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Coronation St in summer 'with permission'

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 danieleaston 10 Sep 2020

Had a quick look at Coronation St Coronation Street (WW) (E1 5b) thinking about getting on it once the ban ends in October. The most recent log from mid August says 'Climbed with permission from Cheddar Gorge and Caves'. Is this a thing? Can I knock on the door of the ticket office with my BMC card and ask nicely? Is it included with the £7 to go up Jacobs ladder?

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 Billg 10 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

I'd be very interested as it was in the middle of the summer ban too

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 beardy mike 10 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

As far as I know, no that is not a thing so either he's done it, got part of the way up and been stopped but was allowed to continue or they're talking rubbish and just put that there to appease the braying masses. I have a hunch which one it is. Certainly don't assume you can do the same!

Edit: Looking through said climbers log there does seem to be a theme around hard rock routes? I guess he might poke his head up in a bit and explain?

Post edited at 18:44
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 Alex Hyde 10 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

Hi,

Myself and my partner were the offending climbers who logged the accent. We were climbing the route as part of an attempt on the Hard Rock Challenge. 

We had originally planned to leave the route until the season, however I decided it would be worth while giving Chedder Gorge and Caves a ring to see if they could allow us to climb the route in the late evening when most of the tourists would have left and the risk of dropping stuff on passers by reduced. 

They were very relaxed about us climbing in the evening and interested to hear about the Hard Rock attempt, they even said there would be no one there to tell us to get of the route after 5pm as they would be closed. Not sure whether they will be this lenient for everyone, maybe we just got lucky, but it seems like having a go at asking nicely may get you an out of season tick.

Alex.   

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In reply to Alex Hyde:

Of the climbing type, hopefully. 

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 Kemics 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Hyde:

Fair play! I always assumed this would have been a hard no-no. Just shows no harm in asking. 

Although the question remains, if you climbed coronation street and didnt have winter seepage on every pitch and hotaches on every belay....does it even count? probably only hvs in July 

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 Rod_Vortex 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Kemics:

I'm sure it is a big no no. Why would they just go "yeah sure, you can climb that big route that overhangs the road on a Saturday in a busy Cheddar Gorge during the school holiday when it has always been banned". 

I'm certain they wouldn't,  unless there was some commercial reason. 

If they would give permission then why do the bans exist at all? 

If anyone is in contact with the caves it would be good to get some response on this. If people are knowingly flaunting the bans and risking access to everyone else then they need putting in the stocks. 

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 danieleaston 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Hyde:

Great! maybe I'll just give them a call tomorrow and get on it on Saturday afternoon, no crowds, good weather, perfect!

One thing though, how did you make sure that the person who you spoke to was the right person making the decision? Presumably whoever answered the phone was just a Cheddar employee? From the sounds of it, 'nobody will be there after 5 anyway' doesn't sound like it came down from official Cheddar Gorge policy, and giving permission would probably require an understanding of the overall liability and insurance issues that the gorge faces, as well as an understanding with the BMC access agreements and the massive can of worms this opens up with people deciding to just call up on a sunny summer Saturday, or even better, just wait til after 5 as the Cheddar caves people seem pretty relaxed? (they aren't).

Presumably you also informed the BMC access rep about this, as he would surely want to know about your special case?

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 Alex Hyde 11 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

It does sound like we may have got lucky. Not being from the local area and not knowing the full story, we thought it was worth giving them a ring and asking, they said yes and didn't feel any need to dig any deeper as we assumed they would know what they were doing. 

Both insured to meet the necessary liability, and, we did climb it mostly in the dark after 90% of people had gone home (there would probably be more people on a mid October weekend) minus the boy racers, which I think we both felt like throwing a few rocks at by the end of the climb. 

From what I understand, the last pair who completed the Hard Rock Challenge in 2007 also climbed the route in the summer so maybe there is some leniency from Chedder Gorge and Caves, but who knows.

Alex

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 danieleaston 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Hyde:

Fair enough, thanks for your replies. I know my last post was a little bit arsey, I do think the permission you had may not have been all you thought it was, but thanks for coming on and clearing it up. Well done on your Hard Rock routes.

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 ianstevens 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Hyde:

What is this so-called "Hard Rock Challenge"? I'm pretty sure someone will have done the hard rock ticklist since 2007...

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 knighty 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Rod_Vortex:

Has it got something to do with the fact that the parking area underneath is partially fenced off at the moment? This means there isn't so much of a risk of dropping anything on people below?

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In reply to Rod_Vortex:

> I'm sure it is a big no no. Why would they just go "yeah sure, you can climb that big route that overhangs the road on a Saturday in a busy Cheddar Gorge during the school holiday when it has always been banned". 

> I'm certain they wouldn't,  unless there was some commercial reason. 

> If they would give permission then why do the bans exist at all? 

> If anyone is in contact with the caves it would be good to get some response on this. If people are knowingly flaunting the bans and risking access to everyone else then they need putting in the stocks. 

Read the post from the clmber?

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 Rod_Vortex 11 Sep 2020
In reply to knighty:

It hasn't changed the access agreements on any of the other routes around there so I doubt it. 

I'd love for the access on the winter only routes to be relaxed, as the gorge is a cold, wet place in the winter and a lot of lines don't get the traffic they deserve. The summer bans exist for a reason though; I've pulled off rock at Cheddar on the summer side. It would only be a matter of time until a walker at the bottom was hurt if the south side was opened up in the holidays. I'd bet my house on a car getting stoved the first summer it was relaxed. 

