/ NEWS: Access Restrictions at Kyloe in the Woods

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UKC News - on 14 Nov 2017
Climbers have reportedly been asked to leave Kyloe in the Woods on several occasions in recent weeks due to deerstalking. There has been a sign on the entrance gate asking climbers to avoid the woods because of live firing. BMC NE Area Rep Franco Cookson has commented: 'The deerstalker reportedly said that if climbers continue to ignore his sign, he will complain to the forestry management. This could result in loss of access. I appreciate that it might be annoying to drive all the way to Kyloe and then find that you can't climb there, but it is a small compromise in order to maintain good access arrangements at this important NE crag.'

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snoop6060 - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to UKC News:

If climbers complained to the forestry commission about old men creeping about with guns, would their access be jepodised?
paul mitchell - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to UKC News:

Negotiate time slots for hunter and for climbers? Signs by nearest parking.
snoop6060 - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to paul mitchell:

Nah just take a big gun and a silly hat in your pad. That way you have a plan b.
Andy Hardy on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to paul mitchell:

In the 21st century, I'd have thought signs on a website you could check before departure would prevent a lot of aggro.
Martin Hore - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to snoop6060:

> If climbers complained to the forestry commission about old men creeping about with guns, would their access be jepodised?

It would be jeopardised I'm sure if the men with guns were contravening their access agreement. I suspect that's not the case though. There are woodlands in our part of the country where winter deer stalking is an essential part of woodland management (to avoid over-population - the alternative of re-introducing the wolf - or indeed the lepod - hasn't been suggested here yet). So I don't think we should complain too much.

Martin
Lemony - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to UKC News:

I've been a bit confused following this. Is the deer stalker wanting to close access to the crag for the whole stalking season or is he still just putting the sign up when he's actually there shooting? Are there a lot more live firing days this year?

If he is planning to close the crag for up to 7 months of the year then that's a pretty serious restriction which will probably be a bit of a death knell for some of the less frequented bits of the crag.
Si Litchfield - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to UKC News:

This issue has been discussed at the local NE BMC meeting and Franco, as Local Access Rep, is taking things forward. This approach includes:

- raising awareness among the climbing community of the access situation (ie here, Facebook and the RAD) so that the current situation is not exacerbated / worsened
- trying to establish contact with the local gamekeeper / stalkers so that a longer-term approach can be agreed between climbers and other users of the forest (ie with the aim that we are notified of stalking days in advance of signs appearing so that we can post details online on the RAD to save climbers turning up to the parking and being disappointed).

In the interim, please abide by any signed instructions (which hitherto have been by the access gate). In addition, it is worth noting:

- Kyloe Crags (ie both In and Out) do not lie on CRoW land and the forest in which Kyloe In lies is privately owned (indeed there are a number of private properties in the woods incl. Bogle Houses, Dingle Bungalow etc). Climbers are, therefore, not the ‘exclusive’ users of the forest and we should be mindful that other stakeholders (including deer stalkers) may have other interests beyond climbing.
- Kyloe Out (marked Collar Heugh on OS maps) lies on a public footpath outside of the forest and, to our knowledge, is thus unaffected and remains open. This is not the case for Kyloe In (marked Deus Heugh on OS maps).
- There are a number of other venues close to Kyloe In, including larger classics like Kyloe Out, Bowden(s), Hepburn, Goats Crag, Berryhill (etc) as well as lesser known spots such as Doddington Skyline, Cuddy’s Cave, Doveholes.
- Steve Blake / the NMC / myself have produced a number of miniguides for smaller areas and new developments including: Aid Crag, Blakey’s Block, Bizzle Crags, Caller, Hepburn, High Crag, Howlerhirst Quarry, Key Heugh, Lower Tosson, Outlying Wannies, Sandy Crags, Shitlington, The Lost Rocks, The Stell and Upper Tosson, which can be freely downloaded at: https://issuu.com/thenmc and http://geoquest-verlag.de/?q=en/node/503 (some of which are closer to Newcastle, though not all are winter venues).
- Many locals use the Facebook Group ‘County Psyche’, which has frequent user updates on conditions, access, developments etc.

We appreciate that it can be frustrating to drive and find a crag temporarily closed. However, we would also appreciate cooperation in following whatever signs are in place at the crag to ensure that we do not risk a permanent ban in future.

Simon Litchfield, BMC NE Secretary
gme - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Si Litchfield:

Is this as big a deal as people seem to be making out. I have been going to Kyloe for 30 years and must have gone there 500+ times. Only once has there been a notice on the gate. I have been there at least 10 times in the last 6 months an not seen a sign.
Maybe i am just lucky an stalking is going on more often than i think but my guess is its no more than a few dozen days a year and not even full days.
If there is a sign on the gate go elsewhere, lots of other great spots so your journey isn't ruined.
alx - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Unfortunately other groups use this information to disrupt organised shoots or hunts.
Andy Hardy on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to alx:

I'm sure there are lots of reasons why the woods might be closed - tree felling for example. All it needs to say is 'closed'
Lone Rider - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to UKC News:

Good management for shooting in Scotland under the Land Reform Act dictates that signs should be displayed at access points with days and areas where there will be shooting kept up to date. Anything less such as " December to February " is just taking advantage.
Si Litchfield - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to gme:
While, you may not have experienced more than a single closure yourself, a number of reports have been received both through the local ‘County Psyche’ Facebook group and through the local BMC area meetings. In terms of the size of the problem, your experience may indeed suggest that closures are infrequent, however, the risk is that the actions of climbers may result in climbing being banned at one of the few crags in Northumberland that is nationally well-known. The reports received made some quite specific points about climbers ignoring closure signs. As my previous post indicated, we do not have a right of access under CRoW. It is also worth pointing out that this shooting is deer stalking with rifles: they aren't after game birds with shotguns, so the downrange risks are significant. We are, therefore, taking the three-pronged approach of 1) raising awareness that restrictions may be in place 2) setting out the potential consequences of ignoring the signs and 3) trying to establish links to the relevant deer stalking parties so that we can work with them to ensure climbers can access access news prior to departing for the crag.

