running of the toilets.
That's right, there won't. And I'm sure that the cost of petrol for the lawnmower is the biggest expense!
Once again, at the risk of repeating myself, it's not money that's the problem. It's the lease and ongoing negotiations.
I'd be unhappy to see my BMC subs used for this. It's already a BMC owned crag on publicly accessible land, so your rights of access and right to climb have already been protected. This seems to be about your right to a short walk in and a convenient WC.
There are far larger access problems across the country where the ability to climb is being lost outright. I think you need to make a much stronger case than some vague assertions about villages and AONBs which are hardly unique.
I haven't once mentioned villages or AONBs. I think you're confusing me with the OP.
You're right - wrong button. Sorry.
More concerned about cheddar than chossy ss.
Have you actually climbed on southern sandstone?
Perhaps it should be.
Why? Have you been there? It's a few clearings amongst the woods laid to grass. It's looked after by local climbers for other climbers. I would think that, on a good weekend in the summer, it might take a hundred quid. On a wet weekend, and for 9 months of the year, virtually nothing.
Not something I'd want to make a living from!
No I haven't, despite Harrisons being my nearest crag for many years. None of the climbers I knew when I lived in Essex (some of whom had been there) considered it worth the trouble of getting to - we preferred to make a bit more effort and go to the Peak, Lakes or Wales.
However the OP is claiming the lack of facilities being the biggest problem the BMC faces.
I understand that the locals feel passionately about this, and I respect Dingbat for the effort he's put in. But please get a sense of proportion. This isn't something the BMC should take responsibility for.
Yes of course. Lived in Sussex for several years. Bowles, stone farm, Harrisons and other, more esoteric places. Nice vibe and builds good fingers but it wouldn't get a second look if there was a decent alternative.
I agree, but for all the problems it has, 'Choss' certainly isn't one of them.
I'm afraid it's the usual story of regional bias; a supposedly national administration only interested in what's happening beyond the M25 and with no idea how grim life really is in the deprived south-east...
Ok - I agree "choss" usually means loose. I was using it to mean more generally "shit".
A national administration only concerned with stuff outside the M25? How refreshing!
You have access to the crag? You can climb on it?
You want a convenient car park? You want convenient toilets? You want convenient 'facilities'?
And THAT is the biggest access and participation issue facing the BMC at present, in your opinion.
I'm afraid you are a bit deluded: there are far more pressing matters for the BMC to be sorting than where you can park and where you can crap.
fixed that for you ;)
To the OP ...
I can see why the FC wouldn't want to deal with a volunteer driven startup - they have to think commercially some 15 or 25 years down the line to consider who might still be around then !
Since the BMC own Harrisons and Stone Farm why don't they charge, say, £5 per person per day to climb - that then pays for someone to collect the money, car parks, toilets and other maintenance and should make a small profit - for the BMC. That would enable them to take on the lease responsibility. Could be a job there for you ?
Consider: the only other two significant crags in the area both charge and are very popular despite the charges - Bowles (£4pd) and High Rocks (£10pd).
As a local, I climb several times a week on SS and although being a BMC member, would be prepared to pay for a season ticket for those crags in the same way as you do for the other crags mentioned. I have no need of camp site, toilets or car park but know and climb with many people who benefit from them. It would be nice to see them stay but it is not the end of the world if they go - the climbing would still be there regardless !
Simples ... discuss :)
One of the biggest access and participation issue the BMC faces...is single issue activists with a lack of proportion who can't negotiate within the BMC organisational structures and so resort to megaphone diplomacy on UKC. You are yet to prove anything more than maybe a slightly slow uptake on what seems to me to be a pretty intractable problem with your seemingly endless posts on the subject. BMC access work involves serious problems currently or on the horizon on many important crags, even at presumably insignificant places like Stanage. If its so obviously important to locals why in April did only 5 people attend that area meet? If the elected local lay officers are part of the problem, why havent the outraged masses elected new ones? Why didnt well supported resolutions get submitted to the agm?
Sabon (in Fontainebleau) has a similar number of parking spaces to harrison's, and on sunday a similar number of visitors, but step a few feet out of the car park and the woods are a mass of toilet paper, flies and human excrement.
The demise of the toilet facilities at Harrisonís caused by the flat footed short sighted BMC would lead to exactly the same outcome (pun?), the only difference between us and the French being that Wealdon Council would not allow the type of environmental impact the French accept and would close the car park on H&S grounds.
The next thing that will happen is that climbers will park in passing places and driveways chewing up the vergesí causing all manner of other environmental impact. When all this comes to pass the BMC will be called to account by members and other stakeholders.
As for democracy, we all know itís possible to be elected as the President of a National Body on the votes of less than 1% of the membership, but we do hope that this doesnít mean it makes (absolutely) everything he says is worthless. In situations like this the clever ones do more listening to passionate ordinary members than thugging their viewpoints across the internet.
