After quite a bit of work and and with huge thanks to the Defence Infrastructre Organisation staff, the Castlemartin Army Range staff and of course Pembs Coast National Park , we now have online safety briefings available for those wanting to climb at Range West in Pembrokeshire.
The end of an era in that this spells the end of that long, early season drive to sit in the Army theatre at Castlemartin to listen to a 40 minute annual briefing on bombs, breeding habits of choughs or helicopter rescues!
The following is a link to the interim BMC article explaining the process. I'll update this article as we get closer to being allowed to travel- but bear in mind that for now, in Wales, strict travel restrictions still apply ("Stay Local" regulations really is 5 miles in Wales!) and will almost certainly continue to apply until after Easter. There will be no access to Range West until after the Stay Local restrctions are lifted by Welsh Government.
BMC Access & Conservation Officer (Wales)
I..... just.... there are no words. Thank you. And everyone who has made this possible.
Who can I address the case of beers to?
That's really great. Is this arrangement only for this year, or will it continue in future years?
Brilliant news, great work by everyone involved.
Fantastic- makes the really difficult possible at last
Great news and thanks Elfyn and team for all your work getting this sorted.
A note to any one thinking of going - seize the opportunity its amazing, but also just stick to the established classics as there are no new routes left ;-)
Fantastic! Well done. If BMC were just a collection of services I don't really use I'd have cancelled it by now, it is this sort of access work I believe is crucial for many members.
I think it's official, a knighthood may well be in the offing! Have only climbed in there once because of that silly briefing. Happy days. 😃
Well done Elfyn and BMC. A fantastic achievement!
WHAT DOES THE BMC EVER DO FOR....oh wait...
Once-again, the BMC does something for us! Thanks once-again, and again, and again for all your hard work Elfyn.
Whilst it's going to be a fair few months before I can make it down I'll be sure to attend the briefing in its new and significantly more accessible format. I've only been into Range West the once, and have wanted to go back ever since, but have been limited by the restricted nature of the briefing. It's often been the case that I've been briefed, but none of my climbing partners are - hence there's no option but to go elsewhere.
Hopefully this new format will be well received and rolled out to future years.
The only downside I can see is the massive queue for the limited number of passes each day, best to go mid week? Thank you Elfyn - great Job!
Thanks Kevin....in addition to the on line briefing, the local Range Commandant has also agreed to increase the number of recreational users allowed per day on Range West to a maximum of 50, up from the previous limit of 30.
Also....there is no sound on the presentation, it's read only...that caught me out as well trying to fiddle with volume controls!!
> The only downside I can see is the massive queue for the limited number of passes each day, best to go mid week? Thank you Elfyn - great Job!
Might have bigger problems if you were on the range on a weekday
There is no firing during the month of August.
Did they manage to get some anti-French rhetoric in the online briefing?
> The local Range Commandant has also agreed to increase the number of recreational users allowed per day on Range West to a maximum of 50, up from the previous limit of 30.
Great work. I can't imagne many days when you will get more than 50 wanting to go in. Even though I beleive this includes fishermen and surfers.
If anyone was to miss out its not like it would be a big issue (see what I did there) to visit one of the range east crags.
Does anyone know how the restrictions and changes may impact sea kayaking close to shore of Range West?
(I'll enquire to the relevant sea kayaking sources too )
Surfers and fishermen who want to access parts of the range need to do the briefing. My understanding for kayakers would be that you can't (and wouldn't want to) paddle when the range is live. When the range is not live there is nothing to stop anyone paddling past.
If you want to stop on a beach for lunch you should really have done the briefing. But should be easy enough to paddle through the range without going ashore unless you have got the tides or the sea conditions badly wrong.
Thanks for your efforts in making this happen
I'm not a climber (I'm a walker) but I understand this is fantastic news for those who want to climb this area. It's things like this that make me happy to go on paying my BMC subs (like others, I do sometimes wonder what the BMC do, but for example I know the BMC did a great bit of work on opening up a local crag with the local community involved - Castleberg Crag FWIW). It's also a great example of a silver lining (if there can be one) of the covid19 pandemic, that it's given the incentive and made people achieve what was previously thought mostly not possible: get things online