Updates on Snowdon, seals, Tremadog trees and much more.
Tree work. As with many other parts of the country, it seems some of trees at Tremadog are starting to show signs of ash die-back. This is a fungal disease of ash trees that’s rapidly spreading across the UK, and sadly it’s predicted that in less than 10yrs, over 95% of all ash trees in the UK will be affected. Many of the mature trees at Tremadog are ash trees and probably because of this and the age of some of the trees, some are already showing signs of decay. This means we must carry out some quite substantial tree work to remove some of the ones that would cause an issue should they fall over. Tree surgeons will be working on some of these trees over the winter months – notably reducing the height of some roadside trees, removing others that are directly behind the buildings and removing some large tree branches before they fall spontaneously or during storm. We are only looking to remove trees that, were they to fall, would pose a direct and significant hazard to adjacent buildings, parking areas and the road.
Ormes and Angel Bay -Seals
Angel Bay has become one of the most important areas for breeding seals along the North Wales coast and as a result up to 100 breeding seals can be seen here during the autumn. As a result, North Wales Wildlife Trust have asked that people do not go on to the beach during the breeding season (normally end of August to beginning of November). This means no access for bouldering either during these times. In addition, people are now also being asked not to go onto the beach during the seals moulting or “hauling-out” season, which is usually during February to May. Again, this will affect access for bouldering – keep an eye out for any on site signs and please observe any restrictions.
Pandy Quarry (Alyn Valley)
This recently rediscovered and re-equipped mid-grade sport venue in the Alyn Valley in Denbighshire has become very popular. However, the landowner does not want to see climbing being encouraged here, partially due to liability concerns. The BMC is setting up meeting with the landowner and hopefully some form of agreement will be in place soon. In the meantime please be aware that access is highly sensitive and that climbers could be asked to leave by the landowners.
Craig y Merched (Rhinogydd)
Thanks to the good work of the local access rep, Dave Williams, a new access path has been agreed with the landowners (the Woodland Trust) and this has now been opened and cleared by a contractor working for the BMC. The previous access path, which was over private farm land, had been closed by the landowner of that land.
Cefn Coed/ Taf Fechan Nature Reserve
Following the issues surrounding the redevelopment of parts of this crag (which is within a nature reserve and a legally protected Site of Special Scientific Interest), as a sport climbing venue and the removal of vegetation and trees, the landowners and Natural Resources Wales have banned climbing at this site. Following a meeting on site with representatives of the land owners and conservation bodies they indicated that had they been approached initially, before the works were carried out, then they would not have objected to some of the climbing areas being re-developed. However, as the works were carried out unlawfully and without consent on a protected site, it has been investigated as an environmental crime by Natural Resources Wales. Discussions are ongoing to ensure that this situation does not arise again and for climbers and conservation organisations to set up a mechanism or system to ensure that protected sites are not damaged by climbing activities.
Wyddfa Transport plan
As part of the National Park led initiative – “Partneriaeth yr Wyddfa/the Snowdon Partnership”, one of the identified work streams was the parking and transport issues around Yr Wyddfa. By the time of the Area Meeting, it’s very likely that the National Park will have commissioned consultants to draw up a study of the issues and to approach all stakeholders and users for their opinions and views on solutions. While it’s really good that the Park and the local authorities are looking to find solutions to the increasing problem of parking and over use of certain parts of Eryri, many in the outdoor world will also remember the infamous “Snowdonia Green Key” study of about 15 yrs ago. That study and its recommendations were widely criticised at the time for suggesting that car parking within the “inner part” of the National park should be severely curtailed and users would be forced to park in outlying car parks and use public transport to access the Park honeypots. Was that survey and its recommendations before its time or simply too abstract and unrealistic to be achievable? Are there other solutions? The Park have assured the BMC that the consultants will be discussing the issues and seeking views from as many users as possible and the BMC will be making sure that the views, opinions and interests of all climbers, hillwalkers and mountaineers will be represented during this study.
Carneddau Heritage Landscape Project
A £4 million five-year project looking at connecting communities to their landscape heritage is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. While the fund and the project were put together by the national park and the project team, when appointed, will be based at Park offices, the Project itself is independent of the Park. The project will aim to map, document and interpret all historic and archaeological sites on the Carneddau and encourage local communities to engage with their hinterlands. As part of this project it’s likely that a circular path will be created around the whole of the Carneddau massif (using existing footpaths) and its highly likely that one element of the project will involve recording and documenting the history of climbing and mountaineering on the Carneddau, including a bid for a new climbing guidebook to the area. While much of the project is very positive and a tremendous achievement and a considerable amount of work was carried out to achieve the funding, there are some concerns that the Carneddau’s wild and remote qualities should not be affected by this project. The BMC is part of the wider partnership project and part of our interest is in ensuring that the unique quality of the Carneddau is not compromised or damaged by this project.