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BMC Crag Code Of Conduct

March 6th, 2014

The BMC has produced a code of conduct – the Crag Code – to encourage the sustainable use of crags in England and Wales. The code consists of ten important reminders for people visiting our crags – from respecting the rock and other people to keeping to established footpaths and keeping dogs under control. Whilst the majority of climbers and boulderers have a positive attitude towards crag access and protection, the BMC felt a code was needed to help prevent situations whereby access may come under threat.

  • Access: Check the Regional Access Database (RAD) for the latest access information
  • Parking: Park carefully – avoid gateways and driveways
  • Footpaths: Keep to established paths and leave gates as you find them
  • Risk: Climbing can be dangerous, accept the risks and be aware of other people around you
  • Respect: Groups and individuals  – respect the rocks, local climbing ethics and other people
  • Wildlife: Do not disturb livestock, wildlife or cliff vegetation; respect seasonal bird nesting restrictions
  • Dogs: Keep dogs under control at all times; don’t let your dog chase sheep or disturb wildlife
  • Litter: ‘Leave no trace’ – take all litter home with you
  • Toilets: Don’t make a mess – bury your waste
  • Economy: Do everything you can to support the rural economy – shop locally


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Ramblers Report Historic Footpaths At Risk Of Being Lost Forever

February 27th, 2014

Ramblers recent report reveals a serious backlog of paths waiting to be recognised as public footpaths. Any historic paths not officially recorded as public rights of way by 2026 will be extinguished, meaning thousands of well-trodden paths, and other potentially useful routes would be lost forever.

The ‘Paths in Crisis’ report revealed more than 4,000 paths are on a waiting list to be determined as legal rights of way in England and the Ramblers estimates this backlog will take more than 13 years to clear if processed at the current rate.

To help combat this problem the Ramblers has been working with landowners, land managers and local authorities to find ways to make the process for recording paths more efficient, consistent across the country, and less contentious, helping to claim as many historic paths as possible before the 2026 cut-off date.

The group’s recommendations were put forward to Government and have now been included in the draft Deregulation Bill. These proposed changes to rights of way legislation are part of a package of measures which, if taken as a whole, will benefit walkers and landowners alike. The aim is to simplify rights of way legislation, meaning the process for claiming paths will be easier so that they can be added more quickly, helping to clear the substantial backlog.

Ramblers chief executive Benedict Southworth said,The proposed legislation has been carefully put together by representatives from landowners, paths users, and local government – including ourselves and the NFU – who have worked together for over three years to simplify the law around rights of way for the benefit of everyone. This carefully crafted solution should make it easier for historic paths to be added to the definitive map – the official record of all public paths. Many of these paths have existed for hundreds of years – they are an ‘inscription on the landscape’ made by generations of people going about their business, and are as much a part of our heritage as our ancient monuments and historic buildings. By adding them to the official map they cannot be blocked off or built upon and are protected for future generations to enjoy.” 

“Our network of paths provide an important role connecting people to green spaces, allowing them to travel to shops and to schools and are enjoyed by millions each year. This unique network attracts tourists from around the world and provides a vital contribution to the economy – last year alone visitors to England’s outdoors spent £21 billion. We hope that this new legislation will make it easier for our historic paths to get the protection they need so that we can continue to walk and enjoy them.”

Follow The Ramblers:



The Ramblers is Britain’s walking charity; at the heart of walking in Britain, working to promote walking and protect the places where people walk. It has a grass roots network of over 25,000 volunteers who work tirelessly for a walking Britain. For over 75 years it has helped build and protect Britain’s 140,000 mile long path network. It runs over 45,000 walks a year and campaigns for better walking routes and more walking opportunities –


 Ramblers Footpath Sign

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The Ramblers Festival Of Winter Walks

September 15th, 2013

For over 25 years, through snow, sleet, rain and under clear winter skies; in parks, forests and on mountain tops, the footsteps of thousands have dotted the countryside each year as family, friends and avid walkers step out to enjoy the Ramblers’ Festival of Winter Walks.

