/ Bolts at Aldery Cliff

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Richc on 28 Mar 2017
Was at Aldery Cliff last Saturday and discovered lots of trees removed and new double bolt belay abseil stations in place when did this happen?
danm on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

Do you mean Alderley Edge, in Cheshire?
Dave Garnett - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to danm:
Or Aldery Cliff

Although I like Elderly Cliff quite a lot!
Post edited at 17:12
keith-ratcliffe on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:
Aldery Cliff near Buxton is managed by the BMC.
Dave Garnett - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I'm sure Offwidth will be along shortly. He was involved in the clean up at Aldery.
Richc on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc: yes alderly near earl sterndale

buxtoncoffeelover - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

We were there on Saturday (tho we didn't have any other company), & would say that the clean-up (removal of loose rock & excessive vegetation only) has improved the climbing experience considerably without damaging the ambience or trad ethic of the crag. The double ring belay/ abseil stations are well placed generally & only on some routes, & are perhaps preferable to vegetated finishes & slings/tat on all the trees.
I accept that mine is just one opinion - my partners felt that there was scope for bolting more extensively on some routes! I think it is a job well done. Thank you, 'Offwidth' & assistants
Bulls Crack - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

Just the sort of thing a dastardly body such as ClimbUK would do.... ;-P
Richc on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to buxtoncoffeelover: yes sorry I was there Sunday, I agree the bolt absiel stations are a big improvement on trees and rotting tat

Simon Caldwell - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

When I was there last year, the bolts were all on and adjacent to the big terrace, and were placed (according to someone we met there) to safeguard the major cleaning/vegetation removal program. Have more been placed since?
Richc on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc: yes from my trip on Sunday and having climbed there since the late 80s most of the classics of the crag now have bolt absiel stations.

Michael Hood - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc: What happened to the relatively easy walk off the top round the side?

Frank the Husky - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc: Brillaint stuff - much needed work and hurray for the bolts ab stations. How very forward thinking.

Andy Say - on 28 Mar 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

> What happened to the relatively easy walk off the top round the side?

It's probably been bolted.
Richc on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:
Can still walk off nice cable hand rail in place.
Dave Garnett - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:
> What happened to the relatively easy walk off the top round the side?

I'm usually a fan of the marginally inconvenient walk down but I've narrowly avoided breaking my neck more times at Aldery than anywhere else. It gets very muddy and the drop on one side was only slightly less inviting than the barbed wire fence on the other.
Post edited at 07:45
Simon Caldwell - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

When we were there last year reaching the top of the cliff involved a steep unpleasant scramble through deep nettles. It's not often I say this, but next time I'll use the ab bolts!
Offwidth - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

Thanks for the heads up. I have no idea who has placed the bolts but will investigate.
Chris the Tall - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Is the dangerous block on the right hand side still there ?
johncook - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

It needed it in damp weather! It was more dangerous than the routes, E4 at least!
toad - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to johncook:

> It needed it in damp weather! It was more dangerous than the routes, E4 at least!

Hell, yes. I very nearly skated right over the edge on that descent
petellis - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to buxtoncoffeelover:

What aldery needs next is regular mowing for a year or two so the grass dominates instead of nettles!

I don't know who the committed local was that did this at Wetherby but the crag went from nettle death to a nice place to picnic after about a year of infrequent mowing.
Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Surely it will have been discussed at Peak area meeting? Especially since it's owned by the BMC!
johncook - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to petellis:

It needs the nettles cropping down frequently and the willow herb allowed to regrow, (a bit away from the base of the routes) so the elephant hawk moth caterpillars that used to frequent the place can return. Cutting it all down to produce a level grass field will destroy the bio-diversity of Aldery.
petellis - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to johncook:

> It needs the nettles cropping down frequently and the willow herb allowed to regrow, (a bit away from the base of the routes) so the elephant hawk moth caterpillars that used to frequent the place can return. Cutting it all down to produce a level grass field will destroy the bio-diversity of Aldery.

I don't care what it is as long as it isn't nettles! I seem to remember a plague of catterpillars when I went once.

Why did the nettles take over from the willow herb in the first place?
Doug on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to petellis:

> I don't care what it is as long as it isn't nettles! I seem to remember a plague of catterpillars when I went once. Why did the nettles take over from the willow herb in the first place?

Nettles like soil rich in Nitrogen & Phosphates, often the result of the copious application of urine ...
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

Alderly Cliff is managed by the BMC's Land Management Group. These bolt belays have not been installed under any official program of work or refurbishment, and as such we can't vouch for their safety or integrity. They may well be fine, but use your own judgement before using them. I'll head down to take a look when I have time, but it won't be for a few weeks at least.

As a general point, fixed gear on BMC managed land is a complicated issue for us as a landowner. The expectations of us are likely to be higher than the average landowner, and we'd prefer people didn't place bolts etc without contacting us first. I'm sure however that this has been done with the best of intentions.
petellis - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Doug:

> Nettles like soil rich in Nitrogen & Phosphates, often the result of the copious application of urine ...

Yes, which is why they are often in the latrine or the rubbish bin. But are you seriously telling me the nettles at Aldery are the result of climbers going for a wee?
Fruit on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

I guess it is inevitable that eventually climbers brought up on the convenience and perceived safety of climbing walls and sport climbing will outnumber those brought up through the tradition of climbing, or trad as it is now known. When this happens I wonder how long it will be before bolted lower-offs become the norm, then essential; fixed protection is expected and ground up on-site leads become rare. Retro-bolting, now seen as impossible in many areas, will be justified on some grounds or other, special cases will become accepted and be used to justify more widespread bolting. Routes, especially classics, will receive excessive use and wear...............

mmmm I'm normally an optimist, but where climbing is concerned I'm glad I started in the 70s. Please BMC no bolted lower offs at Trem. The cables are bad enough. The walk down is so much part of the adventure and a great chance to share the experience chatting through the route with your partner.

And yes some descents can be tricky, but isn't that part of the whole point?

Fruit on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

Please chop them.
Fruit on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to toad:

It's climbing, it's not supposed to be safe, you're confusing it with football or something else with rules and refs
roger whetton on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

Last time I tried the "relatively easy walk off the top round the side" it was more worrying than anything on the route(s) I'd climbed!
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Fruit:

Please can we hold off any talk of chopping the bolts until at least this has been discussed at the area meeting.... which by the way is Wednesday.
Michael Hood - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC): It sounds to me (from what people have said above) that the bolts are reasonably sensible unless some work is done to improve the descent path.

I think I would have preferred that to the bolts being placed, but now they're in, just chopping them isn't the sensible answer.

Fruit on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to roger whetton:

Simple, if it's too scary go play tennis or golf or something else. The answer isn't make it easier or safer, climbing is supposed to be pointlessly hazardous.

Phew, that was a bit ranty ;-)
Fruit on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

As a matter of interest, why isn't it a sensible answer?
Simon Caldwell - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Has it been established yet if these are the bolts that were placed near the terrace to safeguard the cleaning work, or something else more widespread?
Andy Say - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

> Please can we hold off any talk of chopping the bolts until at least this has been discussed at the area meeting.... which by the way is Wednesday.

So was it NOT discussed at a previous meeting? A unilateral action by persons unknown?
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

I havent had chance to go down and check but the descriptions above sounds like they are new.
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say:
It was not discussed at previous meetings
Post edited at 20:17
Kipper - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to roger whetton:

> Last time I tried the "relatively easy walk off the top round the side" it was more worrying than anything on the route(s) I'd climbed!

I did it once in about 4 inches of snow - slippy....
Dave Garnett - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to Fruit:

> It's climbing, it's not supposed to be safe, you're confusing it with football or something else with rules and refs

Usually, I'd agree with you but in this case most of the danger is as a result of the inevitable wear and erosion of the path by climbers. Trampled wet grass and mud is more than just unpleasant in treadless climbing shoes.

It seems to me that a well placed lower off can do a lot to prevent erosion at a small, popular crag. It's often the less environmentally damaging option - I'd rather have people lowering off without damaging the trees than wandering all around the crag treading on rare plants and disturbing nesting birds, for instance. Aldery Cliff isn't exactly pristine wilderness, so a discreet bolt belay isn't the end of the world.
johncook - on 29 Mar 2017
In reply to johncook:

The path is interesting and bolted lower-offs are not really needed (my earlier post was a bit tongue in cheek, but being a wrinkly I don't know how to post those funny little cartoons to explain that!).
Removing the challenge of the top-outs spoils the fun of outdoor climbing at Aldery. Nettle stings are supposed to be good for arthritis, so us wrinklies spend some time here each year!
Dave Garnett - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to johncook:

> The path is interesting

It will be more interesting if fewer people have trashed it and nettles will have their full antirheumatic (allegedly) venom!

You don't have to use lower offs and I frequently don't.

Peakpdr - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:

Bolts have no place at a trad venue, if people want to use bolts to lower off then go to a sports crag or indoor wall, if they want to feel safe stay at home. Climbing (especially trad) is all about using your knowledge / Skills to place kit, lower offs and getting out of scary / interesting situations.. placing bolts to lower off just isn't cricket on a trad venue..but hey ho thats just one opinion of many, im sure the bmc will sort it out..
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> It seems to me that a well placed lower off can do a lot to prevent erosion at a small, popular crag. It's often the less environmentally damaging option - I'd rather have people lowering off without damaging trees

Once upon a time in a distant land they used to put a sling round the tree and abseil down (NOT 'lower off'). And at the end of the day someone in stout brogues walked round and brought the sling back. Or so they tell......
Dave Garnett - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> Once upon a time in a distant land they used to put a sling round the tree and abseil down (NOT 'lower off'). And at the end of the day someone in stout brogues walked round and brought the sling back. Or so they tell......

I know, I was there.

I should say that I haven't seen these bolts yet and I am surprised that they weren't put in as part of the BMC-approved clean up that I know has been going on. If, for instance, they've been put in by a commercial operation to make mass top-roping more convenient I may revise my opinion.

However, if the choice is to cut steps and construct a proper path or put in a couple of thoughtfully sited permanent belays, I know which I think is less intrusive.
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

And lots of trees have been chopped down as well? BAD children.
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> . If, for instance, they've been put in by a commercial operation to make mass top-roping more convenient I may revise my opinion.

Sorry Dave, but that would be shocking hypocrisy. 'Placing bolts for me and my mates is good'. But not for other people or purposes. If they are 'Good' they are 'Good' surely?
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

When I popped down some saplings had been cleared but we have been doing that for years at Aldery to keep the bottom of the crag clear and the BMC had someone in a few seasons ago to take more significant tress at the top out as they risked the stability of the crag

.... has their been more extensive clearing recently?
ads.ukclimbing.com
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Dunno. See the OP -'lots of trees removed'.
Offwidth - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

"Is the dangerous block on the right hand side still there ?"

Pretty sure it was during my last visit in the autumn ...doesn't really affect anything though as the lines go nowhere near it.
Chris the Tall - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

It's just that I put a warning on the UKC database not to climb those routes (not long after they had been excavated), so wanted to know if the warning was still valid
JHiley on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Richc:
There's a path?! I've never seen anything even vaguely resembling a path, not even when doing the pointless second pitch of clothesline and reaching the fence. From the more popular sections I've only ever seen a dense muddle of nettles making it impossible to tell whether there is solid ground underneath...

I'm not sure whether bolts bother me though. Does lowering off the trees really damage them that much? I accept that bolts are perhaps less environmentally damaging but people often seem to use existing bolts/ lower offs to push for full retro bolting of routes on the grounds that 'there are bolts there already'.
Post edited at 16:11
Michael Hood - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to JHiley: The actual lowering - not really. What damages the trees is when you pull the rope down. That's why one good solution is to put permanent wires round the trees with mallions or glued shut krabs to abseil from. I think that's what's been done at Tremadog.

Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to JHiley:

> Does lowering off the trees really damage them that much? I accept that bolts are perhaps less environmentally damaging

If you run your rope round the tree then it can damage it. Put a sling and krab on and it doesn't.
And whilst I accept that drilling a hole in rock and filling it with metal and chemicals pales into insignificance compared to the latest by-pass I would suggest that they are a bit more damaging than doing nowt.

And why the obsession with 'lowering off' here; don't teams get to the top together anymore? NOT aimed at you JHiley!
Lemony - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> chemicals

Argh... not chemicals!
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Lemony:

Yes. CHEMICALS, n' resin, n' glue n' STUFf.
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

> The actual lowering - not really. What damages the trees is when you pull the rope down. That's why one good solution is to put permanent wires round the trees

'Lowering'. Frikkin 'lowering'! Cimbers 'abseil off'! And at a crag like Earl Sterndale you just don't need permanent wires, maillions, glued up krabs or any of that stuff. You get a sling, put it round the tree and put a krab on it. And then remove.
And i know I'm getting ranty, and it's not aimed at you Michael Hood. It's aimed at people who just don't have the nous to deal with the real world and, faced with something a bit risky, a bit stingy, a bit 'challenging' think that bolts are the answer.
And whilst I'm in full mode just DON'T give me any of that crap about this crag being a 'sensitive environment' whilst it is actually so fecund that we feel obliged to cut down trees and moan about nettles and can we prise off that block there and garden that crack there.
Now I'm going to lie down....
Dave Garnett - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> Sorry Dave, but that would be shocking hypocrisy. 'Placing bolts for me and my mates is good'. But not for other people or purposes. If they are 'Good' they are 'Good' surely?

OK, I was being lazy. What I meant was I would be less sympathetic to a fixed lower off, accessible from above, that encouraged bottom roping of a couple of classic routes without anyone needing to lead anything, of the sort that makes the kind of group activitity often undertaken on a commercial basis more convenient and which tends to polish the f*ck out of previously pleasant middle grade climbs of which there are sadly too few on Peak limestone.

Is that any better?
Andy Say - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> a fixed lower off, accessible from above, that encouraged bottom roping of a couple of classic routes without anyone needing to lead anything

Given the descriptions on this thread of the suicidal nature of the 'top-out' I'm not sure that is a realistic worry
And, let's face it ANY bolted lower-off (a la every sports crag you can name) encourages such 'top-roping'. You'll have seen the way the 'moniteurs' operate in France?
Michael Hood - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to Andy Say: I know you're not having a go at me specifically (or at least I hope not). I used the term lowering in response to JHiley's usage, but yes abseiling would (hopefully) be more correct.

Just had a look on google maps and it's as I thought, grassy "fields" behind and next to the crag with a bit of slope on them, so for people who either don't like the path, or find a few nettles a bit much to deal with when finding the path, climb over the barbed wire fence (you should be able to do that as climbers) and then walk round and down the south side to the road. I doubt the local farmer will get too miffed as long as you don't knock any walls over etc.

So, as Andy says, put your own sling and krab on a stout tree, and after your last climb of the day, one person will have to walk round - not so difficult.

johncook - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to JHiley:
There is a path across the top of the crag. Wade through the nettles and brambles until you fall over a tightly stretched wire cable. Grab hold of this and follow it to the left (as you look at the crag, incase you got disoriented after falling over it!) Eventually it leads to a steep, but still cable protected, path down to the bottom. I think the cable was installed to try to stop people climbing the wall and fence into the fields, (and damaging it,) so they didn't get scared when the cliff edge approached the path in a couple of places. It is a great little crag, and I must confess to contributing to any polish that is appearing.
Apart from the massive roof at the far right hand end of the crag most of the loose rock has been removed and many of the routes sympathetically cleaned.
Post edited at 19:52
Michael Hood - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to johncook: I didn't know about the cable so please disregard my previous post suggesting that last person/climb should go over the fence and through the fields.

Dave Garnett - on 30 Mar 2017
In reply to johncook:

> There is a path across the top of the crag. Wade through the nettles and brambles until you fall over a tightly stretched wire cable. Grab hold of this and follow it to the left (as you look at the crag, incase you got disoriented after falling over it!) Eventually it leads to a steep, but still cable protected, path down to the bottom. I think the cable was installed to try to stop people climbing the wall and fence into the fields, (and damaging it,)

Now I'm confused. I'm going to have to get home and have a look, as I should in the first place!

JHiley on 01 Apr 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

Or, funnily enough, the top of Mitre cracks at Aldery cliff, which had a nice shiny cable around a big tree last time I was there...
JHiley on 01 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:
Ah I did mean to say abseiling actually. I imagine 'lowering off' a tree with the beylayer at the bottom would damage it (and the rope) a fair bit!

I don't think anyone literally means they would 'lower off' in the sport climbing style at aldery cliff... I don't know why but I find the idea sort of jarring...
Post edited at 16:46
JHiley on 01 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

Thanks, I never knew that. To be fair, that does sound like a bit of a mission. All that wading could cause a bit of damage though...all those poor, innocent nettles and brambles.