The access in Cheddar is sensitive and it doesn't sound very legit to me that you could phone up reception and someone say it's probably fine. 

Post edited at 11:05
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 tehmarks 11 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston and Rod_Vortex:

Come on. The man has picked up the phone and asked permission, and surprisingly it has been granted. What more do you want? Whether or not the person granting it was wrong to do so is entirely immaterial - that's their problem and their fault.

If your other half called up HMRC, asked to pay their tax bill late and it was granted - you wouldn't blame them if HMRC got muddled their end and fined them for late payment, would you?

Post edited at 13:11
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 Rod_Vortex 11 Sep 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

No but if I called up my local tax office and said it was going to be late and they said 'yeah sure, it's probably fine' I would want a little more reassurance that it was. I wouldn't just chance my arm with Cheddar Gorge staff when there is a delicate agreement in place that clearly goes higher than that. 

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 danieleaston 11 Sep 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

I've already written something reasonably conciliatory above, and I don't want this to descend into a UKC 'great debate', but

I do think that if I phoned the number on Cheddar Gorge and caves website tomorrow, the person who answered the phone probably won't know about the quite complex access arrangements that exist. If I say, "Hi, can I climb Coronation St tonight, out of season, I'm doing a challenge" then I think there is a chance that they would say "sure, well we all go home at 5 anyway". I think that the person who answered the phone probably isn't the person who negotiates the access restrictions with the BMC, and deals with insurance and liability issues. I think they probably sell tickets in a shop. But, I do not know the whole story.

The fact that this person said it was OK wouldn't fill me with confidence I needed that I had whole-hearted permission from Cheddar Gorge and Caves, and in my opinion that would mean that if I climbed I could still be violating the access arrangements. Maybe that is me overthinking it, but I wonder if the 'permission' wasn't exactly that. 

As I said above:

"I do think the permission you had may not have been all you thought it was, but thanks for coming on and clearing it up" 

My initial response ("brilliant I'll phone them up tomorrow") was, I admit, a bit wanky, but I am surprised that people are quite accepting of this, and I am happy to concede that my opinion is in the minority. The climber has been very open and reasonable so I am not trying to attack him, and I wouldn't be expanding on this point if it wasn't for your latest reply.

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In reply to Alex Hyde:

Good effort, your biggest mistake was logging your climbs on here and answering the criticism. 

A future team may have also got permission. Now your actions are publicised there will be an increase in requests to Cheddar Gorge and likely blanket refusals to come. 

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In reply to Alex Hyde:

Well done on the Hard Rock challenge Alex. The pictures from Orkney were superb!

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 barry donovan 11 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

Wanky ? Nah it hit the spot - the ‘I’m on a challenge gig’ applies to everyone who straps on the gear and starts up a route - how about ‘it’s for charity ‘. - and just put a tenner in a collection pot in the pub after.

 ‘ actually we have special access that doesn’t apply to other access ‘. Wassatabout ?  

Do they know Bear Grills ?  I bet he would get special access type access ?

or ‘our challenge is more important than your challenge ‘ type challenge ?

Post edited at 14:07
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 profitofdoom 11 Sep 2020
In reply to knighty:

> Has it got something to do with the fact that the parking area underneath is partially fenced off at the moment? This means there isn't so much of a risk of dropping anything on people below?

I would be wary of that, though. Rocks, especially large ones that shatter, can bounce and spin and veer out quite a way when falling from that height. How much is fenced off??

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 Rod_Vortex 11 Sep 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

It's mostly just the path that is fenced off because of a large rockfall lower down in the bay. Anything coming off the upper reaches of CS would probably land beyond it. 

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 profitofdoom 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Rod_Vortex:

> It's mostly just the path that is fenced off because of a large rockfall lower down in the bay. Anything coming off the upper reaches of CS would probably land beyond it. 

Thanks a lot for your reply

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 Alex Hyde 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Rod_Vortex:

Don't really fancy having to explain this further. I actually spoke to their official climbing coordinator on the phone not some random employee. I never said that they responded by saying 'it would probably be fine', the person on the end of the phone was clear in allowing us to climb and said it wouldn't be a problem.

It's an incredible route, keen to do it again sometime, and have no problem waiting until the season for future trips to Cheddar. As explained we had a time pressure for a Hard Rock Project and were very glad (and surprised) that they allowed us to do it in the summer. Not suggesting that we had any extra right to do the route because of the challenge but definitely do not regret ringing up to find out if it could be arranged. 

Clearly doing the route in the late evening is much lower risk than doing it at midday, maybe Chedder Gorge and Caves are more lenient than people imagine, but you are all welcome to ring up and find out for yourselves. 

Alex.  

Post edited at 15:22
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 Mark c 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Hyde:

Hi Alex, and every one else responding through this thread.  I'm the BMC's access warden at Cheddar - Mark Courtiour.  I have to say I was astonished at the initial posting, as I know that its very unlikely permission would have been given to climb the Street in August. 

I was even more suprised to see Alex's reply in which it appeared that he had been given permission to climb it.  However before coming in I wanted to check with CC&G.  I spoke to their Rock sport manager who coordinates all of the climbing and caving activities.  He was also very suprised, and said that none of the caves staff in a position to make such a decision would have done so.  If some one had given such permission  they did not have the authority do have done so. This is the response for the moment from CC&G management.