This year, the Ramblers is once again providing wintery walks for all to enjoy with two weeks of festive wanders, led by volunteers, from 21 December 2013 – 5 January 2014. It’ll be here before you know it, so why not bag a winter warmer now? Baselayers, mid layers, softshells and other outer layers, hats, gloves and socks will ensure you make the most of days out however cold it is. Whether it’s a merry jaunt to the pub on Christmas Eve you’re after, a festive Boxing day walk to burn off the mince pies, or a lengthy hike to start the new year on the right foot, there are hundreds of free walks to suit everyone across England, Scotland and Wales with the Festival of Winter Walks.

Ramblers chief executive Benedict Southworth said, “There is something wonderful about walking over the festive season; the company of family and friends, exploring beautiful winter landscapes under clear skies or the fun of being the first to make tracks in the snow, all of these things make getting out and about at this time of year even more of an adventure. Our Festival of Winter Walks is as popular as ever after 25 years. So, put on your winter coats, wrap up warm and join us again as we head out to enjoy the season the way we know best, on our feet.”

This year for the first time ever you can also download one of their expert walking routes from Ramblers Routes to try on your own or with friends and family this winter, visit for info.


For more information on the Festival of Winter Walks and to browse the festive walks on offer visit


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Long Distance Walkers Association

September 1st, 2013

The Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) is a national association for people who have the shared interest of walking long distances in rural, mountainous or moorland areas. By joining, you can meet other long distance walkers and have access to information on walking events and long distance walking routes all over the UK. It also organises many challenge and local group walks, as well as having details of many more organised by other organisations. Challenge events are usually 20-100 miles long and, generally, should be completed within a set time; group walks are normally led walks of around 20 miles. Membership of the LDWA is open to all, with individual members paying just £13 per year.

For more info, visit


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View The Northern Lights At UK Campsites

August 16th, 2013

According to experts at NASA, November 2013 is supposed to be the best year ever for the Northern Lights, a natural phenomenon which causes unearthly-like colours to dart around the night sky. What better way to view them than from a great British campsite where light pollution is at a minimum and you can lie back and enjoy the view? The north east of England and Scotland are said to be amongst the best potential viewing points in the UK so has compiled a guide to Northern Lights spotting from some of its best-positioned sites.

  • Bluebell at Birdsong Garden is a cosy glampervan located in a secluded English garden in Alnwick, Northumberland. This is a perfect location for enjoying views of the night sky as there is no light pollution and a double outdoor hammock in which guests can lie back and look towards the glowing night sky. A two night stay in November costs £90 for the van.
  • Ayres Rock Hostel and Camp Site on the Isle of Sanday in the Orkney Islands is about as remote a location as anyone could wish to find for spotting the Northern Lights. With a clifftop location, visitors enjoy panoramic and unspoiled views for miles around. During the day there are beautiful sandy beaches to walk along, wildlife to spot and a lighthouse to explore. Accommodation options include tent pitches, camping pods and a two bedroom holiday home. Prices start from as little as £12 per pitch, per night.
  • Tan Hill in North Yorkshire is another location that is expected to offer a stunning light show and Usha Gap Campsite is just five miles away. Set on a working farm, campers on this site can pitch a tent or bring along their own touring vehicle. With beautiful views of the surrounding valleys and hills it’s an ideal choice for enjoying the night sky. Pitches cost from £24 per night.
  • For a more rustic experience, Cowclose Woodland at Consett, County Durham is a wild style campsite where visitors walk 1km to their rural peaceful site. The idea is for visitors to truly get back to nature. There are cooking facilities on site including wood fired pizza ovens, barbecue grills and fires for warmth. Once on site, visitors can truly get in touch with nature and enjoy their natural surroundings – another great spot with no light pollution. There is room for just 20 tents and pitches cost from £20 per night.

Multi-award winning is a free guide to all types of camping and caravanning in the UK, Ireland and France. The site provides users with a simple platform in which they can search and book a camping or caravanning holiday. The site goes beyond traditional searches by allowing users to search for a site based on more than 80 criteria, such as adults only and campfires allowed, and view nearby events, Good Pub Guide pubs and VisitBritain attractions.

For more information, visit

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Free Outdoor Training For Mock Students At Plas y Brenin

July 22nd, 2013

Throughout the year Plas y Brenin (PyB) runs training and assessment courses in various activities and, in order to make the courses as authentic as possible, ‘mock’ students are used so that the candidates can accurately display their tuition and/or assessing skills. Being assessed for a high level qualification is a very stressful experience for the candidates and in order to provide them with as fair an assessment as possible PyB looks for mock students who have enough but not too much, relevant experience and a high level of commitment to the day. This is a great way to gain experience, confidence and free coaching! An experienced instructor will of course be closely supervising the candidates throughout the day. Courses currently using mock students are outlined below, along with a brief note of the level of mock student PyB is looking for.