Sounds like good work done btw, will have to get back there.
Andy Say - on 01 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

Hey Dan,
Sounds like a perfect opportunity for a 'hands-on' BMC technical workshop. 'Bolt removal: best practice.'
Andy
johncook - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

Hi Dan. I have been down at Aldery today. The place has been devastated. Just about every tree shrub sapling and bush has been removed, whether they interfered with a route or not, some of the thicker trees on top of the crag and below the crag have been felled. There are now at least 6 bolt anchors. For example at the top of Surface Plate slab there was a nice tree, which had been pollarded and by the end of last year had a nice fresh canopy. There was a sling and maillon for abbing. Next to it were several solid natural anchors. The tree has gone completely, the natural anchors are still there as are two sets of shiny anchor bolts.
Today (sunday) there were two guys with a chainsaw destroying even more of the vegetation. They were quite rude when I suggested that they were getting carried away with themselves!
Aldery used to be a nice secluded little cliff to enjoy oneself on. It is rapidly becoming just like any other limestone quarry. Barren and bleak. They may as well bolt Broken Toe, The Arete etc and make them safe!
I agreed with the judicious removal of loose and dangerous rock from the routes, but not wholesale destruction.
If you are coming to the Peak Meeting on Wednesday maybe you should detour via Aldery, take a camera (we didn't had one with us!) and explain why you have allowed this mess!
toad - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

Any reputable land owning organisation Like the BMC should not be undertaking vegetation clearance this far into the bird breeding season.
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

Access isn't my work area, but I've contacted the LMG (who are mainly volunteers by the way) and as I stated upthread, this isn't sanctioned work. As we don't post a 24/7 guard on our property, as yet we do not know who did this work. John, if you approached them (brave considering what they were wielding) did you get any names?
johncook - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

I didn't go too close. I was climbing further right and asked how much more they were intending to do. I got a very unpleasant reply. Without risking looking aggressive and stomping up the path I thought it would be best to just let it go.
I didn't get any names, not that I think they would have given me any.
I also e-mailed a copy of this to you, so it will be easy for you top forward it to the relevant people.
I hope you can do something to stop further work, although I fear that it is far too late to prevent to total desecration of a once lovely crag.
toad - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:
Fair enough
ETA
Thinking about it, it should probably be reported to the police. Not with any expectation of any investigation, but countryside crime in general, and wildlife crime in particular are under reported. This was at best criminal damage and at worst deliberate disturbance of nesting birds. Reporting it helps to highlight this kind of crime with the police.
Post edited at 20:15
Andy Say - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

> Any reputable land owning organisation Like the BMC should not be undertaking vegetation clearance this far into the bird breeding season.

They weren't.
buxtoncoffeelover - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

I first became aware of the tidying up on September 1st last year, when it was already well advanced. On 2 occasions I have happened upon the chaps whilst working; they are mature guys (60+ ?) & have found them polite & chatty. Perhaps not the same men that John encountered.
johncook - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

My friends have reminded me that they have 'attacked' the top of the Mitre Cracks slab. This is where the bat roosts are. They may have disturbed the bats by throwing trees/branches, rocks and soil down the slab. I didn't go down there because they were working too close to that area. (I had intended to do the Bishop today!)
The LMG may be interested in that aspect.
L Elfyn Jones - on 02 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:
Hi
Thanks for the information on this. Unfortunately I've been unable to access my normal BMC ukc account for some reason to be reply to this.
I've discussed this with my colleague Rob Dyer who looks after this crag (he's currently skiing in the alps and can't respond himself) and we can categorically say that this current "work" has not been agreed, discussed or sanctioned by the BMC.
I'm also currently away from the UK and not back until the end of the week but will be looking into this and the issues arising from it including possible criminal damage and or wildlife offences. The work is probably well intentioned but as already stated the BMC as landowners are not involved and have definately not agreed to any such work here. We have a policy of discussing any such work both through our Land Management Group and at local areas before carrying out anything similar to what has been described here.
If anyone has any photos and or descriptions of the people involved or car registration's then please email me at elfyn@thebmc.co.uk

Elfyn Jones
BMC Access & Conservation Officer (Wales).
Post edited at 21:36
paul mitchell - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Frank the Husky:

Actually,Frank,to some of us oldies,bolts can seem a bit retro.......geddit?!
Dave Garnett - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Elfyn Jones:
Just been for a look: Four double sets of ring bolt lower offs strategically placed, large number of mature trees felled (and all timber tidily removed), stumps drilled and presumably poisoned (so that as the remaining stumps and roots die further parts of the top of the crag will be destabilised). Looks pretty organised.

The crag looks pretty bare and the bolts will obviously encourage more toproping of classics like the Arete, Mitre Cracks and Surface Plate.

Met Andy Say there and we both took photographs - we'll organise some way of sharing and I can email some specific shots later.
Post edited at 13:18
Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:
Nice to meet you Dave. My photos are here: https://www.facebook.com/andy.say.10/media_set?set=a.10210852472561144.1073741833.1031592418&type=3

I counted 16 mature trees removed from the top and on routes. A few more had been hacked about.

You know, that Dave Garnett; not so bad in real life
Post edited at 14:03
JHiley on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

Should note that when I said "sounds like good work done" I was referring to 'sympathetic' cleaning of routes that you mentioned earlier NOT to the removal of trees and their replacement with bolt anchors which you later identified and which must've been what the OP was referring to.

The only possible (I'd say tenuous) justification for placing bolted lower offs is to protect the trees so how the F does that work if they chop the tree down before placing it. Some people are obsessed with making everything homogenous and characterless for the sake of slightly more convenient ticking.

Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

And, I'm unsure if this is a legacy of the earlier 'clean-up' but there have been some monumental amounts of rock shifted - three or four lorry loads I'd have said.
Nordie_matt - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

Depressing pictures to say the least

keith-ratcliffe on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:
I thought I would remind myself of what the cliff looked like having climbed there several times. I found this picture on the UKC crag page.
https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201421
There is a similar picture in my old Paul Nunn compendium guidebook.
Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:
> I thought I would remind myself of what the cliff looked like having climbed there several times. I found this picture on the UKC crag page.https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201421There is a similar picture in my old Paul Nunn compendium guidebook.

If you look at where the cars are parked in your picture there are NO trees from there up to the top of the crag - that is the scale of what has been done. And it has been replicated across the two walls to the left as well.
Post edited at 15:36
keith-ratcliffe on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:
This was a great wee crag for Summer evenings - finishing off with a pint in the delightful local pub 'The Quiet Woman' with its very un-PC pub sign
http://www.derbyshireheritage.co.uk/Menu/Curiosities/The-Quiet-Woman-Earl-Sterndale.php
stubbed on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

I loved climbing there, such a pretty crag. My first lead fall (with a hangover) on Broken Toe and I realised happily that gear did hold a fall. Up to that point I hadn't really believed in it.

I remember mature trees that you could walk all the way round in order to set up a belay. You mean these have all gone? How silly, there was plenty of gear to belay from safely. I think we used to ab off though.
Frank the Husky - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to paul mitchell: The only things that are retro around here are your trousers. See you tomorrow night!


Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> I thought I would remind myself of what the cliff looked like having climbed there several times. I found this picture on the UKC crag page.https://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=201421There is a similar picture in my old Paul Nunn compendium guidebook.

Compare that picture with mine today - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210854022759898&set=a.1282681300416.42737.1031592418&a...

Also note the heavy duty rock removal to the right!
Offwidth - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

Thanks for the photos.

Just to be clear Lynn and I (as Aldery script coordinators for the fairly recent Peak Limestone North ) still have no knowledge of who did this. The only work we did on the crag since publication was clipping back new growth from pruned trees and replacing some brand new lower offs that were removed by persons unknown. We are away this week so can't attend the Peak area meeting... some feedback in summary from the meeting would be appreciated.
paul__in_sheffield - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Hi Offwidth,
Just had a look through the thread, but couldn't see anything pointing towards funding this activity.
I have this kind of thing done on some of my land to manage the trees, and depending on how many people are involved, the day-rate can be upwards of a grand per day.
Looking at the stumps, it's been a well executed professional job, including clearance of logs. Couldn't see if they'd removed the brash. Whatever the rights and wrongs (looks very wrong to me at a great little crag), someone is paying for these contractors, which on a BMC owned site seems bizarre. Surely these lads didn't take it into their own hands for a misguided common good?
Andy Say - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> The only work we did on the crag since publication was clipping back new growth from pruned trees and replacing some brand new lower offs that were removed by persons unknown.

Were these rope anchors tied round tree roots etc? Or were they bolts?

And I'm guessing that you and Lynn didn't shift the 30 or 40 tons of rock either
Andy
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

There was a guy a few years ago who cleared the right hand side of the crag (under the bit now condemned). He was retired and from what I remember just did it to get out of the house... may be a similar case.

Not 100% sure about this but I think...

there were some big trees taken out at the top 2 winters past (I think) on the advice of a geotechnician consultant so may be worth just clarifying what is new clearing (last 6 months) and what is recent (6 months to two years ago).
JHiley on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Perhaps someone at the BMC gave amey the job of 'taking care' of the trees...
johncook - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

The vast majority of it is since last September. One example; In September I abbed of the tree at the top of Surface Plate having used the natural anchors. That nice pollarded tree (done in the previous year) is gone, and two sets of bolt anchors placed within 8ft of each other and one set is 2ft from the natural anchors.
The devastation will take years to recover. Such a shame!
Michael Hood - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:
Having been (above) a bit undecided about whether the bolts should be chopped or not, I now feel that there is no question - they should go.

To me, there seems to be little doubt that the tree cutting work and the bolt placing will have been carried out by the same parties. On the face of it, it looks like they are trying to create an open (bland) convenience crag. So my contrariness dictates that if the bolts is what they want, then the bolts must go.

It's a great shame that no-one has managed to identify who these people were or why they were doing it and if they were contracted to do this by anyone.

I would also suggest that someone speaks to the local farmers/landowners to see if they know anything or have any ideas about it. And definitely the BMC as the landowners, should report this to the Police just so that it is recorded, even if nothing is done about it.
Post edited at 20:30
Dave Garnett - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> Couldn't see if they'd removed the brash.

There was some that looked old (from the previous pruning?) but nothing fresh. Everything was very tidy but from the cut stumps and sawdust it's very recent.

> Whatever the rights and wrongs (looks very wrong to me at a great little crag), someone is paying for these contractors, which on a BMC owned site seems bizarre.

Indeed. Most of these trees will never recover given the way they've been felled and many of the stumps drilled.

Despite my earlier comments, I think these bolts should all come out. This is as far from any idea of the odd discreet environmental bolt belay as is possible to imagine. This is wanton suburbanisation with no consideration of any environmental destruction. Ironically the top of the crag is less safe than before and will get less so with further erosion. Presumably the intention is that the routes will now end at the bolt belays and the state of the top out doesn't matter.

I'd really like to know who did this and what they thought they were doing. The crag is ruined as far as I'm concerned.

Mick Ward - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> The crag is ruined as far as I'm concerned.

Was horrified when I saw Andy Say's photos on Facebook. Have fond memories of this little venue.

Mick
In reply to Elfyn Jones:
Hi All,

Apologies for my late entry into this thread. I've stayed silent for a variety of reasons, not least because I felt genuinely confused, not to mention quite shocked, after seeing the photographs. It seemed so crazy that I kept checking whether or not it was April Fools...

Standard practise with virtually all major crag clean ups, at least in my mind, would be to consult the local area and/or the landowner - if only to gain consent and cover your back. Seeing as the BMC own the crag in the current set of circumstances, it seems doubly obvious and all the more easy to do so.

To cut to the chase, we now know the individual involved. I'm not going to name them here as I'm not sure that will help, but what I will say is that the matter will be discussed at the next Peak Area Meeting (which takes place this Wednesday at The Maynard in Grindleford). For those that can't attend, your views will be taken into account, as I think there's a wider discussion of process/protocol for such actions as well as well as the matter of what to do with the bolts.

Thanks for everyone's views so far, all your thoughts/opinions will be expressed at the meeting and I will be writing a full report afterwards to keep you all updated.

Rob
(BMC Peak Area Chair)
Post edited at 22:02
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johncook - on 03 Apr 2017
TobyA on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

But someone did all this without any permission from or consultation with the BMC? That seems a bit bonkers. I don't object to lower offs nearly as much as many people do. In Finland they are normal on many trad routes to prevent cliff top erosion and can be place more or less sensitively. But chopping down loads of trees and stuff without the landowners permission seems a bit bizarre - surely illegal as much as anything else?
johncook - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I posted a photo at 21:51. Gives quite a good feel for how it was on Sunday, and they were still chain-sawing!
Both me and the crag are devastated!
Michael Hood - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Have you also managed to ascertain the intentions behind all this work and what this now known person thought the f*ck they were doing?

Keep up the good work.
Fruit on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

As a BMC member I would like to know who carried out this work, was it authorised by the BMC and why it was done. If it was not authorised are the perpetrators going to be pursued through legal channels.

Unless there are sensible outcomes to this mess, the ability of the BMC to act as guardians of important and much loved climbing venues has to be called into question.
Michael Hood - on 03 Apr 2017
In reply to Fruit:

As another BMC member, I pretty much agree with what you've said above.
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Fruit:

Thirded. And presumably the identity of the people involved has already been forwarded by Rob Greenwood to the BMC for them to consider action.
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Rob,
1. The bolts should come out. There are still crag-top anchors and the walk off, whilst dodgy in the wet, is free of brambles and nettles.
2. The BMC should consult it's legal advisors on the possibility of a prosecution for criminal damage. Unless...
3. The perpetrators provide funding for a programme of replanting to seek stabilisation of the crag top.

My opinion.

Andy
Michael Hood - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Being a bit mischievous here. The miscreant isn't one of the MoNC 30 is it?
In reply to Michael Hood:
> Have you also managed to ascertain the intentions behind all this work and what this now known person thought the f*ck they were doing?Keep up the good work.

No, which is why I can't really say anymore at this point in time - I'm still as confused as you are.

With regards to the BMC's knowledge of the work, Elfyn has already confirmed it had not been authorised/sanctioned by either himself or Rob Dyer, so this does appear to be an independent act. I have now forwarded the details their way, but as their both on annual leave currently it may be a while until they get back to me.

That said, we will - as stated within my previous post - be discussing it at the area meeting and there is a distinct possibility that the individual in question will be there (I'll be sending an invite shortly). As such we may be in a position to understand their motivations (which I suspect were benevolent, albeit misguided) and reach a conclusion with how best to proceed.

As a final word: the miscreant isn't Bob Pettigrew, Doug Scott, or any one of the Spartan/BMC 30, although I admit it would have been a good twist to the story
Post edited at 07:49
Michael Hood - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> there is a distinct possibility that the individual in question will be there

That might test your chairing skills

I can't make the meeting but it'll be interesting to hear your feedback from it.
toad - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing: I think it's a mistake for this to be discussed at a local area meeting. This is a clear case of damage to property owned by the BMC and should be resolved directly between whoever the BMC land manager/agent is and the the individual concerned. I'm sure The BMC has an agreed management plan for the site and any work on the site should be explicitly agreed in advance. It should be unacceptable for an individual to come onto site and carry out any work, never mind such large scale damage without written consent. It Shouldn't be up for discussion afterwards, unless it is about the best way to repair the damage, certainly the the individual concerned shouldn't be able to justify his actions in it.

Given the relative small size of the BMCs land holding, it really should have a tighter grip on what happens on it - it sounds like several people saw this going on, but there was no mechanism for raising the alarm.

Yeah. I know, a bit pompous and a bit ranty , but I think it shows a bit of a glaring failure on the part of the bmc's land management process.
GrahamD - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

>, but there was no mechanism for raising the alarm.Yeah. I know, a bit pompous and a bit ranty , but I think it shows a bit of a glaring failure on the part of the bmc's land management process.

You mean like a phone ?

Dave Garnett - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
I'm really sorry that I can't make tomorrow's meeting, with this and the BMC 30 to discuss it has the makings of a classic.

Actually, it's probably better that I'm not there, what's just happened at Aldery is wrong on so many levels that I'm struggling to know where to start.

I guess it boils down to this, who did these people think they were representing and what, exactly, were they trying to achieve? Did, at any point, the conservation and environmental impact of what they were doing cross their minds?

