/ Bolts at Hoghton
The next opportunity I will have to remove these is the weekend of the Wilton Festival, which is outside of the access window at Hoghton, unfortunately. If anyone else feels strongly about this wave of anal regression that seems to be sweeping the Lancashire quarries then please remove them.
Mate, please tell me this is late April Fool's joke.
Below is a post from 2011. I was at Houghton last Friday and rather shocked by what I saw!!
„¸ƒUlukehunt - ƒQon 20 Aug 2011„r *Apologies if this has been covered before, ran a search and couldn't find anything*
Had an great day climbing at Hoghton Quarry yesterday, excellent venue which really does live up to the hype. One thing which was slightly surprising was the high number of bolts about the place, both old and (very) new.
I understand the place used to be a popular aid climbing destination, which explained the presence of the old bolts. Many of the new bolts were placed close to the old ones, presumably replacing like for like, is this the prevailing ethic? Or is it acceptable to place new bolts to protect dodgy climbs? THere were also a few bolts where they might not be seen as absolutely nessecary, such as in the cave to the right of Mandarin.
This all seemed quite confusing and I was wondering if anyone knows of the bolting ethics at the place?
I hope so too Bob.
No doubt someone will be along shortly, to point out that there is no threat to trad routes on grit from bolts, and this is not another thin end of a non existent wedge???
Where are these new bolts? Are they belays or runners (or other e.g. for slack lining or SRT)?
They are dotted all over, some for belays and some for runners, including some glue ins.
@Tyler - definitely NOT for slacklining purposes!
OK, so, from memory...
* 2 bolts for belays under the Keep it Coolin' wall
* a 2-bolt belay over the lip of (I think) Flight of the Rat. Completely unnecessary and a bloody eyesore
* GET THIS - a single bolt under War of Attrition - FFS - why?
There are more.
There are also loads of 'replacement' bolts. This is shocking because they just look so unsightly. Whoever's doing this needs sorting out.
There was also a replacement in the bottom of Knickertwister, and replacements in Poo I think.
What I really don't understand is where the old challenge of gear reduction has wandered off to. Climbers were once PROUD to not proliferate fixed gear placements, and to remove gear they had eliminated, so why are replacement bolts appearing only 12' (at most) up routes like Knickertwister, at only 5c?
Like I said in the OP... anal regression.
I cant see me getting upto Houghton anytime soon im afraid.However I agree with the removal of these bolts. Wonder if the landowner is aware of it and knows the person responsible. Does anyone understand that LANCASHIRE SAYS NO TO BOLTS!
Seem to remeber a few appeared yonks ago...15 years+ ? Remember seeing some in the wall left of Mandarin
>Does anyone understand that LANCASHIRE SAYS NO TO BOLTS!
I understand what you mean, Dave (and agree that the current bolt rash is misguided and a backward step). However, there are quite a few bolts in Lancashire - particularly up in the north on various limestone venues (natural and quarried).
Hmmmmm - the last BMC area meeting I was at (admittedly 5 or so years ago) which discussed bolting at Lester Mill voted against bolting by one vote and there were 40 odd people there. The argument in favour was that bolting would bring traffic which would in turn clean routes and open the venue up. I imagine it is still a disused green choss pit? But hey - the thin end of the wedge is safe eh?
We're not talking about Lester Mill here, so don't trot out that same old stuff. This is Hoghton; easily the finest gritstone quarry in the country, and it is being brought down to a level it shouldn't be.
I know some people will not understand the concept of a top class gritstone quarry, but this most definitely is one and should be treated with more respect.
Anyway, would anybody care to put their hands up and admit to placing the ridiculous double bolts over the bulge on Flight of the Rat (I think)?
The argument in favour was that bolting would bring traffic which would in turn clean routes and open the venue up.
Can a fair percentage of today's generation of climbers only do routes if they are protected by bolts?
If they are that scared of falling further than 8 feet, there's always knitting or crown green bowling.
Agreed. But I do remember spending a rather wet Sunday several years ago, attempting to clean 3* routes that were caked in a good inch of crud / moss. I suspect said routes are back to their original state (unclimbable) now. So the question is, what is the point in preserving rock if it is unclimbable?
BTW - I appreciate that there are cleaner parts of Hoghton.
I don't think that has anything to do with it. The argument is that practically every climber shuns Lester Mill because it is a choss pit. So we have this wonderful resource with tonnes of potential, but it remains unused because no one wants to climb it in its current state.
> I don't think that has anything to do with it. The argument is that practically every climber shuns Lester Mill because it is a choss pit. So we have this wonderful resource with tonnes of potential, but it remains unused because no one wants to climb it in its current state.
