The peace of the famous Malham peregrine falcons has been disturbed by three people abseiling down the 80m cove where they are nesting.
The three were seen by Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) members last Sunday descending the left-hand side of the crag, despite notices warning of climbing restrictions.rag.
The Malham falcons, above right. Picture by Carl Watts/RSPB
Witnesses said the actions of the abseilers caused the peregrines considerable distress. The pair are at a critical point in their breeding cycle. The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) operates a voluntary ban on climbing on the part of the crag near the nest and co-operates with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) in publicising the restrictions, which are due for review in June.
The BMC says it does not know whether the three involved were climbers or cavers, but has repeated its plea not to use any routes on the part of the limestone rockface in the area around the birds’ nest.
The RSPB and the YDNPA sets up a falcon watch viewpoint each year. Last year, 28,500 people took advantage of the high-powered telescopes set up to get a close up view of the pair, which raised two chicks, Clint and Gryke – named after the formations in limestone pavements – in their nest on the crag.