by Mick Ryan Stanage If you plan climbing at Stanage next weekend, unfortunately you can´t. Stanage is being given a rest from climbing from the 15th September. From that date onward, all weekend climbing is banned. Stanage will be open for climbing weekday mornings from 6am until 11.30am only. Next Spring there will be a full restriction, no access at all, for six weeks from April 8th. Where can we lay the blame here? Who can we point fingers at? Not ourselves surely! Nope, let´s pick on the British Mountaineering Council (BMC). The BMC haven´t been doing their job properly, no one went to any Stanage Forum meetings, climbers didn´t take responsibility for their impact at this very popular crag, no one volunteered for any access work, no one in the government would support us as they didn´t know that climbers had a representative body, apart from that the BMC ran out of money as no one joined. Imagine if that were true, or climbing was restricted at Shepherd´s Crag, or Malham, or Bosigran. There would be an uproar, and rightly so. Letters would be written, articles penned and the forums would be chocker but more than that of course, our climbing choices would be limited. But it isn´t true and Dave Turnbull, CEO of the BMC explains why at his blog (thebmc.co.uk/blogs/ceo): “Its a simple fact that if it wasn´t for the efforts of BMC volunteers and staff over the past 20, 30 or 40 years – access to many crags and mountain areas we currently visit would be severely restricted or banned. Take Stanage for example. Between 2001-5, Access Rep Henry Folkard – supported by several other volunteers and staff, represented the climbers at approximately 50 (fifty) 2-6 hour long meetings of the Stanage Forum and its sub-groups. If it was´nt for Henry´s effort and dedication – there is no absolutely no doubt that today Stanage would have more bird nesting restrictions, full Pay & Display parking, further parking restrictions and limitations on footpath approach routes and a host of other problems.” Not all of us have time to volunteer but one way we can all help is to join the BMC, if you haven´t already. Not only will you be helping fund all the important work the BMC does, but you will be protecting your freedom to climb. Never forget, freedom does have a price. Turnbull continues….. “If you want a high calibre, credible organisation to be your voice to government, to landowners, to regulatory bodies, conservation agencies and the media, then you should simply regard your annual membership subscription (£8.50 – £28.50 depending on what kind of member you are) as an investment in your climbing. An investment that also happens to give you a high quality quarterly magazine (Summit), piece of mind in your climbing through £5´000´000 worth of insurance cover plus 10% discount of gear at 600+ outdoor retailers nationwide. The BMC means different things to different people; it is an organisation worth joining.” You can join the BMC, right now by clicking here I´m off to Shining Clough now. Better check the access situation, courtesy of the BMC of course. Here we go, cruise on over to the Regional Access Database, www.thebmc.co.uk/bmcCrag/ViewCrag. Everything seems in order but I´d better take note of these approach descriptions: “The best way to approach Shining Clough is from the parking area next to the dam at the SW end of the Woodhead Reservoir. Climbers and walkers gaining access to the moorland by walking under the old bridge ½ mile west on the B6105 have reported difficulties with the landowner who does not permit access.” Thanks BMC.