UKC

/ Help Save the Carlisle Lead Wall

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petegunn on 27 Jun 2018

Dear all,

I have been informed that the Climbing Wall which is in The Sands Centre is going to be demolished when a new refurbishment starts next spring 2019.

The wall has been in use since the building opened back in 1985 and although small is well used by both the public and after school groups.

Originally there was going to be a new wall built within the scope of the new refurbishment but sadly it is now not going ahead for reasons I do not know.

Please lets see, if we can save our wall and rectify the decision and get a new wall built.

Please click on the change.org link and lets get as many signatures as possible.

Many Thanks to you all.

Pete Gunn

https://www.change.org/p/www-better-org-uk-save-carlisle-climbing-wall

Tony Jones on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Signed!

Good luck with this Pete!

Bob Bennett - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Pete, Surely if Kendal can support a first class wall, then Carlisle can. Perhaps its time to think of a stand alone project away from the Sands. CMC membesr do not use the Carlisle Wall much because of its limitations and size and the fact that it has to be shared with screaming aerobics classes. I have signed the petition and support the idea of a wall at the Sands and also appreciate all the effort you have put in to keep it going but I am sure we could have a better facility.

 

Tony Jones on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Bennett:

I'd guess that we're unlikely to see a privately operated lead climbing wall in Carlisle anytime soon because of how deseverdly successful Eden Rock has been since it opened. 

Granted the current wall at The Sands Centre isn't the biggest but the routes are well set (and challenging!) and regularly changed. That, along with the auto belays, make it a very worthwhile place to while away a couple of hours in my opinion. The noise from beyond the curtains can be useful to mask out expletives in my experience and with careful planning it's quite possible to avoid the noisier fitness sessions. It's also been very instrumental in attracting and developing many aspirant climbers.

The place will be missed if it goes and I hope that, with a bit of persuasion, those in charge of making this decision might change their minds.

Post edited at 21:17
Andrew Kin - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Signed and shared on Facebook.  If everyone who is on here and Facebook shares that will be quite a few signatures.

ive commented on the petition but I will say it here. It's typical of Carlisle to have a facility which granted isn't probably utilized as much as it should.  But decides to get rid just as the entire country seems to be embracing climbing walls.  

I have been involved in amateur football for decades locally and it is on the decline because the kids are not interested in taking it into the adult game.  The local league is about 50% down on when I played.  Those young adults are going to be looking for activities to get into and climbing is fashionable, healthy, appealing to both sexes and even appeals to gym bunnies. 

There must be a suitable building in Carlisle for a roped wall

Bob Bennett - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Tony Jones:

Tony, I still think that a lead  wall is preferable to a bouldering wall, personally I dont do the latter. The club doesn`t meet there which shows how popular it is despite the good work Pete and his partner have done. There are no walls worth looking at in the whole of Dumfries and Galloway , and in the old days when I lived in the N.E. of England we used to travel to Carlisle because there were no decent walls there. I think a good wall would prove popular

 

Jim 1003 - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Cant see why anyone would support this, must be the worst wall in the world with booming exercises classes behind a curtain even if you do make the effort to go....and it's so awful the Carlisle club don't even use it...

Post edited at 23:37
10
Offwidth - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

You really are a miserable ****

4
Andy Hardy on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Bennett:

> . There are no walls worth looking at in the whole of Dumfries and Galloway , and in the old days when I lived in the N.E. of England we used to travel to Carlisle because there were no decent walls there. I think a good wall would prove popular

Second that. In 1986 I was living in the Tyne valley and was in the "Sharp Edge climbers directory"  A group of us used to go to the sands centre from Wylam, Hedley on the Hill and Hexham. 

mountain.martin - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Good luck with this. I used to go when I lived in cockermouth and remember it as being a useful facilitiy. The exercise classes in the hall used to add something to the experience in my mind.

petegunn on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

Just to be clear Jim,

A New Wall was going to be built when the old one comes down. Proving a much better facility and twice the size of the old one, in its own seperate room. No longer would we have to put up with the music.