WE'RE NOT BLOODY TALKING ABOUT LESTER MILL.
When I was a nipper, my dad gave me a badge. It said "He who shouts loudest wins".
Well done. You have won. Give yourself a pat on the back.
> Well done. You have won. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Thank you. Can we get back to Hoghton now?
Make your bloody mind up, is Lester Mill a choss pit, or a wonderful resource with tonnes of potential?
However, in case you hadn't noticed, we're talking about Hoghton!!!!
Bloody hell. Stop bloody swearing at byeek.
Bolt em all I say.
But if simply cleaned it is climbable? Are you suggesting that bolts are actually a viable alternative to a brush?
Don't give him the time of day. He doesn't even know how to spell 'By 'Eck'. I think he's probably a refugee from the Southern Sandstone toilet debate seeking to stir crap 'oop north'.
Oh. And Hoghton bolts - a bleedin' travesty.
Most of the routes are currently unclimbable, with the exception of a handful including Mandarin. I have no idea who has been bolting, but there's probably now about as many bolts in Hoghton than combined on the rest of grit. To be fair though, there's probably still fewer functional and safe bolts in there than there was in the 1980 and 90s.
Here's 2 pics of its current state (taken last week)
The general crag condition: https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/t1.0-9/10313017_10152621688781742_55204168241...
That's not true John, and neither is that second photo (bottom of The Wasp) anywhere near representative of the crag in general.
There are a great number of routes that are easily climbable already. True though that the bottom of Hoghton Wall could do with a clean, but that's always the worst culprit every year.
Unclimable in terms of too dirty to be enjoyable, rather than lost forever. From my visit last week, where we went looked round the entire crag, Id say less than 5% of the documented routes are in a state which are climbable without further cleaning. I dont deny the potential for the venue, but it's definitely in the adventure climbing category at the moment, and will inevitably be while the access issue remains.
What routes do you think are completely climbable now? Perhaps that's the difference in opinion!
I guess your right there are a few,particularly on the Limestone. However since this recent bolting of routes in the gritstone quarries has got out of hand, then a clear line has to be drawn at saying NO TO BOLTS.
I too walked around the whole crag, John, to see how it was faring.
I'm just looking at photos that I took, and I'd say nearer to 50% climbable, although I didn't take any photos of Liqueur Wall.
I reckon from Knickertwister (P1) leftwards to New Wave (a couple of bits of vegetation in the groove) is OK, whilst higher up, Mandarin leftwards across Keep it Coolin Wall, the Marrow right over to Silverside would be OK.
Rhody Buttress etc looked OK, and a couple of the routes on the back wall looked no worse now than when I climbed them years ago. Dangler looked OK.
Further left, I thought Drupe looked OK?
Maybe I'm wrong on this but it certainly didn't look like any sort of excuse to bolt the place into submission.
So these routes. Did you climb them? If so good for you. Why should you be bothered if they are now over grown as long as you had a good climb on them after your hard work.
If you never climbed them despite cleaning them then more the fool you.
Sorry Phil n team but I had to dwell on his comment from earlier.:-)
or in old money - BOLTS IN LANCS? NO THANKS!
A good T shirt logo
Interesting debate, but not going to get involved you with that, we both have our stances, but any bolts at Hoghton are nothing to do with me!!
Can I change "tack" slightly and say,
I am editing the new guide and working on Hoghton at at the moment, and have just been up there, and repeated several routes inc Mandarin, which is absolutely brilliant( a big plug for those climbing E2)it is fantastic!!!
and it is one of four fantastic must do routes at similar grades on the crag
Mandarin,Boadicea,Rhododendron Arete and Buttress.
There are many other quality routes as well, but some of the routes are in a "poor" state.
Can we not use this forum as a starting point to improve access to this quality crag that we have so little time on.
What do climbers think about a mass trepass? will you attend? a big crag clean up day?
Surely in todays society one "toff" cannot dictate to the will of the majority?
Sorry if have semi-hijacked your thread
Madarin is definitely in, but there's a HUGE raven nest on the ledge right of mandarin which affects the routes like golden delicious and the lower walls are grim. It would take a very bold person indeed to set off up keep it coolin' without more cleaning. The others are ok lower down, but you would have to be in adventure mode and climbing well within your ability.
RB is ok (apart from the whole dead bird on the ledge below the roof). I wouldn't be doing any of the others without some cleaning on that buttress. There's also another slightly less huge nest on the left of the RB belay ledge.
Still there's about 130 documented routes in there of which about i reckon maximum 10 are good to go at the existing grade without more cleaning.
