There are already numerous threads on specific locations, but I've started this thread for hopefully a more general discussion for all areas.
Parking restrictions or lack of parking and abuse of limited available parking blocking access by climbers does seem to be impacting easy access to lots of places. In other cases climbers are getting upset at having to pay for what was previously free, or pay a lot more for what was cheap parking.
To name just a few (some of which are still under discussion):
Llanberis Pass, proposed prohibition and park-n-ride
Bus stop quarry (slate) parking restrictions
Curbar yellow lines
Horseshoe Quarry, limited parking
Masson Lees - limited parking and upset land owners
South Stack new higher RSPB parking charges
Walna Scar parking charges
Part of the problem is due to new COVID interest in the great outdoors, but also a rapid growth in the climbing population, particularly for easier accessible sport climbing like Masson Less or Horseshoe, not to mention competition from walkers and a wide range of other users of National Parks and other areas. Climbers' van overnight parking at or near crags only makes things worse.
Climbers' increased demand on parking for crag access is becoming unsustainable.
Something has to give and I'm not convinced that acres of new tarmac and parking spaces across our National Parks are the answer. Similarly Park-n-Ride busses may be attractive but are very expensive to operate
Of course in the pioneering days climbers thought nothing of walking to Froggatt from Grindleford Station, or Stanage from Hathersage station, or walking to the Pass crags from Llanberis. Nowadays folk don't seem keen to walk from the large public car park at Froggatt over to Curbar.
There are no easy answers, my own thoughts (some which are deliberately provocative for the sake of debate and many will disagree with) include:
Be responsible for your own access, rather than insisting on publically funded free infrastructure for your privileged sport or hobby
Accept the need to pay for parking, cars have environmental impact in terms of emissions but also on visual impact and clogging up National Parks. It is disingenuous to complain about parking charges which are small compared to cost of running a car and climbing, too many folk are happy to pay for an exotic coffee at climbing walls on top of the entrance fee but resent paying to park and would happily trash a grass verge instead.
Walking further than necessary to crags is a pain and time consuming, but is not overly restricting: MTFU!
There are lots of places to climb other than the established honey-pots - go and explore
Get up early - go elsewhere if all of the spaces are taken
I'm expecting a number of dislikes - but don't be lazy; post a comment instead
Yes, sorry logged in just to agree.
As a coach, I have to arrange transport and can bring with me 2 extra vehicles if I'm not careful..
When its a full weekend I get the train and camp out, walking early with my kit to meet clients. and i encourage clients to car pool. I don't even do this with the environment as a priority I do it because finding 1 less parking space makes my day easier.
I still drive or get driven sometimes but even then if we can carpool at one location and head in its makes those first few minutes soo much easier.
Additionally I've always prioritised paid parking where possible, a walk from plantation to popular isn't that far.
I wouldn't pay for a coffee in a climbing wall, I'd brew up in the car park.
As a kid, I thought "Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves" was just people being tight for no good reason. After a couple of decades of profligate living as an adult, I realised it's a good mantra to live by if you want to "work less, climb more"
Publicly funded infrastructure is not "free", it's paid for out of general taxation. If a leisure location is popular, we should provide access to it out of general taxation IMO. Whilst I appreciate my desire to "climb more, work less" means I pay less tax than I would churning the 9 to 5 till I'm 70 and spending money on consuming stuff I don't really need, I think the world would be a slightly better place if we prioritised leisure facilities for all from general taxation over trying to put a price on everything.
so we are coming out of the biggest financial crisis since WW2 and you think general taxation should fund your climbing wall visits, and i understand car parking costs for the crag?
I would pay for a coffee and a lot more every time I've climbed at Shepherd's Crag though. Too many people perhaps claimed the right to park there and not buy some of their offerings of really excellent value.
Now you can add Shepherd's Crag to the list in the OP and the cost of parking is non trivial. Why cannot we have a bus service from Keswick as cheap as the one from Llanberis to Pen y Pass?. No one could argue with that, but for us the cost of buses as they stand in the Lakes is quite prohibitive unless you want a full day ticket.