The bolts are actually a secondary issue as far as I am concerned, and the part that can most easily be put right. It least this is a BMC-owned site and we don't have a furious landowner and/or local wildlife trust prosecuting us. It's hardly a good example to set though is it? I can imagine what the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust will say next time we're trying to negotiate access to a sensitive site if this is an example of how we treat our own.
Post edited at 09:03
johncook - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:
I contacted the BMC via Dan Middleton on Sunday night as soon as I returned from a day At Aldery. I did so via e-mail (posted a copy of my e-mail on here, up thread)and got an immediate response from both him and Rob Adie. Their responses lead me to believe that they knew nothing of what was happening and they appear to have spread the word inside the BMC. Their response was quick and positive. They cannot patrol the land 24/7. It is up to us, the members to take an active interest and report any misgivings and problems. This was what I did.
The devastation to the vegetation will probably never be repaired. The top of the crag is already showing signs of erosion. (Hence my comment to the men with the chainsaw, which got a very aggressive response!)
I would suggest that the responsible people do not come to the Area Meeting. Their actions cannot be justified and they will only stir up more resentment. The MONC should have been the all consuming topic at this meeting, not hearing from someone trying to justify vandalism. Rob, it may be an idea to suggest these vandals stay away! Let them send a written response that you can read out.
I almost feel like 'angry of Tunbridge wells', but in this case it is justified and, yes, I am angry.
Post edited at 10:14
Toerag - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

The reasons for the damage are of no consequence - the simple fact is that the BMC should not condone unauthorised work on any of their land and the perpetrators should be punished. Failure to do this gives any man and his dog carte blanche to do whatever they like to our (BMC members) crags.
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

> Given the relative small size of the BMCs land holding, it really should have a tighter grip on what happens on it - it sounds like several people saw this going on, but there was no mechanism for raising the alarm.Yeah. I know, a bit pompous and a bit ranty , but I think it shows a bit of a glaring failure on the part of the bmc's land management process.

That sounds like a volunteer crag warden putting his hand up. Which crag would you like to monitor?
Dave Garnett - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

> The devastation to the vegetation will probably never be repaired. The top of the crag is already showing signs of erosion. (Hence my comment to the men with the chainsaw, which got a very aggressive response!)

What did they say, exactly? I'd be really interested to hear why they thought they had more right to an opinion than you did.
toad - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

I don't live close enough to any crag to be effective, or I would.

Another point really. Look outside the climbing community. Some of these sites will have local people who know the site well, even if they are not keen climbers, so get them involved. (I know this from a nature reserve warden angle - the best wardens are often not birders etc, but locals who use the site a lot). And volunteers need professional backup - if the BMC keep expanding it's land holding (and I reckon it will have to), it will need to think about employing a proper full time land manager
johncook - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:
I suggested that they stop chainsawing the few remaining trees. An hour spent removing the 3 m of loose soil and loose rock between the top of Ash Tree Slabs and the newly installed bolts (The slope used to be kept in place by numerous shrubs, grass and nettles, and the anchors were static rope and maillons on a couple of trees) caused by their removal of vegetation would be a better idea. They responded with, " What do you ever do for the crags? You come here and climb the same three routes and we have to do all the work!" My climbing partner persuaded me to not answer because of the aggression in the guys tone!
In fact I have often been and cleaned routes at Aldery (and other crags) near the start of the season, removing dirt and dandelions from cracks on some routes. I return to Aldery for several reasons. It is a great intro to limestone for new climbers, it is committing enough without being dangerous. I would like to climb all the routes there and am well on my way to that aim. I love(d) the peacefulness, tranquillity and ambience of the place.
Post edited at 11:36
toad - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

.You mean like a phone ?

And phone who? What is the procedure if you find an incident like this? That's my point, really.

johncook - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:
From the thread it appears others have been to the crag, seen the problem but not reported it to the BMC. Maybe the missing BMC sign could be replaced and a clearly visible phone number and e-mail address added to it for people to report problems. Then it could be passing walkers or birdwatchers or anyone who saw a problem.
As members we should all report back to the BMC any problems of access or damage to crags and their environs, and apparent dangers. The BMC are better placed to know who to contact re these problems. That is what I did on Sunday evening, and the BMC personnel responded to me and on here almost instantly. The BMC does care about access and the environment and they need our help to monitor it!

Edited to add: When did the sign 'Warning quarry' appear on the gate?
Post edited at 11:55
toad - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

agree with every word of that, and I very much appreciate the work the volunteers do.
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:
> When did the sign 'Warning quarry' appear on the gate?

That struck me as well. From memory it reads 'Keep out: Dangerous Quarry'?

When I met Dave Garnett there a trio of climbers said that they had assumed that all work had been done by the BMC and that any bolts had been placed following good practice as a result 'because its a BMC crag'.

Interestingly (and I don't know enough about this) the bolts were of an unusual design. On my 'triangle of death' picture there is enough resolution to zoom in. It has been suggested by a colleague that they look like industrial 'fall-arrest' bolts rather than the more usual 'climbing specific' anchors. Bit like this - http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/eyebolts/1244839/
Post edited at 12:23
Dave Garnett - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:
> Nice to meet you Dave.

> You know, that Dave Garnett; not so bad in real life

Likewise, and thank you. Sorry, I was a bit busy yesterday.
Post edited at 12:46
Dave Garnett - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

> Maybe the missing BMC sign could be replaced and a clearly visible phone number and e-mail address added to it for people to report problems.

Yes, I thought there was a sign missing and the 'dangerous quarry' sign looked odd.

Whether we want to advertise that the BMC is responsible now is debatable.

Dave Garnett - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

> " What do you ever do for the crags? You come here and climb the same three routes and we have to do all the work!"

Right. I really wish I'd come over on Sunday.
johncook - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:
My partner suggested it was a good job I was tied in to the belay as I was not impressed. I don't do physical but verbal and sarcasm I can do! When I calmed down a bit I decided that the BMC should be informed and that their opinion might shed some light on the mess. Unfortunately they were completely in the dark.
I just hope some way of repairing the damage done, by removing the bolts and by replanting vegetation and by somehow restabilising the top of the crag, which is already showing signs of erosion and will only get worse. It will be a big job and probably horrendously expensive to do it sympathetically. I hope the guys have money!
I was in favour of the previous limited and sympathetic clean up and removal of the odd loose rock and flake. It made the crag great.
I think I aught to stop posting on here now. I have said all I need to say several times. I have clarified any queries. I have not heard from the perpetrators. I will just wait and see what happens at the Peak Area Meeting tomorrow.
Post edited at 13:17
Howard J - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

There are a number of issues here:

What is to be done about reinstating the damage and whether or not to remove the bolts is certainly suitable for discussion at an Area Meeting, however the one tomorrow is clearly too soon. The BMC needs time to assess the damage and come up with a reinstatement plan.

Discussions with the perpetrators about their motives and how this can be put right should not take place at a public meeting, especially as a legal claim for damages should not be ruled out.

There is also the possibility of criminal charges for criminal damage and/or possible wildlife offences.

For these reasons I don't think it would be wise for the perpetrators to attend the Area Meeting, which is likely to become heated and to generate more heat than light. I think that all is required is a statement from the BMC to confirm what has been said on here, that the work was done without its knowledge or authority, and what they intend to do (which at this stage is probably no more than assess the damage).

There are wider issues, but again perhaps the matter is too raw to discuss tomorrow. Let's allow time for tempers to cool so that they can be addressed calmly and rationally.



BMC Office - on 04 Apr 2017 - www.thebmc.co.uk
We have updated the BMC Regional Access Database (RAD) entry for Aldery as follows:

It has been reported that someone has been undertaking tree removal and bolting at the crag. This has been done without BMC knowledge or approval. Climbers are asked to take care when visiting the crag as there may be loose material on the routes and the newly-installed bolted lower-offs are of an unknown quality.

The BMC is investigating and will report back soon.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/RAD/View.aspx?id=329
rocksol - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Michael Hood:

Having often walked along the top of Stanage and seen the unbelievable potential for belay failures I think they should stay. A lot of people with minimal experience and no common sense are now migrating from indoors to outside. I think the bolts whilst against the grain are prudent. Just last Sunday I witnessed a University's group leader deck out off a traddy. HVS with a very large thud (almost put me off my lead) and a subsequent trip to A&E. The rest of them carried on in blind ignorance.
In fact now the outdoor season has started I can honestly say I've never seen incompetence on such a grand scale before. We also got into arguments for pulling down a line of top ropes (one at a time) on routes we wished to lead.
All this can only be as a result of people gaining the rudiments of climbing indoors and adopting the same laisez faire attitude outside
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to rocksol:

Oh dear. Your solution to the changing demographic is to provide fixed anchors. Everywhere?
And I'm a bit lost at the connection between a leader decking out at Stanage and this case. In this case someone has taken it upon themselves to actually remove several trees that provided fairly idiot-proof anchors.
john arran - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to rocksol:

Oh dear indeed. If somebody took it upon themselves to put bolted anchors at the top of Stanage that would be fine with you too, as it would save them the risk of setting up their own poor belay?
What happens then when they go to Froggatt, or Idwal, or Borrowdale?
Rick Graham on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> Oh dear indeed. If somebody took it upon themselves to put bolted anchors at the top of Stanage that would be fine with you too, as it would save them the risk of setting up their own poor belay?What happens then when they go to Froggatt, or Idwal, or Borrowdale?

or Cerro Torre,

oh, hang on a sec
Andy Say - on 04 Apr 2017
In reply to Rick Graham:

> or Cerro Torre, oh, hang on a sec

Of course that WAS legitimate as the first ascentionist was the bolt placer.

Oh, hang on a sec
Howard J - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to rocksol:

> Having often walked along the top of Stanage and seen the unbelievable potential for belay failures I think they should stay. A lot of people with minimal experience and no common sense are now migrating from indoors to outside.

Don't worry, it's a self-regulating problem.
GrahamD - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to rocksol:

> Having often walked along the top of Stanage and seen the unbelievable potential for belay failures I think they should stay. A lot of people with minimal experience and no common sense are now migrating from indoors to outside. I think the bolts whilst against the grain are prudent. Just last Sunday I witnessed a University's group leader deck out off a traddy. HVS with a very large thud..

And a bolted belay would have done nothing to help there, would it ?
Howard J - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Back on topic, I am appalled that any climber would think it appropriate to carry out any work of this nature, let alone on this scale, without consulting either the landowner or the BMC (which in the case of Aldery is also the landowner). I thought this sort of behaviour went out years ago, and that we are now far more aware of environmental considerations and that our recreational pursuits don't have automatic priority over other interests. Things like this undo years of hard work by the BMC to assure other stakeholders that climbers are not concerned only with their own selfish interests and do actually care about the places where we climb, and can be trusted to behave responsibly.
Dave Garnett - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> I thought this sort of behaviour went out years ago, and that we are now far more aware of environmental considerations

Yes. When I was there I noticed quite a lot of alarmed jackdaws around. The crag is a favourite jackdaw nesting site and I imagine there must have been a lot of bird disturbance during the felling and clearance. Some people notice this kind of thing and some, sadly, simply don't. If there were birds like barn owls nesting there, disturbing at them at all, even unintentionally, is a criminal offence.
fred99 - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to rocksol:

>... We also got into arguments for pulling down a line of top ropes (one at a time) on routes we wished to lead....

I must ask - which blithering (University ?) group was this, as their behaviour appears contrary to all advice and recommendations.

fred99 - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to Howard J:

I would add another possible action to be taken against the perpetrators - throwing them out of the BMC and taking out a writ banning them from ALL BMC properties.
If something like this was done it would send out a message, both to any other idiots and, more importantly, to other Landowners regarding how we as a body regard such vandalism.
Simon Caldwell - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

> From the thread it appears others have been to the crag, seen the problem but not reported it to the BMC

When I was there last July, there was a guy there clearing away rubble from the foot of the recently-cleaned terrace on the right of the crag. I chatted briefly to him and got the impression that all the work was official. So although it seemed excessive, I didn't think there was anything to report. And he said that the bolts in that area were only placed to safeguard the cleaning - there was no suggestion they were the start of a large program.

Perhaps this guy was BMC-approved, and nothing to do with the recent work.
toad - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

I was there around the same time, and saw him or someone similar. Work seemed low key and I wasn't particularly alarmed by it
rocksol - on 05 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

The bolts were on a Maestri route and since removed We were attempting a new route up the E face in 1980 and after 2 weeks on the wall we got to the summit ice mushroom which we could not climb. But of further info. The latest guide to the area comments that the climbing undertaken is still some of the most difficult ever achieved in Patagonia. 37 years on!
EarlyBird - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

I attended this evening's Area Meeting and the unsanctioned work was discussed albeit rather briefly. The only action point that came out of this discussion was that the BMC technical officer will inspect the bolts at some point in the future. I accept that the horse has already bolted (forgive me) but I would have hoped there would be a stronger response to this act than shoulder shrugging and a health and safety inspection.

I also visited Aldery prior to attending the meeting. This is a venue at which I climb regularly and in my opinion the work that has been carried out changes the nature of the venue. I'm not sure it's repairable. The trees which were in place above Mitre Cracks and Surface Plate have been removed, as has the tree which enabled you to ab off after the first pitch of Carmen - bolts are now in place above the Mitre Crack slab and Surface Plate and much as I'd like to see them chopped I suspect the complete removal of the trees leaves no alternative anchors (unless you top out, of course).

The arrogance of the individuals who have carried out this work without clearance from the landowner and without any consultation with the climbers who use this crag is breathtaking.
Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to EarlyBird:
> I attended this evening's Area Meeting and the unsanctioned work was discussed albeit rather briefly. The only action point that came out of this discussion was that the BMC technical officer will inspect the bolts at some point in the future. I accept that the horse has already bolted (forgive me) but I would have hoped there would be a stronger response to this act than shoulder shrugging and a health and safety inspection.

As I would. 'If the bolts are decent that's all right then?' Those bolts need to be removed otherwise 'we' and the BMC are condoning the damage done. And when the next crag gets chosen for a make-over the perpetrators will know that there might be a bit of gobbing off on the internet but it will all be alright. But that almost certainly will NOT be a BMC crag.
Post edited at 00:47
In reply to EarlyBird:

Hi EarlyBird,

I think you've missed out on several other critical points that were raised, plus two distinct action points.

In addition to the BMC's Technical Officer visiting the site to assess the quality of the bolts, the matter is being passed back to the Land Management Group for their thoughts on how best to proceed, and the individual is being contacted in order to explain how/why the BMC should have been approached first.

It is also worth highlighting that there was a great divide between the thoughts and feelings on the matter from the (large) audience. Henry Folkard, Peak Area Access Coordinator, had been to visit Aldery earlier in the day and was actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the job done. Whilst it had not been done with the BMC's permission, a lot of it had been done in line with the recommendations provided by the geo-technician that had assessed the site previously (e.g. trees needed cutting properly, plus their stumps treated so that the roots would die - thus not continue to grow and cause more damage to the crag); Neil Foster, former Peak Area Chair/Exec Member, had also been and was also very complimentary of the thorough nature of the work done, reminding everyone that the stark nature would change as the seasons go by. Other people came up to me afterwards, some who had been, some who had not (but had seen the photos), and suggested that it would probably be a better place for it. There are undoubtedly two sides to the argument...

On that other side, there is undoubtedly strong feeling against what has been done on several grounds, not least because of the lack of consultation (which we are addressing), but also because of the bolting (which we are looking into) and tree removal (which does appear to have been recommended as work required, albeit not directly sanctioned in this case). That said, I don't think rushing into bolt removal would help anyone - or the crag. I would suggest we hold fire on jumping the gun (or in this case the angle grinder), give the BMC time to inspect the crag, give the Land Management Group time to reach their own decision in light of their findings, and let's see if we can make it obvious not just to the individual involved, but to anyone looking to undertake work on a BMC crag that the organisation needs to be contacted first.

I hope that gives a balanced representation of what took place.

Rob
(with his BMC Peak Area Chair hat on)
Fruit on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
Rob
I see two glaring issues here:

There is no place for retro bolting trad climbing venues (especially ones taken into custodianship of the BMC). Climbing is a activity that has risk of death or injury at its heart. The gaining of skill, strength (both mental and physical) and experience form part of a climber's development. Speaking personally, I do not want crags to be made safe, nor do I want routes to be artificially brought down to my standards. If I feel unable to top out on a route, then I should find something easier, if the walk off prickles intimidate me then there are many other venues for me to visit. As I've said earlier the point of climbing is that it is pointlessly hazardous, and long may it be so.

The individuals who carried out these acts appear to have done so without authorisation for their own reasons. They cannot be allowed to get away with these actions and the BMC who own this land for the membership must take all practical steps, including recourse to prosecution, to indicate how seriously they take their responsibility.
toad - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
I'm sorry the LMG were unable to show proper leadership in this matter.

