'The BMC has already produced a plan for mountaineering and climbing activities and submitted this to Welsh Government and the indication is that full resumption of all outdoor activities may have to wait until the current lockdown phase in Wales is reviewed by government on 28 May before they can proceed.'
Any news / updates on this from the BMC?
Lots of routes being logged all over the place in North Wales, but I'm sure there are many of us waiting for updated guidance. The local / 5 mile rule could be quite limiting to some if it's also going to apply to activities / exercise....
It's on its way...bloomin 'eck Ian, the First Minister, has literally only two minutes ago, finished his briefing on the new guidance! The actual amended regulations and new Welsh Government regulations are not yet published and unlikely to be, before Sunday evening. We have an interim article going live in the next hour or so on the BMC website and a more detailed one on Monday. But the key message in Wales is that there are no changes until Monday and travel to Wales for exercise is still not permitted and that the so-called honeypot areas will remain closed, with all likelihood to be reviewed and hopefully opened after June 18th. The travel local message , to be limited to 5 miles, has been confirmed in the First Minister's announcement.
It's been half an hour since Drakeford's announcement, in fairness, and I'm sure they'll produce a statement at some point soon. Based on previous communication I'd assume that the BMC's guidance will follow the government's, and so it'll be a case of low-risk climbing within five miles of your home being entirely reasonable and anything else a matter of your own/the police's discretion.
Ultimately, I doubt many people will stick religiously to the five-mile guidance - there are crags within five miles of me but also ones six to eight miles away that are better suited for the current climate, and I'll probably be heading to those on the basis that there will be fewer people at the crag itself, in the immediate area, and trying to park nearby, and so the risk of transmission is lower. Plus, to my mind it's better to avoid issues with angry locals by travelling further to less frequented destinations than sticking within the guidelines but parking outside someone's house in a small community and running the risk of a confrontation and/or having a negative impact on public perception of climbing. As with everything else at the moment, it comes down to being sensible; I'll happily (and to my mind justifiably) drive more than five miles to get to a deserted crag rather than less than five miles to one on a busy beach. On the other hand, I'm not going to drive 40 miles to Pembroke, as much as I want to, because that's clearly neither justified nor sensible.
Thanks for the update Elfyn.
Fingers crossed for further improvement in the infection rate / numbers so that further easing of Lockdown Cmyru can happen in three weeks time.
Don’t bet on it, Drakeford wants a zero risk approach, which can never happen. A little man with lots of power never a good combination.
Feel sorry for friends and colleagues with family in north and mid-Wales who still cannot see them. five miles probably confines some people to the boundaries of Cardiff.
Not sure why you're getting the downvotes - there is a lot to suggest that the Welsh policy is purely political rather than scientific. I suspect it's a party decision by Welsh Labour for their South Wales voters rather than a power play though.
Thank you Elfyn for the update and the continued guidance - hopefully we'll all be back out there in June*
*but maybe not Snowdon...
I'm also confused by the down votes....
Just seen this from the BBC...
'You must not drive to exercise, and should go from your home, unless you have health and mobility issues and may not be able to exercise directly outside your home. You may then drive to the nearest convenient spot.'
Also Watersports allowed from Monday, not sure I can Kayak directly from my house though!
What I find really interesting is that despite the harsher conditions of lockdown the r no. In wales is no better than england! This would suggest that the additional restrictions on peoples freedoms have little to no benefit.
I'd be seething if I lived in Wales right now
BBC has been ridiculously confusing with the wording of their article. Being a NW resident, I did some sleuthing.
This seems to be the best document, very clear. Go to the exercise section, it says that the same applies to exercise as meeting family / friends. Stay within local area. As a NW resident, I'm trying figure out what local means. 5 miles gets me to a corner shop (read, not petrol - or anything other than maybe toilet paper and a newpaper - same thing). 15 gets me to over 15 different bouldering spots, of which 3 are going to busy. They aren't going to be able to police this. Man, why aren't they just clear instead of being political...
Suspect they are true labour supporters. Already three kayakers on the Taff tonight, having seen their van earlier they don’t live on the Taff.
Feel really sorry for my neighbour, his elderly mother lives in Dol and he hasn’t seen her since this all started; so much for five miles to visit family.
I live in Wales and I'm pleased to say I'm not seething. Not. One. Bit. In fact I'm very pleased and supportive of Welsh Gov's very tentative approach to easing the lockdown. It's my understanding that most Welsh residents feel the same and are glad that policy isn't being made on the hoof or by dictat by a totally incompetent and uncaring government.
