Signposts on the Snowdon Horseshoe

by Mick Ryan Jan/2008
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+Crib Goch Pinnacles, 94 kbCrib Goch
Signs in the mountains are a contentious issue with most serious hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers against them. But with the increasing numbers of people venturing into the UK's mountains and hills some have suggested that warning signs about being well-equipped and experienced, as well as signs alerting people to steep drop offs or rocky ridges could save lives.

With the recent deaths in the last year on Helvellyn, Blencathra, the Snowdon Horseshoe and in Scotland calls are growing louder for signs at the starts of paths into the hills and on dangerous sections of ridges such as Snowdonia's Crib Goch. The argument is that signs would be more effective than pleas in the media from mountain rescue teams and the police to be prepared and to know what you are doing. The North Wales Police have set up Mountainsafe, a joint initiative between North Wales Police, Snowdonia National Park Authority and the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association to promote safe practice in the hills by education but it appears that they are also suggesting to place warning signs on the Snowdon Horseshoe.

This suggestion has been met with some resistance from BMC Cymru

This from the latest BMC Cymru newsletter

Signposts on the Snowdon Horseshoe

As promised at our last meeting I have written to the Mountain Safe group headed by North Wales Police on this matter, here is what I wrote;

"We recently heard about some proposals to place warning signs for pedestrians on the Snowdon Horseshoe. The Snowdon Horseshoe is one of Britain's great walks and is a must for every serious mountain walker in the UK. It traverses one of the most unique ridges in the land with only the Black Cuillin traverse of Skye offering a greater challenge.

We know Snowdon is a popular walk for tourists who are not experienced mountain walkers and we know some of them stray on to Crib Goch, Most of them survive to tell the tale.

We are very strongly opposed however, to any signage being placed on Crib Goch or Crib y Ddysgl. This proposed urbanisation of the wild mountain environment is totally unaccept- able to our members. We could tolerate a clearer warning about the route dangers at the start of the PYG track and we have learned to live with the sign post at Bwlch y Moch.

We do not feel that signage would help the situation as is should be pretty obvious from Bwlch y Moch which is the correct way to go. People who ignore the obvious dangers presented early on the ascent of Crib Goch will not be the sort of people to turn back at a sign post, besides, it is arguably harder to descend the east ridge of Crib Goch that it is to continue.

So for these reasons over 50 people at the December meeting of the BMC Cymru/Wales voted to oppose any signage on the Snowdon Horseshoe whilst there was nobody in favour."

Mike Raine

Chair BMC Cymru/Wales

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