Peak Area Meeting – Bursting at The Seams!

Well, best laid plans and all that!How were we to know the pub had changed hands, that nobody was expecting us and that all the chairs from the meeting room had been sent away for re-upholstering. Bugger. There was a time it wouldn?t have mattered, but the Peak Area meeting is now such a hot gig that about fifty people turned up.So we all ended up sitting on the floor which was kind of convivial. The hot issues were many.A long discussion proved that Henry Folkard, local access volunteer, is probably the worlds leading authority on the Ring Ouzel and we therefore have a good chance of avoiding a bouldering ban at Apparent North and the Cowper Stone at Stanage.Ornithologists are convinced that it is human interference that?s frightening the wee birds away, but it?s just as likely to be sheep destroying their habitat or Magpies killing the chicks.All being well, a site meeting in the near future should give Henry the chance to convince the birdie folk of the soundness of his arguments. Pay and Display was on the agenda again.It looks like the Peak Park in general will be taken over by the money-grabbing machines.The one exception will be the North Lees estate where honesty boxes may be placed at Burbage North and other parking areas not covered by Pay and Display.This seems a sensiblemethod of raising funds without having to employ traffic wardens and clamping crews.It remains to be seen whether the commitment to introduce payment elsewhere will be matched by an increase in public transport or the introduction of park and ride. On the Western Grit, we were shown some horrifying pictures of the damage caused by heavy wire-brushing at Ramshaw and Newstones.There?s no excuse for this and it must stop.It?s up to all of us to confront the perpetrators. The proposal by Whitehall outdoor pursuits centre to place belay stakes at Windgather caused a lively debate.There were those who felt that it was a pragmatic idea and hardly an issue since stakes appear at crags all over the country.Others felt it was the thin and of the wedge, that we were setting Windgather up as a sacrificial crag by encouraging groups to use it to destruction.It was difficult to arrive at a consensus position so a small group was sent away to look at the alternatives and report back to the meeting at a later date.