"Regarding to the accessibility and usage of Coronation Street in mid August.  Cheddar Gorge and Caves are disappointed this has happened and do not condone the climbing of any route outside of the existing access agreement. Cheddar Caves and Gorge will be looking into this matter internally. If permission was granted, it was certainly not granted by any member of staff who had the authority to do so. We appreciate the work the BMC warden and the responsible climbing community do to ensure access agreement is adhered to. The access agreement remains unchanged at this time."

As it appears that Alex requested and was granted permission the contravention would not have been deliberate.  Nevertheless the implications and  potential consequences are really not good and stand to at the very least put a hold on negotiations for more summer access.  This year had already been very dissapointing in terms of climbers abiding by our access agreement.  I myself having spoken to or seen almost 100 climbers in contravention.  This incident does not help our case.  It really is important that every one climbing in Cheddar fully understands the complex and fragile access sityation here.  I recently wrote and article for Summit entitled Darkness Beckons - a route in the gorge - highlighting how precarious our climbing is in the gorge. The more mistakes we make, the more likely the lights are going to go out for us here.  

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 barry donovan 11 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

See not wanky after all but actually right on the money - could it have been a wrong number ?

Post edited at 20:18
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 profitofdoom 11 Sep 2020
In reply to Mark c:

Thanks very much Mark, and I respect and appreciate all your hard work. You said "I was even more suprised to see Alex's reply in which it appeared that he had been given permission to climb it.  However before coming in I wanted to check with CC&G.  I spoke to their Rock sport manager who coordinates all of the climbing and caving activities.  He was also very suprised, and said that none of the caves staff in a position to make such a decision would have done so."

Whereas Alex Hyde in his post at 15:18 today said "I actually spoke to their official climbing coordinator on the phone not some random employee.... allowing us to climb and said it wouldn't be a problem."

What is happening here, I can't make much sense of it

Thanks again Mark

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 danieleaston 12 Sep 2020
In reply to Mark c:

Thanks Mark for that and for everything that you do for cheddar climbers.

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 Bilberry 12 Sep 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

> What is happening here, I can't make much sense of it

Alex got rumbled.

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 Martin Bagshaw 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Bilberry:

Pretty much. He has dealth with the blowback in a dignified manner at least. I can take his cliam that he asked permission at face value. Perhaps this thread disappearing would be a good outcome for us climbers...

Anyway, what can we do as a community to smooth off this situation and ensure ongoing access? Tough call when there is a road up the thing.

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 profitofdoom 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Martin Bagshaw:

> Anyway, what can we do as a community to smooth off this situation and ensure ongoing access?......

Respect the climbing bans and restrictions. No ifs, buts, or exceptions

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 JimR 13 Sep 2020
In reply to profitofdoom:

Remove out of season routes from climbers logbooks on ukc or flag them in a hall of shame. This selfish behaviour risks future access.

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In reply to Alex Hyde:

Are you wishing you kept your trap shut now? 

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 Alex Hyde 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Not particularly, better to be honest about it, and it's good to see the matters been clarified by the BMC. However, I suspect whoever it was at Chedder Gorge and Caves who said that we could be allowed to climb the route probably is. 

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 oliboles 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Alex Hyde:

I don’t suppose you retrieved some nuts and other bits from the ledge below the shield? I reckon we were the last team up there pre-ban and had to bail in the pissing rain. Was going to try to get up there bright and early on 1st Oct to retrieve it (and finish the route) but won’t rush if the kit’s gone. I have no complaints if you have it - finders keepers and all that 

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 Rod_Vortex 13 Sep 2020
In reply to oliboles:

I heard they tried to deliver the rescued nuts to the official cheddar gorge lost property coordinator but they just got told they could keep them. 

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 Dr Toph 13 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

Think this is fairly clear in its resolution now, but just to add context, I was with the CG&C access/conservation officer on Friday and he was raging, having spotted this ascent log. Basically there is no such thing as out of season special permission. and it would seem that whoever gave it was not in a position to do so.
Im sure Alex acted acted in good faith, and respect to him for being so open about it.

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 Rod_Vortex 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Dr Toph:

Just strikes me as a little weird. Climber claims to have spoken to the official climbing coordinator but seems that they did not. What would be the motive for a member of CG&C to claim they held this position when they didn't?  

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In reply to Rod_Vortex:

I would have thought that one would have to have permission in writing.

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In reply to thread:

Some good lessons from this thread.

1. Don't ask to do things out of season. It causes problems.

2. If you do end up doing something dodgy, don't log it- it causes problems. 

3. If someone else logs something unusual, then drawing attention to it could cause problems for all of us. Perhaps send a direct message instead. 

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 Rod_Vortex 13 Sep 2020
In reply to Dan Arkle:

A public inquest is far less damaging than a scandal coming to light. 

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In reply to the thread:

This could all be down to the question asked and how it was interpreted:

1. Can I climb in the gorge this evening?
2. Can I climb on the banned section of the gorge this evening?
3. Something in the middle of the above that caused confusion. 

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 JimR 13 Sep 2020
In reply to FactorXXX:

Perhaps the out of season climber is not acting in good faith. All the evidence seems to point to that other than the his unverifiable claim to have spoken to someone. This is, frankly, quite serious with a few people having worked their bollocks off to get access for the climbing community. This access can easily be lost by the actions of a few selfish idiots. 

Post edited at 23:52
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 danieleaston 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Dan Arkle:

Yes fair enough, I'd agree with 1, obviously, and I'd re-phrase 2 to be simply, "just don't f*$k about with access restrictions. Then no need to not log it.