We've used the boat before now from Keswick and walked a little but cost has escalated somewhat
> so we are coming out of the biggest financial crisis since WW2 and you think general taxation should fund your climbing wall visits, and i understand car parking costs for the crag?
If there's one thing I hope the pandemic has shown us, is the value of time with people and in the outdoors.
When I said general taxation should pay for access to leisure locations, I meant access to outdoor places, crags, lakes, rivers, mountains and parks, not gyms, pubs and cinemas.
Point taken I think that if there is money available from taxation it should all be directed at those outdoor centres for children and young peolple that used to be funded by educaton authorities and the like which are (should be) fundamental in fostering enjoyment of and respect for the outdoors (including walking to crags), rather than those of us who had the opportunity when we were young and have disposable income that we can spend on parking
> Point taken I think that if there is money available from taxation it should all be directed at those outdoor centres for children and young peolple that used to be funded by educaton authorities and the like which are (should be) fundamental in fostering enjoyment of and respect for the outdoors (including walking to crags), rather than those of us who had the opportunity when we were young and have disposable income that we can spend on parking
I would certainly agree with properly funding those sorts of centres again as a priority, but a fiver for parking might be the difference between a parent on low income being able to afford to regularly take their kids out into the countryside or not, so I don't think it's simply a case of those of us with cars can afford it.
Even in my dotage (61 next week) I manage to lug a mat, bag and dog over the Calver-Curbar-Froggatt-Grindleford circuit so cars aren’t critical coming out from Sheffield or Manchester. The Sheff to Fox House bus takes in loads of crag access so what we’re talking is convenience rather than potential lack of access. We generally leave the car in Betws Y Coed when we go to Snowdonia and get the dog and pads onto the bus over to the pass, as we rarely get lucky with parking at the Cromlech.
> Walking further than necessary to crags is a pain and time consuming, but is not overly restricting: MTFU!
I agree, but also perhaps people could re-assess their appreciation of the environment. For a lot of crags, the self same path that you view as a tedious waste of time on the approach might well be enjoyed as part of a walk for its own sake by ramblers and hillwalkers.That walk in itself must have some merits. If you have to walk for half an hour extra to reach the crag, learn to appreciate that half hour. In areas where public transport and park and ride become the only option, the nearest and most convenient car park to your chosen crag will no longer be an option so maybe get used to a different mindset to crag approaches.
Obviously my suggestion of appreciating the aesthetics of a nice walk in will not get much sympathy from people who frequent roadside shithole type crags.
In my five years climbing outdoors, often 3, 4 or (lately, bloody pandemic...) 5 days a week I don’t think I’ve ever parked irresponsibly. Either I’ve gotten to any popular crag on a nice day early enough to bag a legitimate spot, or I’ve decided on an unpopular crag with an unorthodox approach from somewhere not a tourist honeypot. If I got to Stanage Popular and found that there was no space on the surfaced off road parking I’d consider it a planning fail and go elsewhere, whilst castigating myself for being stupid enough to turn up after 10 on a sunny weekend. There’s no excuse. Equally there’s no excuse to leave 5ft between you and the car next door either.. if you get there and the parking is empty then rather than dumping it anywhere.. park as close as you can to whatever cars are there. Think about those coming later than you and make the most of the available space.
Agree with using public transport, one problem is that if one wants a full day out, or gets back to the road late, it may not be available.
Oh for the days when you could park for a fiver at NT or LDSP car parks!
unless you're going to run up and down which is a bit beyond me
> Agree with using public transport, one problem is that if one wants a full day out, or gets back to the road late, it may not be available.
Or everyone tries to get on the last bus, or it pisses down and you've just missed one.
Public transport is great when it's working, I think we'd all like to use it more. I can't for work because I need to carry so much stuff, that's the trouble with cars, too convenient.
I have been teaching navigation courses the last couple of weekends. In my email explaining where I will meet the group, I tell them that I will be arriving by bike. I have found some of them also arrive by bike. O don't ask them to, but maybe the subtle messaging works? They realise it's an option so work out if they can also do it.
Maybe the outdoor community need to start setting good examples, and others might follow?
> Public transport is great when it's working, I think we'd all like to use it more. I can't for work because I need to carry so much stuff, that's the trouble with cars, too convenient.