Incidentally,
if these people had injured themselves or others during this work, would they have been covered by any insurance?

What pesticides were used to treat the stumps, and were the individuals properly trained in their use?

I can think of another half dozen points off the top of my head, but you get the idea. It goes a bit beyond "looking thorough". My instinct as a former professional land manager is that the BMC were dangerously exposed here, and that procedure matters rather more than the end result.
drysori - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Fruit:

> There is no place for retro bolting trad climbing venues (especially ones taken into custodianship of the BMC).

This is simply not true in the wide context of the climbing community. There are many venues at which retro-bolting has had a positive impact. There are also many where it isn't appropriate (IMO Alderley is one) but the blanket statement just isn't useful.

In reply to Rob Greenwood:

I had to leave at the interval yesterday so may have missed some points on this. I felt both Henry and Neil's defence of the work that has been done (WRT trees), and the standard to which is has been done was fairly convincing and I respect both of their opinions.

However, I also felt there was a sense that they are keen to protect the individual involved. I'm not sure it's necessarily in the BMC's interests to pursue prosecution, but I felt there were other circumstances that were preventing them from considering that, such as this person being potentially vulnerable for some reason? I didn't feel we were being given the full picture.

ads.ukclimbing.com
johncook - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
I had my say in the meeting.
Would the reaction have been the same if it had been a Dovedale 'crag clean-up'?
I await the reports of;
The BMC technical advisor re the suitability and safety of the bolts. Their necessity does not seem to be in question at this stage, by others!
The BMC Land Management Group on the extent and necessity of such a scorched earth 'crag clean-up', less than a year after the BMC's own sympathetic works, resulting from the Geo-survey of a couple of years ago.
Maybe an environmental survey would also be good to study the effects of this work on the flora and fauna, as I do not believe the effects 'will not be noticeable after two or three months!'.
One's breath is baited!
My points are made. I will not post on this thread again, but all are welcome to e-mail me via this site if they feel the need. As you can see I use my own name, and publicly stand by my beliefs!
If you have strong views, or any views, you could also contact Rob Greenwood or the BMC Land Management Group via the BMC, directly.
Enjoy the good weather and go climb.
cookie
Post edited at 09:06
Dave Garnett - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
> Henry Folkard, Peak Area Access Coordinator, had been to visit Aldery earlier in the day and was actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the job done. Whilst it had not been done with the BMC's permission, a lot of it had been done in line with the recommendations provided by the geo-technician that had assessed the site previously (e.g. trees needed cutting properly, plus their stumps treated so that the roots would die - thus not continue to grow and cause more damage to the crag

Oh, I don't deny it's very tidy, in the way a well-maintained motorway cutting is. If the overriding consideration is now the minimisation of any geotechnical risk over any environmental consideration that's a very good argument why the BMC should not own crags, at least not proper outdoors ones.

Do I detect the hint that the people responsible were (or thought they were) implementing the recommendations of a survey they had reason to believe was likely to be adopted anyway? Actually, as is clearly visible on the photographs, the initial impact has been to increase the amount of erosion due to rain run-off.

The acceptance as a fait accompli that the removal of perfectly safe (not to say rather beautiful) natural belays and consequent destabilisation of the top-out now necessitates retaining the bolt belays as lower offs sets an extremely dubious precedent.
Post edited at 09:11
John Gresty - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Having spent over 35 years climbing southern peak district trad limestone I regard interesting top outs and descents as part of the attraction, it makes for adventurous climbing.
Who does the top pitch of Clothesline these days, irrespective of what the guidebook claims, it is an interesting pitch.
I thought the discussion last night very strange, Henry and Neil seemed to be very much on the defensive, Henry focussing on the safety aspect and Neil seemed to be saying that the work was bringing the crag into the modern era, although I do agree with him that in a few months time a lot of the vegetation will be back and the ground clearance work will not be noticable.
I believe that a stand must be taken somewhere otherwise lower bolts will become the norm, if we are capable of getting up a climb we ought to be able to negociate a bit of tricky terrain to get back down again.


Confession time
I have used the lower off slings at Alderly when with my partner who isn't a climber but she is a perfectly capable belayer, enabling me to lead a route and then be lowered off to strip the gear.
Also we have just had some dry stone walling work, retaining walls, done in our back garden and the waller advised us not to plant anything where the roots might grow between the stones as this would eventually lead to the failure of the wall, so I guess the same can be said about trees on the crag.

John Gresty
Dave Garnett - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to John Gresty:

> Confession timeI have used the lower off slings at Alderly when with my partner who isn't a climber but she is a perfectly capable belayer, enabling me to lead a route and then be lowered off to strip the gear.

Lowering off a sling round a tree isn't a crime, you can do what you like! Chopping the tree down as a justification for putting in bolts is rather different.

> Also we have just had some dry stone walling work, retaining walls, done in our back garden and the waller advised us not to plant anything where the roots might grow between the stones as this would eventually lead to the failure of the wall, so I guess the same can be said about trees on the crag.

And who's to say that the rock revealed as part of this natural process would provide even better climbing? Aldery wasn't part of anyone's garden but that certainly seems to have been the mindset of the gardeners involved.

nigel n - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I live and work in the area and visited the crag on my way home from work the other evening.

I was as shocked and saddened by the sight as many of the other commentators on this forum

In addition the wire cable on the descent route appears to have been rigged in a totally clueless fashion. In places the cable is wrapped around the trunks of the few surviving trees and in others attached with nailed plates. I suspect neither if these is good for the tree. On the steeper part of the descent the wire runs very close to the remains of the barbed wire fence. Anyone using the descent on a damp day without gloves would be well advised to pack a first aid kit. The deterioration of the fence is in large part due to its use as a handrail over the years. The BMC (or its "agents") would have been far better employed in constructing a sound and stockproof fence on this part of the crag.

Lastly, having read some of the comments I will in future find it difficult to take seriously any pronouncements made by the BMC on conservation and the environment
Dave Garnett - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to nigel n:

> The BMC (or its "agents") would have been far better employed in constructing a sound and stockproof fence on this part of the crag.

Yes, it struck me the other day how useless the vertical wire by the fence was. A simple knotted rope would be much more useful.
Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Rob, just a general reaction to your post. If the function of the BMC land management group is to produce clean and safe climbing facilities then; job well done and Henry and Neil are on the side of the angels.
If, however, the function of the LMG is to sensitively manage the crag environment for the benefit of all then they are going to be as upset as me.
I recognise that there are always two sides, and i have been asked whether the crag hasn't been 'improved' by this action. But whilst there are two sides and a debate i would have thought the status quo should prevail rather than unilateral action to ensure that one side gets its way.
If, and i nearly used the phrase 'persons unknown' but you and others in the Peak area obviously do know who it is but prefer not to identify them, the perpetrators can take upon themselves to undertake this action without debate and escape censure (explaining that 'you really should have asked' doesn't quite fit the bill) then i am sure you will extend the same respect to anyone who plants a couple of trees and removes all the bolts? That is probably the longest sentence i have ever posted on UKC.

And who got the money for all the timber that was stolen from BMC land?
Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to nigel n:

> Lastly, having read some of the comments I will in future find it difficult to take seriously any pronouncements made by the BMC on conservation and the environment

Too right. Mature trees taken down during the nesting season, bat colonies probably disturbed. This is NOT a good message. The BMC is trying to present the world with environmental credentials - i listened to Rob Dyer, BMC access officer explain they we are seen as the good guys not so long ago - let's hope all those environmental groups aren't following this thread.
kevin stephens - on 06 Apr 2017
Time to name and shame

Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

> Their necessity does not seem to be in question at this stage, by others!

Well their necessity is damn well questioned by me! (Real name, stand by my opinions etc etc).
If you destroy trees and then realise that bolts are now 'required' then, as far as i am concerned, you have managed to destroy an existing route.
Dave Garnett - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> And who got the money for all the timber that was stolen from BMC land?

I was going to suggest recovering that and installing a couple of log piles as a very small step towards remediation.

It would probably make the place too untidy though.

Michael Hood - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:
I'm starting to get uneasy feelings about the BMC's attitude over this - maybe incorrectly, but the noises that are coming out on this thread aren't totally comforting.

I would have expected the BMC to say something like "we're going to establish all the facts - including talking to the perpetrators - before coming to any judgements or decisions, bear with us while we do that" which I would have been quite happy with as long as the facts, judgements and decisions were suitably reported at a later date.

Some of the noises above now seem to indicate a bit of a "well it's not so bad" attitude which is totally not on. I'm sure everyone will be happy when I remove some more trees at Harrison's to let in more light and air, and install some top roping bolts to stop erosion on the clifftop edges. If these people really want to chop down some BMC trees, then surely Tremadog is the place so that we can all see how to get to the foot of our chosen climbs

Your point about the money for the timber is also a very valid one which hasn't been mentioned before.
Post edited at 13:18
Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

> Time to name and shame

As if! The people that know who did this are going to keep their gobs firmly shut. After all, the crag has been 'improved' hasn't it.

Spooky that whoever did this seems to have had access to a geo-technical report produced for the LMG isn't it.
Chris Harris - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Henry Folkard, Peak Area Access Coordinator, had been to visit Aldery earlier in the day and was actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the job done. Whilst it had not been done with the BMC's permission, a lot of it had been done in line with the recommendations provided by the geo-technician that had assessed the site previously (e.g. trees needed cutting properly, plus their stumps treated so that the roots would die - thus not continue to grow and cause more damage to the crag); Neil Foster, former Peak Area Chair/Exec Member, had also been and was also very complimentary of the thorough nature of the work done, reminding everyone that the stark nature would change as the seasons go by.

PC Smith, had been to visit the crime scene earlier in the day and was actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the crime done. Whilst it had not been done with the Police's permission, a lot of it had been done in line with the recommendations provided by the surgeon that had assessed the victims previously (e.g. throats needed cutting properly, plus the bodies buried so that they wouldn't rot in the sun); Neil Foster, former Peak Area Chair/Exec Member, had also been and was also very complimentary of the thorough nature of the murder, reminding everyone that the shock of the killing would ease as the seasons go by.

So that's OK, then.
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Chris Harris:

Passions are running high, and there are some obvious disagreements here, but please remain respectful of the incredible work that volunteers have been doing in the background on all of our behalf for many, many years. Henry has probably done more for access and conservation for climbers and hillwalkers in the Peak than any other living person. The LMG have not yet met to discuss the facts and come to a decision, so please don't second guess them based on the opinions given by individuals.

If you feel strongly enough about this to get away from your keyboard (this isn't aimed at you Chris, it's a general comment) then new people volunteering as access reps are very welcome - the BMC is built on the work of its volunteers.

I'll be taking a look at the bolts sometime in the next few weeks to assess their safety as agreed in the meeting, which should not be taken as an acceptance of them being there. If they do end up being removed, we'll look at ways of doing so that leaves minimal evidence that they were ever there.
Dave Garnett - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Chris Harris:

On the subject of PC Smith:

"Bats have been known to roost in Mitre Crack, usually between April/May. It is very obvious when they are present due to the noisy chattering coming from the depths of the crack - please avoid this route when the bats are present."

BMC website: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/rad/view.aspx?id=329

The Law and Bats (http://www.bats.org.uk/publications_download.php/224/Bats_and_the_Law_2016.pdf)
Due to the decline in bat populations in the last century legislation protects all bats and their roosts in the UK. You should always seek advice, www.bats.org.uk, Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228 if any work you undertake could:
? Disturb a bat or groups of bats in their roost
? Damage or destroy a bat roosting place, even if there are no bats present at the time
? Obstruct access to a bat roost
It is also illegal to capture, injure or kill a bat or possess, advertise, sell or exchange a bat, or part of a bat dead or alive.
Who is the legislation relevant to?
Everybody, but in particular
? Builders
? Roofers
? Property owners/householders who have a bat roost in their property
? Woodland owners, arboriculturalists and foresters
? Planning officers and building surveyors
? Architects
? Demolition companies
? Property developers

Still, I'm sure all this was taken into account before any work was started, after all, the BMC is responsible.
Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

> I'll be taking a look at the bolts sometime in the next few weeks to assess their safety as agreed in the meeting, which should not be taken as an acceptance of them being there. If they do end up being removed, we'll look at ways of doing so that leaves minimal evidence that they were ever there.

Debate is healthy, Dan. I have a lot of respect for Henry and all he has done but that doesn't mean that I have to feel he is right on every issue.

If i am right that they are fall-arrest eyebolts then the shafts may well be threaded so removal shouldn't be overly difficult or damaging. I would like to volunteer for their BMC approved removal. I am disturbed that there is an 'if' about their removal. Is that the view of the LMG?
toad - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

Hi Dan

Could you explain what this means in practice? (taken from BMC website)

"The area is subject to a Section 39 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act agreement between the BMC and the Peak District National Park Authority. This agreement ensures that the conservation of the site is maintained in line with the ethos of the National Park whilst climbing is actively enjoyed and promoted in the area. "
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

> Hi DanCould you explain what this means in practice? (taken from BMC website)"The area is subject to a Section 39 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act agreement between the BMC and the Peak District National Park Authority. This agreement ensures that the conservation of the site is maintained in line with the ethos of the National Park whilst climbing is actively enjoyed and promoted in the area. "

Hi Toad, access and conservation isn't my area of expertise. Probably it means a balance of all interests, wildlife, aesthetics and recreational usage. Sorry I can't help more on that.

Hi Andy, you're asking for the opinion of the LMG. That will come out in due course, refer to my post above.

Hi Dave, the BMC is NOT responsible for this work, it was not approved or sanctioned.. Some BMC volunteers have expressed opinions regarding the work, that is all. Please don't continue to mistake or misrepresent this work as having been done by the landowner as your post implies (unless I'm reading it wrongly, in which case I apologise).

I'd suggest contacting the LMG through their Chair if you wish to discuss this further.
Dave Garnett - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

> Hi Dave, the BMC is NOT responsible for this work, it was not approved or sanctioned.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the BMC was directly responsible for the actions taken on this occasion. What I did mean was that the BMC, as the landowner, is nevertheless responsible for the site and for what happens next.
Martin Haworth on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

I've watched this thread with interest and don't normally comment on such issues, but would make the following points:
This work seemed to be going on a long time before the BMC were aware, do they not have a system for regular checks of crags they own?
There is a feeling that someone who carried out this work is being protected. He may well have been well intentioned. His name will emerge eventually so it would be better to get it in the public domain now and avoid accusations of cronyism.
Whatever the intentions, the BMC must not be seen to accept this action in anyway, and that's how it is coming across. It may be that retaining some of the bolts is the best solution but maybe let this be a collective and democratic decision.
Imagine if I'd gone to a bolted BMC owned crag and chopped all the bolts and argued the routes should all be trad, I think that would be equally wrong and I don't think the BMC would have to go and check to decide whether to leave the routes as trad, they would replace the bolts and probably seek to get the cost from me by legal proceedings
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Martin Haworth:

> I've watched this thread with interest and don't normally comment on such issues, but would make the following points:This work seemed to be going on a long time before the BMC were aware, do they not have a system for regular checks of crags they own?

As the secretary of the most local club i check on Aldery voluntarily for the BMC but this tends to be dropping in occassionaly over summer and then word of mouth etc. We have as a club cleared some fly tipping away sorted out branches overhanging road, crag clean ups and i think fixed the gate etc.

Most years ive popped down over winter as well but as luck wouldnt have it this winter i have only been down early in winter.... and therefore 'missed the boat' on this.

We hadnt heard anything about the extent of work until recently. Whether as a result of this something more formal needs to be in place
Andy Say - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

And, Dan, nothing personal, OK? I realise you are holding an unfamiliar fort
Andy
Ciro - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:
> On the subject of PC Smith:"Bats have been known to roost in Mitre Crack, usually between April/May.

Given the above, and the fact that there has been a large scale tree feeling during nesting season, has anyone spoken to the local police wildlife officer? That strikes me as a bit more important than arguing over the removal of the bolts.

Whether or not to press for criminal damage is entirely up to the landowner, but if a crime against wildlife has been committed then the police should be informed regardless of the landowner's views.
Post edited at 18:51
EarlyBird - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Hi Rob,

I accept that the involvement of the LMG was another action point - my apologies for missing that.

Having said the above I don't think your representation of the discussion in the meeting is entirely balanced. It may have been a large meeting but only five people spoke directly on this agenda item - mainly because the chair kept the discussion brief: as you say Henry and Neil spoke, as did John Cook, me, and another speaker who made a tangential point. You cannot infer from that fairly small group the feelings of the entire meeting - and any discussions you may have had with individuals following the meeting are literally off the record. Perhaps if we had been allowed more time those individuals would have been able to make their points in the open forum.

