/ Too many cairns.

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tripehound - on 15 Jul 2017
What are peoples opinion of multiple cairns on our mountains? Some of the more popular peaks have rows of cairns, some of them only 12ft or so apart marking the footpaths. Do you think they are an eyesore and should we be removing them?
I have talked to people who navigate using only cairns and have no map and compass.
Ridge - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

The odd cairn marking a descent route isn't an issue, but people do like to build a cairn at evey opportunity, even if they serve no purpose. In some parts of the Lakes there are cairns all over the place, so there's no point even trying to navigate using them.

I think there's definately a case for removing most of them.
Ban1 - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Cairns should only be used as way markers. In terrible conditions the last thing you want is several cairns throwing you in every direction. Then again a map and compass should guide you to the right ones.
bouldery bits - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Def too many in the Lakes I'd say.

Simon Caldwell - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

Julia Bradbury telling everyone to add a stone to any cairn they see won't have helped
Rich W Parker - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

In parts of the Highlands these days 'cairns farms' and other vandalism, such as crags vestooned with scratched graffitti, are rife. Bad.
wintertree - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> Julia Bradbury telling everyone to add a stone to any cairn they see won't have helped

On the other hand, every time I walk past a superfluous cairn...
Robert Durran - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to Rich W Parker:

> In parts of the Highlands these days 'cairns farms' and other vandalism.......

Yes, I've noticed this tendency at nice spots - groups of tall, thin cairns. The other day there were some out on the headland at Sheigra and, worse, someone had scratched "Rise Up" in large letters on the beautiful pristine Gneiss slabs. Is nothing sacred........
atrendall - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Yes they are an eyesore and yes we should be removing them. Every time I pass a totally superfluous cairn I adopt my cairn killer personna and rocks fly.
wee jamie on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Ever since I saw Cameron McNeish kicking down unnecassary cairns on Sail Liath on An Teallach in his wonderful Winderness Walks tv series in the 1990s, I have adopted a similar tradition.
Quite a few spring up on the Carn Mor Dearg ridge which take some time to demolish. They seem to reappear after a couple of years. Grumph
Dave the Rave on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I haven't seen a Cairn Terrier in years! They used to be dead popular, now it's all this French bulldog shit!0
henwardian - on 15 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Remove them if you want to, can't imagine anyone complaining.
I know that years ago there was a line of them going directly from the emergency shelter on the top of the Ben to the edge of the N face which I found immensely entertaining (but perhaps slightly irresponsible).

Anyone who navigates using cairns is a fool.
GrahamD - on 16 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I can't get too upset about piles of stones. It's not like they are particularly permanent or unsightly.
rockcat - on 16 Jul 2017
In reply to atrendall:

Quite. Why is it that people who obviously like being in the mountains feel the need to defile the mountain environment and record their passing with unsightly piles of stones? Knock them down.
a crap climber - on 16 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Anyone seen the huge edifice on Styhead pass? It's just down from the tarn towards Seathwaite where the bridleway peters out a bit after the bridge. Looks like every rock in the surrounding grid square has been dumped on it. Would take more than a couple of kicks to knock it down
tripehound - on 16 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Thanks for all your opinions folks.
I put this on because I was accosted on Gt Gable by five people who accused me of vandalism when I was dismantling a cairn. It got quite heated, their argument being that not everyone could " navigate" and needed cairns as guidance. I felt if they needed cairns to navigate they should not be there, saying a cairn does not tell you where you are.
I had forgotten that Cameron McNeish had dismantled one on tv! thanks for that!
davidbeynon on 17 Jul 2017
In reply to Dave the Rave:

Hardly surprising. The cairn terrier is the losing card in dog "top trumps". It has lower stats in every area than anything else.
paul mitchell - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

Such a heinous crime,taking small stones from one bit of the mountain,putting them on another bit.Absolutely shocking.
Tom V - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to rockcat:
Well you could make a proper statement by demolishing the cairns on Nine Standards Rigg.
Of course, the hill would have to revert to its original name and having the courage of your convictions might earn you more publicity than you actually wanted.......
Post edited at 11:15
tripehound - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to Tom V:

I agree not all cairns are an issue. There are " traditional cairns" that have existed for generations, such as Westmorlands Cairn on Gable, and Robinsons cairn near Pilar. Nine Standards Rigg obviously come into this category. What I am against is Cairns every twenty feet or so along a footpath. Its an eyesore and so many stones are removed from the paths that erosion is accelerated. Its the "leave everything as you would like to find it principle" which includes putting down the netty lid when you are finished according to the missus.
Dauphin on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Some of the sophisticated ones make a lovely dais for hanging plastics bags filled with dog shit.

Clearly a interactive situationist installation parable for our modern 'lifestyle' thing.