We are now not going to have any wall at all!

So please do sign the petition and lets get the new wall built.

Pete 

Dom Bush - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Not trying to be unsupportive for a second Pete, and I do understand why you would want to save it. I climbed and competed on the Sands wall an awful lot through my youth.

However, it's not a great wall and hasn;t been for a long time. Times have changed and it was very tired last time I was there.

Surely the retirement of the Sands wall would open up the possibility of a new, better, more contemporary facility? Dan and crew at Eden Rock could open up a small but brilliant lead wall somewhere. They know how to do it well!

MischaHY - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

You've clearly never experienced the absolutely joy that is Glossop wall. It's built on a balcony directly above exercise classes with no curtain, and if you dyno too hard you'll fall over the balcony wall and 8 metres straight down to the wooden floor below. 

It's mint. 

petegunn on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Tony Jones:

In regards to Eden Rock (a bouldering only centre) being so successful, I would say that this is actually a help to the cause.

The centre has been open for 5 years now and is like you say a great success story, this has in turn brought climbing to the attention of local people, creating more potential customers for a new roped wall as they look to expand their climbing.

We live right on the doorstep of a huge, free natural resource and learning to climb is the next step for a lot of hill walkers, taking them from scrambling along the classic ridges to tackling more complex terrain.

Many of these people use a climbing wall to start off their learning process.

Pete

petegunn on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to Dom Bush:

Hi Dom

Thanks for posting.

Not trying to save the current wall as that is being demolished along with half of that side of the building.

It is because that originally in the new building plans, a New wall was going to be built in its place, providing a much needed and better facility.

This is no longer going to be built so we end up having no wall at all : (

Pete

Dom Bush - on 28 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Sorry, I'm a bit confused. Is the petition to save the old existing wall, or put pressure in the Sands to build a new one?

If it's the latter I would gladly sign it.

petegunn on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to Dom Bush:

Its the latter, they were going to build a new one to replace the old one but have decided against it

We had a new enter prise wall put in in 2015 at the cost of £35,000+ (see pic on petition page) now just going in the bin.

Have over 60 clildren that attend the climbing courses, some of whom have been coming for 6 years, very upset and tearful.

cander - on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Signed, good luck.

petegunn on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Thanks to everyone that has signed so far. We now have 580 signatures : )

 

Post edited at 13:07
Bob Bennett - on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Pete,

What is the reasoning behind this? Has the council given one? Im sure economics will play a major part in this, the entry fee to the current wall is low by general standards, and  I feel the current positioning puts a lot of climbers off ( restricted space, manic aerobics etc.) I think it would be worth talking to the council to find out the basis for their decision ( if you havn¬t already). Im sure we ( the CMC etc ) could get a lobby group together and perhaps meet the relevant people on the council to discuss the situation.

Tony Jones on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to Bob Bennett:

It's on the agenda for the next Carlisle Mountaineering Club committee meeting Bob.

You are right in saying that the council needs to be lobbied but one of the issues is that the wall is actually run by GLL on behalf of the council and it's not entirely clear who has made this decision.

Well done Pete on getting 580 signature by the way. If anyone hasn't signed it yet there's still time!

Dom Bush - on 03 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

I didn't realise they put a new wall in. Signed, hope it works out Pete.

Jim 1003 - on 03 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

> Just to be clear Jim,

> A New Wall was going to be built when the old one comes down. Proving a much better facility and twice the size of the old one, in its own seperate room. No longer would we have to put up with the music.

> We are now not going to have any wall at all!

> So please do sign the petition and lets get the new wall built.

> Pete 

I can't see many people missing it, certainly the Carlisle club don't use it, so I don't see why you think the management of the sports centre are going to build you a new wall when you haven't used the old one. Better to build one at Eden rock, you're flogging a dead horse with  the petition, sadly...

