Apologies if this has been posted before, but yesterday I arrived at the summit of Tryfan and was horrified to see that someone has put permanent marker on Adam and Eve (not sure which one!). Then today on the summit of Glyder Fach there was a long tribute message written on one of the summit slabs. The first example is just blatant vandalism and whilst the 2nd example was well meaning, it is also completely inappropriate and also vandalism too in my book. I am not sure how this can be prevented in the future. Obviously I would like to see the perpetrators held to account (including the organisers of the Highland Kings race -utter tripe). I was just wondering what others thought could be done to discourage this behaviour in the future? On a side note, we descended via the Heather Terrace yesterday and pointed out to my mate "GA" and "FPR" on the base of those routes. "Is that an acceptable thing?" He asked! "Of course not" I replied!
Funnily enough i was in the slate quarries today and saw black marker pen writing with today's date on and 4 names written. It was just before the tunnel leading to the 'snakes & ladders' chain. In front of me there was a group of four teens listening to music on their phone speaker. I asked if they had written it and they said "yeah, so what?!". I let rip, marched them back to it and hopefully they're still trying to wash it off with Dr. Pepper and a sock now. 😅
The route initials on Heather Terrace have been there at least 25-30 years, which indicates how long it takes for the rock to weather. I'm a harsh old duffer, i think we should have zero memorial plaques, cairns, paint dots, scratched in clues... nothing. Maybe just some basic sign to guide punters around Llyn Idwal and that's it. (Only to prevent mrt callouts)
Different area and slightly different sentiment but I have come across a small number of engraved stones and slates on fell tops in the lakes.
They have been commemorative in nature but nether the less are definitely a visual intrusion to the "wild" nature they're set in (that's a different topic...). I have discreetly turned these memorials upside down without damaging them as to discourage further additions.
I appreciate every visit to the hills leaves some trace of some sort, however minor, but permanent scarring like graffiti is inexcusable.
> The route initials on Heather Terrace have been there at least 25-30 years, which indicates how long it takes for the rock to weather. I'm a harsh old duffer, i think we should have zero memorial plaques, cairns, paint dots, scratched in clues... nothing. Maybe just some basic sign to guide punters around Llyn Idwal and that's it. (Only to prevent mrt callouts)
I guess you’ve never climbed at Font then?
> The route initials on Heather Terrace have been there at least 25-30 years ...
At least 60 years (they looked long-established when I first saw them in 1968). They probably date back to the 1930s or 40s.
> I guess you’ve never climbed at Font then?
Nope, I take a rope not a mattress when I go climbing. Bet it is full jobbies everywhere too?
This is a cultural thing. In some areas the local guides initial the base of routes, spray a high vis paint blob on boulders to mark a hiking route etc. In a lot of places in the world that's their culture and is appropriate. Let's be careful before this thread digresses downwards to some public willie measuring debate about what people have climbed at Font or wherever, because the original post was about Tryfan. Let's stick to what is and isn't conspired appropriate for Snowdonia.
Got to confess I'm in no way offended by whoever years ago carved Groved Arete's "GA" and I find it helpful, but I'd be horrified if someone carved "Faith" "Hope" "Tennis Shoe" etc in Idwal so I'm not sure I have a clearly formed opinion beyond thinking the recent proliferation of memorials and carvings is a bad thing.
Not sure why relatives feel the memorials are needed anyway. For example I knew someone whose ashes are scattered on a knoll overlooking Inchnadamph (admittedly that's quite far from Snowdonia, sorry). Anyone who knew him would know where it is and why that was chosen (or if necessary how to find it given instructions...) there's no need for tatt to be placed in these places and people who love the outdoors are more likely to want no memorial as they are likely to appreciate natural beauty.
I found a laminated photo and tribute bolted onto the rock near the summit years ago - dunno if it is still there - but the mind boggles as to who would think that is okay.
> At least 60 years (they looked long-established when I first saw them in 1968). They probably date back to the 1930s or 40s.
