/ What happened to the plans for Ravelston?

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cacheson on 06 Oct 2017
Ravelston Quarry

A few years back there was a lot of discussion regarding the bolting of Ravelston as a DT venue (and possibly some sport). A friend and I went there the other day to do some top roping and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the climbing. Despite a few loose bits here and there, it was great technical climbing on tenuous natural hooks (unlike newtyle slot hopping) with loads of possible variation. The parts we were on were pretty much unprotectable from a trad point of view. Any thoughts on attempting to get this bolted? How does it work in terms of permission etc.?

el diablo - on 06 Oct 2017
In reply to cacheson:

debaser - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to cacheson:

This might have an impact on the possibility of drytooling, let alone bolting, if it goes ahead...

planning permission seems to have been granted earlier this year, but the only further information I can find is on a local councillor's blog
Eric9Points - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to debaser:
Are you sure it's the same quarry and not the bit that looks out onto the main road just over the hill?

That would make more sense as a housing development. There's some climbing there too by the way, I remember some arrows scratched on the rock pointing out a few routes.
Post edited at 13:55
debaser - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:

Don't know it enough to be sure at all.
Looking at a map there are more wee quarried bits than I knew about. Was just surprised to see some of it was potentially going to be developed. One of the planned villas is the "pond house" which does indicate it would be the other side of the road and that would be a more "sensible" place to put houses, like you say.
cacheson on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to debaser:

Guess it's best to just continue being top-rope tough folk for the foreseeable future and hope that the development is indeed on the other side.
Martin W on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:
> Are you sure it's the same quarry and not the bit that looks out onto the main road just over the hill?

The map of the application site is here:

Is the crag shown in that diagram the same one as was discussed five or six years ago on UKC about the dry tooling development? Threads were and (All the other online sources of information about it, such as Oly's blog and the directions on the drytooling UK web site, seem to have disappeared.)

The GR of the crag in the planning application is NT 21662 74234. There are a couple of other crag/quarry-like features on the OS map at NT 21715 74223 and NT 21717 74139 which might be the DT one.

The CEC planning portal says that the application status is "awaiting decision" so it looks like Cllr Whyte may have been misinformed. There is a report on the portal dated February this year (ie prior to the date of Cllr Whyte's article) that recommends refusal.

The report does identify "... potential benefits in that the proposal ... could result in public access and woodland management on part of the site", so that could mean that it wouldn't be all bad news - but overall the report recommends rejection anyway.

I find it difficult to conceive how Ravelston comes to be anywhere near the Green Belt, as he states. I thought at first that he might have been thinking of Ravelrig Quarry on the outskirts of Balerno, but the CEC map portal does indeed indicate that for some inexplicable reason the bit of green 'belt' that covers Corstorphine Hill and Davidson's Mains does indeed contrive to dribble eastwards across Ravelston Dykes Road at precisely that point. (The portal is here - click on the layers icon towards the top right and drill down from Atlas through Planning to Greenbelt, then pan & zoom the map.)
Post edited at 17:46
JamieSparkes - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to cacheson:

Hi Chris,

This is another of those local venues I checked out in my routing spree but it seemed less than worth it because of the fragmented nature of the rock and how short it is.

If you're still interested in redeveloping the place as a tooling venue, I reckon the best place to begin is to trim it back and make it super convenient access the top and to rig top ropes.
Martin W on 22 Oct 2017
In reply to JamieSparkes:
I went to check the location out today and it's clear that the quarry that's been used for drytooling is not within the area for which planning applications have been submitted. If you look at the map in the link I posted on 10th October, the drytooling quarry is the u-shaped grey area to the east of the orange boundary line for the development site, and therefore outside the site.

Access to the top of the drytooling quarry is not difficult, although it is a slightly longer way round than ploughing straight in to the quarry from the park. Follow the main, wide path round to the left, then after 100 yards or so take a sharp turn to the right, almost going back on yourself, to pick up a rising track. Follow that up on to the upper part of the site and you'll soon see signs warning of the cliff edge. That's the top of the drytooling quarry.

I didn't see any obvious signs of anyone having drytooled there recently, The arete and corner at the left hand end of the main face which, from the information still floating around online, appears to have been where most of the climbing went on in the past, looked as if any cleaning that might have been done was in the process of being overtaken by nature again.

The area that folks seem to want to develop is just over the wall from Ravelston Dykes Road, adjacent to number 7 Ravelston Dykes Road. There's a metal fence and gate in the wall just next to number seven's property boundary. There were tyre tracks from some kind of machine leading to and from the gate, and it looked like a few exploratory holes had been dug and then filled in again. The area in question does contains the pond, which seems to be just the bottom of the quarry that's filled with water. Looking at old maps, it looks like the pond used to occupy a lot more of the area. I can't help thinking that the ground conditions might not be great for building. Perhaps that's what the holes were dug to find out.

The whole area is currently fenced off from the Ravelston Woods LNR by a four-strand wire fence - not exactly difficult to step over over or slip through if you feel like exercising your right to responsible access. There is one cleanish face in that quarry but it's not particularly high, and the area at the bottom is fairly choked with vegetation (including Japanese Knotweed, which I think anyone developing the site would have to deal with, in addition to the questionable water table).

So, bottom line: the Ravelston Quarry previously used for drytooling isn't within the area under threat of development. A number of planning applications for that site have been turned down, and the latest one also seems to have been recommended for refusal as being contrary to the Local Development Plan in that the proposed development would have a detrimental impact on the landscape quality and open character of the Green Belt, a Special Landscape Area and an area of Open Space. Even if planning permission is granted for that soggy old hole, it doesn't seem to be an obvious threat to the recreation of anyone wanting to drytool in the other quarry.
Post edited at 00:32
JamieSparkes - on 22 Oct 2017
In reply to Martin W:

Thanks for a Comprehensive update. I wasn't suggesting that the top access was particularly awful, rather that tidying and pruning the approaches would be as far as I'd bother in terms of renovating the venue!

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