Not, not at all, but as I said, I reckon there are fewer functional bolts in there now than there were 20+ years ago, isn't an excuse to add more but the "thin end of the wedge" or "youth of today" arguments are a bit invalid given that.
counter productive i reckon. The estate has good reason for not allowing year round access doesn't it?
you're right about the nests etc for sure. I wasn't considering those. My bad!
i totally disagree with your other statement though. There are many more than there were, and more in new locations
In total, yes, there are more bolts, in terms of ones that you'd be happy to use, I'm sure you'd have been safer overall in 1990! Where are the ones that are in completely new locations?
I live in Lancashire and am not a fan of chossy disused quarries, however Hoghton whilst needing more traffic is certainly not a choss pit like some others that I never wish to set foot in again. What part of Adventure do the pro bolting lobby not get?
I've always worked on the principle of 'If a route is too bold - then leave it for someone better -- dont bring it down to your level by removing the risk factor.' I could always second much harder routes than I could climb. If I wanted a virtually risk free experience there are always indoor walls!
No part of my argument has been for more bolting or bringing it down to one's level, nor did I call it a choss pit. I'm a fan of chossy Lancashire quarries, but Hoghton is in a sorry state compared to how it could be if access were better - it could be one of the best quarried grit crags in the UK. Given it's shut 11 months of the year, there's been a strong effort getting a handful of the routes clean, but it's hardly not in the "lost world adventure" category at the moment - either that or some people need to climb outside of Lancashire.
Again, this is not an argument for adding new bolts, but my question was, where are the bolts that are in totally new locations? There are a number newer bolts but I can't think of seeing any that were not next to existing rotten ones - therefore all this talk of us "being bolder back in my day" is nonsense when talking about Hoghton - I'd guess it's that generation that placed the majority of the bolts in there, including many that would be seen as unnecessary these days.
Did you read my list of bolts placed(from memory)?
Certainly the 2 bolts on Flight of the Rat, and the 2 on the Keep it Coolin' ledge plus the one under War of Attrition are certainly unnecessary additions.
I'm not saying things were bolder back in the day, simply that these are totally unnecessary.
There is a line of (3 I from memory) new looking glue ins somewhere close to overhanging crack I think, and a line of bolts with hangers perhaps 20 feet further left.
OK, must have missed the earlier list - if I go back this year will check it out. Did you ab down the the KIC ledge - assumedly they're belay bolts for the Pasture Ledge - were there never bolts on there like there were/are on the ledge just left of the pasture on Slime Wall? I couldn't see those from the floor that I remember, nor remember the one on war of attrition, but that might just be me not hawkishly looking hard enough for new bolts.
Did FOTR not always share the bolt belay of Main Overhang? Or are these 2 new "on route" bolts.
yup spotted those, though not convinced they're that new - certainly not this year, and judging by the state of the route itself too.
They didn't look like replacements of older bolts to me though?
In light of the last Lancs meeting,at the Dog, and the democratic vote that was taken by local activists someone on the committee urgently needs to lay down the guide lines as to what is acceptable and what isn't when it comes down to inappropriate bolt lower offs and protection in the Lancs quarries.
If this doesn't occur quickly then 'the thin end of the wedge' will become what some people fear it will be.
As for Houghton completely unacceptable and take the bolts out, but only in the period that is allowed for climbing.
I need to check the guide, John re FOTR. Certainly there are two shiny bolts 10-12" apart just over the overhang. I remember doing it in the past but don't remember the specifics of the belay.
As for KIC, you can see two bolts from the floor, and these look like they are there for belays. I thought when we climbed up there we used a good tree belay, and certainly having 2 bolts up there would have allowed me to use a backrope on Do the Aqua Melba rather than taking a huge swing out into space - so far in fact that I could see Blackpool tower (well, almost!)
I've not been to Hoghton for years, and I have no idea how recent some of these bolts really are. Certainly the ones on FOTR looked the newest, but I have no idea how long the others have existed for.
> As for Houghton completely unacceptable and take the bolts out, but only in the period that is allowed for climbing.
I suspect they are essentially replacements of the belay bolts as it was "traditionally" a bolt belay with Main Overhang
So according to the Lancs Rock guide the description for Do the Aqua Melba is - "Starting from the bolt belay at the right end of the Pasture"
I don't know exactly which route you're referring to but Poo next to overhanging crack has had 3 bolts in it since the FA, and the glue ins were there in about 2001 when I first went to Hoghton. And the 3 or 4 routes moving leftwards have all traditionally had at least one bolt in them.
In light of the fact that these seem to be mainly (though possibly not all) replacements of the original bolt belays - do you still feel they should be removed?