But I don't agree with 3. If I'd sent a private message I would have got the message that CC&G were "relaxed", "lenient" and I'd maybe have told all my friends the same thing, and maybe some of them would have climbed Coronation St after 5p.m in the summer because they'd heard that CC&G weren't around to police it.

I don't agree that drawing attention to something 'bad' is the problem, I think it is a way to the solution. I think that this thread is an important reminder that many people do a lot of hard work to maintain some access to Cheddar, and it isn't something trivial where you can just say that you got permission from a mysterious "Official Climbing Coordinator" and do what you like. 

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In reply to Alex Hyde:

Your online boasting has vastly reduced the probability of another team getting permission to climb in summer in the future and has put someone in a difficult position. 

Go you! The last climber to complete the hard Rock challenge over summer. 

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 danieleaston 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I think you have missed the point of this thread entirely. There was never any chance of someone getting permission to climb in summer, and if this thread has closed a loophole where people doing a challenge are likely to break the agreements then that is a Good thing. The hard rock challenge is not possible in summer.

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 JimR 14 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

It is also worth considering 3rd party liability , if insured as a BMC member does this insurance cover incidents where the Holder of the insurance has been climbing in a banned area? It is partic relevant at Cheddar where it is a condition of climbing there that 3rd party insurance is held. This is normally done via BMC membership. If a rock had been knocked off the top of Coronation St when climbed during a ban period and damaged a car or injured or killed someone, would that insurance then be applicable?

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In reply to danieleaston:

> I think you have missed the point of this thread entirely. There was never any chance of someone getting permission to climb in summer, and if this thread has closed a loophole where people doing a challenge are likely to break the agreements then that is a Good thing. The hard rock challenge is not possible in summer.

There was chance, someone did. It was 2? Teams have done so. I imagine that now the door is closed. 

I am not condoning "bandit climbing" but it is a sensible approach if you are doing something out of the ordinary such as this, or busting into a banned crag, or climbimg during lockdown to keep quiet about it. 

The climbers have caused bother for themselves, the bmc and the Gorge management by logging their ascent. We would not have been having this discussion if they had not. 

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 remus 14 Sep 2020
In reply to JimR:

> Perhaps the out of season climber is not acting in good faith. All the evidence seems to point to that other than the his unverifiable claim to have spoken to someone. This is, frankly, quite serious with a few people having worked their bollocks off to get access for the climbing community. This access can easily be lost by the actions of a few selfish idiots. 

Or perhaps they are, and someone in CC&G is in the wrong. We don't know, and until there's some evidence to the contrary I think it's only fair to assume everyone was acting in good faith, it was a simple mistake and there's not a conspiracy to mislead the great and good of UKC.

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 Rod_Vortex 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

A personal challenge based on an arbitrary list in a book from the 70s is worth disregarding a ban which exists through hard work, careful negotiation and the unspoken agreement that climbing on private land isn't our God-given right and that the climbing community need to all swim in the same direction in order to maintain our access rights? Hundreds of climbers visit Cheddar every month who aren't doing a challenge. CG&C could at any moment pull the plug. You understand that, right? Right now, they could come to the decision that as of today no one can climb on their land. Boom-Coronation Street is gone forever. It's not something that a mass trespass can solve; it's a gift from a private landowner who let us climb on their cliffs. 

A vast majority of climbers stick to the rules and the ones that don't are usually ignorant to them. You can't say that the Hard Rock Challenge is a worthy reason to go after special permission or violate the rules. 

Your analogy is 'well, if you're going to stab someone, make sure you're not on cctv!' 

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 JimR 14 Sep 2020
In reply to remus:

> Or perhaps they are, and someone in CC&G is in the wrong. We don't know, and until there's some evidence to the contrary I think it's only fair to assume everyone was acting in good faith, it was a simple mistake and there's not a conspiracy to mislead the great and good of UKC.

You sound a bit gullible to me. There is no evidence at all of permission being granted, in fact, all the evidence is to the contrary. This guy and his mate, by his arrogant actions, have endangered access to the Gorge for us all as a climbing community. There should be no slack given.

If I got caught speeding down the M1 at 140 mph and told the arresting policeman that I'd phoned the Chief Constable and he'd given me verbal permission do you think that would work?

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In reply to danieleaston:

Good to see Alex has checked out since the UKC pitchfork wielding, witch burners are well and truly out! 

Well done on the challenge Alex! 

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In reply to Rod_Vortex:

I agree with all of your post. Apart from the knife bit, more if you stab someone, you don't brag about it on the Internet 😁

It was opportunistic to ask for permission and somehow it paid off, well done and well done on the challenge. I think it was unwise to log the ascent, particularly the comments about special permission. It has obviously caused difficulties. 

Without this publicity, there may have been a chance for another team at a later date. Now that is much less likely. 

Not only that it has drawn unwanted attention to climbing in the Gorge, which may not be a good thing. 

Post edited at 11:43
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 John2 14 Sep 2020
In reply to JimR:

'If I got caught speeding down the M1 at 140 mph and told the arresting policeman that I'd phoned the Chief Constable and he'd given me verbal permission do you think that would work?'

I used to know someone who played in the Horsham rugby team. When they played the local police force, they were entertained afterwards in the police bar and told, 'If you get stopped on the way home just tell them you've been playing us at rugby'.