Mountain Assessor Training Workshops – this is an opportunity for Mountain Leader Trainees to have a ‘mock assessment’ by candidates training as assessors.


Mountain Instructor Award Assessments and Re-assessments – this is an opportunity for novice climbers to learn/develop their skills on multi-pitch crags, on occasions there are also opportunities for days scrambling. No previous experience required.



BCU-UKCC Level 2 Coaching Paddlesport Assessments and Enhancement Courses – this is an opportunity for novice paddlers to learn/develop their kayak and open boat skills; no previous experience required.


BCU-UKCC Level 2 Moderate Water Assessments – this is an opportunity for flat water paddlers keen to be introduced to white water kayak, canoe or sea kayaking.



BCU-UKCC Level 3 Coaching Paddlesport Discipline Specific Assessments – this is an opportunity for intermediate paddlers keen to be introduced to or develop their skills in white water kayak, white water canoe or sea kayaking.


BCU-UKCC 4 Star Leaders Award Assessments – this is an opportunity for experienced paddlers (kayak, open boat or sea kayak) to have a guided day out; you should be already happy paddling at 4 star level (you do not need to hold the award). If you are looking to complete your four star, then this a great opportunity to experience an assessment without being assessed and see what it is all about and the level expected.


BCU-UKCC 5 Star Leaders Award Assessments – this is an opportunity for experienced paddlers (kayak, open boat or sea kayak) to have a guided day out; you should be already happy paddling at 5 star level (you not need to hold the award). If you are looking to complete your five star then this a great opportunity to experience an assessment without being assessed and see what it is all about and the level expected.



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MountainSafe Partnership Advice For Sponsored Events

July 2nd, 2013

With an increase in the number of organised events taking place on Snowdonia’s mountains, organisers and participants are encouraged to take extra precautions before embarking on such challenges. Recently, there has been an increase in sponsored walks and charity events being held in Snowdonia, which in turn has resulted in an increase in the number of emergency calls as groups get into difficulty on the mountains. As a result, the MountainSafe Partnership is appealing to organisers and participants to prepare themselves thoroughly before venturing on their challenge, and to be responsible and safe whilst enjoying the experience of walking the mountains of Snowdonia, and fundraising at the same time.


On behalf of MountainSafe, its Chairman Phil Benbow said, “We are eager for people to enjoy themselves as they come to Snowdonia and therefore are asking people to remember five things before they start out:

1. Prepare in advance by ensuring that all participants are aware of the challenge ahead of them and that they are fit and are properly equipped.

2. Weather – check the Met Office website for the latest weather forecast for Snowdonia and don’t be afraid to cancel your event if conditions are unfavourable.

3. Stay together – you are only as strong as your weakest member. Consider the whole group – don’t leave anyone behind.

4. Remember to have a backup emergency plan. There is no guarantee of a phone signal in the mountains and the mountain rescue service is an emergency service for emergency cases only.

5. Respect the mountain, local communities and other people and follow all local codes of conduct, including the Countryside Code, and take your litter home with you.


In remembering these five important points, participants are more likely to enjoy their experience and to succeed in their effort to raise money for their favourite charities. “


John Grisdale, Chairman of the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, added, “My concern about these groups is based on their lack of understanding of the mountains and the environment. For example, last week, we were called out to rescue three young men who decided not to follow the normal path. They weren’t wearing appropriate clothing or shoes, they didn’t have any directions, no leader and the gully they got stuck on was precarious for the rescue helicopter. Although most achieve their goal with a sense of satisfaction, if weather conditions are unfavourable, and there is a lack of knowledge by walkers, there’s an increased risk of accidents.”