If by other critical points you mean the contributions of Henry Folkard and Neil Foster - while I respect their opinions as long standing and dedicated activists I do not agree with their assessment of the impact this unsanctioned work has had on Aldery. Neil admitted that he has never climbed at Aldery and is therefore not really in a position to assess the level of damage caused. Henry's points, in my opinion, muddied the waters between work that has already been carried out by the BMC in response to the geo-technical report and the subsequent freelance activity. I guess we'll have more clarity once the LMG has had a chance to do its work.

Alan Smith (Buxton MC)
mike8331 - on 06 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

don't know why you need bolts the trees are fine to ab off
DubyaJamesDubya - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Dan Middleton, BMC:

> Passions are running high, and there are some obvious disagreements here, but please remain respectful of the incredible work that volunteers have been doing in the background on all of our behalf for many, many years. Henry has probably done more for access and conservation for climbers and hillwalkers in the Peak than any other living person. The LMG have not yet met to discuss the facts and come to a decision, so please don't second guess them based on the opinions given by individuals.If you feel strongly enough about this to get away from your keyboard (this isn't aimed at you Chris, it's a general comment) then new people volunteering as access reps are very welcome - the BMC is built on the work of its volunteers.I'll be taking a look at the bolts sometime in the next few weeks to assess their safety as agreed in the meeting, which should not be taken as an acceptance of them being there. If they do end up being removed, we'll look at ways of doing so that leaves minimal evidence that they were ever there.

Why do you keep talking about the 'safety of the bolts'? The question is, should they be there, not, do they need upgrading.
Lemony - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Why do you keep talking about the 'safety of the bolts'? The question is, should they be there, not, do they need upgrading.

Removing them all is going to be a big job. If they're safe then they can stay there until time is available, if they're unsafe then they either need to come out now or some other action - signage, rendering them useless, even closing the crag needs to happen.
Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

> Why do you keep talking about the 'safety of the bolts'? The question is, should they be there, not, do they need upgrading.

I'm guessing that Dan Middleton is responding to the request of the BMC Peak area meeting. And yes, i guess the first action should be to find out if someone is going to die by relying on them! Also I would suggest, either de-rig, or re-rig the ' triangle of death' anchor.
It was apparent that the climbers i met there this week assumed that all would be good with the fixed gear 'because it will have been done by the BMC'.
I think few people support their placement.
Howard J - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> Whilst it had not been done with the BMC's permission, a lot of it had been done in line with the recommendations provided by the geo-technician that had assessed the site previously (e.g. trees needed cutting properly, plus their stumps treated so that the roots would die - thus not continue to grow and cause more damage to the crag);

Obviously I haven't seen the geo-technician's report and I don't know the circumstances which caused it to be commissioned. However I hope the BMC would have thought very carefully before going ahead with the sort of wholesale clearance that has now apparently taken place. In my experience as a land and property manager consultants often tend to over-specify, if only because they could be held liable if something were to go wrong in future. It is safer for them to err on the side of caution. Perhaps some tree clearance was essential, but I would be surprised if clearance on this scale was absolutely necessary.

In my opinion the BMC should be managing the sites it owns with a very light touch. Of course any immediate hazards should be dealt with, and a minimum amount of vegetation and loose rock can be removed to improve access to the climbs. However the trees and other flora are an important characteristic of limestone crags, and add (added) to the experience of climbing there, as well as providing important wildlife habitat which also adds to the experience. The BMC should not be trying to turn outdoor crags into manicured climbing walls. Neither should they try to hold back the natural erosion which inevitably takes place.
GrahamD - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> I'm guessing that Dan Middleton is responding to the request of the BMC Peak area meeting. And yes, i guess the first action should be to find out if someone is going to die by relying on them!

That's easily solved, isn't ? just make them unusable until they can be removed properly - and hopefully not at member's expense.
Hat Dude on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

As mentioned further up in the thread, in Andy Say's pictures the bolts appear to be industrial lifting type bolts; if they are this type
https://www.safelandindustrial.com/webimages/2015530142359301.jpg
They should be easy to unscrew and would just leave the hole and threaded insert, which could be filled and leave not too much trace

If however they are this type
https://sc01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1CHv4LFXXXXX6apXXq6xXFXXXh/DIN580-Industrial-crane-lifting-eye-bolt.jp...

A threaded stud would be left which would be much harder to remove

This of course doesn't take into account how you would safely access the bolts with no trees left to ab from
GrahamD - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

The removal can be done in the fullness of time. Clearly disabling them would be very quick and obviate the need for a risk assessment.
Hat Dude on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

Certainly if they're the 1st type in my previous post, the quickest & easiest way to disable them would be to unscrew and remove them
JHiley on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:
If that's what they are then surely those sort of eye bolts are meant to fit into a machined thread and not glued into rock... (Edit: it's hard to tell from the photo)

Also, if they brought them from work then they bring any lifting /slinging know how with them as the rigging is just done in textbook "this is what NOT to do" style. I thought climbers knew that setup was a bad idea as well with amplified forces on the (possibly inappropriate) anchors + no redundancy in the knotted rope.
Post edited at 12:37
JHiley on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:
> Certainly if they're the 1st type in my previous post, the quickest & easiest way to disable them would be to unscrew and remove them

To the people disliking this: You object to the removal of bolts which are not designed for climbing? Note the "if". Especially since they seem to have been placed by someone who doesn't know how to rig an anchor?
Post edited at 13:38
Alex Messenger, BMC - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to...

We've posted an update on the BMC site from our access team.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/aldery-cliff-update

Further updates as soon as Dan (technical officer) and the access team visit the site and meet with our Land Management Group.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Alex Messenger, BMC:

> //www.thebmc.co.uk/aldery-cliff-updateFurther updates as soon as Dan (technical officer) and the access team visit the site and meet with our Land Management Group.

The article seems to highlight a few issues that are problematic.
I always assumed that BMC ownership was merely a handy way to ensure access to crags but the article seems to suggest that the BMC are actually more likely to be held responsible for climbing related safety than a 'normal' landowner if they aren't actively making it safer to climb. Since most conservation revolves around leaving nature alone this seems a recipe for conflict.
JHiley on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Alex Messenger, BMC:
All this talk of vigilantism has given me an idea. Clearly what is needed is some sort of crag guardian to actively prevent this type of vandalism. They'd need plenty of protective gear to deal with the miscreants if things turned nasty. They would probably need to be self funded as the BMC is facing Sport England cuts at the moment, so should be a wealthy individual. They would therefore need to wear a mask and perhaps a cloak to protect their identity and prevent repercussions. Ideally their main focus would be on protecting the most high profile vulnerable wildlife; the bats living in Mitre Cracks. I'm sure a suitable name could be found for such a person.
Post edited at 14:05
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to JHiley:
Im seeing where you are going with this

Crack Man!... oh wait a moment.
Post edited at 14:17
toad - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Alex Messenger, BMC:

I'm still uncomfortable that it's being sold as the damage having been done to a high standard. Can we not leave it as being unauthorised and therefore a Bad Thing. such ambiguity of language just makes it confusing.
JHiley on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

That might give the crag a bad reputation!
jkarran - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Wetherby looked like this two or three years back, many big mature trees felled and poisoned, ivy removed, quite a bit of rock trundled. It looked a right mess, dusty, bare and dripping tree sap everywhere. A couple of years on nature has done its thing, the scars heal though the trees will take a few more years to get going properly again.

That doesn't add much to what should be done (mostly because I don't have an opinion) but perhaps goes some way to reminding people life will return to the place pretty quickly given the opportunity.
jk
GrahamD - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

> I'm still uncomfortable that it's being sold as the damage having been done to a high standard. Can we not leave it as being unauthorised and therefore a Bad Thing. such ambiguity of language just makes it confusing.

Or not confusing at all. You can easily take a number of interpretations - one of which is that actually this is authorised action, or at least approved of. I think if someone had chopped trees down in my garden without me sanctioning it I think I'd be a bit more forthright in condemnation.
Hat Dude on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Alex Messenger, BMC:
Quote from the article
"It appears that the work carried out has been to a high standard"

Bolts of unknown quality tied off as an "American Death Triangle"?
Post edited at 16:02
Hat Dude on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> Or not confusing at all. You can easily take a number of interpretations - one of which is that actually this is authorised action, or at least approved of. I think if someone had chopped trees down in my garden without me sanctioning it I think I'd be a bit more forthright in condemnation.

I'm not alone in suspecting there is a faint whiff of collusion
Richc on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Visited again today, and met the guy responsible(by his own admission) for the destruction of trees and placing bolts, his view was that he had made massive improvements! I did not engage in any further conversation and left.
JHiley on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

A similar thought did cross my mind but personally I'll be taking the BMC at their word that this wasn't approved. They've been pretty categorical about that and I'm fed up with conspiracy theories. I jumped on the conspiracy-wagon when 'climb Britain' was announced, (partly in jest, partly because I was naïve enough to assume that Grough's reporting of the issue was anything other than blatant tabloid speculation) and that whole thing has turned into real nastiness against people who give up a lot of their time for free.

The BMC's stance on Aldery frustrates me because this is one of my favourite crags and I don't like most of what's been done including the bolts and unnecessary tree clearance. But I think their (the BMC's) position is clearly due to the fact that some people have expressed support for this action. I'd like them to agree with me completely but they have to accept that there are two sides to this.
Marcus Tierney - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:
I have been climbing on this Crag since the early 70s. I saw the Crag yesterday and am moved to tears by what I saw. Words cannot describe my disappointment and indeed anger over what has been done. It's unlikely that I will ever return now. Shame on those who have done it. I hope their wood burners melt.
Fruit on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:
Not knowing who is responsible it is difficult to understand why this work has been done. My first thought was a commercial operator, outdoor centre, climbing experience provider, etc. as it seemed to be a great effort for an individual to go to?

I'm very unhappy with what has been done, but I'm also wondering why it was done? There are bits of crags I don't like to be green, overgrown or loose. But I'm not about to start industrial level operations to change the situation and hopefully others won't in future.

For the record, I love Tremadog just as it is, trees, occasional loose rock, slippery descents and all.
Post edited at 16:56
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captain paranoia - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Did he give any indication of what he thought gave him the right to go onto someone's land and do criminal damage?

Just because he thought it would make things better (for him)?

Sadly, I fear the BMC need to follow this up with the full force of law, to send a firm message, otherwise every Tom, Dick and Harry will think that they can make whatever modifications they like to BMC- managed crags (or any crag, come to that matter). This attitude will prevent landowners following their own management policy.

A bit of light gardening is one thing; mature tree felling and significant earth movement, without agreement of the landowner is out of order.
Post edited at 17:17
idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Fruit:

> For the record, I love Tremadog just as it is, trees, occasional loose rock, slippery descents

Trees on crag... yes
Trees in front of the crag... hmmmm do i start a new thread

Fruit on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to idiotproof (Buxton MC):

Lol surely not, the weather is far too nice ;-)
Doghouse - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Henry Folkard, Peak Area Access Coordinator, had been to visit Aldery earlier in the day and was actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the job done. Whilst it had not been done with the BMC's permission, a lot of it had been done in line with the recommendations provided by the geo-technician that had assessed the site previously (e.g. trees needed cutting properly, plus their stumps treated so that the roots would die - thus not continue to grow and cause more damage to the crag); Neil Foster, former Peak Area Chair/Exec Member, had also been and was also very complimentary of the thorough nature of the work done, reminding everyone that the stark nature would change as the seasons go by.

What a load of bollox!
Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

> This of course doesn't take into account how you would safely access the bolts with no trees left to ab from

It's doable.
Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Jk, i remember putting slings round trees as runners on some of those routes in the early 70's. And they weren't saplings then
So 70 years minimum for regrowth? Not that they will be allowed to regrow.
Mick Ward - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> It's doable.

Indeed it is.

Mick
Mick Ward - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Marcus Tierney:

> I have been climbing on this Crag since the early 70s. I saw the Crag yesterday and am moved to tears by what I saw. Words cannot describe my disappointment and indeed anger over what has been done. It's unlikely that I will ever return now. Shame on those who have done it. I hope their wood burners melt.

Throughout this thread (like many, I suspect) I've wondered how bad things actually were. Sadly you've confirmed my worst fears. I've also climbed there, albeit sporadically, since the early 70s. I feel likewise - just don't want to go back.

Mick
Offwidth - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Doghouse:

Henry's view is being summarised here but he will be in full posession of any facts about the crag when he makes his views as lead BKC Peak area access volunteer. What makes your views better informed?

One point many seem to be missing, who are not very familiar with the crag in recent times is that surface layers on some faces were seriously unstable as they were 'peeling' off due to root systems. I didn't see every tree being a problem there but some most certainly were and needed removing according to the geotechnical advice.
Andy Say - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

BKC?
And I have to say that Henry must have been slightly saddened at the scorched earth approach taken here.
Have we got a new name for the 'Ash Tree Slab Area' yet? Sector Agent Orange perhaps?
Hat Dude on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
> Henry's view is being summarised here but he will be in full posession of any facts about the crag when he makes his views as lead BKC Peak area access volunteer. What makes your views better informed?

Though the tone of his reply doesn't help; what makes his view less well informed?

>One point many seem to be missing, who are not very familiar with the crag in recent times is that surface layers on some faces were seriously unstable as they were 'peeling' off due to root systems. I didn't see every tree being a problem there but some most certainly were and needed removing according to the geotechnical advice.

Presumably then, the BMC were formulating a responsible action plan in line with the geotechnical advice, why then does the general tone of response from the BMC angle seem to favour the "vigilante" action.
Post edited at 21:44
Dave Garnett - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

> Visited again today, and met the guy responsible(by his own admission) for the destruction of trees and placing bolts, his view was that he had made massive improvements! I did not engage in any further conversation and left.

I did notice that someone had been back today; the untidiness of the remaining brash had obviously been keeping him awake and had returned to set fire to it.

It didn't strike me as the action of someone who was in the slightest embarrassed. It seemed to me either the action of someone who was going to completely finish what he'd been asked to do or someone who just doesn't give a f*ck what anyone else thinks.
Doghouse - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> Henry's view is being summarised here but he will be in full posession of any facts about the crag when he makes his views as lead BKC Peak area access volunteer. What makes your views better informed?


The fact that Henry was "actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the job done." WTF! It shouldn't have been done in the first place whether it was 'impressively thorough' or not!
Duncan Bourne - on 07 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

While appreciating that crags like Alderly cliff require management I am gravely concerned that.
A) trees at the top of the crag have been cut back which will I pact upon the stability of the ground at the top of the crag.
B) superfluous abseil points added were unnecessary until trees cut down
C) the whole has taken place in nesting season
And most importantly
D) has seemingly taken place without the consent of the BMC. Maybe I'll just go and put a zip wire in!
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

That article does have a whiff of implicit acceptance. Which is a bit disappointing.

The BMC should not be countenancing 'vigilante caretaking' on their managed properties.

Volunteer caretaking, following discussion and agreement with the landowner, is a different matter entirely.

But the stance, at the moment, should simply be that unauthorised 'caretaking' is NOT acceptable.

My guess is that the perpetrator is well known to the local site management.
Post edited at 00:19
Big Ger - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

He should be pursued by every available means, and made to pay for reversing the damage, then sued or criminally prosecuted.

The BMC should act quickly and decisively, otherwise respect will be lost for them as custodians of our crags by the majority of climbers.
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> He should be pursued by every available means, and made to pay for reversing the damage, then sued or criminally prosecuted.

Yes, that would set a fantastic precedent for any landowner who happened to have a sport crag of their land. Why not push for financial compensation too?

I agree the situation sounds awkward and a perfect resolution doesn't seem to exist, but the moment we resort to using the law to resolve what fundamentally is an internal matter, is the moment we lose the ability to manage our own sport the way we as climbers collectively choose.
Duncan Bourne - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> but the moment we resort to using the law to resolve what fundamentally is an internal matter, is the moment we lose the ability to manage our own sport the way we as climbers collectively choose.

I agree but it sounds like that has happened already
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> I agree but it sounds like that has happened already

I only know what's been posted on here but it sounds to me like the internal discussions have largely still to be held, and possible actions (or otherwise) still to be agreed. Relying on the law as anything other than a final resort would be wrong and damaging to our sport.
Howard J - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

I am disappointed that the BMC isn't being clearer about what it is doing about this situation. The 'update' on its website is mostly waffle.

The priorities should be to check the safety of the bolts, and to stop further work from taking place.