It is something I struggle with when it comes to people vandalising stuff.
Instinctively I hate it but on the flip side since I like history I know once left long enough it can give interesting insights into everyday life in the past (at least when it comes to vikings and friends graffiti as opposed to cup and ring which may or may not be what we would think of as graffiti).
Well, that is a valid question, particularly on the slab on the summit rocks of Glyder Fach. Would trying to clean it do more damage? The issue I have is people who think it is OK in the first place to "leave their permanent marker" here. Ironically, in this day and age they are more likely to reveal themselves than in days gone by.
I am not justifying it, but the GA and FPR were at least caused by rock on rock...
My concern if graffiti isn't removed superfast is that Adam and Eve will be covered by visitors who think it's OK and the done thing.
Really hoping someone who's reading this can head up with some sort of cloth and removal fluid. Nail polish remover maybe??
There's a bolted memorial plaque on Stanage just below The Pebble boulder for a climber who died in The Alps. Not only bolted but the rock was chipped to fit the plaque in a recess. Awful behaviour from the deceased person's family and friends.
> I was just wondering what others thought could be done to discourage this behaviour in the future?
I recently went for a walk on Foel Lus, near Penmaenmawr. I was alarmed at the proliferation of "memorials" that had been attached to a crag adjacent to the footpath. I took some photographs and reported it to the Snowdonia National Park Authority.
I received what I thought was a good, positive response. See below:
From: Peter Rutherford <Peter.Rutherford@eryri.llyw.cymru>
Sent: 11 August 2022 12:47
Cc: Bethan W. Jones <Bethan.Jones@eryri.llyw.cymru>;
Subject: RE: Foel Lus - Vandalism
Thank you for your recent email which has been passed to me for a suitable response.
To be frank we agree with your view that area Foel Lus/Jubilee area is by now what we would deem to be rather saturated with memorials. Ultimately it is up to the landowners to decide what happens on their property as this is not in our ownership (the NP owns little land within its boundary in fact).
However, for our part, the National Park`s stance is that we do not condone the erection of plaques or other types of memorials in any location within the National Park as it can detract from the feeling of wildness and the inherent beauty natural environment and, as the Foel Lus example shows, it can become simply untenable and intrusive however well-intentioned people/families may be.
It is always difficult to discus this issue with grieving relatives or families, and this is something I have to do on a regular basis. We always recommend and prefer that they consider alternatives such as you have mentioned in your email, by planting a tree or by making a charitable donation or indeed make a donation to the NP as a contribution to the upkeep of paths, or to the National Trust (who own a great deal of land within the NP, or the Snowdonia Society who also do a great deal of work within the NP through their volunteers. Of course there are others such as Coed Cymru or they, as do many, consider making a donation to the Mountain Rescue teams. All of which are very worthy causes.
This stance is contained with our NP website information – kindly see the link below:
I will mention this issue (as Secretary) to the Northern Snowdonia Local Access Forum when they next meet in September to gain their views on this. They may recommend that we write to Penmaenmawr Town Council to ask them for their perspective and if it is possible to deter any future applications if they receive any. The NP`s has no powers as such but with some gentle persuasion it may be possible to exert some influence but as I say it is the landowner who has the final say but certainly if we make these views known to Pen Council then it may have the desired effect but again, I am unsure how much influence they may have but hopefully our collective views will become more widely known.
Again thank you for taking the time to email us and attach your photos.
Seeing it all over the place sadly..I was walking along Cornish coast lots of memorials scattered around, up in Glencoe last week same thing, Penyfan same things. A sign of the of the times it seems some of the people visiting the great outdoors dont really value it but no doubt will complain when they go there on the once a year visit and find out its ruined...
I seem to remember that FPR was slightly in the wrong place, although you could still start the route where the sign was. It's about 15 years since I last climbed it, so my memory might be wrong!