Agreed that the R number is too still high in Wales though. This is not helped at all by the situation along the A55 corridor in North Wales, where the infection peak is seemingly still to come. In contrast, Powys and Ceredigion have had comparatively few infections/deaths, possibly due to social distancing being a normal part of life in central Wales. Locals in N Wales apparently blame the A55 cluster on day visitors and holiday home owners from Cheshire, Merseyside and Manchester.
However, it might not be that at all. I came across 9 anglers on a day out from the West Midlands, fishing on the upper Severn yesterday, 2 of whom admitted that they should have been self-isolating as they'd been in close contact with a confirmed case, but couldn't be arsed to stay at home as it was such a nice day and, anyway, Boris had told them they could travel anywhere they liked for a day out..... Go figure!
> Not sure why you're getting the downvotes - there is a lot to suggest that the Welsh policy is purely political rather than scientific. I suspect it's a party decision by Welsh Labour for their South Wales voters rather than a power play though.
Care to tell us what there is to suggest that it is political rather than trying to do the right thing for the people of Wales? I don’t get that feeling and I think there is widespread support for the actions being taken.
Having said that, there are some real inconsistencies in the approach. The 5 mile limit for driving for instance maybe OK for residents of cities like Cardiff but not much use to people in rural areas. Also, the closure of certain mountain areas and not others (e.g Moel Eilio closed and not Elidir) seems to lack any kind of logic.
The right thing for Wales? We had the poorest economy in the UK before this started, I do not see Drakeford doing anything to help. Reduce infections now but a what cost as businesses go under and another generation face mass unemployment.
> The right thing for Wales? We had the poorest economy in the UK before this started, I do not see Drakeford doing anything to help. Reduce infections now but a what cost as businesses go under and another generation face mass unemployment.
That’s the judgement being made. If there is a second wave then we could be in for an even bigger lockdown and worse economic consequences. Nobody is saying that it is an easy decision and it could turn out to be too cautious. I just take issue with saying that Drakeford is doing things for political purposes. I just don’t think that is true at all.
'It's my understanding that most Welsh residents feel the same'
Is that because it's what people tell you, or are you merely repeating what Drakeford says? In Pembroke, I don't know anyone who does not want the restrictions lifted further.
I believe one of the reasons why the number of deaths in Powys is so low is that there is no major hospital in Powys, so cases tend to be treated over the border in England.
Fair enough, each to their own, I just believe that there needs to be a pretty high bar for the extreme restrictions on peoples freedom and currently it looks like the additional restrictions aren't justified from a transmission point of view.
Interesting point about the a55 corridor. The reality is that wales has been pretty much closed from the end of march so I'd be very surprised if new infections are driven by day trippers etc. I wonder if the 'outsiders coming here and spreading their virus' rhetoric has actually been detrimental to the overall response from the community.
I can only hope that the harsh response to visitors is the vocal minority. Wales's atmosphere has been more of an "us vs them" mood than ever. To take it back to the 70s, where is the love?
> In Pembroke, I don't know anyone who does not want the restrictions lifted further.
Hi John, are your concerns based on concerns of damage to the local economy or concerns about your persoanl liberty to travel/visit family/climb? Not judgemental anyway, just interested. I'm concerned about all these things but as a fellow pembrokeshire resident and being employed in Tourism, I'm OK with Wales taking things cautiously. I am in contact with a lot of other people in the area and haven't heard anyone with major criticism of the welsh approach.
I'm aware that the fact that I'm employed rather than owning my own business informs my viewpoint. But if we relax too soon and then have to re-impose a strict lock down during July/August, that will do a lot more damage to the local economy than delaying things by 3 weeks now.
> I can only hope that the harsh response to visitors is the vocal minority. Wales's atmosphere has been more of an "us vs them" mood than ever. To take it back to the 70s, where is the love?
Only so far as the "Them" being those who deliberately flouted the rules such as fleeing to their holiday homes in the dead of night to avoid detection.
From a personal point of view, I cannot see why the Pembrokeshire coastal path is still closed. I can imagine no activity less likely to transmit a virus than walking the coast path, and of course it is the means of access to the majority of the local climbing.
Beyond that, people are upset by the restrictions on seeing friends and family - most people here are taking social distancing very seriously, walking out into the road to avoid coming within two metres of passers-by, and I think that they could be trusted to engage responsibly in social activities. The people who are disobeying the current rules are very possibly the ones who are transmitting the virus at the moment. If that is the case, a relaxation (beyond what is announced for Monday) would not have a very great effect.