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In reply to John2:

> I used to know someone who played in the Horsham rugby team. When they played the local police force, they were entertained afterwards in the police bar and told, 'If you get stopped on the way home just tell them you've been playing us at rugby'.

and then told their mates in Traffic about a potential goldmine of bookings in the next few hours... 🍺🙄

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 tehmarks 14 Sep 2020
In reply to danieleaston:

> My initial response ("brilliant I'll phone them up tomorrow") was, I admit, a bit wanky

Was entirely the problem, considering that 

> The climber has been very open and reasonable

Because

> I am not trying to attack him

Was far from clear in your original post, which I'm sure many people could easily interpret as an attack of sorts.

All the points raised are very fair, I have no problem with that. But given that Alex has openly and freely contributed to this thread in some detail, the polite thing to do (for everyone) would be to engage constructively and cordially, and with good faith. Why pile on to someone with such suspicion to someone who's going out of their way to provide details to the baying crowd?

It's like questioning someone's ascent of something without any reason to suggest they're weaving fiction. Imagine if we all did that? Can't claim the onsight without peer-reviewed video evidence? What a crap world that would be.

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 Blanche DuBois 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> Your online boasting has vastly reduced the probability of another team getting permission to climb in summer in the future and has put someone in a difficult position. 

Logging an ascent on UKC == "online boasting"?

> Go you! The last climber to complete the hard Rock challenge over summer. 

Go you!  The last time anyone accused of anything on UKC will bother to try an explain to the incumbent pitch fork wielding sociopaths.

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 lieraza 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

It's probably CG&C and all of the people who work hard to maintain access at Cheddar who are owed an explanation, not us on UKC (although if we were to end up losing our access to climb at Cheddar as a result of increasing infractions I would feel a bit upset - I haven't climbed Coronation Street yet!).

Post edited at 14:19
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In reply to danieleaston:

Of course the Hard Rock challenge is possible in the summer, you just miss out Coronation St in the same way you miss out North Buttress Eliminate - not climbable at that point in time. You can always sub in another route in the area, something at Wintour’s perhaps or even Cheddar as there is some trad multi pitch which is open in June. 

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 Rod_Vortex 14 Sep 2020
In reply to Misha:

If that's the case then I might substitute everything in Hard Rock for easy, single-pitch routes within a half-hour drive of my house. Still counts, right?

If you're doing a 'challenge' for the sake of said 'challenge' then surely you have to actually do it? Routes that have fallen down are obvious exceptions but if you can climb something in another season then surely you have to include it...

These lists are meaningless but if you're setting out to complete a meaningless challenge then surely you have to do it? A munro bagger can't say "well I didn't do this one because the weather was really bad but I've done this one twice, so that counts".

Logistics and difficulties you have to overcome are part and parcel of the challenge. 

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 danieleaston 14 Sep 2020
In reply to tehmarks:

Ok, if it wasn't clear from other posts, I apologise for my sarcasm. My initial post was not an attack of any sort. I read that a climber gained special permission to climb a banned route, and as it all sounded official, I was curious as to how someone could gain such permission. 

Since then we've found out from CC&G that no official permission ever existed, so that felt like it kind of validated my original scepticism. But I'm not sure if I've attacked anyone since. If it was the 'mysterious Official Climbing Coordinator' comment that got got your back up, I stand by it. The whole thing does seem a bit of a mystery.

I agree that this thread should die now, but I don't regret starting it, and I'm only prolonging it to respond to comments made in my direction.

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 beardy mike 18:30 Mon
In reply to People going on about doing a hardrock challenge in the summer:

Not really sure what the big deal about this is. Cheddar has extremely explicit rules regarding access. Like they couldn’t be much more explicit. If you are going to the effort of completing hard rock in a summer, then surely actually planning to complete corrie within the restrictions should be factored in rather than getting an exception made? Its really not that hard to come back for a day in October to finish it. I mean if you want to do it that bad... plus a summer tick of corrie doesn’t count as it’s not f*cking cold and miserable so you’d have to do the whole challenge again. It’s very well known that there are restrictions and whilst I appreciate that taking the climbers testament at face value they seem to have tried to do the right thing, why wouldn’t they just accept that they need to work within the well publicised rules?

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In reply to Rod_Vortex:

You can do whatever you like and make your own rules, these challenges are pretty artificial constructs anyway. I’m just suggesting a sensible way round the Coronation St issue. 

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In reply to beardy mike:

I think the point is to do all the routes within say 30 days. That rules the summer out completely, unless you substitute something instead of Coronation St. Which is what I would do if I wanted to do this challenge in the summer. Think I’d rather just go do some routes I’ve not done before...

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 C Witter 00:17 Tue
In reply to Mark c:

>

> The more mistakes we make, the more likely the lights are going to go out for us here.  

What a pile of crap. The point is to get access, not to defend and uphold the bureaucracy or to grovel and apologise for our existence. The BMC doesn't exist to "smooth things over" with landowners, as someone else put it: it's there to demand access.

Diplomatically, of course.

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 James Mann 06:21 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

> What a pile of crap. The point is to get access, not to defend and uphold the bureaucracy or to grovel and apologise for our existence. The BMC doesn't exist to "smooth things over" with landowners, as someone else put it: it's there to demand access.

> Diplomatically, of course.

Am full of relief that you are not an access rep. 

James

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 beardy mike 07:07 Tue
In reply to Misha: Do it in the autumn then? Or Spring? Or do a different challenge? Or remove the hard on you have for arbitrary rules which risk access bans?