And, I think the CMC can only blame themselves....

Just get on the rock in winter with your tools, Bowfell Buttress is great when it's iced up...or maybe put some bolts in at Armathwaite,

Post edited at 10:49
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tmawer - on 03 Jul 2018
In reply to Tony Jones:

Eden District Council,  working alongside GLL and a group of local interested climbers, have recently invested in more holds, auto belays and new lower offs and quick draws for the Penrith wall. Perhaps not the same sums of money involved but if Penrith can still justify a lead climbing wall then a good argument could surely be made for Carlisle to be supported by the council and GLL. Perhaps just needs the right listening ear with an open mind!? 

 

 

Tony Jones on 03 Jul 2018

It would appear that in May this year Carlisle City Council engaged a consultancy firm (probably at the cost of a new climbing wall - in both senses) to review the facilities at the revamped Sands Centre.

http://max-associates.com/carlisle-city-council-appoints-max-associates-to-develop-a-strategic-delivery-model-for-additional-indoor-sports-and-leisure-facilities-at-the-existing-sands-centre/

tmawer - on 03 Jul 2018
In reply to Tony Jones:

Interestingly they give 'stakeholder consultation' as one of the things they offer, but it doesn't sound like much consultation has been carried out with the local climbing community, or perhaps even their own employees. 

Andy Gamisou - on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to Bob Bennett:

>..!!! and the fact that it has to be shared with screaming aerobics classes...

Pah!  You were lucky.  At the Cramlington wall (Northumberland) we always seem to have to my up with the kiddies "self-expression" classes.  My ears are still ringing from these nearly 20 years later.

 

Andrew Kin - on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

If you can communicate at the sands wall, you can communicate anywhere.  Sign language helps.  On a semi serious note it really teaches you to make sure you have been understood, especially with a youth.

I find the ladies dancing etc helps pass the time.  My daughter usually pops her head around the curtain and copies the dancing while she rest between climbs and I have often seen her shaking her bum to the music while climbing which is an odd sight.

 

Flinticus - on 04 Jul 2018
In reply to tmawer:

Consulting...all part of box ticking / public whitewashing. Oh yes, we consulted with [concerned parties]...then we ignored everything we didn't like

Consultancy still undertaken!

JonnyB on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

Jesus, thank the stars we have such optimistic and positive souls really getting behind Pete like you Jim.

Rather than doing a fantastic impression of Buzz Killington, for a moment how about reflecting on the youth groups who are taught by Pete? There's a host of young people who are embracing climbing. The wall isn't exclusively used by the bloody club so yes, it WILL be missed and the loss WILL be felt.

While reflecting, I'd maybe consider how your attitude on here might affect Pete and those trying to do something positive for Carlisle climbing, hell it's like you're almost enjoying the prospect? Your comments are toxic.

And as you mentioned Eden Rock, I can in good faith tell you right now it's just not on the agenda. As such, the one guy who IS lobbying for a NEW wall with better facilities and championing the concept should be supported all the way.

DubyaJamesDubya - on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

Gee Jim, noticed a lot of your posts on these forums and have to say you seem a bit selfish in your outlook generally.

Post edited at 07:37
Jim 1003 - on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to JonnyB:

I'm saying the one organisation who actually provided a wall should have been supported in the past, and if they are not providing one because nobody used it, then it's a bit late to start winging now. 

1
Jim 1003 - on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Gee Jim, noticed a lot of your posts on these forums and have to say you seem a bit selfish in your outlook generally.

Spend less time on the internet then you weirdo...what sort of person is a TOP40 poster....a saddo

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DubyaJamesDubya - on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

That is the level of response I'd expect from you. Thanks for not disappointing.

Wow top 40 you say, you looked that up? I don't know what to say, actually there's an obvious reply...

