UKC

Raven Crag Walthwaite (Langdale), Raven's Nesting

Ravens have taken up residence on Langdale's Raven Crag (Walthwaite) (above Chapel Stile). They have nested, as this is a small crag and the main descent path goes directly under the nest site it is necessary to implement a restriction on the whole crag until 31 May.

In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

The restriction is now signed, sadly, today,  some individuals chose to ignore the signs and were very abusive when the restriction was pointed out by a member of the public. The upshot was the Police were called. 

I know that everyone is frustrated having had the best part of the last year under varying degrees of restriction. The restrictions have been (slightly) relaxed, the sun has come out and everyone wants to get out to play. Raven Walthwaite is the only crag in Langdale that has a nesting restriction so there are plenty of other options, from roadside to high fell depending on taste. Ignoring restrictions doesn't help our cause when the climbing community (represented by BMC & FRCC) engages with Natural England and other conservation bodies to agree the annual restrictions. These bodies are currently very supportive of keeping crags open whenever possible, poor behaviour might cause them to reconsider their position. Remember that Wildlife Law is on the side of conservation not climbing.

Hopefully this is an isolated incident.

 Andy Taylor 03 Apr 2021
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

The member of public mentioned is my best mate and only politely told them they would have to leave. The people on the crag were totally out of order. I just don’t understand them going on there when there was plenty of other places to choose from. 

 Rhi Rhi 11 Apr 2021
In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

2 separate parties all over the crag yesterday afternoon as I walked past

Challenged them but ignored!

Shame I can't post the photos

Selfish people, little further up the valley youve got the whole of the langdales!! 

 Lankyman 11 Apr 2021
In reply to Andy Taylor:

> The member of public mentioned is my best mate and only politely told them they would have to leave. The people on the crag were totally out of order. I just don’t understand them going on there when there was plenty of other places to choose from. 

Unbelievable. This sense of entitlement and disregard of anything other than their own wants makes me want to weep. It's a criminal offence to disturb nesting ravens. Hopefully, a stiff fine will teach them something as they obviously don't care otherwise.

In reply to Rhi Rhi:

> 2 separate parties all over the crag yesterday afternoon as I walked past

I think a sense of perspective is needed. I don't know specifically where the birds are, perhaps not on the main climbing area? Perhaps in the trees at the right end, don't know?

There are normally a few Ravens above the crag on the smaller outcrops, but the weather has been excessively cold so that may have forced them to migrate lower to the main crag (this has been climbed on over the past year but will have been somewhat quieter than usual).

Normally Ravens, Peregrines etc are not bothered by climbers, but they are seriously disturbed by crows and other avian renegades. Climbers and birds are generally like minds, and they can co-exist happily.

The crag has a descent at either end, both are used. The extent of the crag between the descents is 160 metres or 500 feet. If the birds are in a restricted area, a total ban on climbing is perhaps unnecessary and an over-reaction by the establishment.

Depending where the birds are located, climbing may have zero impact on their welfare.
DC

In reply to Dave Cumberland:

> Climbers and birds are generally like minds, and they can co-exist happily.

Entirely irrelevant. If it has been decided that climbing should not occur there because it might disturb them, that is the end of the discussion, no climbing should occur. Arguing about it, especially in an area with a gazillion alternative crags, is how access can end up under threat.

> by the establishment.

*Sigh*.

In reply to Alkis:

> Entirely irrelevant. If it has been decided that climbing should not occur there because it might disturb them, that is the end of the discussion, no climbing should occur. Arguing about it, especially in an area with a gazillion alternative crags, is how access can end up under threat.

It is worth observing that there are birds on most Lake District crags. Some known about, some not.

Since you clearly understand the details of the local situation, perhaps you could expand on specifically where the Ravens are nesting and how close they are to the existing 30 or so routes?

DC

In reply to Dave Cumberland:

It's not my job to understand it, or yours. It's my job to follow it.

 Lankyman 12 Apr 2021
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

> It is worth observing that there are birds on most Lake District crags. Some known about, some not.

> Since you clearly understand the details of the local situation, perhaps you could expand on specifically where the Ravens are nesting and how close they are to the existing 30 or so routes?

> DC

Do the birds read the notices so they can stick to their bits of the crag?

 Ron Kenyon 12 Apr 2021
In reply to Lankyman:

The law covers all birds and does not matter is there is a sign or not !!!   Some birds are happy for folk to climb near by - others are not !!  We should respect nature and work on the second situation.  There are plenty of crags in Langdale to go to.  Bit of a pain to go elsewhere -  but leave Raven Crag, Walthwaite for the time being.  

Sorry mates - but use your tablet or phone to check out the BMC RAD.  As you are probably manicled to it then it should not take too long -  before your "adventure" to some crag some where.

Wherever you go -  enjoy the crag - but also enjoy being outside and others and other things who are there !!  You will have a much more fullfilling life !    

