I've given both you and Blake a like. Not I think contradictory. The new restrictions would be more convincing if there was evidence that climbers' presence in early August had adversely affected breeding birds. There seems to be evidence that the bird numbers have actually increased at cliffs which were not restricted in these weeks.
However, I fully support bans on cliffs which are home to rare birds wherever climbing is shown to adversely affect bird numbers.
The warden apologises to climbers who have made plans already for summer 2019 and will now find their climbing restricted in ways they didn't expect. (And the restrictions in the bird nesting season are quite substantial - especially for regular visitors who have already largely climbed out the prime non-restricted cliffs at their grade). I'm afraid I'm inclined to think the Lundy Company and/or the Landmark Trust should go further than apologising and consider refunding deposits to any climbing groups who now wish to cancel their accommodation booking which they have already made in good faith for the first weeks of August in 2019 or 2020. Bookings for the Barn - probably the most popular climber accommodation on the island - need to be made two years in advance to secure a space in tide-friendly weeks in August. In the future it should be clear to climbers not to book in early August. But for an interim period of two years refunded deposits would, I feel, be appropriate if requested.
As it happens our club has paid a deposit of roughly £600 for a Barn booking for the third week in August 2020. So I hope we will be OK. But I notice that the restricted periods will be reviewed annually. So I'm not sure we can be certain at present.
I hope others don't consider this post out of turn or harmful to future relations between Lundy and the BMC. I congratulate all those who have volunteered their time to reach this agreement.
Nice one all those involved in negotiating a sensible way forward. There have been August restrictions for years that persist at the warden's discretion, so I don't see that the new arrangement is significantly deterimental. And great that bird numbers are on the up!
I'm not a birdwatcher, but all the birdlife is one of the things which makes Lundy so special. There will still be plenty of climbing available, and the bans will be lifted early where they are no longer applicable. I don't have any problem with this, and I'm looking forward to the trip I have booked for next year, which will be when the bans are in force.
> How does one even begin to eradicate rats from an island? An impressive feat, but the mind boggles as to how it was achieved.
First you choose the time of year when food is at a minimum, the rats hungry. Then set a grid of poison stations not more than 50m apart, scatter poison randomly in between, and intensively refresh and monitor bait take for the next 3 months or so. As bait take declines you add non-toxic baits in a range of flavours in case any rats have grown wise to the poison. Data is compiled and heat maps of activity are used to concentrate effort until you are confident no rats survive. Bait stations are left on site, and intensive monitoring repeated at 1 and 2 year intervals. After 2 years you can declare success.
On the main project I was involved with (through the BMC) on a smaller but more rugged island than Lundy 12 people (half of them experienced climbers) were employed full time (mostly unpaid) for 3 months, plus hundreds of hours of helicopter time.
Scattering poison is the easy bit; making sure that every rat is dead is the hard bit. If one pregnant female survives the whole project will be wasted. Likewise if solid biosecurity measures aren't introduced the chances of recolonisation is high.
If you think that sounds like a lot of effort, be glad it wasn't mice.
> What stops other creatures from being poisoned? (or are rats the only creatures other than Birds on Lundy)
The poison is non-toxic to other animal groups like birds, reptiles and crustaceans. Other mammals can be an issue but there are different choices of poisons and tricks like hiding the bait in tunnels.
Here we have a fantastic story of conservation success..rats gone. Bird numbers increased. A beautiful island birds and all.
I think as climbers we need to recognise the need to protect this special place - accept the bans, re climb old classics if frequent visitors and not bemoan it (advanced bookings or not). Clearly a huge amount of effort and consideration has gone in to the new guidelines from both climbers and the wardens.
I do not disagree with you, I just think the announcement should have been timed better.
Looking critically, it could be interpreted as an aggressive move, alienating a key group of island users. Is there anything special about spring summer 2019 that means the restrictions could not have waited 12 months.
It does make me wonder where next; Pabbay, Mingulay, Pembroke, Gogarth?