No criticism of your comments were intended -- I merely used your statement about 'adventure' climbing to highlight the need to keep some locations that offer high quality traditional climbing 'bolt free'.
I'm a great believer in preserving high quality traditional routes and areas, yet not so blinkered as being totally 'anti bolting'. I waged a long campaign in the UAE to keep particular crags, sectors and routes bolt free where there was adequate natural protection, a history of trad climbing or where adding bolts would ruin the character of some not too difficult but fairly bold slab routes. There was agreement that in certain instances bolted stances would be tolerated on multipitch routes, particularly if the belays used on the first ascent were of more or less a psychological nature due to poor rock or blind cracks! This proved successful, with sport and trad climbing being able to develop without any great conflict - though one of our 'colonial cousins' did try and upset the applecart with some thoughtless and selfish actions before he was virtually made personna non grata by the climbing community!
And I agree with that completely, I'm just not yet convinced that the routes we're describing in Hoghton were ever bolt free (belay wise at least).
Ok. It had been a long time since I was last there (could be 20 years or more) and there were no bolts in that area back then. I am surprised there was no response to the post in 2011 that I reposted back up this thread.....did no one see it or are people only getting bothered as the wedge gets thicker?
Sure, poo was first done 1988 - with 3 bolts as I understand it.
The wedge only feels thicker if your position is further down the thin end than the majority, and I suspect most people are OK with replacing belay bolts which were "originally" used - it was a tight vote on NEW lower offs if I understand correctly and replacing belay bolts is actually down at a thinner position on the same wedge. The problem with the thin end of the wedge argument is that it assumes that democratic process can't resolve the issues and reach consensus - for those using it the only way is to stay as flat as it ever was, which in the case of Hoghton seems potentially hypocritical as the bolts we seem to be arguing about have been there as far as I remember (and seem to be documented in the guidebook).
Though giving Phil his due, the Pasture belay bolts may well not have been there when he seconded the first ascent of Do the Aqua Melba 28 years ago, but they're certainly not new.
I honestly don't recall any bolts on that ledge, and I remember tying to a tree and the first runners being RPs in a horizontal break, BUT the late 80s guide even states there is a BB at the RH end of the ledge! I'm trying to think who would have placed them back then but drawing a blank.
BTW 'Seconded' is exagerating my involvement a bit, John. 'Drew the short straw' might be a better way of looking at it.
Overall I think you're possibly right. Clearly some of this did exist previously, but bearing in mind that FOTR/Highway Star could easily be done in a single pitch, I'd still suggest that some of the new bolts are unnecessary.
According to the BMC regional database the crag is now open for climbing until 31st August for this year. Access times are different to UKC Access information. It states:
1. Climbers can visit the quarry from 8.30 am, but must leave by 5.30 pm – so please plan your climbing carefully. Between Wednesday and Saturday this time is extended to 9.00 pm.
2. When you have reached the top of a climb, please descend to the left or right around the perimeter of the quarry (i.e. do not wander up towards the Tower).
3. Do not use portable radios.
4. Park considerately without causing any obstruction for local residents on Chapel Lane.
5. Please approach the quarry from the chapel, cross the railway bridge (i.e. towards Hoghton Tower) then go through the gate on the left immediately after the bridge. A muddy track then leads into the quarry. This avoids crossing the railway lines.
So no need for a mass trespass!
No, but maybe for a mass cleanup.
Can't help there I'm afraid - definitely before my time - I'd have been about 4! My best guess is that the majority of the bolting happened around a similar same time that routes like poo and silverside were done in 1988 which both had sets of new bolts in for the FA.
I still think we're on the same place on the wedge though, as we'd probably say that some of the bolts placed back then were unnecessary too! I'm sure FOTR could be done in a single pitch too, but not at the same grade without the bolts, so until it has, this is surely hypothetical. I'm sure Jordan will accept the challenge...
Replacement belay bolts in place of old bolts if that's what's been agreed then fine but any others in HOUGHNOT no.
The main problem is the vacuum left by the lack of follow up after the last bolt meeting by the Wilton Management Committee.( if there is one !!!!!)
I realise it's easy to criticise when you(i) can't be arsed to join these meetings but someone should have followed the meeting with a plan to move forward without everyone having a free for all placing bolts.
As far as i'm aware the decision was for Coal Measure Crag , some of Lester Mill and 2 bolts in Wilton. Not a rush to see who can use their Hilti the quickest in other areas.
I remember Poo and Silverside being done, and their bolts being placed.
My thoughts were that Grid or maybe Dave may have placed the bolts on that ledge, but I doubt it because being over on the RH side they would have been useless for the Marrow (which itself included some home made bolts) or for Silverside which is even further left.