So yes, if the (currently open) toilets once again get closed down, and some climbers are too lazy or stupid to go before they go, so to speak, then the car park might get shut down. Some might then be lazy/arrogant and park in antisocial/illegal places (and hopefully the local council would ticket the crap out of them, which at least would solve the first problem). There would presumably still be access until the point at which the behaviour of climbers was so outrageous that even the BMC had to ban/restrict access.
At this point would climbers have anyone to blame but themselves?
I'm not at all sure you have made the argument that it would be the 'biggest access and participation issue the BMC faces' even if Harrison were completely dynamited to oblivion.
I'm not even sure that label would reasonably apply to even the most important of UK crags (maybe Stanage?).
At the end of the day, it's still just a toilet (and campsite)... it would be nice to keep it but incessant hyperbole does not inspire!
You mean how it died a week ago?
Stop shitting everywhere. Educate people, other crags don't have toilets, they're popular but not full of shit. It's amazing but true. Come up and climb in north Wales/peak district, a shit free zone, fairy tale stuff.
Most of the other crags don't have the misfortune to be situated in the heavily Nimby'ed South East. Work arounds don't work here. Harrisons HAS a campsite and toilets. For the sake of a small amount of effort these can be retained. Seems that this small amount of effort isn't being supported by the BMC
The facilities (car park and amenities) were built in the woodland 40 years ago with BMC support because the problems I described in my original post existed then. They will return if the BMC does not show some leadership and help to secure the future.
Its not a big ask really. 30% of BMC members live in London and south east region, we do have paid professional officers to represent the interest of climbers.
What would be fairy tale stuff would be the BMC involving itself in a few meetings. 'amazing but true' they have a duty.
First; I have climbed there and as its a 2 hour drive fom home I camped and used the toilets and BBQ facilities so I feel I have a right to respond....
Its nice to be able to camp on site, join in the "bon amis" and enjoy the whole atmosphere. The charge is £4 per person per night so we paid £16 for two people for 2 nights.
There is also a box on the carpark exit for people to throw in a £1 for parking.
These prices are the same we would pay on any other basic camp site, the pricing is right.
I understand the income from the camp site and parking goes to the trust fund.
All to often volenteer and not for profit organisations fail to make provision for apathy and inflation and ultimately fail. There are real costs in running the toilets and the camping and for those costs to be paid the running of the site must be treated as a business or there must be an acceptance that it will close.
To retain these facilities without changing the business model requires the BMC to redirect funding from something else. They may or may not do that, I have no idea.
Alternatively it must be treated as a business, promoted and managed.
My proposal;- Either build the souths best indoor climbing wall and shop on the site of the camp site or redirect the effort into a new venue http://igg.me/at/suffolkmountain/x/8163228
Back of an envelope calculation suggests that is 25 000 members in the SE. You assume they give a shit about toilets at Harrison's. I am confident that most don't. The numbers signing your petition support my view.
You mean he has a petition? Sweet jayzus.
The BMC has attended meetings. I recognise that you are not happy with what they have done at these meetings and I can't comment on that. However what you really seem to want the BMC to do is to take formal responsibility for maintaining the toilets. That will mean entering into a contractual obligation with a significant financial liability, with no current prospect of funding or of generating enough income from users to pay for it. I doubt many BMC members, probably including many in the south east, would support that. The liabilities might not bankrupt the BMC but they could seriously impair its ability to deal with issues where access to climbing is genuinely threatened. Climbing at Harrisons is not in jeopardy.
This is an amenity problem, not an access problem. Furthermore it is not just climbers who will be affected, although they are probably by far the largest group (but probably also the largest cause of the problems you anticipate). The BMC is a stakeholder, both as the representative of climbers and as owner of the Rocks, but it should not be taking on legal commitments unless there is also guaranteed funding to meet these.
I agree with much you have written, especially that climbers are the largest stakeholding group and also 'probably the largest cause of the problems'.
For these reasons alone the BMC should be providing leadership and the paid officers identifying funding streams - including re-engaging with Sport England.
I have never considered that the British Mountaineering Council might contribute financially, because clearly there priorities are with expanding Manchester opperations, indoor climbing etc
Can you not just go and climb somewhere not shit?
Not only that, but I think most climbers up in North London could probably get to Stanage just as quickly as Harrisons.
The forestry commission will not give a lease to a)a business intending to make a profit, therefore local activists, without support from BMC have been trying to approach the forestry commission on a community enterprise model; and b)an organisation without the backing of financial security. This doesn't necessarily mean BMC money, it does suggest BMC interest and support is needed to allow local climbers to deliver the community enterprise model.
Why the BMC rather than the local council?
I have no idea what proportion of those 30% are climbers, a lot of Londoners drive up north to use our already busy crags but for whatever reason we manage. I don't think popularity is an excuse. The BMC are not in the business of running toilet blocks, not their priority and not mine either. Perhaps you should start a new organisation, get those 1,000 people who signed to throw a tenner in each year, and you might keep your toilet block. BMC members shouldn't have to pay.
I am okay with some of my money going to the GB team, they've improved results and had success (Shauna etc.), they really deserve it. However, you would prefer the BMC to spend money on people who aren't potty trained. I think most share my view.
