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News 2005

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BMC Statement on Vixen Tor Protest (21 September 2005) NOTE: Organisers of the protest would like to request that dogs are not brought to the protest, to avoid any potential incidents with sheep. (23 September 2005)
Vixen Tor protest update (20 September 2005)
Protest Trespass Planned at Vixen Tor (14 September 2005)
Climbers assualted at Vixen Tor (14 September 2005)
Caveman in solo shocker! (10 August 2005)
New South West Bouldering DVD (5 June 2005)
Dartmoor Chalk Graffiti (10 May 2005)
New E7 at Baggy Point (28 April 2005)
New Lundy Supplement (27 April 2005)
BMC Cheddar Meeting (12 April 2005)
New Barn Climbing Centre Summer Bouldering Series (9 April 2005)
Boudering 10 Commandments (9 April 2005)
Cornish Bolt Debate (8 April 2005) (We also have an article relating to this.)

Don't forget to also check the New Routes Pages for latest news.

BMC Statement on Vixen Tor Protest (21 September 2005) The BMC have made the following statement:

"Following the alleged assault on 12 September, local climbers are organising a peaceful protest at the Tor this coming Saturday (24 Sept). All users of the moor have been invited to assemble at the parking area at 10am to make their feelings known. The protest is expected to last a couple of hours, after which there is a plan to walk and climb on the more accessible parts of Dartmoor. A good turnout is expected, and it is essential that the protest is peaceful. The police have been informed and will be present, along with local press and TV.

Whilst this is not a formal BMC protest, the BMC acknowledges the concerns of climbers and walkers and supports their desire to publicly express their views in a peaceful manner. It should be recognised that Dartmoor National Park Authority is still in discussion with the landowners to try to reach an agreement over access - climbers and walkers are therefore urged to avoid any actions which might jeopardise these discussions."

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Vixen Tor protest update (20 September 2005) Despite widespread and justified condemnation within the climbing community of the alleged assault at Vixen Tor, and of course much bad feeling caused by a situation where one of the South West's best crags has been lost it is possible that the proposed protest this weekend (and last week's incident) will do the access situation more harm than good.

Following a successful appeal by the Vixen Tor landowner, Mrs Mary Alford, against the opening of Vixen Tor under the CROW act, the Dartmoor National Park have continued negotiations to regain an access arrangement. The current owner has already made it clear that she is not willing to listen to The BMC, The Dartmoor Preservation Society, The Ramblers Association or the general local population. She is well aware that people are not happy about her closing of the land. It is likely that recent events and this weekends proposed protest will only serve to exacerbate an already bad situation. They will not assist in the National Park's negotiations and not do the relationship between climbers and the National Park any good. Furthermore, if recent events do worsen the access situation there is a risk that climbers could get the blame ...

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Protest Trespass Planned at Vixen Tor (14 September 2005) In response to the ban, and triggered by the recent serious development(see following news article), a protest trespass is being planned for Saturday 24th September. (please read update above)

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Climbers assualted at Vixen Tor (14 September 2005) Continuing in the Vixen Tor saga (which started in 2003 when landowner Mary Alford removed permission for public access to the tor) the situation has now deteriorated to the point of violence. Dave Turnbull, main man from the BMC has made the following statement:

"The BMC has received a report of a serious incident at Vixen Tor, Dartmoor on 12 September. Climbers on the route ‘Torture’ (E4) had their ropes cut - while the leader was climbing - and the belayer was physically assaulted. Fortunately the leader managed to retreat from the climb without injury. The climbers called the police and there were several arrests - it is understood that the incident may lead to criminal prosecution.

It goes without saying that the BMC is shocked and appalled at this incident. We have spoken to the climbers and have offered to support them as much as possible. There is not much more we can say at present. The police are making investigations and are yet to advise the climbers what action they intend to take.

Vixen Tor was subject to a high profile CRoW Act appeal earlier this year. The BMC made representations to the week-long inquiry but the Planning Inspector ruled in favour of the landowner - as a result there is no formal right of access to area."

Dave Turnbull

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Caveman in in solo shcoker! (10 August 2005) The gobsmacking Caveman E6 6a at The Old Redoubt has seen a few solos recently! First off was Tim Emmett, closely followed by Mike Robertson and then Julian Lines - Julian's ascent being particlularly impressive as unlike the others he hadn't done the route with ropes. Apparently the theory is that it's a deep water solo (a good high tide is needed) although with the odd loose hold and potential for awkward splashdown from 60-70ft I suspect it won't become the standard mode of ascent. Rather than topping out the boys nipped off left to Dreadnought. Very impressive.

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New South West Bouldering DVD 5 June 2005 Gone West is finally out. Click here for more details and to order your copy.