How long before self-driving cars solve the problem by dropping you off and going off as far as needed to park?
Actually, how long before self-driving minibuses shuttle people on demand to and from park & rides?
But we use to be able to catch a bus from Hunters Bar to various Grit and Limestone hotspots and think nothing of it.
> But we use to be able to catch a bus from Hunters Bar to various Grit and Limestone hotspots and think nothing of it.
A lot of time you didn’t need a bus, just make the rope obvious on top of your sack and stick your thumb out at the Hunters Bar bus stop on Eccy Road. Usually possible to get to a specific crag in no time. North Wales or the Lakes, even when I wasn’t planning to go there!
> If there's one thing I hope the pandemic has shown us, is the value of time with people and in the outdoors.
Living in the Peak, if there's one thing the pandemic has actually shown us, is that far too many people don't' actually give a flying **** about the value of 'the outdoors'. The Peak has been used and abused for the last year.
> A lot of time you didn’t need a bus, just make the rope obvious on top of your sack and stick your thumb out at the Hunters Bar bus stop on Eccy Road. Usually possible to get to a specific crag in no time. North Wales or the Lakes, even when I wasn’t planning to go there! <
I still use that tactic where there's no public transport. I don't have a car. In Scotland especially drivers are still really helpful. Perhaps they're just taking pity on a sad, old codger.
I do wonder if so many will be prepared to offer lifts post-pandemic.
It is not an exceptionally long walk from Hathersage to Stanage or even Burbage, Hathersage of course has a station with an hourly service between Manchester and Sheffield for most of the day. It is quite a hilly walk, but as climbers tend to be on the fitter end of the general population this shouldn't be a great problem.
FWIW I don't object at all to paying to park, I object to fiddling with change. It's quite right I should pay to rent a piece of land to plonk my car on, which can't then be used for something else. Contactless acceptance works well, as does mobile payment (ideally of the kind where you have until midnight to pay, as sometimes the signal is iffy).
Apart from improving public transport, high pricing on car parks and rigorous imposition of parking fines , I see little chance of improvement . It will of course improve post pandemic when people will share cars.
Climbing is now incredibly popular ( and an easy sport to take up now )and commercial, and this is the price we pay.
Those of us lucky to be able to avoid the crowds will go mid week.
Avoiding hotspots at bank holiday weekends is sensible.
> I preferred ropes in high viz colours for this reason. In season, ice axes worked a treat too, although non climbers did not get this.
My secret weapon was hitching out with Andy Pollitt. All he had to do was stick his thumb out, and there’d be the sound of screeching tyres as female drivers made an emergency stop😂. Often resulted in a detour to drop us off at the crag, and an enquiry about meeting for drinks later. The ‘80s.
Of course there's money. I would say that a corrupt Tory government that can give 36 billion quid to its mates for a failed track and trace system has plenty of money.
We need to remember that 2020 and 2021 are exceptional years in terms of UK visitor numbers and also in terms of the demographic visiting wilderness areas. Things should calm down again as soon as foreign holidays are allowed, festivals etc. open up again.
> Actually, how long before self-driving minibuses shuttle people on demand to and from park & rides?
This would be the dream obviously, but still some way off I think.
> I wouldn't pay for a coffee in a climbing wall, I'd brew up in the car park.
I would (and sometimes do) pay for a coffee in the climbing wall because I can afford it and I want the climbing wall to thrive. Being a small independent business of any form is a hard life.
Totally agree. And get out (everyone, not you) further afield than the handful of insanely popular crags in the larger climbing areas. Stretch your legs, walk a bit further than Popular, don't be a pillock and park stupidly on verges (especially when you could park in the empty car park next door - guess where I'm thinking of with this example), and visit our more remote and slightly more esoteric crags. Many of which are located where parking is less of a problem.
And if you can't park, go somewhere else. Don't abandon your 'ing car in a stupid place because you're too lazy or too entitled to rethink your plans.
Just to make me sound like an old git, but whats wrong with getting a bus as close as possible then doing something really extreme, Walking the rest of the way. I know its a scary thought but those things hanging from a climbers backside are whats known as legs and they apparently are deigned for walking. Who knew.