 Billhook 13 Apr 2021
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Ravens often have eggs laid in February.  One idiot climbing can cause the bird to leave the nest for a few minutes.  Eggs soon become cold.  No more ravens.

Simple really.

(and as others have said - its illegal to disturb both peregrines and ravens along with most other birds too)

In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Over the last few years it has been my pleasure and privilege to be part of the group that agrees the annual restrictions for the Lakes. Over the years we (the climbing community) have built up a great deal of goodwill with the members of the group who, for the want of a better description, could be described as 'the conservationists'. Why? because climbers have respected the restrictions and given two species with struggling populations the space to breed and at least maintain their current numbers. It only takes the selfish actions of a few individuals to start to erode the goodwill that currently exists. Restrictions are agreed after careful consideration not 'as over-reaction by the establishment' (whoever that may be).

A few points:

The ravens are nesting close Protus/Tritus which are very popular routes, the combo being possibly the best pitch on the crag.

Contrary to what you have suggested Ravens do not tolerate disturbance, especially when feeding young (as this pair currently are), hence the area of the crag that needs to be restricted is considerable; with a small crag like Raven it needs to cover the full crag. In contrast Peregrines are a bit more tolerant, this is why only a small section of Lower Falcon in Borrowdale needs to be restricted to allow the Peregrines to breed. However when Ravens nested there in 2020 the whole crag had to be restricted.

The possible presence of other species nesting on other crags is not relevant to this thread. 

In reply to Trevor Langhorne:

Thanks for indicating the location of the birds.

V useful information.

Since the location is near all the core routes, clearly all would agree with the bird ban.

DC

In reply to Dave Cumberland:

The only information you need to care about is that there is a bird ban and which area it covers. Any other information is of academic interest only. If you want to bird watch, sure, very interesting to know where the birds are.

If however the birds were on the far right of the crag and you were thinking "they shouldn't have banned the whole crag, I'll go do Enterprize", that's problematic to say the least.

Whoever came up with the ban has a good idea of how skittish the species of bird might be and what the worst case scenario of them being spooked by someone being around and not returning to the nest might be. It is *literally* their job.

As such, I will have to reiterate my previous statement: When it comes to following an active bird ban, the exact reasoning is none of your business, if you care about the well being of the birds and maintaining access to the crag in the slightest.

When I'm at Stanage and there is a bird ban, and there is one most summers, I don't start second guessing the ban, I follow it. 

Post edited at 23:12
 C Witter 13 Apr 2021
In reply to Alkis:

Don't be a mindless sychophant. Of course we have a right and interest to know how and why bird bans are instituted. That doesn't detract from the importance of us all playing a role in protecting the little "wild life" that is still managing to hang on in the edges of human society.

Post edited at 23:49
In reply to C Witter:

An interest, yes. Read his posts, does it sound like an interest to you? It sounds an awful lot like questioning the ban and second guessing it.

Once a ban is in it has to be followed, at the very least to keep the relationship with any organisation that can remove access to the crags on good terms.

Stating that the "the establishment" (exact quote) might have overreacted is not the basis of "an interest". Neither is stating that climbers do not disturb birds because "Climbers and birds are generally like minds, and they can co-exist happily" (another exact quote).

Post edited at 08:28
 TMM 14 Apr 2021
In reply to C Witter:

> Don't be a mindless sychophant. Of course we have a right and interest to know how and why bird bans are instituted. 

 

What ‘right’ is this? If such a ‘right’ did exist it would surely need to be reciprocal and we would need to justify are use of the crag for climbing to the bird lobby, the re-wilding lobby, the photography lobby, the walking lobby, etc...

We are no more important or entitled than any other users of these spaces.

 C Witter 14 Apr 2021
In reply to Alkis:

Well... if you re-read the thread, once Trevor gave a very insightful and patient explanation of the situation and the rationale, DC changed his mind and agreed with the ban. This is precisely why it's important to have patient, open-minded people in these roles. Whereas saying things like "it's not my job to understand it, or yours. It's my job to follow it" just gets people's backs up.

Given how precious and fragile both these ecosystems and access can be at times, it's important to develop awareness, guardianship and oversight - not to just try and shut debate down.

Of course, I completely agree with you that it's important to respect bird bans - it's just the tone I took issue with.

Best,
CW
 

 C Witter 14 Apr 2021
In reply to TMM:

It's precisely because of the competing interests of other users (including farmers and landowners) that it's important for climbers to have some democratic oversight of how and why bans are instituted.

In reply to C Witter:

I took this tone specifically because even in the latest message where "he changed his mind" he still had strong undertones of his approval of bans being conditional on him agreeing with the measures. It isn't. Treating them like that results in the exact sort of behaviour that the OP highlighted. If he has reservations with regards to the bird bans, he should volunteer to be involved in access negotiations, not by second guessing what has already been agreed after the fact. And he should especially stop treating the people that are trying to protect our bird populations as "the establishment".


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