Further advice on organising events in the mountains of Snowdonia can be found on Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team’s website – –  or contact the National Park Authority –

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Baselayer Foundations For Comfort Outdoors

June 28th, 2013

At the heart of any performance outdoor clothing system are versatile baselayers worn, closely fitting, next to the skin. Options include long and short sleeve tops, leggings, underwear and one-piece suits. It’s as important for comfort to get the foundations right as it is to find the right insulation and weather protection. Too often, baselayers’ versatilities are under-estimated and they are seen as essential for warmth. However, in hot weather their fast wicking nature means that sweat is dispersed through the fabric where it can evaporate quickly with the result of delivering evaporative cooling thus avoiding clammy skin and damp clothing.  To help you make the right choice, we’ve got some sound advice on what will suit specific activities here. Travellers, too, can benefit from performance fabrics as they avoid the soaking from perspiration that can leave cotton T-shirts wringing wet.

Baselayers are all about comfort and moisture management is key – for warmth or for helping to keep the wearer cool when needed. By wicking away sweat and allowing moisture vapour through, Sub Zero baselayers offer versatile comfort for men, women and children across a wide range of activities in all climates and weather conditions at prices to suit all pockets. Different fabrics in varying weights are used to deliver solutions to all outdoor clothing demands. With flexibility a key consideration, baselayers can also be worn on their own as stand-alone garments. Lightweight, durable and quick drying – key considerations for multi-day trips – a variety of modern synthetic and natural fabrics have helped in reducing the need for kilos of spare clothing and allowing more room for other equipment to extend active trips..

With a wide range of insulation filling options for use a mid layer and flexible outer layer options, there’s a solution available for the challenges posed by most outdoor pursuits and weather conditions.



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Stay Safe In The Countryside Walking With Livestock

June 24th, 2013

As the weather warms up and more people head out for a walk in the countryside, Ramblers is reminding people to take care when walking through fields with livestock.

“Now is the perfect time to go for a walk in the countryside and explore our wonderful network of paths” said Nicky Philpott, Ramblers’ campaigns and policy director. “However, the countryside is also a working environment and it’s important to be mindful of that, especially at this time of year when farm animals are rearing their young.”

“Be sympathetic to farm animals rearing their young and give them space” says NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe. “If you feel threatened by animals protecting their territory, or young, do not run, move to the edge of the field, and if possible find another way round.”

“The countryside is a beautiful place to walk in” added Sercombe. “However, it is a working environment where animals graze. So it’s important to take care and be mindful of your surroundings so you can fully enjoy the experience.”

Ramblers has outlined some basic tips to follow below, you can find out more about walking near livestock – and with dogs – by reading the Countryside Code and Scottish Outdoor Access Code.

• Try to avoid getting between cows and their calves
• Be prepared for cattle to react to your presence, especially if you have a dog with you
• Move quickly and quietly, and if possible walk around the herd
• Keep your dog close and under effective control on a lead around cows and sheep

• Don’t hang onto your dog – if you are threatened by cattle, let it go as the cattle will chase the dog
• Don’t put yourself at risk – find another way round the cattle and rejoin the footpath as soon as possible
• Don’t panic or run – most cattle will stop before they reach you, if they follow just walk on quietly

For further safety information visit Ramblers’ advice for walkers section. For all your outdoor clothing and equipment needs, make to check out the whole of the Sub Zero Store.

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Long Distance Challenge Walks In Northumberland

June 18th, 2013

Up for a challenge?

Challenge walks are, more or less, exactly how they are named. Completing a long walk in the company of others, often with checkpoints along the way, and usually to be completed within a set time. They can be very demanding and not to be undertaken lightly but they are also loads of fun and a structured event offers loads of support. Shepherd’s Walks has a number of these events set in the stunning scenery of Northumberland. Each walk has checkpoints with water stations and there’s first aid cover and support vehicles available for walkers who have to drop out on the route.


  • Cragside Challenge Walk, 29 June – starting from Cragside, near Rothbury, the 13 mile route takes in the Simonside Hills.
  • St. Cuthbert’s Challenge Walk, 10 August – after checking in at Wooler, walkers will be transferred to Melrose to walk along the lovely 19.5 mile cross-border section of this long distance route.
  • Kielder Challenge Walk, 7 September – walkers make a 25.3 mile circuit of Europe’s largest man-made lake.


Items of kit that should be a necessity in your backpack for a long distance challenge walk is a map and compass (and know how to use them!), a whistle to signal search and rescue if an emergency arises, windproof and waterproof clothing, extra warm clothes including a base layer set, food and drink, a torch for path finding at night and for signalling, hat and gloves, and a first aid kit that includes sunscreen.


For more information visit


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