Poo and Silverside were considered hard at the time. They can't be compared to today's difficult routes of course, but at the time they were very hard; certainly for Lancashire at the time.
I don't think there has been. This is my entire point, none of the bolts in Hoghton are that new!
There's a second set of belay bolts which would be a belay for Marrow on same the ledge of Slime corner lower down than the Pasture Ledge (incidentally next to a really old and rusty homemade bolt/chunk of metalwork)
I remember climbing in hoghton no more than 5 year ago, then I went up end of last year to have a look at robins boulder problems and noticed all the bolts!. I can 99% be sure they werent in when I was in 5 year ago, as I spent a good hour wondering around checking stuff out. Its slipped my mind.. until looking at those photos and as in my mind hoghton is a virtual right off anyway. The last 5 or so summers have been shite and so shite weather coinciding with 6-8 weeks of access, its virtually a lost cause trying to get into the place.
Was at Trowbarrow recently and saw a sign from the Lancaster Council,banning bolts.About time us non bolters started recruiting local councillors in the interests of trad.
You've got your own thread , bugger off this is Phils
It was a BMC meeting and not a WMG that discussed the bolting issue
Ha your back hows the back now your back or was it your shoulder
That would be a bad idea. You can be pretty sure that Lancaster or any other council aren't concerned about the erosion of British climbing ethics. They're more concerned about the litigation risk if someone hurts themselves and probably think that the alternative to bolting is top roping. Getting any council involved in bolting issues carries with it a massive risk of backfiring in an unpredictable way.
I think Paul was winding folk up with that suggestion. Looks like he succeeded :-)
Possibly. Although he's suggested it twice now, the first time being in the context of a serious post concerning the retrobolting of one of his own routes. In the Stoney West retrobolt thread he wrote:
Doesn't read like a wind up. Whether a wind up or not, its a bad idea.
I wouldn't get too paranoid about the council being twitchy about folks 'risking' anything at Trowbarrow. If they were, access would be much more curtailed. If you know the place, you'll know that large (and small) lumps are very prone to parting company with other lumps. The quarry is a nature reserve and SSSI and it's these aspects and how visitors impact them that more concern the council. Here is the Management Plan if you'd like a look https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CCkQF...
I'm not paranoid at all. I just don't think that attempting to curtail retrobolting by involving landowners is sensible. Trying to persuade a public body or other landowner that one sort of climbing is desirable but a very-slightly-different sort should be completely banned carries with it all sorts of risks of misunderstandings.
No, actually, apart from its my land, get off, the Estate really doesn't have any good reasons for limiting access so severely. In my time as NW Area Chair we put a lot of effort into getting them to change their position.
We made proposals to change the access approach if this was needed to prevent disturbing the pheasant hatchery in the Autumn and we proposed getting an expert opinion about zoning around the nesting site of the peregrines so that access to some of the crag would be possible in the Spring We even persuaded Sir Chris Bonnington to write to Sir Bernard de Hoghton to ask for better access and although the latter was evidently flattered to have been approached by such a high profile figure it made not a jot of difference to that years miserable 'access' agreement.
I actually met with Sir Bernard and his son at the crag about 4 years ago - their main interest was in persuading the BMC to buy the derelict old building adjoining the quarry as a 'climbing hut' and they clearly expected a pretty price if this was ever agreed. When it was explained that neither the BMC nor any of the local clubs were likely to want a hut at a crag so close to the local centres of population the Estates interest in discussing better access disappeared.
In my opinion Hoghton is a brilliant crag but most of it is in a a pitiful condition precisely because it does not see enough traffic and the reason for this is because access is restricted to only a few weeks every year.
Since I am no longer NW Area Chair I can now afford to be a little less 'political' - The Estate don't want to grant anything other than minimal access because they see no benefit to themselves in doing so.
In my opinion a mass trespass in the Spring would be an excellent idea. It would hopefully demonstrate that a large body of climbers feel strongly about gaining proper access to Hoghton. We could then follow this up with a threat to mount a very public picket of the Estates annual "Concert at The Tower" which attracts thousands of people and is a major money spinner for Sir Bernard. This would doubtless embarrass him greatly and might just provide him with sufficient reason to revise his position on access.
Almost certainly. But possibly not in the direction that you'd like.
Yes, the loss of any access is obviously a possibility, although if we maintained a consistent campaign that put public pressure on the Estate then I think they would probably prefer to reach some sort of compromise that allowed us better access.
