BMC Save Wilton Quarries

The BMC have managed to have the climbing area of Wilton Quarries removed from an auction that was due to take place on the 18h October.Wilton Quarries is a classic quarried grit crag based in Lanchashire that is currently owned by United Utilities (UU). UU company owns approx. 58,000 hectares including substantial parts of the Lake District including, Ennerdale, Haweswater, Thirlmere, the Shap fells, Bowland, and further south the Longdendale/Chew/Goyt valleys, and other parts of the Dark Peak. The Wilton Quarries sale was a lot amongst many others that was due to take place at the Manchester United Football ground. After a climber noticed the auction and reported it on UKClimbing forums (see here>>) the BMC acted quickly to arrange a meeting between themselves and UU. Guy Keating reports on the BMC website: “Yesterday, the BMC access and conservation team met with a representative of United Utilities (UU) property division to discuss the sale of the Wilton quarries. If you missed this worrying development, the BMC recently learned that land containing the quarries was scheduled for auction to the highest bidder on the 18th October. Naturally, we were concerned that ownership of one of Lancashire´s best quarried-grit crags could pass to someone who might not view climbing as favourably as UU currently do. After some fact-finding and a number of phone calls, the BMC arranged to meet with UU to discuss the various options. We are pleased to report a very constructive and helpful session for both parties, and UU were receptive to our concerns, appreciated the quality of the crag, and also its historical place on the Lancs. climbing scene. The meeting concluded with an agreement to work with UU on a couple of local issues, and a commitment to withdraw the quarries from the current auction.” UU is a name that some people may recognise. Last year planetFear reported on UU´s proposal to charge groups who wanted to access their land (see news here>>).