Public transport is great in theory, good for the planet, socially responsible , etc etc but not really suited to those who like to arrive at a climbing venue having expended the same amount of effort as it takes to park up and walk in to your local shopping mall. Then, as someone else mentioned, there is the problem of transporting a mattress with you.
Personally, if I was on my own I'd happily go for a longer walk-in.
But my bouldering these days (pre-COVID) includes two kids, at least one mat, food and drink for family of 4 for the day. Trying to get them to walk 45 minutes at the end of a lovely day in the hills is nightmare.
Public transport wise, £5 to park is also still cheaper than 2-4 return trips (depending on age of children).
> I know its a scary thought but those things hanging from a climbers backside are whats known as legs...
I thought they were what's known as hexes?
What are the plans for Llanberis? Public transport needs investment from central government.
The parking in the pass has changed over 20 years. When I started driving I'd park at an angle to the wall as did every other car (look at old pics of people climbing left wall on cromlech) but now they park parallel to the walls and leave a gap of several feet at the front or back.
For places like Shepherd's I propose a human power solution. 2 Zip wires between Keswick and the crag, an up wire and down wire. Power obtained by climbing a 200ft gantry at either station, compleat with your gear and then turning the potential into an exciting ride. Priced at 1.50 a go so families can afford it. Screaming optional and you can spit on the SUVs at the posh hotel. "Users do so at their own risk".
> Motorbike ! ( not great for mats)
Two up and enough gear to do the North face of the Eiger ...
One of my favourite climbing / motorbiking pics. I think it was in Alec Ormrod’s portrait of a mountaineer.
It inspired me to do more of both after I first read it in 1986; still happily doing both.
ps I think some sort of inflatable mat is the answer !
Back in the day climbers used to finish work Saturday lunchtime and walk from Totley bus stop to Black Rocks and climb till dark. They would climb Sunday then walk back to catch the last bus from Totley to Sheffield centre Sunday evening. Another impressive walk-in was from north-west Sheffield over the moors to Laddow and back again over the weekend!
Did the Laddow trip involve a bivi?
I used to walk an hour from home before meeting up at the Clarence in Greenfield to decide where to go and if it was Laddow that made it a long day, but from Sheffield its like doing half of the Watershed......
In the spirit of the OP, can anyone advise on where to leave a bike for a day scrambling around Tryfan?
Yes, they would bivi in the cave on the right end, where all the classic Cave Routes are.
I assumed as much. It's still a fair old trek from Sheffield.
I used to pay one of the campsites a couple of quid to stash my bike in the corner and use the shower before I set off.
The problem I have with park and ride is that it doesn't cover 24/7. What if like my last trip (unfortunately way back in October) started after lunch and was a full sized adventure, so didn't get back to my car until 02:30. Not sure there'd be a bus to take me back to car in any park and ride scheme. Very convenient for those who set off at 09:00 and back to cafe for 15:30 to eat scones and refill the tartan Thermos, but that's only 1 type of outdoor user. It needs to be inclusive of every type of user and park and ride isn't that.
> The problem I have with park and ride is that it doesn't cover 24/7. What if like my last trip (unfortunately way back in October) started after lunch and was a full sized adventure, so didn't get back to my car until 02:30. Not sure there'd be a bus to take me back to car in any park and ride scheme. Very convenient for those who set off at 09:00 and back to cafe for 15:30 to eat scones and refill the tartan Thermos, but that's only 1 type of outdoor user. It needs to be inclusive of every type of user and park and ride isn't that.
Seems a bit melodramatic. If you are in the Alps and miss the last cable car home, you are either facing a cold night out or a long walk home. I don't see that being more organised with your time on the fell is a bad thing with a view to accepting the consequences if you get it wrong.
I think the problem we face is we have had it too good for too long. As climbers we are onto a good thing and as a result many have cottoned on and joined in, to say nothing of the increased number of cyclists and walkers. In my view, the top of the Llanberis Pass has been a no go for 10+ years now. Seeing the pass parking and other such spots disappear simply means we need to adapt. Its no big deal really. One benefit is that if the pass is a one hour walk in, more remote crags might come back into favour.