You have to ask yourself what we would be at risk of losing anyway. I was very involved in a major attempt to restore the crag a few years ago and briefly it saw some regular visitors - but over the 5 weeks of access in that year this probably amounted to fewer than 50 parties visiting. I am pretty sure that even fewer visits have occurred in subsequent years.
So what have we to lose by pushing a lot harder next year?
I have to ask - How many of the people have actually climbed at Houghton this year ?
The place is in an appalling state. The local area should be more concerned about the mess it is in and actively trying to improve the access situation. Together with bringing some of the classic routes back to life. How the new guide (in preparation) can keep the routes with stars is beyond me. This is just living in the past.
I climbed Mandarin which was well chalked, felt quite bold low down, but also full of bird lime on the crux. I then had a cleaning session on Boadicea. This is in such a state it is impossible ground-up. The crack and peg pockets and runner placements were completely choked with mud and moss. Knee high brambles guard the start.
Boadicea must be one of the best quarried peg cracks in the country, far, far better than anything at Millstone and Wilton. Shame.
But who, other than a very, very few, take the time to clean and regenerate these dilapidated routes. Its just like the situation at Wilton, the same old honey-pot routes get climbed over and over again, leaving the others, that are just as good, overlooked and overgrown.
As for the bolts, all the new ones (that are already a few years old) I could see were like-for-like replacements of old Troll type 8mm aluminum hangers.
Like I say, the local area should be more concerned about access and dilapidation. But that is just my opinion. As someone quite rightly states earlier, but those who shout loudest.......
I have climbed at Hoghton this year and had a cleaning session on Boadicea. Clearly I didn't make much of an impression. The lower third of the entire slab was still embossed in slime when I left, but I did pull a lot of grass out of the crack though. The ever growing and overhanging trees above the crag have a big influence here.
I wouldn't mind paying £5 a visit, if its a question of money. Although, I wouldn't like to see this approach rolled out to every other crag in the land. It has worked though on Southern Sandstone, although I know there have been some problems over the years.
Am in total support of Colins stance, and if people are interested, and there is plenty of support throughtout the NW , and further afield, am sure something could be organised for next spring
I also have to say for the firt time in my life I'm agreeing with Colin on this one. The access restrictions at Houghton are stupid.
Hope you are well? Spring is the wrong time of the year,as the Peregrines may already be nesting, and a demonstration at this time of the year will totally jeopardize the situation. Ideally, a demo should be done during the hunting season, maybe, with the help of North West League Against Cruel Sports and North West Animal Welfare, as they would have all the information for the best day to demonstrate.
As I said Nick, according to BMC regional database the crag is now open for climbing until 31st August for this year.
I don't know any climber who is against sensible and worthy access restrictions that are designed to protect the natural environment.
But it is my opinion that the Houghton restrictions are just OTT.
But I would rather suggest and support a request to the BMC's access and conservation team to enter into negotiations to extend the climbing 'season' from say end May to October. Or from when the birds fledge to whenever it gets too wet and green to climb.
During the 6 or 7 years when I acted as Area Chair this is precisely the approach that we took. Every year. All the sweet reason in the World got us absolutely nowhere.
The sad truth is that the owners of the Hoghton Estate have consistently acted in an intransigent and wholly unreasonable way. I suspect that this is because they believe that ownership of land entitles the owner to dispose of it entirely in any way he/she sees fit. The fact that Hoghton crag is also valuable to many people in the NW simply does not enter their thinking and the idea that they might have some moral obligation to share such an important natural resource with a wider public would appall them.
Sir Bernard de Hoghton is the latest in a very long line of owners who have, not through any personal merit or effort, but by pure good fortune, inherited their extensive estates. He can trace his roots back to feudal times. We can trace his attitude to land ownership to the same period.
In my opinion it would be great if climbers got together to remind him that we are now living in the 21st Century.
Could you guys bear in mind that these people have friends in similar positions elsewhere in the country, with crags on their land. There could be implications for crags elsewhere. I'm not suggesting that you genuflect and accept every obstacle that's put in the way of decent access, just keep it justifiable and reasonable. Joint action with other parties would be good.
And before I get flamed, you have my sympathies, we have a similar situation up here (Northumberland), thankfully not on an important crag. It's bloody infuriating, and getting worse.
Funny Colin, I just penned this last night......
'In the early 20th century the high plateau of Kinder Scout was a privately-owned hunting estate lorded over by the rich and patrolled by gamekeepers, the public were not allowed access.
In 1932 Benny Rothman and friends of the Young Communist League from Manchester were chased off Bleaklow by gamekeepers. A few weeks later they organised a mass trespass on Kinder Scout starting with a speech at Hayfield attended by over 500 people.