The difference between what is allowed in England and what is allowed in Wales is also causing comment - of course, one might argue that this is the result of Johnson's overly lax approach rather than Drakeford's more Draconian one. The UK government has not handled the crisis well so far, and it would be implausible that they have become more competent within the past few weeks.
Thanks for your response. I know offically the coast path is closed, but in reality local people are still out walking on it, probably more so than normal and I have not heard of anyone getting told by the police that they can't walk the coast path. Only questioned about driving to get there. As you say this seems very low risk.
Surfers were being told they couldn't go in the water in April, but that seems to have stopped over the last couple of weeks. There were plenty in Manorbier last weekend all seemed to be being pretty responsible about it.
Although I am more than a little frustrated at the situation (I am in west Wales) it’s increasingly looking like Wales and Scotland might have this about right and that it’s Boris and co who are playing politics.
That said, I find some of the obvious contradictions here in Wales as irritating as anyone else.
> Although I am more than a little frustrated at the situation (I am in west Wales) it’s increasingly looking like Wales and Scotland might have this about right and that it’s Boris and co who are playing politics.
I agree, don't get me started about Boris & co....
A bit more info here...
It seems I can drive to launch my sea kayak (I only live 900 metres away from the sea) and I can drive to go fly fishing due to the negotiations made my Angling Cymru, I don't play golf.
It would be great if BMC Cymru could negotiate a similar deal for us in line with Anglers and Golfers with regard to driving to a crag.
Your pov pretty much sums up how I'm feeling too.
I'm no fan of Drakeford, nor of Welsh Gov tbh. But a couple of things featuring in today's media both suggest that Welsh Government is right and we should be tentative and extremely cautious when easing the lockdown.
Some members of SAGE are cautioning against any further relaxation of the lockdown in England, particularly what's going to happen next week. With a further 2 week delay until England's (as yet untested) tracing system is in operation, they suggest that it's very risky to ease things further this coming week. A case of too much too soon could lead to a second wave. Considering the UK Government's inglorious track record so far, this is a worrying commentary by the UK Government's own experts on what's happening, and soon to happen, in England.
Also epidemiological studies now suggest that up to 50% of those infected with covid-19 remain asymptomatic. If that's true, then we're in serious trouble and it really begs the question if we should be easing restrictions at anything other than a very cautious rate, if at all. (It also means that face mask wearing needs to be 100% compulsory.)
Despite being increasingly keen to go climbing and being royally fed up with lockdown, I'm very much with the tortoise tather than the mad March hare on this one.
Can you please explain to me why if 50% of the cases are asymptomatic it's "serious trouble"? I can't figure out how it impacts things in any meaningful way but I'm happy to admit I am not too bright.
It has been the practicality of leaving my car somewhere that has been putting me off the coast path rather than fear of being stopped on the path itself. The main car parks are all closed and the majority of other parking spots are pretty visible if the police want to persecute me. I will give it a go on Monday now that we are allowed to drive 5 miles to socialise.
Basically a lack of symptoms means that asymptomatic infectees wouldn't self-isolate. This means that control measures such as track and trace would be far less effective and the infection rate will remain high. More social interaction due to a relaxing of lockdown would give more opportunity for such infection, particularly if people become lax with social distancing. Wearing masks would mitigate the risk of transmission but not prevent it.
I understand that fear, but if 50% are asymptomatic then presumably it's far less potent a virus than you're being afraid of, as there's a significantly larger number of people infected than we (and even they) are aware of. If it's 50% then can we not effectively halve the R number and the drop the death rate down a few places too?
Am I over simplifying it?
Or if an overzealous resident smashes a window. My colleague had his campervan egged a few weeks ago right in front of his house.
> It seems I can drive to launch my sea kayak (I only live 900 metres away from the sea) and I can drive to go fly fishing due to the negotiations made my Angling Cymru, I don't play golf.
From your link: 'The Welsh Government has said that people are permitted to carry out activities such as golf, angling or watersports as long as they can do it locally.'
The 'such as' is pretty important in that sentence. He's not saying that you can only drive to do those 3 things.
I'm hoping to climb later today but will keep it to within 5 miles.
I went fly fishing last night (<5 miles from home) and got verbally attacked about not being local i.e. from a different village on the island. I moved my car and parked somewhere else and had a good couple of hours fishing. My concern is for the safety of my car if I go climbing, fishing, kayaking or whatever, there's a lot of worried and stressed people out there. Did anyone see the article about screws being put under tyres at Pen Y Pass last week? Hopefully everything will settle down over the next few weeks...