D
Pedro50 on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

As a keen Lakes walker I don't get too worked up about them, I would neither add to them nor destroy them. My pet hate is people walking BESIDE the path thus making it wider and wider. I know it's sometimes unavoidable due to flooding etc. but I was recently walking from Borrowdale up to Styehead past the foresty bit - there is a modern pitched path. People had ploughed a new path beside it presumably because they didn't like making biggish step ups.
DerwentDiluted - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I tried kicking over a Cairn once, pretty unsuccessfully.

Cairn Toul it was called.
MG - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to Pedro50:

I don't know it but it sounds like a badly designed path. If it is easier to not walk on a path, people will not walk on it. Modern paths seem to be better designed from this point of view without huge steps or slippery rocks etc. One day we might even do proper zig-zags here, like in the alps...
GrahamD - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to MG:

> I don't know it but it sounds like a badly designed path. If it is easier to not walk on a path, people will not walk on it. Modern paths seem to be better designed from this point of view without huge steps or slippery rocks etc. One day we might even do proper zig-zags here, like in the alps...

I found myself guilty of this on the weekend coming down the band. Those made paths give your feet a right hammering in descent and grass gives some much needed relief. They are also pretty lethal if its at all icy.
defaid - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I seem to put more effort into dismantling superfluous piles of stone than I do into getting from one place to another. I don't mind them in the right place (tops of obscure descents... mountains a few feet short of 3000'... the line of guides helping tourists avoid five finger gully...) but I do get mighty pee'd off seeing them as described: every few feet.

What hacks me off most is that they are made from stone that was doing sterling work as a path and anyone adding another pebble to the heap is just hastening the erosion.

As you pass, take one off the pile and drop it on a muddy stretch of the path you're following. Two birds with one stone...
Tom V - on 31 Jul 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I'd like to agree with you about "leave it as you find it" but then there wouldn't be any bolted routes on our crags, would there?
eric the good - on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to tripehound:

They are a pointless eyesore!
Roadrunner5 - on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to tripehound:
I think it depends how established they are.

The cairns across the glyders are very useful and well established.

Others much less so and misleading. The ones on Crib Goch indicating the lower traverses are dangerous.

However I think it's for local bodies to decide. That last think we want is for everyone to go around knocking down cairns and knocking down old established ones in error.
Post edited at 01:39
pasbury on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to Tom V:

> I'd like to agree with you about "leave it as you find it" but then there wouldn't be any bolted routes on our crags, would there?

Are you a professional contrarian or is it just a hobby?
Rigid Raider - on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Dropping a stone on a cairn is part of the same superstition as dropping coins into water, surely?
MG - on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Just thinking about a technique a bit here. Isn't it better to remove/kick stones from the bottom of cairns, to initiate partial collapse rather than the top? Like I always wanted to happen in that Fererro Rocher ad.
wee jamie on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I used to live in Glencoe and my local summit was Bidean. I thought the lack of big unsightly summit cairn was wonderful for such a prominent mountain - its true pyramidal shape uncluttered by human intervention...
...until last year when from Stob Coire nan Lochan, I saw someone had built a large square monolith on the summit, and in the process altered the natural unspoilt lines of the peak.

What made someone stop for a couple of hours, manhandle huge blocks into place from the surrounding area and build a big square cairn? Did they think they were doing the mountain a favour?

I see now that the cairn is gone again and in its place lies a simple pile of stones - the true summit of Bidean nam Bian. Did someone feel the same way as me and do something about it?
Tom V - on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to pasbury:
No, a professional dry stone waller, hence my liking for some of these structures, even the modern stuff built by Andy Goldsworthy .
If I am the only person on UKC who isn't fond of bolted routes on our crags I will be very surprised. You don't see many up here in the Dark Peak.
Post edited at 10:44
L Dan 74 on 01 Aug 2017
In reply to tripehound:

I think a moderate number of cairns in 'difficult to navigate' terrain has always been a good thing and I would think traditionally acceptable.

I saw a documentary about Scafell Pike in which a BMR officer (I think) was advocating the movement of boulders to clear a more friendly route to the summit. It's a funny old world.
tripehound - on 14:46 Tue
In reply to Dauphin:

> Some of the sophisticated ones make a lovely dais for hanging plastics bags filled with dog shit.

> Clearly a interactive situationist installation parable for our modern 'lifestyle' thing.

> D

I think I understand what you are saying...
tripehound - on 14:50 Tue
In reply to pasbury:

> Are you a professional contrarian or is it just a hobby?

Nah its just done to confuse simple folk.
Darren Jackson - on 15:03 Tue
In reply to tripehound:

> I have talked to people who navigate using only cairns and have no map and compass.

Madness!... Aren't they significantly heavier than map and compass?
davidbeynon on 15:08 Tue
In reply to Darren Jackson:

Several cairns I have sat next to have definitely been magnetic so maybe a cairn on a string could be used as a compass.
Footloose - on 20:47 Tue
In reply to tripehound:

There are some outrageously large rocks hauled into what somebody obviously thought was a cute pattern right beside the A303. Reckon you ought to get this lot removed - they don't half cause some traffic jams.

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