Rothman led the peaceful crowd on to the plateau were they were met with aggressive gamekeepers and minor skirmishes occurred. Rothman and five others were arrested and imprisoned. The Manchester ramblers as they were known were the catalyst for freedom of access to Kinder and to countryside in the UK.
In 1949 the government passed the National Parks and Countryside Act and the UK’s first National Parks were created and public access to the countryside was ensured; this was further legislated in 2000 with the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) or the right to roam act. The Pennine Way, a 267 mile national trail starts in Edale and crosses Kinder on its journey north up the Pennines to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland'
We have come along way, but perhaps not far enough.
All the best,
Nope, sadly not a right to roam act, although Scotlands version comes close. Merely a right to walk and climb on specified bits of land, and the specification is a bit iffy (see discussions on Vixen Tor). See the Ramblers Assoc page on the subject.
The worst outcome at Hoghton would be the landowner making the place unclimbable. Even on Access Land, climbers aggravating landowners is a dodgy business.
In the early 20th century the high plateau of Kinder Scout was a privately-owned hunting estate lorded over by the rich and patrolled by gamekeepers, the public were not allowed access.
In 1932 Benny Rothman and friends of the the British Workers' Sports Federation from Manchester were chased off Bleaklow by gamekeepers. A few weeks later they organised a mass trespass on Kinder Scout starting with a speech at Hayfield attended by over 400 people. Rothman led the peaceful crowd on to the plateau were they were met with aggressive gamekeepers and minor skirmishes occurred. Rothman and five others were arrested and imprisoned. The Guardian newspaper at the time reported that the police - and landowners - ‘triumphed’.
But in 1949 the government passed the National Parks and Countryside Act and the UK’s first National Parks were created. Then in 1965 the Pennine Way was created, a 267 mile national trail that starts in Edale and crosses Kinder on its journey north up the Pennines to Kirk Yetholm in Scotland. Whilst this freed up some land for recreation it wasn’t until 50 years later in 2000 that the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) was passed ensuring even more freedom in wild places.
Justice was done. The Manchester ramblers as they were known were the catalyst for freedom of access to Kinder and much of the countryside in the England and Wales.
I've just read through all this after a few weeks on the Hebrides so here are some thoughts. I stopped off at Hoghton on the way home to see these bolts and have a look at the place in light of all the debate.
I think it's already been established that they are not new. During my last 3 years at the BMC myself and Les Ainsworth organised many (15+) clean ups at Hoghton with interesting results. During those sessions I documented the state of pretty much most routes, often including stuff about the fixed gear. I'm confident that 95%+ of the bolts listed in this thread were all there at the time of my "survey" which would have been 2009/2010.
Bolts in general
Lancashire does not and has never said "no" to bolts in grit quarries. There is no evidence for this statement and the latest (obviously unrepresentative) BMC meeting showed that over 50% of Lancashire actually says "Yes" to bolts.
Comparing Hoghton to Kinder is misleading as the two are dramatically different in both context and social impact. As some have pointed out, the de Hoghton estate is generally intransigent. IMO they're simply being polite to Les Ainsworth who's invested a huge amount of time and energy into the place (and building a relationship with the estate) as he rates the place so highly. The estate is a money making venture and climbers contribute nothing. I'm as cross about it at Colin, but I don't think a trespass would do anything other than close it down. I suppose at that point we could then go in any time we liked but we would have to be prepared to be confronted by gamekeepers at every turn. That would soon put people off going and the place would be lost forever.
The state of the routes
I diagree that 50% of the routes are climbable...although if you're old school Lancashire and can climb overhanging moss in the rain then I retract my objection. At the time of my survey I noted that about 7 routes were climbable, and after the clean ups I thought that had risen to about 20. I climbed Boadicea in 1995 without any need to clean it, but at the first clean up session (2009) the route was partially submerged beneath slime and moss; the peg near the top snapped off in my hand. The most notable thing about the clean ups was the total lack of interest from local climbers. There was a small band of people (of whom ByEek might well have been one) who turned up a few times, but overall, the response was unbelievably poor. A few times it was just Les, Dave Cronshaw and me. The best thing that happened was the felling of half a dozen of the massive trees that were shrouding the crag and obstructing up to half the daylight. If any clean up were to be initiated, they would have to be pretty ruthless; potentially this means chemicals, pressure washing and tree surgeons, and I would completely support anything like that just to reverse the neglect.
I completely agree with Phil that in it's clean state it's one of the best gritstone quarries in the land, and certainly better than any in the Peak.
A mass trespass on Hoghton - how many people would turn up? 20/30?It's hardly going to shake things up.