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 beardy mike 07:09 Tue
In reply to C Witter: what a pompous tw*tty way of putting it. What the f*ck do you think Martin Crocker did for years on end? Blow smoke up their asses?

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 ianstevens 08:14 Tue
In reply to Misha:

> I think the point is to do all the routes within say 30 days. That rules the summer out completely, unless you substitute something instead of Coronation St. Which is what I would do if I wanted to do this challenge in the summer. Think I’d rather just go do some routes I’ve not done before...

Surely if 30 days is the point, you can just start on the 2nd/3rd September, which isn't far off being summer anyway, then finish with CS on the 1st October? Not complex logistics for someone up for driving up and down the UK for a month to repeat some routes. (I'm with you, go and do some routes you've not done before - enough of them about!)

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 GrahamD 08:34 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

>The BMC doesn't exist to "smooth things over" with landowners, as someone else put it: it's there to demand access.

> Diplomatically, of course.

"Excuse me, I demand to be allowed to climb here"

"No"

"Errrrr"

Looks a bit like our Brexit negotiations.

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 C Witter 11:41 Tue
In reply to beardy mike:

> what a pompous tw*tty way of putting it. What the f*ck do you think Martin Crocker did for years on end? Blow smoke up their asses?


Fair enough - call it pompous and tw*tty if you like. But, for me something is amiss when a climber calls up, gets access, and then is told off by the access rep, because of a fear of looming restrictions. And it seems wrong when an access rep is tut tutting about climbers breaking access rules, like a curtain twitcher counting the number of people going into their neighbour's garden... It's a bit of an arse-backward perspective in my view. The BMC is there to secure and protect access, not to defend and enforce rules.

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In reply to C Witter:

I don't agree with your position here, because I don't think that that sort of attitude on the part of BMC reps is practically likely to secure access to anywhere. However, I think you've highlighted an existential problem that the BMC has - does it exist to advocate for climbers and hillwalkers or does it exist to mediate between them and authorities? It's a trap that trade unions have fallen into time and time again. When they ordered us off the hills a few months ago it definitely made me consider my membership, not because I disagreed that we should be curtailing potentially dangerous activities for a while but because I expect them to be fighting for access rights, not working with landowners to keep people off the hills.

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 neilh 12:22 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

You mean the volunteer rep who in their own time has to sort this out.

Out of interest have you ever climbed at Cheddar Gorge.

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 C Witter 12:25 Tue
In reply to neilh:

> You mean the volunteer rep who in their own time has to sort this out.

> Out of interest have you ever climbed at Cheddar Gorge.


Usual sycophantic and anti-democratic nonsense. Just because people volunteer for positions doesn't mean members aren't allowed to criticise them or have a different opinion. Of course, it's great and much appreciated that people volunteer, but this kind of attitude that the BMC can't be criticised is just daft.

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 C Witter 12:26 Tue
In reply to pancakeandchips:

> I don't agree with your position here, because I don't think that that sort of attitude on the part of BMC reps is practically likely to secure access to anywhere. However, I think you've highlighted an existential problem that the BMC has - does it exist to advocate for climbers and hillwalkers or does it exist to mediate between them and authorities? It's a trap that trade unions have fallen into time and time again. When they ordered us off the hills a few months ago it definitely made me consider my membership, not because I disagreed that we should be curtailing potentially dangerous activities for a while but because I expect them to be fighting for access rights, not working with landowners to keep people off the hills.


Yes - exactly. I'm not 100% I agree with my position, either, but it's falling into the role of becoming mediators and arbiters on behalf of landlords, as much as climbers, that I see as the problem. Perhaps I'm being unfair in this particular case, though.

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 neilh 12:36 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

And climbing at Cheddar?

I take it you have never been invloved with a confronation or issue with a landowner on access.From your profile have you climbed at Houghton?Ever been turfed off anywhere?

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 lieraza 12:39 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

An interesting and good point - I do dislike the general feeling of doffing our hats for access to land that we have ancient rights to. This example is particularly tricky though I suppose because of the insurance and liability issues relating to rocks falling down onto tourists below.

Edit: and ofc no disrespect intended to those who do work with landowners to get us hard-won access rights, I'm very grateful for all of those efforts.

Post edited at 12:57
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In reply to C Witter:

I’m not sure those positions are as different as you think. Part of securing access is developing relationships with landowners which involves some degree of mutual respect. 

Demonstrating that any access agreements were entered into in good faith and are being respected is part of maintaining and securing access. 

Had a BMC rep come on this thread and said “we’ll done! We’d love to see more people showing those landowners who’s boss and ignoring the agreements” that’s hardly going to encourage the landowner to consider any further access agreements.

In my understanding part of the existing agreements was that CC&G did not want to have to police this. The agreement was that access would be granted but the climbing community were responsible for ensuring the agreements were adhered to, otherwise access would be withdrawn. Hence why Martin Crocker marched up and down the gorge every bank holiday for years checking BMC membership/insurance. 

So yes, I think the BMC, and the climbing community more broadly, being seen to respect and reinforce the existing  agreements is absolutely part of securing and protecting access. Without it you can bet there will be no further scope for negotiations, and potentially existing access will be lost. 

Access has been hard won in Cheddar, over many years of personal investment and effort by people like Martin. To suggest that they are just lackeys of the landowner comes across as ignorant and disrespectful. If the only power at work here was the will of the landowner then there would almost certainly be no access at all to the south side.  

