The threat of destruction that has hung over one of the country’s most important bouldering areas has finally lifted, with the news that the BMC has purchased Craig y Longridge.
Craig y Longridge may not be known by all, but it has long been the secret of that famous Lancashire strength. A gritstone outcrop, over one hundred metres long, overhanging by twenty degrees, and never reaching more than four metres in height, it is the perfect bouldering and training venue. Throughout the years, the great and the good of the Lancashire climbing scene have developed their Blackburn-sized biceps and Clitheroe-shaped crimp strength, producing some of Britain’s climbing greats, including Dave ‘Raindogs’ Kenyon, Mark ‘Cry Freedom’ Leach and Ian ‘European Champion 1998’ Vickers.
In recent years, access to this much-loved venue has hung in the balance. The landowner, who ran the adjacent caravan park, became concerned about liability, and threatened access, and even considered filling in to facilitate building development. The BMC access team immediately began negotiations, but as a successful outcome continued to elude the team, it was decided that the ultimate step had to be taken.
Beginning three years ago, the BMC, supported greatly by local climbers, began to raise the funds to purchase the crag. Finally, on 16th October, the sale went ahead, and the crag is now owned by climbers. To fund the purchase, local climbers, organised by Pete Black, stumped up £4,000, while the BMC contributed the remainder. This now puts the crag along with Stone Farm Rocks, Horseshoe Quarry, Aldery Cliff and Craig Bwlch Y Moch as one of the number of BMC-owned and managed properties.
The next stage is to set up a management group. This will take care of sorting out fencing, making improvements to the ground, as well as taking care of the day to day running of the site.
With rights comes responsibilities, and while free access can now be enjoyed, there were a number of ‘covenants’ that were part of the legal agreements. Theses include all the normal reasonable behaviour suggestions (as set out in the BMC Crag Code), as well as three other specific points: no music, no dogs, and no climbing before 10am or after sunset.
But these are small points. This has been a tremendous success for local boulderers, British climbers and the BMC. The BMC are very pleased with how the project has gone, and acknowledges the role played by local climbers in raising the money and spearheading the efforts, as well as all those who showed tolerance and respect throughout the previous years.
Finally, at times like this the BMC really needs your support. It relies on your subscriptions to fund its programmes, relies on your membership to give it a voice, and relies on your participation to give it direction. Join today.
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