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BMC seeks more climbing access

Posted 21 November 2012
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BMC seeks more climbing access
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The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is seeking to advance the cause of those who love to head for cliff faces with a climbing rope through a new initiative aimed at quarries.

Chief executive of the organisation Dave Turnbull outlined the plan at a meeting last weekend during the Kendal Mountain Festival, Grough reports.

He said the aim should be to open up all quaries in England and Wales to climbers once they cease to be economically useful for producing minerals.

"Dr Cath Flitcroft from our access and conservation team organised a hugely successful conference on occupiers' liability and a booklet to explain why rockclimbing needn't be a problem for landowners. We’re planning a similar publication for walking in 2013," Mr Turnbull stated.

Other access issues the BMC is working on include the future of Stanage Edge in the Peak District, as its ownership may soon change, while there is also the task of working with the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust on the future of climbing access at the Roches in the south of the national park.

The next few months may be an occasion for climbers to take crampons and wear thermal clothes, but quarries may provide a good environment for climbing, with the cliffs being at lower altitude than mountain crags and therefore easier to get to - which may make them better choices for short days.

Some quarries may, however, be more accessible than others in the winter months. The BMC's own quarry database, for example, recently noted that Craig Ty Newydd has restricted access, with climbers advised to steer clear between October 1st and January 31st due to nesting birds.

In another instance, the Vivian Quarry in Gwynedd is subject to shared access with the Vivian Diving Centre, meaning that the Bathtime Wall is off limits when members are in action.

Such restrictions may be regarded as reasonable, a recognition that the quarries are shared with other users. But for the BMC, the issue of ensuring that at least some access is allowed for climbers remains a live one.