Climbers have been reported in a restricted area of the Avon Gorge – and were filmed by the BBC in action!
The team was on a route of the main wall near a nesting site of peregrine falcons, in contravention of a voluntary ban. The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) says anything which disturbs the protected birds could lead to prosecution and a fine.
The film crew, which happened to be in the area, is reported to have captured footage of the climbers. The BMC was alerted by Charles Stapleton of the Bristol Ornithological Club. The climbing restrictions are clearly signed.
Mr Stapleton said this incident was the first serious breach and, on the whole climbers co-operated well.
The BMC said: “[We spend] a considerable amount of time and effort working with statutory bodies and conservation organisations to ensure agreed nesting restrictions offer climbers the least restrictive option during a key period in the birds reproductive cycle.
“There is widespread support for this work from the climbing community and fortunately disturbance incidents of this ilk are extremely rare – so keep up the good work.”
The restrictions on the right-hand section of the main wall remain in place until 30 June to protect the peregrine chicks from disturbance until they have fledged.
- Meanwhile, in North Yorkshire, it’s climbers who are the victims of a disturbance, with landowners’ representatives telling a group they had no right to climb – on access land.
Brandrith Crag near Blubberhouses is open access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act, which means the public has the right of access on foot, including climbing.
The BMC said it will be taking up the incident with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and, if necessary, with the landowner. It advises any climbers who encounter a similar difficulty to report it to the BMC.