The forestry commission up here doesn't seem to have a problem charging for parking and providing toilets for visitors or leasing land to commercial companies. Why can't they do that in England?
I notice from the BMC newsletter that there are "free burgers, beer and (for) the Stanage challenge". (members only I hope!) hardly the behaviour of an organisation strapped for cash.
Maybe we could have the portaloo they didn't provide. Its all a matter of priorities.
Sorry but for my money you are raging against an injustice that just doesn't exist here. And as you repeatedly lose the argument you are sinking further and further into silly slights against the BMC which is a great organisation.
Just my 2p worth (which I never spend in a loo as I can either wait or go before/after I climb).
I note that the BMC offered free buffet food at the last London and SE regional meeting. I presume you took full advantage of the offer?
Beer and burgers... a few hundred quid if that. Bottom of the barrel scraping here.
You might get more support if you were to avoid extravagant claims about the national importance of this issue and spelled out exactly what it is you want the BMC to do.
I don't see how can the BMC support this effectively without providing financial backing of some kind. I don't necessarily mean providing immediate funding, but if the BMC takes on the lease, or guarantees the community enterprise, then it becomes legally responsible for putting and keeping the toilet block in repair, and it the community enterprise fails to deliver then the BMC will have to pay up, possibly many thousands of pounds.
There seem to be people willing to take on the work, the problem here seems to be one of funding. Sports England have withdrawn theirs, and the Forestry Commission doesn't want to provide it. It shouldn't be the BMC's role to fund, or underwrite, a toilet block.
Can I just stop by this trainwreck of a thread to agree with everything that Howard J, rampikino, r0x0r et. al. have said.
OP you have flogged this horse to death.
Howard. It really isnt an extravagant claim. So far this thread has come up with Vixen tor as the next biggest access and participation problem for the BMC. A lovely crag I agree, but nothing like the national Importance of Harrisons.
You talk drivel.
Access first - there is no problem in getting access to Harrisons Rocks. Access is not in doubt, nor danger. Therefore, this is NOT an access issue. ANYTHING is a bigger issue than no issue.
Participation second - as there is no access problem the only participation issue you have is whether or not climbers have the opportunity to participate in a shit in a toilet in a car park.
If you truly believe that the biggest access and participation issue the BMC faces is whether or not a few climbers can't manage without taking a dump in a toilet block in a carpark then you are utterly deluded.
Think participation, think demographic of the climbing community and you will get to a waaaaaaaaaaaaay bigger participation issue that the BMC is currently facing today.
Not only but also...
A far bigger access issue.
And given that...
"Harrisonís Rocks are now owned and managed by the BMC for the benefit of climbers."
Then neither access nor participation are in doubt. CASE CLOSED.
I'm not sure whether it was in this thread or the other, but Cheddar was mentioned. Here, failure to adhere to well-publicized restrictions could result in a partial or total lack of access to a major crag of national importance.
Stanage has also been mentioned; although there is a less clear risk here, the sale of the North Lees estate could have been the beginning of a restriction of access to a crag of definite national importance.
Not just a lack of a convenient toilet and campsite. There is no threat to access at Harrison's except if climbers bring it upon themselves.
PS people have beaten me to it!
PPS I wasn't arguing Vixen Tor should be a top priority for the BMC (although the local government/national park etc have spent a considerable amount of time attempting to regain access), just trying to show that a _real_ access problem requires an actual lack of access, not a lack of conveniences!
The BMC has a duty to engage with the problem on a meaningful level and represent the wishes of local climbers. It really isn't good enough ridiculing people who believe in access and participation to their local crag. Read back through what you've posted and ask "why am I so negative about other peoples ambitions to solve local problems for local climbers?
You've clearly never climbed in this area, you clearly don't understand the issues, but thanks for keeping the topic live. It really is the most important access and participation issue the BMC faces.
Let's keep this one live on ukc!
It's a deal, if only to allow you to continue acting like a numpty.
ACCESS - not threatened
PARTICIPATION - same except for some saddos who think that they can't go to a crag without taking a dump
Have you asked the BMC if they share your view or just whined because you want a shit at Harrison's?
You have access, no one is ridiculing access. The issue is nothing to do with access. The quicker you acknowledge this the more sympathy you'll get. The BMC has engaged with this issue, you don't like the outcome, it's that simple.
Most people don't understand, those who have been and those who haven't. There's nothing to 'get'. You've never explained why the users of this crag are not potty trained. Popularity is not an excuse, it's pretty much the only crag that has a toilet, and there are lots of popular crags. Access in the slate quarries is another place which is at more risk than Harrison's. Actually the only crags at less risk is other crags owned by the BMC. So you will find that Harrison's is at the bottom of the pile priority wise, and has had a unjustified level of attention this past year. Be glad for that much.
This thread tried to die several times. Time to let it rest.
I have to agree with a number of posters here.
Look at the access green light, it means no access issues. It is a BMC owned crag thats more than most of us could hope for from the BMC!
this is a case of never being content with what you have. threatening the toilet block does not threaten your right to access it threatens your convenience. this is a black and white case.
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