> I'm a harsh old duffer, i think we should have zero memorial plaques, cairns, paint dots, scratched in clues... nothing. Maybe just some basic sign to guide punters around Llyn Idwal and that's it.
I think cairnes are fine when they serve a purpose when the route really isn't clear. But when you get 50 of them at the top of a mountain or a convenient lunch spot it's just daft and looks a mess.
I'm indifferent to memorials. I think. Maybe? It's hard to balance what the family's need are and how hikers feel about it. Maybe a good compromise would be wooden memorials held in place with biodegradable resin so they don't last forever but long enough to get through the mourning process (or at least the worst part of it).
Perhaps everyone who cares about this (and I do) should ensure family and friends that we do not want any such memories. If you die on the mountain, a memorial may be ok (or a dedicated bench or belay stake) but otherwise no.
I'm going to want a whole grove of Scots Pine planted instead with an augmented reality fountain and statue in the centre of the grove, plus an AI copy of me to give a monologue on my life
In Snowdonia some 20 years ago I spotted a large painted sign saying "English Go Home" on a vertical slab. The idiot that wrote it had written it in Welsh so his "target market" wouldn't be able to read it. Duh! Proof these people have no brains.
> I think cairnes are fine when they serve a purpose when the route really isn't clear.
If only there were some methods you could use to know where you were?
However, I do think the removal of 1141 was unjustified.
I have just remembered there are similar marks on Amphitheatre Buttress. The first time I climbed it we were wondering where to start and someone kindly pointed out that the rock I was leaning on had AB scratched on it!
> If only there were some methods you could use to know where you were?
This often isn't the case.
There are plenty of scramble routes where being a couple of meters of course can send you into a dead end.
A well places cairne can be very useful in these places.
Agree, there are "good" cairns and "bad" cairns. Some save lives, a couple of good examples in the Brecon Beacons for that.
It's just that the current proliferation of cairns seems to be producing far more "bad" ones than "good".
Yes, there's some cairns on Cadair Idris that have a proven track record of luring people off the wrong side of the mountain and onto steep hazardous ground. When the clag comes down some people tend to follow cairns without thinking very hard about where they might be being led. That's obviously the fault of the person following the cairns blindly, but I for one would much rather that they weren't there. Obviously some people disagree with that, because the above mentioned cairns seem to get rebuilt pretty sharpish after getting kicked down.
> There are plenty of scramble routes where being a couple of meters of course can send you into a dead end.
You should cave, the most worn routes can often be dead ends, they receive double the traffic!
Apropos my post about Foel Lus, my own feeling is that a fixed "memorial" such as those I mentioned serve no practical purpose whatsoever, least of all for the deceased. I wonder whether the relatives "place" them for any reason other than a sort of feel good factor and how many ever re-visit the site.
I have to say that I'm tempted to arm myself with a cold chisel and lump hammer and do a night navigation exercise.
I've spent a lot of time potholing. Most of it being lost, or at least not really sure if we're going the right way.
> Obviously some people disagree with that, because the above mentioned cairns seem to get rebuilt pretty sharpish after getting kicked down.
Who does this and why? I've never quite understood the compulsion that people seem to have to add to cairns.
I've spent some time thinking about memorials in a public space. My mum died recently and like the rest of my family she had converted from CofE to mildly aetheist. Unlike previous generations, my gran for example, my mum and dad had no desire for a grave where we could visit to help remember them so me and siblings have gone for a seat on a sea wall on the Essex marshes. It takes time but we will get there. We all have fond memories of the sea wall and it feels fairly wild and windblown in the winter. A mate who died very young in a climbing accident has a small bridge in the Lakes commemorating his death. Both feel quite appropriate to me, but I'm now thinking if we all want something other than a grave in a churchyard or ashes blowing back in our faces in Inchnadamph (I quite like that idea) the wild spaces will disappear under redwood/iron seating and pine forests. Am I just adding to the commemorative memorabilia problem or am I "entitled" to leave a mark to remember a loved one by?