Post edited at 09:37
JonnyB on 06 Jul 2018

Maybe it's worth diverting back on topic rather than fuelling the aforementioned toxicity. 

There's a lot of people out there who aren't aware of the current circumstances and if we can all do our bit to get the word out it'll do wonders for Pete's case. One door might shut (hopefully not) but others might open so it's good to demonstrate a solid community backing (speaking from experience in a similar sporting venture not climbing related).

petegunn on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Some updates:

There is going to be a consultation day at the Sands Centre on the £19m revamp project!

www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/Sands-Centre-revamp-plans-to-go-on-display-3f054abc-4e96-422f-8dc0-a9e8b66e93c8-ds

This is going to be held on:

20th July 1.30pm and 7pm held in the Eden Suite.

If you can come along to write down your disapproval of not having a new wall built, please do so.

We have nearly 750 signatures on the petition now, if you haven't already signed it,  please do  : )

www.change.org/p/www-better-org-uk-save-carlisle-climbing-wall

Many thanks

Pete

 

Presley Whippet on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Jim 1003:

I am with you on this Jim, all the bleating, it is like a 30 year old crying because his mam has had a loft clear out and given the lego he hasn't touched since he was 12 to the charity shop. 

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Jim 1003 - on 10 Jul 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Aye, time they got Armathwaite bolted and into the 21st century like the rest of Europe, who the f*ck wants to go to the Sands?

Post edited at 20:34
6
tmawer - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Perhaps more like a mother promising to buy a better set, then selling it to buy drugs. 

1
EricB on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to tmawer:

Insults, name calling and bickering and your calling Pete the child!

Tony - I would have thought you would have had more respect for Pete.

tmawer - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to EricB:

I think you misunderstand me!

I am entirely supportive of Pete and was trying to make the point that something had been promissed i.e a new wall, and now that is not happening, and worse still the existing wall is being lost.

I was trying to make a supportive point humorously.....if I was getting at anyone it was Mr Pressley Whippet!

Presley Whippet on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to tmawer:

Us whippets my look fragile but we are tough guys underneath. 

I do find it confusing how people who haven't used a facility in over a decade are suddenly all upset by its demise. Use it or lose it springs to mind 

tmawer - on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

There are a lot of facilities I have never used, but I wouldn't see that as a good reason to stand against their further development, as it's not all about me.

Presley Whippet on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to tmawer:

My point exactly. 

Tony Jones on 11 Jul 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Well, I use it on a weekly basis and I'm upset! 

Presley Whippet on 12 Jul 2018
In reply to Tony Jones:

And you have every right to be so. 

Those who have not used the facility for a decade do not. 

sammonsmx - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Really sad to hear of the plan not to include a wall after refurb.  Have signed and shared.  Keen to help more, but not sure how.  Dumfries has its DG1 embarassment which ensures we in that area have nothing at all.  Carlisle provides us with a commutable solution, and no lead wall will indeed be a sad loss, especially during those winter evenings. 

Andrew Kin - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Personally, rather than focusing on how under utilised by the climbing community I prefer to focus on how little promotion and knowledge there is about it.

My 11yr old girl has probably done about 20hrs on it in the last 12mths.  She lead climbs 7b/7c and came 5th in European comp recently.  She has been climbing at Eden Rock, Penrith, Kendal, Ratho for the last 5yrs.

Until 18mths ago we didn't even know the wall existed.  I have lived here for 42yrs.  Schools make no effort to use it and whoever runs the Sands centre seem happy to keep it a secret.  Its never on the billboard adverts.  Its never in the paper.

If we are just going to focus on the current numbers, it hasn't got a hope in hell.  Its easier to have a room where everyone dances around to beat box music and pays their membership.  However if they put a proper facility in, with proper focus on bringing in Kids for classes, exercise, fitness etc then you start to build up income.