My car is my biggest worry! I’ve seen a few vehicles with local notes written in English and Welsh in their windscreen. Not sure if that helps.
Ive only been in Wales 19 years so don’t feel comfortable writing a local sign!
We've now got a BMC article on the new and amended regulations in Wales, that come into force today Monday June 1st.
BMC Access & Conservation Officer (Wales)
There seems to be a similar sentiment in many parts of Wales - one Facebook page for a small, well-to-do community with access to many beaches and walking paths (and, of course, crags) is rife with anger over people visiting, regardless of whether they're legally allowed to do so. Speculation as to whether people are local based on their backpacks, blaming 'non-locals' for littering, hysteria that it's unsafe for local people to leave their homes due to the sheer number of diseased invaders milling around in the streets and on the beaches - there's a very definite feeling of 'we bought houses here so own the place', with all of the net-curtain twitching and paranoia that that entails.
It seems to be being exacerbated by the fact that the nearby National Trust car park is still closed, causing people to park in ways that are, I'm sure, annoying for locals; at the same time, however, I wonder if this 'we own the place' attitude will have repercussions in the future when things go back to normal and the cafes and other small businesses go back to relying on tourists.
Yeah. 6 generations seems to be the accepted "guideline". Ho ho (smiley).
Diolch yn fawr Elfyn.
My car has a local number plate and is from an Anglesey garage (with a garage sticker to prove it!) and a Welsh Dragon sticker, made no difference last night!
I was told that on Anglesey the police are reading number plates of parked cars to see if they are within the 5 mile radius!
Diolch Elfyn. That's very clear and extremely helpful advice.
I'd also like to add that the whole of Dwr Cymru-Welsh Water's Elan Estate is still completely closed to visitors, including all locals, and is being actively policed as 2 visitors from Hampshire - seemingly climbers - found out to their cost yesterday. They were stopped and fined after a visit to the (very public) Craig Cnwch sport crag in the Elan Valley.
On a positive (and self interested) note, it's nice to see that the Central Wales guidebook has reached as far as Hampshire.....🙂
> I wonder if this 'we own the place' attitude will have repercussions in the future when things go back to normal and the cafes and other small businesses go back to relying on tourists.
That tourism reboot is going to be pretty tough in some parts of North Wales, and I suspect a few key places (accommodation providers and cafes particularly) might not survive the Lockdown, or will be looking at other income sources.
The tourists were only grudgingly accepted by many locals before, and I think having a few months of nice weather and few visitors will remind some locals of what they could have if the tourists never came back.
The support for tourism businesses by the locals will be muted by a reluctance to welcome back the crowds every summer. The tourists will be gagging to come back, the locals (and those who willingly moved into a tourism-oriented area) will be much less keen to have them around.
Rich, you've totally described my feelings!
...at the same time, however, I wonder if this 'we own the place' attitude will have repercussions in the future when things go back to normal and the cafes and other small businesses go back to relying on tourists.
I'm sure that when this is over, whether fully or partially, that people visiting an area where there have been "problems" are going to be a bit choosy regarding who gets their custom - and will spend their money away from where they might have spent their day. Cue a number of businesses that won't get enough customers to remain viable.
I'm sure it feels from the outside like its an 'us vs them' attitude in Wales, and outside tourists are being targeted for reasons beyond the pandemic. But it's just as frustrating for the locals who do want to get out in the outdoors. For example llyn padarn is still off limits to everyone - even though outdoor activities are now being encouraged - as is the pass, the Idwal area, among others.
Yes, there are locals who aren't keen on tourism, and it does feel nice and quiet here at the moment, but most of us want things to get back to normal just as much as everyone else.
I was down on Harlech beach today, social distancing was easy as I had all four miles to myself... (having not been able to drive there since Lockdown started). I hope access is restored soon, I cant see any reason for restrictions if we have to stay within five miles?
Just to give this an update:
'But Dr Giri Shankar, from PHW, said it did not "not necessarily mean that there is a higher level of increased community infection".
"When you calculate the rates per 100,000 population, or the mortality data per head of population, what we see in north Wales is rates comparable to other health boards, or comparable or slightly below the Welsh average," he said.'
Presumably some good news for those who were worried that the North Wales peak was yet to come?
In the mountains behind the sleepy coastal town of Powell River, British Colombia, a small group of climbers have spent decades quietly pioneering routes on some of the largest granite walls in Canada.