Naked ambition: tackling Munros the exposed way

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23 February 2007

Flat-pack Snowdon cafe takes shape in warehouse

The edifice which will grace the top of Wales’s highest mountain is being assembled in a Deeside warehouse.In true Ikea fashion, the frame of the new Snowdon visitor centre is a flat-pack design, and engineers are going through a dry run in the Corus factory, presumably to make sure there are no missing nuts and bolts or door hinges.If it’s anything like grough’s attempts at flat-pack assembly, there will be a few choice words being uttered on Deeside and a fair bit of scratching of heads as incomprehensible diagrams are studied.Hafod Eryri, as the new café – sorry, visitor centre – will be known, will be galvanised after disassembly and loaded in neat ten-ton chunks on to the Snowdon Mountain Railway for its journey to the summit.

22 February 2007

Cumbrian man dies after Blencathra fall

The winter of 2006-2007 is proving a grim one for fatalities on Britain’s mountains.A 63-year-old Cumbrian walker was the latest to die when he tumbled from Hall’s Fell Ridge on Blencathra.

19 February 2007

Walkers celebrate Hebden Bridge's welcome

The West Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge today celebrated gaining walker-friendly status with a day of events in and around the Pennine centre.The Calderdale town is the first in Britain to gain the Walkers Are Welcome designation.

18 February 2007

Rally means Grizedale path closures

Grizedale’s forests will again reverberate to the sound of high powered engines next month.All footpaths, bridleways and unsurfaced roads between Coniston Water and the Satterthwaite to Hawkshead road will be closed as contestants in the Malcolm Wilson Rally blast through the area.The rally, on 3 March, will take place through Grizedale, Whinlatter and Wythrop Forests.

15 February 2007

Natural England says coastline should be open to all

An official body said today it will tell the Government there should be public access to the entire coastline of England.England's coastline: public should have accessNatural England, the quango set up to advise on and manage the environment and recreation in the great outdoors, will recommend that a continuous corridor of access be set up along the whole of the country’s 4,000km of coast.In a phrase more redolent of a soapbox speech than a sentence from an official report, the organisation says: “Free access to its undeveloped coastline should be the birthright of an island race.” grough says: “Hear, hear!” The commitment to look at introducing legislation to allow coastal access was part of the Labour Government’s commitment following the introduction of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which gave limited right-to-roam in upland and moorland areas.

14 February 2007

Two TV treats for Wainwright fans

Aficionados of Blackburn’s most famous literary son are in for a televisual treat.The BBC is screening not one, but two separate celebrations of the Grumpy Old Fellwalker known to his colleagues as AW and to the rest of the walking world as, simply, Wainwright.Right: a dog on Blencathra summit, one of the mountains featured in the BBC seriesYou’ll need digital telly to watch both, because they’re on BBC 4.

12 February 2007

Skiddaw times ten equals Everest?

For a society formed in memory of one of the most pernickety and precise of writers, the Wainwright Society is surprisingly inexact in its latest charity venture.The laudable aim is to raise money for the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) and the way of doing it is to scuttle up and down Skiddaw (pictured above) and pay £5 to the team.

09 December 2006

Deadly bird flu: what you need to know

The outbreak of deadly bird flu at a Bernard Matthews farm in Suffolk has brought renewed fears that Britain’s great outdoors will once again be out-of-bounds.Tens of thousands of birds have been killed by gassing at the farm near Lowestoft.

04 February 2007

Council decision saves green from builders

A city council has confirmed that an open space should be protected from development.Leeds City Council ruled today that Yeadon Banks should be registered as a town green, in line with a recommendation from inspector Alun Aylesbury earlier this week.The decision means the area cannot be built upon.Local campaign group Keep Yeadon Banks Green Group (Keybag) and its leader Doug Jones were congratulated by national group the Open Spaces Society(OSS), which had supported the fight for the green. OSS general secretary Kate Ashbrook said: “This decision means that Yeadon Banks is now saved from development.  “The owner of part of the land, Leeds Group PLC, objected to the registration, along with David Wilson Homes, who wanted to buy the land for development.  Now that it is confirmed as a green, any development there will be illegal.“We congratulate Keybag and its leader Doug Jones, and Pudsey MP Paul Truswell for their excellent work.  We are delighted that Yeadon Banks has been saved for the community.”Locals had to prove the land had been used for lawful sport and pastimes for at least 20 years.

23 February 2007

Poles apart as Welsh over 50s go Nordic

Wales will resound to the click-click of walking poles if a charity has its way.Age Concern Cymru wants to get the over 50s outdoors and pounding the Welsh miles Nordic fashion.It wants ten volunteers to train as Nordic walking instructors who have passed their half-century so they can pass on the benefits to their fellow grey hikers.

19 February 2007

Watch the birdies: climbing curbs now in place

Climbing restrictions are now in place on some crags in England and more restrictions will come into place as the bird-nesting season progresses.BMC climbing restriction sign (right) at Buckbarrow Crag, Longsleddale, CumbriaThe British Mountaineering Council (BMC) is urging all climbers to check its regional access database before setting out on to rock.

19 February 2007

Walkers' Day launches town's new status

The Pennine town of Hebden Bridge celebrates its Walkers Are Welcome status this Sunday.Ramblers’ Association chairman Kate Ashbrook will be helping the town celebrate and urging others to follow its lead.She will join Natural England board member Pam Warhurst who will open the event in the West Yorkshire town at 10.30am.

16 February 2007

Ramblers' vice-president will face no race charges

Police say a Ramblers’ Association vice-president arrested after she was accused of racially abusing a woman will face no charges.Janet Street-Porter was arrested last month after attending a north London police station.

14 February 2007

Beat a path to your Valentine's heart

The Ramblers’ Association is urging lovers of all ages to take to the great outdoors to breathe new life into their romance.Find a secluded spot in the great outdoors for those special moments with your loved oneThe association, better known for battling for access rights and keeping footpaths clear, is recommending ten routes to set the heart pounding and the knees trembling.Ruth Wembridge of the Ramblers’ Association (RA), said: “You don’t have to go to a tropical island or spend a fortune on flowers and expensive dinners to spend quality time together.“Simply go for a walk in the countryside and let fresh air, beautiful views and peace and quiet breathe new life into your relationship.

13 February 2007

One dead in busy Highland rescue weekend

Scottish mountain rescuers had their busiest weekend of the winter with call-outs to 11 mountaineers in five separate incidents.One man died on Bidean nam Bian in Glencoe after falling 600 feet.

12 February 2007

Help needed to Fix the Fells in Lake District

Volunteers are needed to help patch up the Lake District’s paths.The national park authority is looking for keen people with practical skills and the ability to navigate to help in their Fix the Fells scheme.The Scafell range seen from BowfellAccording to the Lake District National Park Authority, they’ve received a less than generous £1.96 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, though grough suspects they may be understating the amount.Now the park authority wants volunteers to tackle the task of repairing the damage done to the district’s upland paths by the ten million walkers who visit the park each year.

08 January 2007

Mountain rescuers in call for Government cash

A Welsh MP says the Government takes mountain rescue teams for granted, as calls were made for more public money for the rescuers.The Mountain Rescue Council (MRC) for England and Wales says teams are increasingly used by police in urban searches, and this is stretching the volunteer teams’ budgets to the limit.

01 February 2007


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