I went to Eden Rock last night with my daughter.  She is sponsored so I don't pay for her to climb.  However in the time I was there with my mate and his son we bought 4 teas (2 each for me and a mate) and 2 x pizzas.  1 Fudge bar and 1 x cake.  Yep i'm a fat git but I also put money into the coffers as a parent.  That's probably neck end of £20. 

The money isn't in climbers coming in for a few quid and climbing.  The money is in getting lessons and parents in.  I have been going to the sands since I was a kid.  I HAVE NEVER USED THE CAFE.  Its like a film set from 1980's soap Crossroads.  The new facility with swimming, cafes, fitness gym etc etc will be perfect for the climbing wall setup. 

Richard Hodgson - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

The Sands Centre Wall is a useful facility, I`m a frequent user and enjoy my time there despite the noise sometimes from the fitness classes t`other side of the curtain. It`s a good way of keeping fairly fit and supple and the variety of routes and the self belays maintain the interest and challenge. It would be a sad day if Carlisle were to lose this facility. 

I`ve signed the petition - good luck Pete.

wadokai - on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to Richard Hodgson:

I second that ! I use it every week also.

petegunn on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to wadokai:

Excellent article in the News & Star today (Tuesday 17th July).

Congratulations to Lily (age 11) who lives in Carlisle, she has been selected onto the GB Development Team.

Thankyou both for your support.

Pete

 

 

Andrew Kin - on 17 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Aye, that's if there is a team next year ;-)  Just like this wall, if we don't protect it and the funding they will take it away

 

Andrew Kin - on 19 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

20th July 1.30pm and 7pm held in the Eden Suite.

If you can come along to write down your disapproval of not having a new wall built, please do so.

 

Pete wrote this earlier.  I am going to be popping along on Friday to see what they have planned.

Would there be any merit in going as a group?

 

Also, I believe the Sands centre is owned/managed by a group.  Has anyone had a look to see if any of the group's other centres have successful climbing walls. 

Tony Jones on 19 Jul 2018
In reply to Andrew Kin:

Andrew, The Sands Centre is managed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd who trade under the brand 'Better'. They also run Penrith Leisure Centre which has, as I'm sure you're already aware, a climbing wall in its own dedicated area  away from the noise of aerobic classes. If a town the size of Penrith can support a wall then there is a very good case for The Sands Centre to incorporate a wall in any redevelopment.

I've read the excellent piece in the News and Star to which you and Pete contributed and it was interesting to note the council's response where they stated that, “Prior to putting in place a draft design, we looked at the usage of the existing facilities available within the leisure centre. This is to ensure the new site provides facilities that meet the needs of the users."

The problem with their response though is that it's not just about numbers: other users of The Sands have alternatives available to them in the immediate area; there are many private gyms and facilities in Carlisle for those wishing to attend gyms, fitness classes, and swimming pools. There are also two other council-run swimming pools available to the public outside of school hours in the city. For those wishing to lead climb indoors the nearest alternatives are a forty-mile plus round trip drive away.

As someone who has used the wall at The Sands regularly since moving to Carlisle four years ago I fully intend to drop in tomorrow to make my feelings known. I'll probably be there soon after one due to other commitments later in the afternoon.

I will also write to Anne Quilter, the councillor who has the portfolio for Culture, Heritage and Leisure. Her contact details can be found on the Carlisle City Council website.

All the best with your campaign.

 

 

Post edited at 14:02
petegunn on 19 Jul 2018
In reply to Andrew Kin:

GLL run or manage over 250 sports and leisure facilities all over the country, many of which have climbing walls, so they should know how popular they are.

I have heard though, of other centres losing their climbing walls once GLL got involved

GLL are supposed to be a "non-profit Charitable Social Enterprise Organisation"  seemingly disliking climbing walls.

See links to 3 similar walls:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/news/2015/05/petition_to_save_link_climbing_wall_in_swindon-69735

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/walls+training/let_save_crystal_palace_climbing_wall-308433

https://www.ukclimbing.com/listings/info.php?id=114&t=wall

Pretty backward thinking as it is one of the biggest growing sports in the country!