If the perpetrator is known he should be told formally and in writing by the BMC to stop, and if he persists they should seek a court injunction. What is to be done about it should then be a matter for discussion between him and the BMC. For that, the law should always be the last resort - it's expensive and uncertain, and the main beneficiaries are lawyers. it's always better for these things to be settled by discussion and agreement, if possible. However these must take place against the legal background and with the possibility of legal action if agreement can't be reached.

If the bolts are unsafe they must be removed immediately. If they're safe, a discussion is then needed about whether they should stay. My preference is for them to be removed, they have no place on a trad crag. However if the natural belays have been destroyed perhaps there is no alternative but to retain them.

It is impossible to prevent individuals from acting misguidedly. Even if this work proves to have been necessary, it should not have been done without authorisation. What matters is how we as a sport deal with it. We have to send a clear message to other landowners that this sort of behaviour is not condoned. Unfortunately I think there may be number of climbers (hopefully a minority) who think that their climbing takes priority over everything else.

When the dust settles, perhaps some discussion is needed about the BMC's land management policy. It seems to believe it must be more pro-active in managing its sites than other landowners, but I suspect most climbers don't want to see the crags reduced to outdoor climbing walls and want them to be managed with a light touch, with only absolutely essential work being done. Climbing on natural rock brings natural hazards, and part of climbing is to accept those risks.



Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> Yes, that would set a fantastic precedent for any landowner who happened to have a sport crag of their land.

Aye, John, but this is not a sport crag; indeed that is probably an irrelavence. Let's look at the other perspective. I own a trad. crag in a wood. In the past i have tolerated? climbers (decent types!) but looking at this I worry that if I allow continued access the BMC won't lift a finger if someone wants to take a chainsaw saw to my trees. ?
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> Yes, that would set a fantastic precedent for any landowner who happened to have a sport crag of their land.

And what precedent would it set to simply ignore the fact that someone has done significant damage without permission, because, as Howard J puts it, they think their climbing takes priority over everything else?

The BMC cannot be seen to tacitly condone this behaviour.
Post edited at 12:16
Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Howard J:

> What is to be done about it should then be a matter for discussion between him and the BMC. For that, the law should always be the last resort - it's expensive and uncertain, and the main beneficiaries are lawyers. it's always better for these things to be settled by discussion and agreement, if possible. However these must take place against the legal background and with the possibility of legal action if agreement can't be reached.

It is, of course, possible that a criminal act has been committed (theft of timber, disturbance of protected species spring to mind) which reduces the uncertainty and cost of a civil action. That's why i recommended a session with the BMC's legal advisors at the outset.
And, to be fair to the BMC, they not only have their focus distracted but they currently don't have one of their 'field' access officers in the office. We've had responses from Dan Middleton, technical officer, as in 'breaking things' , and Alex Messenger, website and social media neither of whom have paid a site visit. It's no surprise we have no clear response yet.
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> is the moment we lose the ability to manage our own sport the way we as climbers collectively choose.

Where was the collective choice when one person decided to cut down the trees without seeking permission?
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> And what precedent would it set to simply ignore the fact that someone has done significant damage without permission, because, as Howard J puts it, they think their climbing takes priority over everything else?The BMC cannot be seen to tacitly condone this behaviour.

A poor one. But AFAIA that isn't what's happening either.
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

People seem to be missing the point here. The BMC has other pressing matters forced upon it at present. We need to make sure the right discussions take place and any resulting action taken. We should recourse to the law only as an absolute last resort.
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

I'm aware of the other calls on their time...

But someone had time to write that 'blog entry'. It would have been just as easy to make it clearly condemnatory of unauthorised action of this nature, on anyone's land, to make it clear that climbers are a responsible bunch, prepared to work with landowners.

Then go on to say we're a bit busy, and will get around to it after the AGM, assuming the MoNC fails...
Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

And thanks to so many people for their contributions and expressions of sorrow on this thread. Sure there are some differences but maybe British Climbing still has soul......
Andy Say - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Doghouse:

> The fact that Henry was "actually very impressed with the thorough nature of the job done." WTF! It shouldn't have been done in the first place whether it was 'impressively thorough' or not!

To be fair to Henry the killing of the trees HAS been done very effectively and professionally. A lot of effort has been put in to that.
roger whetton on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Marcus Tierney:

There are plenty of things in this world that might cause one to be "moved to Tears". Somehow I rather think that some activity at Aldery Cliff (be it good, bad or something in between) is not one of these. This debate seems to have become gripped by hysteria!
toad - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> To be fair to Henry the killing of the trees HAS been done very effectively and professionally. A lot of effort has been put in to that.

That's probably a specific offence in itself. I had to have a lot of training to kill stuff with chemicals without killing myself or other people, or even non target species
myserable old git - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:
It makes me wonder if the BMC can be trusted to own/maintain crags or whether the blazers are taking over despite the old name!
Post edited at 19:55
Ciro - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:
> People seem to be missing the point here. The BMC has other pressing matters forced upon it at present. We need to make sure the right discussions take place and any resulting action taken. We should recourse to the law only as an absolute last resort.

Agreed, however a simple statement that the BMC strongly condemns unauthorised clearance actions that could adversely impact local wildlife, and that it would consult with local conservation groups and the police to determine if an offence has been committed, could have been issued.

This would have acted as a deterrent to anyone considering similar actions, as well as giving the impression of an environmentally responsible organisation (as I hope they are!)

The failure to issue such condemnation, and instead praise the quality of the "work" that was done, gives the impression of an organisation that at best doesn't care, and at worst is pleased that someone relieved them of the obligation to put the welfare of nesting birds and bats before their land management plans.

Either way, I'm pretty disappointed with their response. I'm not currently a member, but as the representative body of a lot of UK climbers it reflects badly on our community.
Post edited at 20:04
Fruit on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

I accept that your description of climbing as a 'sport' may be innocent shorthand, but in my opinion things started to go downhill when climbing stopped being considered a pointless but rather jolly pastime and started to be thought of as a sport.
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Fruit:

> I accept that your description of climbing as a 'sport' may be innocent shorthand, but in my opinion things started to go downhill when climbing stopped being considered a pointless but rather jolly pastime and started to be thought of as a sport.

Clearly it's both.

And when I'm climbing I hope things won't go downhill until I've at least finished with the uphill bit ;-)
GrahamD - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> .. but the moment we resort to using the law to resolve what fundamentally is an internal matter, is the moment we lose the ability to manage our own sport the way we as climbers collectively choose.

I think this debacle adequately demonstrates that we have already lost the ability to manage. On our own crags FFS

john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> I think this debacle adequately demonstrates that we have already lost the ability to manage. On our own crags FFS

So a couple of people keep saying, though I think the online judgement, conviction and sentencing may have been somewhat hasty.
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

Are you suggesting the work was authorised? That would be the only excuse.

'Vigilante' work of this nature is inexcusable, whether or not it had already been considered.

We must work in cooperation with all landowners. We cannot take matters into our own hands like this.
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Are you suggesting the work was authorised?

Qué ?

People do random things for all sorts of misguided and selfish reasons, as well as for good ones. You can discourage but you can't prevent random acts. The best you can do is to take appropriate action afterwards, after reasonable consultation and consideration. I'm not convinced this course is not being followed, albeit more slowly than might otherwise be the case due to monumentally timewasting behaviour by other idiots elsewhere.

captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> You can discourage but you can't prevent random acts. The best you can do is to take appropriate action afterwards, after reasonable

No, that isn't the best you can do. You can also make it clear that such 'random acts' will not be tolerated. That's how you discourage people, by demonstrating that you will take punitive measures if necessary.

It is also about sending out the right message to the wider community, not just those who might commit 'random acts'.

I'm struggling to understand how you do not seem to be able to grasp this. Have you done this sort of 'random act' yourself?
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> No, that isn't the best you can do. You can also make it clear that such 'random acts' will not be tolerated. That's how you discourage people...

So you're suggesting something better than discouraging, which is ... er ... discouraging.

Glad you cleared that up: I was confused for a while there.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and presume the last part of your post was written in haste or after a few bevvies.
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

ps. There was apparently nothing 'random' about this act; by all accounts, it was well planned and well executed.

Regardless of whether it was good or bad (a matter of opinion, and open to sensible discussion), the fundamental point is the it was done apparently without permission of the landowner. I have no idea whether there had been any prior discussion about this action between the perpetrator and the landlord.

You yourself mentioned consensus. What is needed is for consultation, discussion and agreement to be reached between all interested parties. Not one vigilante taking it upon themselves to impose their will on everyone by taking unilateral action.
Big Ger - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> Yes, that would set a fantastic precedent for any landowner who happened to have a sport crag of their land.

It would set a precedence for the BMC. Also, if it does set a precedent for sports crags owners*, is it a bad one?



*Would it not set a precedent for trad crag owners?
captain paranoia - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to john arran:

> So you're suggesting something better than discouraging, which is ... er ... discouraging.

Your 'best you can do' did not mention discouragement. 'best' has a specific meaning in English.

Clearly, things have to be sorted out afterwards, but this must include discouragement.
john arran - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Your 'best you can do' did not mention discouragement.

Yeah, whatever. Good night.

olddirtydoggy - on 08 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Not sure if the BMC should be owning crags if they can't protect the natural balance of the properties. It's not just for climbers but also the natural habitat and wildlife. This kind of vandalism needs prosecution. I can't believe that the majority of the discussion rests on how this affects the quality of the climbing when there are much bigger issues here. Prosecute.
Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:
I don't see a BMC tone. Firstly, everyone seems to agree that the vigilante action was wrong. So far some Peak area activists have expressed one view on the detail of the work done and others have expressed the opposite. Maybe you are not aware of who is who in BMC activism.

I also don't know who Doghouse is or how well informed they are but they won't be as well informed as Henry, who is a major hero for the BMC with the massively extensive and highly effective volunteer access work he does (one of a few who will have read anything pertinent in detail) and so I think he deserves a better hearing than being slated from (a third party report of) what he says.

I like trees and in the end would normally favour loss of some climbs to save mature trees; if the crag situation was stable... at Aldery, in the case of some trees, it was not. Still, I was saddened by the initial BMC sanctioned work because some lovely mature trees were lost but thats as much an emotional response as anything. With logical planning for the future of the crag resource there is a balance to be struck. The current work looks serious (I'd trust several of those who have visited and expressed their concerns) but I'm holding fire until I know the full details. My brief contacts with the BMC staff on the matter (whilst I was on holiday) were reassuring in their tone and initial practicality.

Wherever we end up I hope we can all agree that any major work on BMC land, in the future, should be with BMC agreement.
Post edited at 09:02
olddirtydoggy - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Again, BMC politics, climbing ethics, meetings and whatever else are second to the fact an act of vandalism has taken place at a site of natural beauty. If this site was owned by the local council these people would be in court and they would be looking at suspended sentences, fines and a large community service, we're taking about a serious crimal record. Can the BMC not handle land management property? This has nothing whatsoever to do with climbing now.
jon on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Yep, bring back capital punishment.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I find it disturbing that the BMC have said the work was and is not not authorised. That they know who is doing it. That from what people have said the guy responsible is still going back to the site to continue his activities. If the BMC were serious in their disapproval they could just tell him to stop, ask him to leave the site when he is working there and make it clear he must not continue. This guy is not hiding his activities and his identity is known.
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Offwidth - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Yes there is an ongoing problem, as widely reported and the organisation will have to answer for how things end up. Yet there are only a handful of paid staff involved and a few volunteer committees who can't just drop everything to suit the needs of the "I want something done right now' brigade on the internet. Do you seriously think they haven't told the person(s) to desist?? The good thing about the internet is we all know it has happened.
Andy Say - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> I don't see a BMC tone.

Probably they don't actually know how to react?

> So far some Peak area activists have expressed one view on the detail of the work done and others have expressed the opposite.

From what I can gather Henry Folkard says the work has been 'done proper' and Neil Foster says it will all get better, without actually knowing or visiting the crag? And others have said off the record they like a crag that has been stripped.

> Maybe you are not aware of who is who in BMC activism.

That really smacks a bit of 'Do you know who I am, little man?' Henry Folkard has done enormous amounts for the BMC in the Peak: hero. But unless he positively approves (approved?) of the damage done I'm not sure it is relevant. I, and others, have no beef with Henry; our ire is directed at whoever has done the damage to this crag.

> I like trees and in the end would normally favour loss of some climbs to save mature trees; if the crag situation was stable... at Aldery, in the case of some trees, it was not...... Still, I was saddened by the initial BMC sanctioned work because some lovely mature trees were lost

I'm unclear what you are saying here. The survey identified trees that were threatening the stability of the crag and they 'had' to go? And the BMC approved the removal of trees and that work was undertaken with their knowledge? But someone has come along and done a load more that was not specified?

> Wherever we end up I hope we can all agree that any major work on BMC land, in the future, should be with BMC agreement.

How do we do that, then if it seems apparent that actions such as this produce a bit of handwringing by folks on the web and a pretty tritely humorous response on the BMC site and nothing else.

I remember being involved in a site visit with Dave Turnbull (more years ago than he probably cares to remember) at Woodhouse Scar. Someone had gone mental with a chainsaw there (but nothing as extreme as this current case) and the local Countryside service was hopping mad. Rare moths, protected trees, criminal charges, etc. They were proper pissed. I mean PROPER.
Andy Say - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

You know...I am beginning to wonder if, after the survey report went to the Land Management Group, someone was quietly asked if they couldn't just pop down and remove a couple of trees whilst no-one was looking. And it all got very, very out of hand.
And, after the recent posting, I'm also very unclear about what was 'approved' and done under BMC auspices and what was a 'lone wolf' operation.
olddirtydoggy - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

So should the BMC be buying crags?
drysori - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

>From what I can gather Henry Folkard says the work has been 'done proper' and Neil Foster says it will all get better, without actually knowing or visiting the crag?

Both Henry and Neil had visited the crag prior to the BMC Area meet.

Where you seem to think you're being belittled I read "Here's why Henry's opinion should carry some weight", which is relevant.
Andy Say - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to drysori:

It's OK. I don't feel belittled
Big Ger - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> That really smacks a bit of 'Do you know who I am, little man?'

Ronnie Pickering?
Dave Garnett - on 09 Apr 2017
In reply to olddirtydoggy:
> So should the BMC be buying crags?

I do see that there's a bit of a problem with this. If you are a landowner with a crag or quarry on your land and you are worried about your liability should something unpleasant befall someone, you can, in accordance with the Mines and Quarries Act, put a fence round it and put up a few notices telling people that it's dangerous and that they should keep out. If someone chooses to hop over the fence to climb and ends up under a big loose block, they can't say they weren't warned.

If you are an organisation dedicated to encouraging climbing and access to crags and you buy a disused quarry with, inevitably, a few loose flakes and some mature trees that, in the fullness of time, might just possibly lever off a few more, what do you do? Normally you are very comfortable persuading other landowners to be more tolerant of climbers and reassuring them that we have a fairly grown-up attitude to assessing risk and accepting the consequences ( as well as being, in general, pretty conservation-minded).

However, now it could be argued you are explicitly providing a climbing venue and that, by implication, it's fit for that purpose. Far from fencing and discouraging you are actively encouraging. You can try to rationalise it with all that stuff about voluntary acceptance of risk and individual responsibility but you probably have lawyers saying that's all very well but when somebody is killed and their dependants have no option but to try and get compensation from somewhere, they will probably start with you. You may be able to get a certain amount of insurance, but perhaps the insurers will also insist on you doing all you reasonably can to mitigate your (their) exposure.

You can see how all this might start to take a bit of the fun out of it. You might start to develop a slightly more risk averse attitude. You might ask for geotechnical survey and, if you do and it makes recommendations about how you could reduced the risk (as it certainly will), you might feel obliged to err on the side of caution. Of course, it's a bit of a moot point whether a leaving a tree that just might cause a problem a decade or more later carries more or less risk than putting in a fixed belay that certainly will fail at some point in the future unless you undertake to maintain and replace it appropriately but it's a bit awkward once you have been told, in writing, that there is some level of risk and you don't do something about it. People whose job it is to minimise risk tend not to be very comfortable with just leaving things alone and assuming the public will be sensible in the way they behave and reasonable if the worst happens.
Post edited at 22:18
Offwidth - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:
Quite a rant Andy, though given all your snipes and jokes on recent serious BMC matters it's hard to take it seriously. Show me one person speaking for this vigilante action. Its certainly not me, I took a break from my holiday to try and sort out what the hell was going on and ensuring a proportionate response was in order (with crag safety a priority)

My main point about BMC involvement is that despite the impression a poster gave from UKC posts of the 'BMC' seemigly supporting this action most BMC volunteers who posted seemed clearly against all the recent vigilante work and the remainder were against the vigilante action and possibly more neutral on the long term effects of the unwelcome work on the crag. The delicious irony is one of those BMC volunteers obviously against the work I was referring to was you. It's a fact not everyone knows who is who here and it's anything but pompous to point that out.