Sorry for your loss.
I was surprised to see a red "flag" denoting a response to a thread I had long since forgotten about. Clearly it's a subject that deserves thought and contemplation.
The act of remembrance is a highly personal one to both the deceased and those who survive to remember them. My general feeling is outside of obviously manmade environments (graveyards, urban environments, sculptured landscapes such as parks, sea promenades etc with benches) then having a permanent memorial detracts from beauty the person probably loved in the first place.
On one side of my family there are a dozen or more relatives buried in three adjoining plots on the edge of their local town. It's nothing special but it's tendered and tidy.
My grandparents on the other side had their ashes scattered amongst a small copse of trees behind their house which I use to play in as a child. It's briefly visible from a major road, due to distance I seldom pass it but I always look and get a pang of emotions - sad that their gone, but happy knowing that it's where they wanted to be.
Both are fitting memorials but personally I do not wish to have my name marked on a mountain that wasn't mine alone to enjoy.
Also adding new cairns can cause confusion in some places where old existing cairns are marked on a map.
If one person does it, is it ok?
if a hundred do it how’s that?
what about a thousand?
I sometimes use these questions as a yardstick to judge my actions, maybe not as far as everyone, but a thousand puts some ideas in the bin
If a member of the public takes it upon themselves to fix a plaque to a rock face and then another member of the public removes it does that constitute criminal damage?
I'd suggest the first person is committing criminal damage, the second one is simply tidying up.
Would you ask the same question if what had been left was a bag of rubbish, or a rotting abseil sling around a tree ?
> I'd suggest the first person is committing criminal damage, the second one is simply tidying up.
> Would you ask the same question if what had been left was a bag of rubbish, or a rotting abseil sling around a tree ?
Good points with which I concur. Time to get the hammer and cold chisel ready.
I have similar sentiments about roadside "shrines" which are of made worse by plastic flowers or flowers wrapped in cellophane
near us there is a 90 acre local farm, that is managed as a park for people and wildlife, there are now 8 commemorative benches.
It’s too many and I think damages the feel of the place.
> If one person does it, is it ok?
> if a hundred do it how’s that?
> what about a thousand?
For example, those Love Lock bridges n Paris.
I suspect they are everywhere. I can think of at least one in central Edinburgh and last time I rode over the Forth Road Bridge there was a short section adorned with small padlocks.
I live in a very popular village on the NE coast. Dozens of 'memorial',benches, most of which are for visitors, "......who loved this place/.view ' etc.,
Every day of the week in mid summer visitors bring bunches of memorial flowers wrapped in plastic and tie them to benches, fences and so on. The council cleaners, leave them until the next day and remove them.
Last month I was operating a radio from the top of a well known lake district summit, sheltered by a few prominent rocks. 1st I noticed the glint of metal - then I saw another one on the other side of the rock.......... Then there was the pile of white cremated remains. I moved away. Our village has a couple of favourite view points over the sea. I've forgotten the number of times I've been for a walk and had to remove somebodies ashes from my boots.
(Ps - to whom it may concern. Who ever loved aunt Beryl - sorry I stood on her ashes yesterday!)
> (Ps - to whom it may concern. Who ever loved aunt Beryl - sorry I stood on her ashes yesterday!)
Well at least you didn't dance on her grave
I work as a countryside ranger and we've had all of this. Constantly clearing up graffiti on rocks/cliffs to the point where a drill, spare battery and scouring brush-head is part of my teams 'essential kit' in the summer. One lady had the stupidity of putting her instagram handle on a nice piece of chalk, and then photographed herself beside it. To her shame she was called out, came back a week later to clean it up, and donated some money to our local litter picking charity monthly for a year.
Plaques, effigies, flowers, poems etc etc are constantly being found. I feel guilty having to remove them, but honestly, our beach would be littered with them if they were all left there.
I have to admit, since lockdown it has been much worse than we experienced before.