On the plus side they did advertise for an instructor recently on here:

UKC News - Climbing Instructor - GLL, Chiltern Pools

https://www.ukclimbing.com/.../climbing_instructor_-_gll_chiltern_pools- 6446

Aug 10, 2017 ... GLL are currently looking for a Climb Instructor to join the team at Chiltern Pools to assist delivering the full programme for The Climb which ...

Pete

 

Post edited at 23:01
Andrew Kin - on 20 Jul 2018
In reply to petegunn:

That was interesting.  Listened a lot and tbh what he said was very relevant and not unsubstantiated. Its kind of what I was hinting at above when I said, at present the figures will be unrealistic to maintain a climbing wall.

However, his examples were poor too.  To use the Sands centre in its current form as a basis for figures is worthless.  Hardly any participants will mean hardly any income.  No promotion will mean no one knows about it.  No eating facility means no one spends any proper money there. No more applicable than the fact they are going to be carrying out all this construction work for however long it takes and they are going to LOSE their existing clients to opposition gyms etc.  In fact they may find that their core business changes quite dramatically.  All these people will have quite a period of time to sign up to other gyms and build new relationships.

 

He underlined his figures by suggesting they have also looked at other walls within their portfolio.  Preston & York,  I have been to both walls and although in size terms the Preston wall (Westview) is good, it doesn't have anything like the numbers I have witnessed at other facilities who embrace climbing.  Maybe its just my timing so could be a little harsh assessment from me but the ones I have witnessed as part of the Manchester/Harrogate/Reading/Huddersfield walls were so much busier and inclusive for kids and parents.  Lessons on a rota basis for the kids, parents climbing or watching.  Climbers all over the place. 

He actually asked me for some examples of what I would deem a successful wall within a council sports facility.  Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

 

I looked at the plans etc and following the conversation I can see what they are doing is correct for the city within the scope of what is already there.  Basically they are taking the exiting facility and converting into fit for purpose auditorium.  The shows at Carlisle are fantastic and over subscribed so it makes sense.  Then they are having a swimming pool built (20yrs later than needed).  All good so far.  Between the two buildings they seem to be having some fun with the builders to set up a walk way with a few options of how its used.  This seems to be where they will spend untold ££££ on stuff no one is actually bothered about.  Making the most of the views and riverside location is something they should have been doing for decades (Within the scope of the flood defences - gulp)  The gym with 120 stations is not actually a gym with 120 stations (Current is 85).  Its a facility with room for 120 stations. Those 120 stations may be quieter than they imagine so what it really is, is a box.  Which is all the other rooms are.  Fitness boxes for whatever activity is fashionable at the time (Fitness moves in cycles).  That makes sense to me but climbing is different.  It needs a certain amount of space.  The sands in the past has given climbing not much more than lip service.  Lily can hit the curtain from a swing off the wall if she really tries. 

Finally, the gentleman made hints of looking at other facilities for a proper wall.  Trying to keep the protestors quiet......possibly.  If that's the case, how difficult would it be for the council to back Pete with building and funding to open his own wall?

 

Tony Jones on 20 Jul 2018
In reply to Andrew Kin:

Excellent summary of where things are at the moment Andrew.

I'm not sure that GLL see climbing walls as a part of their future but, as you say, gym attendance could drop overnight whereas a climbing wall is unlikely to face any serious competition for decades. Aside from lobbying councillors and writing emails, I'm not sure what the next moves should be. Maybe a loose coalition of interested parties should be formed, possibly through a Facebook page or similar?

Andrew Kin - on 07 Aug 2018
In reply to petegunn:

Any further news on this?  We are going tonight for the 1st time in ages.  Feel a bit hypocritical about complaining when we havent used it recently due to taking a bit of a break.  Back to it now though. 


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