The actual BMC as an organisation haven't said much yet (news link below) apart from the work was unauthorised and hasn't been fully safety checked as yet. In responding to this situation 'the BMC' are a few relevent committees of volunteers and a handful of paid staff (some of whom are on holiday) and what they can do immediately is limited... you need to watch fewer Hollywood revenge movies where the President puts a team on a stealth drop mission (with metaphorical pitchforks) within hours ....and get back to the real world and wait.

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/aldery-cliff-update

Really sad to see your apparent repeat of smears of fellow volunteers at the Peak meeting who (from what Im told by third parties) didn't say what you imply they did and certainly did visit the crag before commenting on the matter. All I can think is that this has upset you so much you are not thinking straight.

I co-wrote Woodhouse Scar for the recent YMC guide, it is a better climbing crag for the loss of those trees (ages back now) but if it had gone to an area consultation I might have voted to keep them (dependant on age and species... young Birch are nothing special ecologically there), tree hugger that I am. I have cut back gorse and brambles and cleared tons of litter. Most volunteers associated with the BMc are similarly good folk but the BMC certainty isn't responsible for the actions of any fool who climbs and wields a saw.
Post edited at 02:10
jkarran - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> Jk, i remember putting slings round trees as runners on some of those routes in the early 70's. And they weren't saplings then So 70 years minimum for regrowth? Not that they will be allowed to regrow.

I don't suppose they will regrow as they were, not in our lifetimes anyway but soil, trees and plants will return, many in the next couple of weeks. Mature trees are lovely but they are also powerful earth-movers, I've only been a few times over the years but the crag was notably less stable on my last visit, to the point where I wasn't at all comfortable. This might not have been the way we'd have wanted to see them felled but some of them at least needed dealing with. As for new trees, it's 'our' land as climbers, it's a choice we make whether saplings are allowed to get re-established and where.
jk
Dave Garnett - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> Most volunteers associated with the BMc are similarly good folk but the BMC certainty isn't responsible for the actions of any fool who climbs and wields a saw.

I agree with a lot of what you say but somehow the scope and thoroughness of what's been done does not look, to me, like the action of any fool who climbs and wields a saw.

petellis - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> I don't suppose they will regrow as they were, not in our lifetimes anyway but soil, trees and plants will return, many in the next couple of weeks. Mature trees are lovely but they are also powerful earth-movers, I've only been a few times over the years but the crag was notably less stable on my last visit, to the point where I wasn't at all comfortable. This might not have been the way we'd have wanted to see them felled but some of them at least needed dealing with. As for new trees, it's 'our' land as climbers, it's a choice we make whether saplings are allowed to get re-established and where.jk

Quite, at the end of the day crags are temporary anomalies. We do actually have to be quite rough with some of them in order to keep them climbable. I imagine all the trees left of the crag are still alive and well.
Dave Garnett - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to petellis:

> Quite, at the end of the day crags are temporary anomalies.

Not as temporary as us. On that basis we don't need to concern ourselves about conservation, global warming or anything else!
petellis - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> Not as temporary as us.

Half of it fell down a few years back...

> On that basis we don't need to concern ourselves about conservation, global warming or anything else!

I don't really follow your line of reasoning.

I think the thread is about a few trees at a crag, If the geology report said they were making the crag unstable then its the trees or the crag; pick one.

TobyA on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to buxtoncoffeelover:

Hi BCL, didn't you say that this work has been going on for 6 months? It's odd that no one noticed it happening earlier if that is the case.
Dave Garnett - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to petellis:

> I think the thread is about a few trees at a crag, If the geology report said they were making the crag unstable then its the trees or the crag; pick one.

Actually, if that were the situation, then, subject to it being done at the right time of year and restricted to trees where it was a real issue, I would reluctantly support it. A bit of prior publicity explaining why it was necessary, how it would be done to minimise the conservation impact and, ideally, what extra conservation measures were being undertaken to compensate, and all of this fuss might have been avoided.

Clearly that isn't what happened, the BMC is clear that it wasn't involved and there's the small issue of the bolts.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to petellis:

> Half of it fell down a few years back...I don't really follow your line of reasoning. I think the thread is about a few trees at a crag, If the geology report said they were making the crag unstable then its the trees or the crag; pick one.

Except none of the work was done in line with the report was it? It was done without BMC approval.
Hat Dude on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Haven't had a chance to reply until now and other people have chipped in before me.

> "Maybe you are not aware of who is who in BMC activism."

Perhaps it wasn't meant to but that does come across as "we know what's best for you"

Maybe you're not aware of who's who among grassroots climbers who may be a bit bimbly but have been dedicated to climbing for most of their life and care just as much as anybody about anything relating to it.

I have the utmost respect and gratitude to people such as Henry Folkard they do a huge amount of unsung good work on our behalf, however that doesn't mean they are always automatically right.








Stu Tyrrell on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

Also, could we all give the BMC time to sort it out, stop all work now and then we can all have a proper say.

This is private land, so should be easy to stop anyone from trespass etc.

If they don't stop then that is another matter.
buxtoncoffeelover - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Indeed Toby. Work was already well underway in early September 2016 when I first met the couple of chaps who were 'tidying up' the tree, soil & loose rock (some of which I rehoused) to the right of Surface Plate area. We chatted briefly about their plans/progress & BMC ownership of the place. I was surprised at the extent of the clearance when next there in March - lots more rock visible. Rather like our garden after Mrs Coffeelover has done the post-winter tidying up/pruning/cutting back. I won't be surprised if the vegetation recovers pretty quickly. I am somewhat surprised at the anger that has been raised by these actions, & by the number of Aldery devotees - I thought it was another old limestone quarry such as Harpur Hill, Horseshoe, Intake, Halldale etc.....& have never had any company when climbing there. How wrong was I ?!!?
Offwidth - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:
My response was to the quote "why then does the general tone of response from the BMC angle seem to favour the "vigilante" action.". My view on this is that it is not simply true: more BMC volunteer activists that I know (including Andy) were posting in anger than the two reports back from the area meeting (spun to sound supportive to the vigilante action, when as far as I can tell from independent people at the meeting they were no such thing). What grassroots climbers have to do with this is beyond me.
Post edited at 15:30
Dave Garnett - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to buxtoncoffeelover:
> I thought it was another old limestone quarry such as Harpur Hill, Horseshoe, Intake, Halldale etc.....& have never had any company when climbing there. How wrong was I ?!!?

How could you lump lovely little and, until very recently, successfully rewilded, Aldery Cliff in with those other blasted industrial wastelands?! Actually, Intake is OK and has some beautiful orchids, even if whole walls fall down occasionally.

Of course, there is one other important difference between Aldery and all the others you mention...
Post edited at 15:43
Hat Dude on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

My comment about the tone was because on both the BMC website report and on this thread by the chair of the area committee, the comment regarding the "high" standard of work done was given prominence.

> What grassroots climbers have to do with this is beyond me.

This comment smacks of an arrogant position that only certain people's opinion is valid.
We are all "activists" grassroots climbers have everything to do with it (especially as I gather from friends who were at Aldery on the Sunday before last, that a few grass roots are now needed at the top to stop the soil getting washed down the crag).




Offwidth - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

Yeah right, real positive tone from the chair:

"It seemed so crazy that I kept checking whether or not it was April Fools...Standard practise with virtually all major crag clean ups, at least in my mind, would be to consult the local area and/or the landowner - if only to gain consent and cover your back. Seeing as the BMC own the crag in the current set of circumstances, it seems doubly obvious and all the more easy to do so."

In the second post he was putting both sides of the argument on the quality of the work done not supporting the action. including:
"On that other side, there is undoubtedly strong feeling against what has been done on several grounds, not least because of the lack of consultation (which we are addressing), but also because of the bolting (which we are looking into) and tree removal (which does appear to have been recommended as work required, albeit not directly sanctioned in this case)."

I still haven't the faintest idea what you are on about with this grassroots stuff. My comments were only were to counter your unfair depiction of any "BMC tone" when other posters might not realise exactly who was a BMC volunteer activist here.
Andy Say - on 10 Apr 2017
In reply to Offwidth:
> Quite a rant Andy, though given all your snipes and jokes on recent serious BMC matters it's hard to take it seriously.

Apologies if it came across as a rant. I didn't think i was particularly having a go at anybody. And I'm uncomfortable you don't think I'm serious about this action.

> All I can think is that this has upset you so much you are not thinking straight.

That of course is possible

> I co-wrote Woodhouse Scar for the recent YMC guide, it is a better climbing crag for the loss of those trees (ages back now) but if it had gone to an area consultation I might have voted to keep them.

But of course it didn't, it was unilateral with no discussion. Bit like this, really. And it was the oaks that especially hacked of the wardens.
Post edited at 19:32
EarlyBird - on 12 Apr 2017
Quick update: I climbed at Aldery last night with Buxton MC on a scheduled Tuesday night meet - our Secretary chaired a discussion with club members in the pub following the meet and will channel our collective response to the BMC via a letter.

A personal observation - as I feared the bolt abseil stations that have replaced natural anchors above Mitre Crack and Surface Plate are the only viable options for descent - without scrambling to the top of the crag - as the trees have been virtually obliterated. Another club member made the observation that it appeared the trees had been removed in such a way as to "protect the bolts".
GrahamD - on 12 Apr 2017
In reply to EarlyBird:

> - as I feared the bolt abseil stations that have replaced natural anchors above Mitre Crack and Surface Plate are the only viable options for descent - without scrambling to the top of the crag - as the trees have been virtually obliterated. Another club member made the observation that it appeared the trees had been removed in such a way as to "protect the bolts".

So more in the way of lower offs / top rope anchors than bolt belays then. Quelle surprise

Dave Garnett - on 12 Apr 2017
In reply to EarlyBird:
> Another club member made the observation that it appeared the trees had been removed in such a way as to "protect the bolts".

That was my impression too. I haven't tried it yet but it seemed to me that we might be left in the ridiculous position of having to arrange a fixed rope to get to the top in some places. I scrambled down to one of the belays and it didn't feel at all comfortable with the newly exposed rock and sawn off trees.
Post edited at 18:20
In reply to Richc:
Thanks for all the comments on this. Just to reiterate that the "work" here has not been approved, sanctioned or consented in any way by the BMC. The BMC or the local Area had not been approached or consulted on this work and no staff or members of the Land Management Group were complicit in any way with this work. We were unaware of this work until a couple of weeks ago and due to key staff being on annual leave we have not yet had the opportunity to fully investigate the situation. Although we have a process in place of having regular formal inspections of BMC owned/managed crag, we have to be realistic in only having one full time and one part time officer for all crag access and land management issues for England and Wales and we rely on local climbers and volunteers to be our "eyes and ears" on the ground when issues occur. For some reason this did not happen here and we will be looking at our processes to see how this can be improved. The Land Management Group will be meeting at Aldery in a few days and have already suggested that some formal BMC action, possibly involving other agencies may be needed.

Elfyn Jones
BMC Access & Conservation Officer
Post edited at 09:49
toad - on 13 Apr 2017
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

I'm very pleased to hear this. I'm still not convinced "vigilante caretaker" was appropriate language, but this is a step in the right direction.
Andy Say - on 14 Apr 2017
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Elfyn, thanks for that. We all DO appreciate the work the access officers do.
My, personal, concern is that this action has been 'inflicted' on a BMC managed crag with, apparently, no consultation or approval. Imagine if it was a privately owned crag......
duchessofmalfi - on 15 Apr 2017
The bolts have to go - if that means some routes are unclimbable then so be it.

The vigilante gardener shouldn't have vandalized the trees that protected them. If the bolts are left, it simply rewards / validates their antisocial behavior.
Michael Hood - on 15 Apr 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

Agreed, if the topouts require real trad skills then so be it. The fact that this is a roadside crag should not mean that it has to be convenience climbing.
johncook - on 16 Apr 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

Hopefully the BMC LMG on their site visit will agree with you and get rid of the bolts.
I look forward to their reports on the 'clean-up' and the quality of the bolts.
They still have to go!
Bugger! Said I wouldn't post on this thread again! Sorry.
Andy Say - on 16 Apr 2017
In reply to duchessofmalfi:
> The bolts have to go - if that means some routes are unclimbable then so be it. The vigilante gardener shouldn't have vandalized the trees that protected them. If the bolts are left, it simply rewards / validates their antisocial behavior.

I agree. If they weren't needed before, they aren't needed now.

Interesting how many 'dislikers' are out against the removal
Post edited at 17:32
jon on 16 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> Interesting how many 'dislikers' are out against the removal

I think they're probably bemused at the hysteria, Andy
Chambers - on 16 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

This is why there shouldn't be a BMC.
Dave Garnett - on 17 Apr 2017
In reply to Chambers:

> This is why there shouldn't be a BMC.

That's a bit extreme, although as I argued earlier, the BMC owning crags can create conflicts that I think should be discussed.

On the other hand, if the BMC hadn't bought it, there might have both been no climbing access and the landowner might have chopped the trees and turned it onto a landfill tip.
Kipper - on 17 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Popped up today - the earnest gardener still seems to be at work; clearing loose rock from half way up it looked like today.

The Quiet Woman is as interesting as I remembered; still got ashtrays on all the tables
johncook - on 17 Apr 2017
In reply to Kipper:

Inform the BMC, by e-mail, urgently! He was supposed to have stopped I believe.
Kipper - on 17 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

> Inform the BMC....

About the ashtrays?
johncook - on 17 Apr 2017
In reply to Kipper:

That as well.
Andy Say - on 18 Apr 2017
In reply to Kipper:

Registration number? Vehicle?
DubyaJamesDubya - on 22 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

Since the person is well known to the BMC it's not necessary.
Andy Say - on 23 Apr 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:

Well I am intrigued. Apparently the BMC land management group is to have a site meeting soon. And they now know who it is.
My personal view is that the bolts come out. Nothing to do about the trees now; they are gone.
johncook - on 23 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

It is possible 'other agencies' may be involved in the land management visit.
Who ever 'other agencies' are and what powers they hold is anyones' guess!
The bolts do have to go, but let the land management committee make that decision and implement it! (I would hate to be caught with a hammer and crowbar and be accused of damaging the environment!)
We wait in hope.
Hopefully it will be soon now the MONC farce is over.
Big Ger - on 23 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

I do hope someone is turning this thread, and sad sorry event, into at least an article, if not a short story...

It's got it all, evil-chainsaw-wielding- villain, heroes, an agency taken by surprised faffing about like a headless chook, environmental damage, political betrayal, all it needs next is a love interest!
johncook - on 23 Apr 2017
In reply to Big Ger:
I love Aldery Cliff!
Sorted.
Post edited at 22:32
Andy Say - on 23 Apr 2017
In reply to johncook:

I love it as well. There: we have the classic love triangle.

Who will Aldery choose? How will the quarry know who is Mr Right? Will she get drilled again.....?
FactorXXX - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

Who will Aldery choose? How will the quarry know who is Mr Right?

Form an aldery queue please!
Dave Garnett - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> I love it as well. There: we have the classic love triangle.

As well as the American death triangle.

mmmhumous on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:
Sadly no love triangle, but here are the some thoughts after our club's visit last week. Sadly no camera with me, so have had reused some of Andy's snaps (hope you don't mind).

http://camsclimbingclub.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/aldery-cliff-climbing-wall-good-bad-and.html
Post edited at 12:57
Dave Garnett - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to mmmhumous:

A very balanced and well-researched summary. I agree with the conclusions too.

Most of all, I object to the whole fait accompli strategy employed here, which means it may well now turn out that the most sensible solution does involve bolting one or more of the belays that were perfectly adequate before the removal of the trees.

It seems clear to me that all the rings need to be removed immediately pending a full safety inspection.

I also noticed a couple of drilled placements at about head height (at the foot of Ash Tree Arete, from memory) with threaded studs but no rings or hangers. Maybe they were used during the excavations.
MJAngry on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Most people seem to jumped to the conclusion that the bolts have been put in as replacement belays / lower offs, but looking at the above report and knowing that those bolt types are used for working at height as apposed to climbing bolts designed for impacts, perhaps they were installed to protect the guys doing the work rather than for your climbing enjoyment (I'm unlikely to ever climb there).
johncook - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to mmmhumous:

You missed the bolts at the top of mitre cracks, and the staples to the left of the top of janbaloo (8ft from the janbaloo monstrosities!)
toad - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Did anyone ever contact Natural England or the Derbyshire Bat group about the possible disturbance to a bat roost? I considered it at the time, but in the end didn't bother as I didn't know the site well enough to make an assessment.
Andy Say - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to mmmhumous:

Good post. And feel free to use the pics!
Dave Garnett - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to MJAngry:

> Most people seem to jumped to the conclusion that the bolts have been put in as replacement belays / lower offs,

Well, certainly the people belaying on and lowering off them over the Easter weekend had jumped to that conclusion.

johncook - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to toad:

Wish you had.
fire_munki on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to Richc:

Now I'm in no place to comment on the work carried out as I'm far too southern to see it in person, but if as described there are bat roosts there, then the BMC can't decide to just not report it to the authorities.