Like you said ‘If there is a sign on the gate go elsewhere, lots of other great spots so your journey isn't ruined’.
Post edited at 21:46
scoth on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Lone Rider:

It seems over population of deer is a problem north and south of the border, but this could all be avoided by following Scotland's lead.

While land reform in England is off both the general publics and politicians radar. Establishing something like the deer stalking info page, see http://outdooraccess-scotland.com/Practical-guide/public/heading-for-the-scottish-hills is a simple but effective solution and can help understandng between all groups.

gme - on 14 Nov 2017
In reply to Si Litchfield:

I think you miss understand me. I am suggest that this isn’t a problem other than it causing an inconvenience to a few climbers who turn up to find there days plans have to change.
How many times has this actually happened? I suggest not that many.

Before is turned into a big deal let’s find out how big a deal it actually is.
I am trying to find out who has the stalking rights as we speak and will hopefully know more this weekend. I suspect it’s a 10-15 day thing at the most and there is no reason to Persue it further.

Like I said if there is a sign up please go somewhere else.
Big Ger - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to alx:

> Unfortunately other groups use this information to disrupt organised shoots or hunts.

One man's' "unfortunately" is another man's "good on them."

Mine's the latter.
Tony Jones - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

I am a bit perplexed by your response.

Are you suggesting that some form of controlling deer populations (in the absence of apex predators) isn't necessary? Even those organisations with the most impeccable of ecological standards (the JMT for example) need to employ stalkers for this purpose. I'd be interested to know what alternative (and, I'm guessing from your comment, non-lethal) methods there may be for reducing the damage done to native woodland by deer over-population? Posting a list of times when stalking may be taking place would seem like a good idea but, having read your comment, I can understand why there may be a reticence to do so in some quarters.

Sometimes ,when I read your invariably contrary views, I think we might have our very own disruptive Russian bot on UKC.
Big Ger - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Tony Jones:

> I am a bit perplexed by your response.

> Are you suggesting that some form of controlling deer populations (in the absence of apex predators) isn't necessary?

Nope, what I am saying is that if the area is used for "hunts", which I took to mean fox or deer hunts with dogs, then I am opposed to it.

If all we are talking about is necessary herd management, carried out by professionals and not for sport, (aka killing things for fun,) then I would be happy for that to continue.


> Even those organisations with the most impeccable of ecological standards (the JMT for example) need to employ stalkers for this purpose. I'd be interested to know what alternative (and, I'm guessing from your comment, non-lethal) methods there may be for reducing the damage done to native woodland by deer over-population? Posting a list of times when stalking may be taking place would seem like a good idea but, having read your comment, I can understand why there may be a reticence to do so in some quarters.

See above.

> Sometimes ,when I read your invariably contrary views, I think we might have our very own disruptive Russian bot on UKC.

We've done this one, I admitted I was. I'm a very sophisticated bot.

<repyt.[[insert inslt]] {{fixed vairable}}[[5463]///. and you're a knob, </respt[[exert]]{{no ret}}

Franco Cookson on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Big Ger:



> If all we are talking about is necessary herd management, carried out by professionals and not for sport, (aka killing things for fun,) then I would be happy for that to continue.


That is what we're talking about - as stated on the RAD.

The new RAD has the capacity to post "temporary restrictions" on a venue. I'm currently trying to get in contact with the forestry workers, which would allow us to do this and keep out of their way. If anyone comes across the workers, please see if you can get a mobile number for me - I haven't managed this from the Scottish Woodlands office.

Thanks,

Franco
SteveSBlake - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to UKC News:

To reiterate a number of points made above about access to Kyloe In and in reply to another...

To GME, It's not a huge deal, but pops up as an issue every couple of years.

The crag is on private, not Open Access land, climbers have no right of access, access to the crag has always been negotiated with the woodland managers.

The current managers, Scottish Woodlands are quite sympathetic to climbers interests, and much of the felling close to the crag and clearance of self seeders at the base takes climbers into account.

The stalking is a necessary part of the woodland's management, it is probably sub contracted out and contact with the stalker/s hasn't been made yet. Even if contact is made, the stalker may not 'program' his work to a tight schedule that could be be posted in a timely fashion online.

The sign currently placed on the gate is small, you need to make a conscious effort to look for it. If it is there do not enter the woods. There are loads of alternative venues. As Si stated above, the stalkers will be using rifles, these have a significant downrange hazard. The stalkers are right to be annoyed if they discover people in there when the sign has been posted. I am going to suggest at the next Area Meeting that we/BMC provide the stalkers with a larger sign.

Regardless of its size, the sign trumps everything, please do not enter when it's posted, it is dangerous. Ignoring it can disrupt the working of the woodland, places you at significant risk and has the potential to see access denied to a venue of international importance.

So....... Please check the gate....

Regards,

Steve





CameronDotSmith - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to SteveSBlake:


Am I right in thinking that there are normally 3 signs on the gate, being the no setting things on fire on the left, don’t block the gate on the right and the general forestry sign stating that shooting and felling occurs on the land in the middle?

I take it that an additional sign gets put up rather than the stalkers enforcing that general one in the middle already on the gate?
SteveSBlake - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to CameronDotSmith:

It's an additional small red sign, specific to that day.

Steve

Big Ger - on 15 Nov 2017
In reply to Franco Cookson:

> That is what we're talking about - as stated on the RAD.

Cheers Franco, I withdraw my original post, and offer a "mea culpa".

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