Even in it's heyday you only got a few climbers going there. Remember watching Dave Kenyon soloing Rhododendron buttress ( a brilliant route) back in the early 80's.
I have never climbed at Hoghton, made a couple of visit's about 10 years ago, a magic place, but very green. I have also visited the tower a few times, they need money, maybe if you/we could park in the tower car park, pay a fee, that would bring in good revenue for them, then they might be open to more access as that would be more funds for them. There were bolts then, on the far left, near the corner, not sure what routes though. I might build up to doing a route one day.......
I think I may be the person who placed some of these bolts: at least the ones whose locations have been clearly identified on the lip of the overhang to the L of Mandarin and on the ledge above. I did it at the first recent Hoghton clean up at the request/guidance of the more local climbers that were present on the day actively cleaning the crag (it was virtually an area meeting with more turnout than usual). It was done as part of the crag restoration. I am not a local climber (being Cheshire based) and have not climbed there since so there was no personal interest: I just came to help out. As has been made abundantly clear from the guidebook quotes in other posts these were all replacements for the existing unreliable old bolts (as agreed in principle at previous area meetings).
On the same cleanup others replaced some different old bolts, but again only ones already mentioned in the guide. This set of bolts has been in place since the first of the recent Hoghton cleanups and is not recent so I am not sure why there should suddenly be a fuss about them.
It sounds as though there may have been more recent additions although this is not clear. If this is the case, these additional bolts have not been discussed/agreed by the area. If taking action to remove the latter bolts I think care should be taken that the like for like replacements should be left in place, certainly until agreement is reached at an area meeting for them to be removed (reversing the earlier consensus).
Page 23 Lancashire Rock
BOLTS SHOULD NOT BE PLACED IN THE CRAGS WITHIN THE AREA DESCRIBED WITHIN THIS GUIDEBOOK
You will be quoting the Old Testament next. Bolt exceptions have been agreed for well argued reasons by area meetings since publication (some must have been with the books editor, Les, present) and I'm sure rogue bolts placed without agreement will continue to get chopped pretty sharpish.
I think you are being a bit selective, Geoff? The sentence goes on to say 'except in very exceptional circumstances'. Later on, the guidance specifically states that Warton Main (among others) should get no more bolts since the landowners don't want them. Now, you are probably aware that two of the 1999 guidebook team writers (and probably most prolific new routers) have since then put more bolts in there than everyyone else put together. This isn't to criticise them, just to point out that things have become more flexible and fuzzy since the 1990's.
I'm only pointing out Franks statement is wrong. Nothing more
" It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect". 2 Samuel 22:33
And I thought it was all that drumming that had made you so strong!
Geoff, an excellent contribution. Quoting a megalomaniac who heard voices from an early age, and who then went on to destroy whole populations at his god's behest - (1 Samuel 15:3) - is bound to be relevant to a debate about a neglected quarry in Lancashire. Magnificent!
Martin take off your serious hat, It was meant as a joke reply to Off width
Notice the :-) in the bottom left That was the clue !
He was joking too Geoff in his reply about Samuel, but he didn't need a smiley face. In fact he kept a straight face - always best when delivering a joke online as it confuses people.
Apart from that his post above that about what has gone on at Houghton was the most informative.
I did think it was funny...I had pictures in my head of the armies of The Lord marching west across the Pennines to deal with bolting heathens (or was that the other way round? ;-) Plus you got plenty of irony bonus points by being admonished on humour by one of the biggest wind-up merchants on UKC.
Nothing to add re the bolts - my first visit today and I don't know the history - although there are quite a lot in there.
In terms of climbable routes, Mandarin was pretty spotless (worth the trip in it's own right and one of the best E2s in the country), I spent 45mins on ab digging out all the cracks on Boadicea but didn't have time to climb it but should be fine for the rest of the month, The first corner on Rhododendron Buttress is mossy with a bramble bush but rest looks OK, Overhanging Crack looked clean too. I'm aiming to get back this season, highly recommended if you haven't been there before.
Thanks Ian for yor promotion of one of the best E2,s in the country,and your efforts cleaning out Boadicea, one of the second best E2's in the country.
Hopefully climbers will get there, enjoy the routes, and help with a little cleaning?
Well done. I was exploring and cleaning at Gilstead and Robin Hood Rocks yesterday... hardly comparable as a service to climbing. Anyone liking HS cracks and low to mid bouldering should have a look at the very friendly stuff at Gilstead. RHR is more specialist....bold and stiffly graded and needs some tree thining I think to get sun on the rock. Trepediation is one of the best named sandbags I've ever climbed HS 4a pushing close to E1 5a.
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