Climbers Working With The RSPB

© James McHaffie
For Plas y Brenin instructors, Mike Raine and Carlo Forte, the last couple of days have been very different from their usual work of teaching mountain skills and rock climbing.

Working with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) South Stack Reserve Warden, Dave Bateson, and Carnyx Films, they have been faced with the challenge of routing 140 metres of cabling down the sheer cliffs of Mousetrap Zawn (Gogarth) and installing two cameras. One to primarily cover a broken muddy ledge where puffins nest in burrows and another lower down, in a small cave just above the sea, by a Chough nesting site.

Full story on the Snowdonia Active Website

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20 Feb, 2009
Well done chaps ! as a closet twitcher and lover of gogarth, I will look forward to viewing those images. We forget sometimes how lucky we are to get so close to these birds whilst climbing. I have met people that travel the length and breadth of the country to get half the view we get whilst sitting on a stance wishing your partner would hurry the hell up! On a separate note though …..was that a drill I saw …… gogarth !! surely not
20 Feb, 2009
I'm really not sure about this (which actually means that I'm suppressing the urge to vent a rantastic tirade of abuse in the direction of RSPB). Yes, that is a drill (explanation required for starters). The "successful voluntary access agreement" with the RSPB has always felt one-way. I've endured quite unreasonable behaviour from their wardens on this site for over 20 years yet their sense of "conservation" seems to fly out of the door (whoops, no pun intended) when they want to 'improve' the facilities. It would be premature to suspect that they have Disney-style Birdworld plans afoot but these actions really aren't necessary on conservation grounds. Surely? How exactly, for instance, is this going to protect birds? I mean - watching birds on a TV screen in Ellin's Tower! Can't they just sell some DVDs? Look, see - I'm ranting already! Perhaps somebody from the RSPB would like to offer an objective commentary as to how this came about - presumably the cameras put in place last year were a 'success'? How is that measured? Increased visitor numbers and/or revenue/membership? If not Birdworld, where is this going?
20 Feb, 2009
Not quite sure why you're so upset. Many of the visitors to South Stack don't actually know that they're on a nature reserve, and have little active interest in wildlife and the environment. By streaming live video into Elin's Tower people will be able to walk in and see a huge puffin on a screen for the immediate 'wow' factor. Hopefully that will lead them into a conversation about the birds and what else South Stack has to offer, and give visitors a positive experience. Educating people is important, as is the money membership generates from such positive experiences. As far as I'm aware, the staff at South Stack have no qualms with climbers as long as they stick to the access arrangements.
20 Feb, 2009
I should also add that I do know what I'm on about; I'm currently an RSPB volunteer, know the staff at South Stack, and was there yesterday for an interview
20 Feb, 2009
I'm wondering whether this is actually a recent news story at all as the substance of the story and much of the text appears to be a rehash of coverage on a similar activity exactly a year ago. So have extra cameras been put into position or is this just a bit of scheduled publicity to coincide with this year's arrivals? Whichever, I am disappointed that any member of the climbing fraternity has allowed themselves to be associated with laying 150metres of cable around Mousetrap Zawn - most climbers, especially at Gogarth, adhere to an ethic of 'leave nothing behind'. Will the cable and cameras be removed annually (August?) or are they there for a few years? I appreciate that you'll have an education policy but facilitating anyone, especially children, who have already made the journey to South Stack (a truly inspiring spot) to watch another TV screen just seems to me to be missing the point. Perhaps we'll just have to agree to disagree on that.
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