They are a protected species, you have to be licensed to handle/count/disturb them, and it doesn't matter if you've decided to let the perpetrators off the hook for cutting down your trees and adding bolts but you don't have the option to let them off that hook.
Ron Rees Davies - on 24 Apr 2017
In reply to fire_munki:

Just the fact that Bat roost disturbance has been suggested should now trigger reporting the incident to the police.

"The BMC is uniquely placed in being both a representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers as well as an outdoor environmental campaigning organisation."

As an environmental campaigning charity any suggestion of wildlife crime on BMC property should be taken extremely seriously and any investigation should NOT be by the BMC itself.
Simon Caldwell - on 25 Apr 2017
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

Is there definitely a bat roost there? I know that they are sometimes to be found inside Mitre Crack, but that's not the same thing.
Dave Garnett - on 25 Apr 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/modules/RAD/View.aspx?id=329

"Bats have been known to roost in Mitre Crack, usually between April/May. It is very obvious when they are present due to the noisy chattering coming from the depths of the crack - please avoid this route when the bats are present"
johncook - on 25 Apr 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

There have been bats in Mitre Cracks (just above the first big zig zag) for the last four years to my knowledge (2012 to 2016) I came back from the USA in Dec 2011 so I don't know about previous years. They were also in the Cardinal just where the corner crack gets wide for the last couple of years.
It would be a shame if they had been scared away by the work.
It is noted in the guidebook and on here that they roost there in April and May.
johncook - on 28 Apr 2017
In reply to Alex Messenger, BMC:

Now the (expensive and irritating) farce of the MONC has been dealt with, (obviously there will be some aftermath damage to clear up), when will the LMG be visiting Aldery and will the members (and other concerned people) be allowed to see their report, and any follow up actions!
I tried to avoid getting too emotional, both on here and at the Peak Area meeting, but this whole fiasco does not cast the BMC in a good environmental light, and as a result the BMC should be taking a pretty hard stance on what people do on their land and the land of others even if that means involving the police, re the bats and the rest of the flora and fauna.
I look forward to seeing the report and hope it happens quickly.
johncook - on 28 Apr 2017
In reply to Elfyn Jones BMC Cymru/Wales:

Please see my comment posted a couple of hours ago.
(posted from my sickbed on the first decent climbing day this week! Bugger!)
Toerag - on 28 Apr 2017
rich.harvey - on 04 May 2017
Andy Say - on 04 May 2017
In reply to rich.harvey:

Good. A strong statement of condemnation. Shame the trees have gone forever.
Offwidth - on 04 May 2017
In reply to rich.harvey:

Very sensible looking report and sadly pretty much as I expected. People need to take care with belays back to trees on the crag top... static ropes probably needed and great care not to dislodge loose stuff in places.
Dave Garnett - on 04 May 2017
In reply to rich.harvey:

Yes, a robustly worded statement but 'incomprehensible' is right. 'Irresponsible', 'reprehensible' and 'contrary to the Wildlife and Countryside Act' also come to mind.

I'm also left with the uncomfortable feeling that we are going to end up with bolts as the solution as well as the unsightly and previously unnecessary via ferrata. In short, a real mess.
johncook - on 04 May 2017
In reply to rich.harvey:
It says in the statement that a technical report on the 'fixed' equipment is attached. Unfortunately I can't find it. Is it me who is missing it or are we still waiting for it.
At least this is a strong statement of condemnation, explaining that the work is far beyond what was planned or needed.
There are unfortunately no environmental impact statements, eg are the bats still in residence?
Hope the bolts are gone soon. There are alternatives although some are a bit awkward.
Here's hoping that the vegetation makes the speedy recovery people suggested it would and that saplings are allowed to grow on some routes.
Wonder if the culprit has offered to make a payment for the substantial amount of firewood etc he has acquired!
Post edited at 20:43
Big Ger - on 05 May 2017
In reply to rich.harvey:

> uses components made from multiple types of metal which will speed up the corrosion process (indeed rust was already observed formed on some components)

Dear God...
fred99 - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Offwidth,
I've been to Aldery a number of times, but I cannot be sure just how much space there is on BMC land at the top.
Is it possible for large boulders to be placed there - so that the larger slings (or ropes) could be used for belaying at the top - in the same way that it has been done at some sea cliffs where corrosion on stakes can be rather worryingly dangerous.
Obviously to get the boulders there would require access across the neighbours property, but it would be a one-off.
Living where I do going to a Peak Area meeting is a no-go, but possibly this option could be investigated, as if it is possible, it would be visually in keeping with the surroundings, and not require regular replacement as would stakes.
GrahamD - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Robustly worded but entirely toothless. Reminds me of a Mr Baraclough style rebuke.
FactorXXX - on 05 May 2017
In reply to rich.harvey:

BMC statement from today: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/bmc-position-statement-aldery-cliff

I assume that the BMC have notified other potentially interested parties and that their investigations are still ongoing?
Coel Hellier - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Why the refusal to name and shame this person?
Hat Dude on 05 May 2017
In reply to Richc:

The position statement is fine until the section regarding the perpetrators, I felt the rebuke was nowhere near strong enough though I would be a bit uncomfortable with "naming and shaming" given the nastiness that this can unleash.

What steps are actually being taken to remove the bolts? I would think that having issued the technical report condemning the type of bolts, the BMC would be in an extremely difficult legal position should, god forbid, an accident
happen involving the bolts.
Chris the Tall - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

> Why the refusal to name and shame this person?

"The individual responsible has been identified and requested to desist. He has agreed to do so."
" It (the BMC) is prepared to accept that the individual was well-intentioned albeit misguided. "

I'd be pretty uncomfortable if the BMC adopted a name and shame approach in any circumstances, but my guess is that this guy has be actively tidying this crag for over a decade and whilst he has undoubtedly been "over-zealous" this time, climbers (though possibly not nature) have benefited from his previous efforts.

I think it's more important to look forward and decide what to do about the lack of belays in certain places. Clearly the BMC can't leave bolts it knows to be dodgy in it's own crag and merely putting a warning up on it's website isn't enough. But let's be realistic - most climbers won't pre-place a rope for the belay and will use what they can, including the dodgy handrail.

So presumably at the next area meeting we'll be discussing the replacement of the belay bolts with BMC approved ones - should be interesting and at least it makes a change from the name change or the MONC.

Rob - we're gonna need a bigger room !
GrahamD - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> Clearly the BMC can't leave bolts it knows to be dodgy in it's own crag ...

Clearly the BMC can't leave bolts at a trad venue, period. I hope, but doubt, that any costs of removal fall to the perpetrator and not the membership.
Dan Middleton, BMC - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Hat Dude:

> What steps are actually being taken to remove the bolts?

We removed 2 belays already, the rest should be done in the next week or so. Warning signs are currently in place. Specialist tools are needed to remove the remainder, hence the slight delay.
Chris the Tall - on 05 May 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> Clearly the BMC can't leave bolts at a trad venue, period.

I hope we can have a sensible, non-dogmatic discussion about this limestone quarry at the next area meeting

Given that its an excellent venue it is for low-grade trad (I really must get back there soon) I would strongly oppose protection bolts, and wouldn't be too keen on lower-off bolts, but I have no problems with bolt belays on trad routes.
Coel Hellier - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I hope we can have a sensible, non-dogmatic discussion about this limestone quarry at the next area meeting

Is there a possibility of putting in belay stakes where the trees were? There is precedent for stakes being acceptable in trad venues (e.g. Pembroke and various grit quarries).
Dave Garnett - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I would strongly oppose protection bolts, and wouldn't be too keen on lower-off bolts, but I have no problems with bolt belays on trad routes.

I think the problem is that it's been engineered so that lowering off may be the only practical solution in some cases. Certainly that seems to have been the intention.

I need to get there and try out the top-outs when I get back to UK. I'll just have to make do with Tahquitz this weekend...
GrahamD - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I hope we can have a sensible, non-dogmatic discussion about this limestone quarry at the next area meeting

And in the meantime, lets get it back to its previously agreed position of not having bolts. Otherwise the precedence becomes pretty clear. Place bolts with impunity anywhere you like, then talk about it afterwards.
fred99 - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> I think the problem is that it's been engineered so that lowering off may be the only practical solution in some cases. Certainly that seems to have been the intention.

So has this person successfully changed the whole ethos at this crag ?
And was this with the deliberate intention of making it easier for "professionals" to take beginners there ?

If so, I'd not be happy if this person was ever allowed to benefit from his actions - a ban on his presence at this (and any other BMC) crag in future might be worth thinking about.
Howard J - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

I agree that to name and shame would only provoke a witch-hunt. I'm also willing to believe that the person was over-zealous and misguided, rather than having an ulterior motive. However I would like to ask about restitution - his actions have caused considerable damage to a valued climbing area, one moreover which is owned by the BMC on our behalf, and this has taken up the BMC's time and resources. No doubt more work by the BMC will be required to deal with the bolts and reinstate the damage, so far as this is possible. Since this person is apparently so keen to work there, he should be required to assist with this work (under supervision of course).

Andy Say - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I hope we can have a sensible, non-dogmatic discussion about this trad. crag at the next area meeting.

Fixed that for you. 'Limestone Quarry' is a semi-open door nowadays
fire_munki on 05 May 2017
In reply to Richc:

No comment from the BMC about the disturbance of a protected species either, which may not mean much in one site but if everyone ignores bats/birds/whatever wherever they want then that is not good.
Andy Say - on 05 May 2017
In reply to Richc:

When I was there taking my pics with Dave Garnett there were still two big root systems at the top of the crag with static rope round them with clips on. Still there? Or were they placed for the demolition and subsequently removed?
Ron Rees Davies - on 05 May 2017
In reply to fire_munki:


>>No comment from the BMC about the disturbance of a protected species

I haven't had a response to an email I sent to BMC office, but the general view being taken seems to be "We know where the bats are and we are sure they weren't really disturbed".

This may well be true: I don't know the crag and have no idea if bats were disturbed in the unauthorised actions at the crag.

However, if the situation was one of a landowner saying "We know where the Hen Harriers are and we're sure they weren't really poisoned/shot/trapped" I for one would be very sceptical and would want an independent report to confirm that no wildlife crime had taken place.

In general (e.g. Hen Harrier scenarios) if it turns out that a wildlife crime has occurred without an identifiable responsible person I am strongly in favour of "vicarious liability".

If bats were disturbed and the perpetrator is not to be named, there seems little difference in the Aldery case, and as a BMC member I find that quite a difficult scenario.
Chris the Tall - on 06 May 2017
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

I think a sense of perspective is required here - the bats have been cohabiting with climbers on this crag for many years. I presume the advice for Mitre crack is still the same as it was 15 years ago - don't put your fingers in the crack near the bats - neither of you will enjoy the experience. But climbers have never been told to avoid the buttress or even the route - just be aware of the fact that bats might be there and give them a little space (which was pretty easy iirc).

It seems that many people would like some retribution against this person, but exaggerating his deeds in order to get the police involved doesn't seem like a sensible approach
Dave Garnett - on 06 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

> I think a sense of perspective is required here - the bats have been cohabiting with climbers on this crag for many years.

I'm furious not only with what has been done but when it was done, with no consideration of wildlife, specially protected or not. The bats may not have been seriously disturbed, it's the fact that the person involved either didn't know or simply didn't care about the possible consequences of what they were doing.

That said, I agree that nothing is really to be gained by over-reacting at this stage. Very little can be done in the short term to repair the environmental damage and stirring up legal issues now won't help. The bolt issue is being dealt with (I hope). I would like to ensure that, while we're at it, we come up with less intrusive and more effective safety solution for the descent - the cable is useless and a better fence and/or a knotted rope is what's required.
GrahamD - on 06 May 2017
In reply to Chris the Tall:

It's not retribution. It's a clear indication that the BMC are serious about land management to dissuade the next idiot from hacking trees and putting bolts in at Tremadog. At the moment the response to anyone wanting to do it is, well nothing really. At least they should be pursued for the costs of any remedial work
mmmhumous on 09 May 2017
In reply to Richc:

I hadn't considered the placing boulders as belays in my post: http://camsclimbingclub.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/aldery-cliff-climbing-wall-good-bad-and.html , but given the pile of boulders at RHS of the base of the crag assuming there are some decent sized blocks, this could be a neat way of making the best of a bad situation.

ashtond6 - on 09 May 2017
In reply to mmmhumous:

iii. Replacing the bolts with slots for trad gear.

Amazing
johncook - on 10 May 2017
In reply to ashtond6:

On most of the routes the tops have gear placements for anchors (at the top of clothesline/surface plate there are several excellent placements.) Unfortunately they are not at the top of the cliff and the climb out up (the now disintegrating) steep banks is not easy. Most of these routes tops had an anchor for ab descent placed around trees (they were often stolen!) but all these trees have now been felled. The tree anchors have been replaced with badly installed unsuitable bolts, which are in the process of removal. At the top of surface place the bolt anchors are within a couple of feet of great natural gear placements.
The top banking is now starting to destabilise in places which after rain will make the routes dirty.
Not a good job and now irreversible! Shame!
Andy Say - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Richc:

Well I won't see the benefit in my lifetime but I'd suggest the BMC plants some trees!
Lusk - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> ... nothing is really to be gained by over-reacting at this stage.

Having seen the quarry a few weeks ago, and reading some of the reports on this thread, I think that prosecuting this individual for criminal damage and theft isn't over-reacting at all. As opposed to "You've been a naughty boy, don't do it again."
The place has been ruined.
GrahamD - on 10 May 2017
In reply to Lusk:

Remembering also that the BMC manage Bwich y Moch at Tremadog.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Toerag - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

> Well I won't see the benefit in my lifetime but I'd suggest the BMC plants some trees!

I dunno, in 20 years they should be big enough to belay off. Trees I planted 28 years ago already have trunks bigger than my torso.
stubbed on 11 May 2017
In reply to Lusk:

I am reading it as if what happened is that the BMC actually knew the individual and they knew about the work in a vague way all along, but with some miscommunication.

I.e. they had said to him 'please keep an eye on the crag and keep it tidy' meaning just clear of loose vegetation, but the individual took it to mean cutting down trees and all the rest of it, then putting up bolts because there was no lower off. Then the BMC were like, no, we didn't mean go that far, but because instructions were a bit vague (and he was a volunteer helping out) they can't now say that it is criminal damage.

I think the BMC possibly learnt a lesson here. Remember this volunteer probably does other work for the BMC too.

Personally though, I cannot see why anyone thought it was going to be ok to remove trees and replace them with bolts in a limestone quarry (one where I did my first lead climbs). The bolts should be removed or it will turn into Horseshoe quarry which is a hole.
Andy Say - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Toerag:

I'm 65 this year. So they'd better be quick growers.
johncook - on 11 May 2017
In reply to Andy Say:

I am older than that and I intend to around to see the new trees!
Stu Tyrrell on 11 May 2017
In reply to Richc:

The crux of the matter is, whats done is done, now we need the BMC to make the top safe, one way or the other, lets leave it to them to sort out whoever it was and make sure it never happens again.
GrahamD - on 12 May 2017
In reply to Stu Tyrrell:

> The crux of the matter is, whats done is done, now we need the BMC to make the top safe, one way or the other, lets leave it to them to sort out whoever it was and make sure it never happens again.

Whereas I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, I can't for the life of me see what is being done that will discourage it happening again, here or more worryingly at more prestigeous BMC crags. It really does look like a scene from Porridge with a helpless Mr Baraclough saying "now please stop it at once"
Stu Tyrrell on 12 May 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

> Whereas I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, I can't for the life of me see what is being done that will discourage it happening again, here or more worryingly at more prestigeous BMC crags. It really does look like a scene from Porridge with a helpless Mr Baraclough saying "now please stop it at once"

I agree, but lets give them the chance this time to sort it out, they MIGHT shock us.......

Its about 20 years since I climbed there, so I cant say to much, but remember the walk of was a bit slippery and needed something doing. Now The BMC own the land, they could do something, not sure what - Knotted Rope?


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