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Dartmoor Chalk Graffiti (10 May 2005) Two blatantly obvious sections of graffiti have appeared at Hound Tor, Dartmoor. This unsightly mess will no doubt be noticed by hundreds of people and could potentially harm the reputation of boulderers and climbers on The Moor. We as boulderers/climbers make enough mess as it is without deliberate vandalism. I only hope that the perpetrator was a non-climber who got their hands on some chalk (it appears to have been done with a chalk ball).





Chalk graffiti at Hound Tor. Photos © Dave Henderson


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New E7 at Baggy Point (28 April 2005) Dave Pickford has added a new E7 to the Cheesegrater cliff at Baggy. His line, The Nightfishing, takes the wall left of Ian Parnells Dark Angel. Dave Pickford suggests that it is "perhaps the first truly 'modern' wall route in Britain on continuously overhanging shale". Full details can be found on the North Devon and Cornwall new routes page.

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New Lundy Supplement (27 April 2005) Mr Lundy, Paul Harrison, has produced a downloadable PDF supplement to the Climbers' Club guidebook to Lundy. This free guide includes details of nearly 250 routes and various updates and other bits and bobs. The guide available from The Climbers' Club website.

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BMC Cheddar Meeting (12 April 2005)There will be an in depth update by Martin Crocker about Cheddar Gorge at
the next SW Area meeting. He will be covering where you can and can't climb, where you should and shouldn't climb, what has and hasn't been restored and prospects for further improvements for access.

As the landowners will be represented at the meeting, it is vital to get a good turnout. If we don't make the effort, why should the landowners care about our minority view?

The meeting is this Sunday, April 17th at the Hen and Chicken Pub, 210 North Street, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 1JF. 6.30pm.

Map here

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New Barn Climbing Centre Summer Bouldering Series (9 April 2005) Simon Young's will again be holding a series of competitions throughout the summer at the ever improving Barn Climbing Centre, Bude. They were very successful last year and provide a good activity for Friday evening before a weekends cragging!:


Best 3 results carry forward.

1st Prize (open) - £150

1st Prize (middle) - £75

& other prizes.

BBQ's and party after each event, we will be organising some bands so come and make a w'end of it in North Cornwall. You are welcome to stay at the barn, to climb locally the next day. Every last friday of the month 7.30pm start: May, June, July, August & September.

It will be awesome!"

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Bouldering 10 Commandments (9 April 2005) The following press release come from the BMC at a time when the increase in bouldering over the last 10 years is really starting to show on many crags.

BMC Acts to Reduce Bouldering’s Environmental Impact
New ‘10 Commandments’ poster sets out good practice

There seems no limit to the growth in popularity of bouldering, particularly among younger climbers – but that popularity has come at a price. Environmental pressure is increasing at established venues, a pattern no one wants repeated at sites more recently developed.

So in conjunction with bouldering activist Simon Panton, and with funding from Sport England and support from the Association of British Climbing Walls, the BMC has published a poster encouraging climbers to think about and reduce their impact. The poster lists ‘10 Commandment’ that offer tips on climbing sensitively, and has been distributed to climbing walls and popular climbing cafes.

bouldering 10 commandments

for those with poor eyesight!
1) No chipping
2) No wire brushing - use a nylon brush if cleaning holds.
3) Use bouldering mats to reduce erosion and vegetation damage
4) No resin (pof)
5) Minmise chalk use - brush away excessive build up.
6) Dry wet holds with a towel or wait until a windy day - no blowtorching please.
7) Remove carpet patches or towels - they kill of vegetaion and create a mess.
8)Take all litter home and follow The Countryside Code
10) Leave vegetaion in place - no garnening please.

and an extra one, as seen at Land's End and with something of a sinister note: "KILL nothing but time!!"

"It’s clear to me,” says Panton, “that if we don’t make efforts to limit our impact at these special places, we are in danger of ruining the very thing that we love so much.”

The BMC wants to make climbers aware that simple consideration can make our use of the crags and boulders that we love to climb more sustainable. Most climbers agree that chipping or excessive brushing create permanent damage. We all have a responsibility to stop such activities.

“We need to change the way that we boulder, considering our own actions, and how the way we behave at the crag might influence others. These 10 Commandments are a good starting point for everybody, regardless of whether they’ve been at it for years, or have discovered bouldering more recently.”

Copies of the poster, featuring an illustration by Ray Eckerman of smallmountains, are available from the BMC. Just call 0870 010 4878 or email office@thebmc.co.uk and we’ll send you one for free.

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Cornish Bolt Debate (8 April 2005) After a heating up in the bolting controversy the BMC have arranged a meeting to be be held on Saturday 7th May, 2005 from 6.30pm at -
Cape Cornwall School
Cape Cornwall Road
St Just
TR19 7JX

The discussion will include clarification of the fixed gear policy/Carn Vellan/Menachurch Point and more.

To give you an idea of what it's all about have a look at Barnaby Carvers excellent article Regaining a Sense of Perspective, A Personal View of Cornwall’s Bolt Controversies

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