Post edited at 12:48
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 beardy mike 12:44 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

Nobody is acting as an arbitrator here. The ascent was brought to Marks attention and it seemed to him highly unlikely that the landowner would have given any such permission because they don’t do that as a rule. So he called to check because to set a precedent by saying that you got permission by calling and asking will waste that landowners employees time and will most likely piss them off, making them less inclined to agree to access when it is already being questioned because many climbers ignore what they have been asked to do. This attitude that it’s up to climbers what they do is not true - the landowner has agreed and encouraged us to use their land more or less freely but to stick to some rules. That took a bucket load of negotiating on the part of the BMC  which you seem to be unaware of. You clearly have no idea what it was like before the access was negotiated - at some points there was no access at all, other times it was winter only access. So the current situation is fantastic compared to the not so distant past. What was pompous and tw*ty about your response is that it shows zero understanding that the BMC worked its socks off to get us here and that for us to have continued use involves to a large extent towing the party line. People visiting from other parts of the country need to be aware of how fragile the access agreement is and that for us local climbers it would be a great loss if we even just went back to winter only access. Cheddar is a special crag, with specific safety requirements, the public are genuinely in a position of danger when climbers are above them, so the rules are understandable. Unless you’ve been up high there, near on 100m above the road and managed to kick something off, you wouldn’t understand quite how easy it would be to kill someone...

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 C Witter 12:59 Tue
In reply to Stuart William:

Fair enough, thanks for taking the time to explain.

I wonder if letting negotiations fall through is another option - saying: "we can't agree to this, sorry" and then letting landowners do the leg work of running around trying to police a ban. But, perhaps a more constructive approach is better, particularly in this case.

Post edited at 13:01
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 C Witter 13:00 Tue
In reply to beardy mike:

Fair enough. Thanks for taking the time to explain - it make sense.

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 Rod_Vortex 13:07 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

I don't understand your point about access reps tutting about climbers breaking the rules? It undermines what they are trying to do and makes their jobs harder. 

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 neilh 13:16 Tue
In reply to lieraza:

Its not doffing your hats, its negotiation, some of it will be against outright hostility, some of it because as climbers we have screwed up ( cra#pping everywhere, music on , swearing loudly , poor parkingetc) , and some of it reassurance that they are not going to be sued.

Too many excellent crags have bene lost over the years , mostly because of our behaviour. I suspect that if the BMC showed the stats is it rarely due to outright hostility from the landowner.

Going in with the wrong attitude and finding out the real underlying issues is the starting point in these things. If we want in guns blazing demanding access, where do you think that would get us. Closed down , barriers up, no chance of resolving.

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 neilh 13:19 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

At last it clicks.

Enjoy Craig-Y Longridge next time you go and jsut think of all the hard work that went on there for access.

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 JimR 13:58 Tue
In reply to neilh:

It’s also worth noting that there must be a question mark over the climber’s claim that he called and got permission. The person he claims to have called denies that he received any such call never mind granting permission! See Mark’s post.

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 GrahamD 14:07 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

> Of course, it's great and much appreciated that people volunteer, but this kind of attitude that the BMC can't be criticised is just daft.

The BMC aren't being criticised.  It's your bull in a china shop attitude that's being criticised 

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 beardy mike 15:16 Tue
In reply to neilh:

Spot on - the main issue at Cheddar is perfectly shown by this pretty picture: https://mowgli-adventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Cheddar-Gorge-walks.webp

Sodding big cliff with road 5 yards from the bottom of it...

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 JimR 15:45 Tue
In reply to beardy mike:

And lets not forget the rock clearance and stabilisation programs, route clearance, rock fences etc etc that have all been put in place with consultation and work by local climbers. Some of us can remember the bad old days when large  rocks falling from routes were common. I bracketed a car with a rock fall from the top of Crow, Mark smashed in the side of a vintage care with a rock from Burma Road, Tarmac Terminator is eponymous. There's been one heck of a lot of work put into the place to get access, ensure that access is as safe as possible and also make routes climbable. 

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 Ian Parsons 16:10 Tue
In reply to beardy mike:

Absolutely, Mike. I recall watching a large flake fall from the area to the left of Castles .... and about 200 ft up, just out-of-shot to the left of your linked picture. It probably hit a couple of times on the way down before burying itself in the path at the base of the left-most visible buttress, about 20 ft left of the start of the above-mentioned route. A roughly football-size chunk broke off, rebounded into the air and flew clear over the catch-fence and underlying minor tier to land in the middle of the road. Imagine that arriving through your windscreen or sunroof, or on the open top deck of the tourist bus! Not a significant concern at many UK crags.

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 spenser 16:10 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

Mark's role is rather more than that of an ordinary access rep as he works with Chedder Gorge and Caves to keep the access agreement in place as it is both far more complex than other access agreements and also pretty much unique in the UK.

Having spoken with Mark about Cheddar in the past (and climbed with him, albeit not in Cheddar) it seems that we have the choice of a complicated access agreement which is largely enforced by climbers encouraging each other to stick to it, or an outright ban on the CG&C owned crags. Mark helps with that enforcement (along with Martin Crocker and other locals) which ensures that we do get SOME access to those crags.

It is entirely possible to disagree with the way in which the access agreement is structured due to the precedent it sets and still defer to the local area's judgement on the issue.

