The BMC has issued the following press release stressing the serious nature of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease: The current epidemic of foot and mouth is extremely serious, and the BMC is strongly urging all climbers, hill walkers, and mountaineers to stay out of the countryside. This will inevitably have an effect on everybody´s weekend plans for the next few weeks, but this is not a situation to be taken lightly. A steady rise in the number of cases identified, and a rapid spread across the country, means that most climbing and walking areas are affected. All BMC outdoor events, including the international winter meet at Glenmore lodge, Aviemore have been cancelled. So, if you´re thinking of going out this weekend, ask yourself – are a few climbs or walks really worth the potential risk to the animals and farmers in the area? And even the burning of a few deer herds doesn´t concern you – think about the potential impact on future access arrangements.This is an ideal time to show farmers and landowners that climbers and walkers are responsible users of the countryside, who can work with, not against those who earn their living in the areas in which we play. “The climbing and walking community is deeply sympathetic to rural needs at this time, and the BMC wish to do everything they can to help. The BMC strongly urges all climbers, walkers, and mountaineers not to go onto the hills until further notice.” – Chris Bonington “At this critical time we are in complete sympathy with the farming community, and would ask all climbers, walkers and mountaineers to abide with the advice given and the restrictions that are in force.” – Derek Walker, BMC President. Information on the disease and restricted areas is available on the MAFF web site, www.maff.gov.uk. Up-to-date information can also be found at www.bbc.co.uk, www.nfu.org.uk, www.npa-uk.net. The BMC is issuing the latest information at www.thebmc.co.uk/news.asp . ClimbingMedia news will, of course carry the latest developments.