Personally I don't think the BMC should have agreed for the landowner at High Rocks to charge for access due to the precedent it sets and I would likely argue against such an arrangement if proposed for a crag in the peak, however the arrangements have been in place for years, local climbers accept it as a necessary arrangement to climb at what is one of the best crags in the region and the precedent doesn't seem to have been picked up by other landowners (thankfully). I don't climb in the area and as long as it doesn't cause access problems elsewhere I don't see any reason to intrude into the business of the SE area.

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 Bilberry 21:09 Tue
In reply to C Witter:

> I wonder if letting negotiations fall through is another option - saying: "we can't agree to this, sorry" and then letting landowners do the leg work of running around trying to police a ban.

That's a *terrible* idea.

We have lost whole crags and, sadly, will lose more in the next decade.

Parking, financial risk/legal responsibility, litter, noise, crapping, chalk, people mouthing off on the internet are all playing their part in making landowners trammel in paths and shut access down.  Some of those landowners are, right now, lobbying for compulsory third party risk insurance for climbers.  It's only a short hop from there to creeping regulation.

Land is all owned by someone.  Even CRoW doesn't fully protect access (Vixen Tor) and there are lots of crags we've come to enjoy that aren't on CRoW land and where our fun is entirely at the generousity of the landowner.  Landowners with crags do read these pages.  if they see sensible folk supporting agreements and "self regulating" it helps; if they don't ...

Access is going to keep getting harder, please help not hinder.

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 Bilberry 21:18 Tue
In reply to spenser:

> Personally I don't think the BMC should have agreed for the landowner at High Rocks to charge for access due to the precedent it sets and I would likely argue against such an arrangement if proposed for a crag in the peak, however the arrangements have been in place for years, local climbers accept it as a necessary arrangement to climb at what is one of the best crags in the region and the precedent doesn't seem to have been picked up by other landowners (thankfully). I don't climb in the area and as long as it doesn't cause access problems elsewhere I don't see any reason to intrude into the business of the SE area.

The BMC doesn't have to "agree".  The landowner can do it.  I see your point about precedent - but we just have to hope that owners of non CRoW land don't follow suit.

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 spenser 22:10 Tue
In reply to Bilberry:

I presume that they were negotiating access with the landowner and eventually concluded that the charge for access was the best way of ensuring ongoing access given what the landowner was asking for. 

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In reply to lieraza:

> An interesting and good point - I do dislike the general feeling of doffing our hats for access to land that we have ancient rights to. This example is particularly tricky though I suppose because of the insurance and liability issues relating to rocks falling down onto tourists below.

I always find this argument fascinating, as at its core it seems to hinge on a rejection of private property. I can’t help but wonder if you have a threshold for that belief. Your house would once upon a time have been open land, owned by no one. I’m curious how you would feel about someone letting themselves into your living room, or camping in your garden, citing their ancient right to access that land?

My suspicion is that the belief in an inalienable ancient right to go where one pleases is often limited to other people’s property that contains something of personal interest.

Basically, what’s your criteria for defining land that you have “ancient rights” to?

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In reply to Stuart William:

There's a huge difference between your living room or garden and a crag or a mountainside. I think everyone should be entitled to a certain amount of private space but I also think that the general public shouldn't be excluded from large tracts of open land. The two positions aren't mutually exclusive, as you seem to be implying, and the CROW act effectively acknowledged that.

When Proudhon declared "property is theft" he was talking about capital and the means of production, not the necessities for life. Ever since his words have been wilfully taken out of context by people arguing in bad faith.

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 beardy mike 10:05 Wed
In reply to pancakeandchips:

Yes well all of that is well and good but Landowners do have rights in as much if they are permitting you to be on their land and they don't want you to launch large rocks at tourists heads for fear of being sued by that person, then I would say they are within their rights to tell you to piss off of the their land if you're breaking the agreement you have tacitly agreed to by participating freely in an activity on their land. Furthermore the cliffs at Cheddar are specifically excluded from CROW land, i.e. you do not have an automatic right to be on it and therefore if you cause injury to someone on the road (either to their person or their possessions, and they then sue Cheddar Caves, Cheddar Caves could choose to bring you into it by claiming trespass on their property. That is why they require climbers to hold valid third party insurance mainly through BMC membership so that Cheddar Caves can refer the injured party to your insurer. All this "well I've got the right to do something" stuff is a load of bollocks. You don't have the right to be on private land that is not included under the CROW act and you don't have the right to act recklessly with regards other peoples safety.

As for your argument, lets flip it. If you were a landowner and people were sneaking onto your land to hunt, lets say for arguments sake you were against hunting on principle and because you were worried about someone getting shot (has happened to some Mtber in France...), would you not be pissed off with the hunters? Would you not ask them to desist and threaten them with trespass should something go wrong? Or would you agree a hunting season, license them so you knew where they lived should something go wrong and require them to have valid insurance, and maybe ask them to restrict their hunting to specific areas?

Post edited at 10:14
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In reply to Stuart William:

> I always find this argument fascinating, as at its core it seems to hinge on a rejection of private property. I can’t help but wonder if you have a threshold for that belief. Your house would once upon a time have been open land, owned by no one. I’m curious how you would feel about someone letting themselves into your living room, or camping in your garden, citing their ancient right to access that land?

> My suspicion is that the belief in an inalienable ancient right to go where one pleases is often limited to other people’s property that contains something of personal interest.

> Basically, what’s your criteria for defining land that you have “ancient rights” to?

Yes of course people should have the right to have 'private property' as in the place they live or possibly use for work but when someone 'owns' a whole woodland or gorge or mountainside and stop people from freely accessing them then that is totally wrong.

Post edited at 10:14
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