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26 July 2006

Yorkshire Dales access land closed again

Latest news from the Yorkshire Dales is that all open access areas have been reclosed because the fire risk has again risen to exceptional.The national park authority had re-opened most of the land earlier in the week.

30 July 2006

Fire-risk moorland: some areas re-open

Access land in the Peak District re-opened this week, but moorland fires raged in the South Pennines.The situation in the Peak is under constant review after Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) access areas were re-opened after weekend rain.

28 July 2006

'Wheels fall off' Government access body

Natural England, the new body which will take over access issues in October, is being starved of cash, according to its boss.The Independent reports it has seen an email from its chairman Sir Martin Doughty to the Environment Secretary, arch Blairite David Milliband, which says the wheels are coming off the new organisation before it even launches.Defra, the super agency created in the wake of the foot-and-mouth disease crisis of 2001, controls the new organisation's budget and, surprise surprise, it has cut the amount of money available to do the job.The Independent quotes Doughty's email: ""I am deeply concerned that current financial demands being placed upon us by Defra are eroding our capacity to deliver these benefits before we even begin."I understand the need for Defra to live within its budget and Natural England is committed to playing its part in that - we are already committed to £7m of cuts.

28 July 2006

Climbing-wall qualification on the way

A wide-ranging consultation on a proposed new qualification for climbing-wall supervisors has closed.Mountain Leader Training UK began the not-too-rapid look at standardising a qualification below the level of the Single Pitch Award, which was introduced for climbing supervisors in 1992.Many indoor walls use in-house training at present rather than a National Governing Body qualification.

24 July 2006

Body of top climber found on 'Killer Mountain'

A top mountaineer's body has been found on a Pakistan mountain.Jose Antonio Delgado had been missing on Nanga Parbat since topping out the peak on 12 July.

23 July 2006

Fire risk keeps moors closed

Walkers wanting to use right-to-roam areas in the National Parks need to check before setting forth this weekend.Large area of Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) access land in the Peak district remain out-of-bounds because of the high fire risk.

21 July 2006

Want to help clean up the Welsh crags?

Climbers in north Wales have a chance to improve their rocky environments in the coming months.North Wales Action Group has arranged various activity days, including replacing abseil points and generally cleaning up crags and climbing routes.

19 July 2006

Crooners and ancient bogs in a park near you

What have Frank Sinatra and the Bellringer Handicap got in common? grough thought the latter was something Quasimodo suffered from, but no – the...

17 July 2006

Free bus service for Dartmoor cyclists

If you're taking to two wheels on Dartmoor and want to take some of the strain out of the height gain, the national park authority is running a scheme to help you.The Dartmoor Freewheler is a free bus service with a cycle trailer attached, so you can get your bike to the high ground of the moor and enjoy the (mostly) downhill ride out again, or so the authority claims.The service runs on summer Sundays, until October, with a different route each of the four Sundays in the month.

30 July 2006

How uncommon - protection for our open spaces

Today, grough has a little quiz for you. Mull over these quaint words and have a think if you've any idea what they mean.Estovers, pannage, piscar...

29 July 2006

Snowdon summit: demolition men move in

First, the good news: work is due to start in September to demolish one of the least loved edifices on any British mountain.

28 July 2006

Moorland ablaze on closed access land

Moor fires continue to blaze as the hot, dry spell leaves much of the high ground of northern England tinder dry.The latest outbreak was on the Yorkshire-Lancashire border, between Oakworth and Laneshawbridge, where firefighters from Lancashire and West Yorkshire were this afternoon tackling the blaze.A large area of Dove Stones Moor and Combe Hill caught fire around 2pm today.

25 July 2006

Follow in the cycle tracks of Hadrian?

A new coast-to-coast cycleway was launched this week along the route of Hadrian's Wall.More than 100 cyclists were expected to be corralled for 'photo opportunities' to mark the opening of the 120-mile route from Silloth in Cumbria to South Shields in Tyne and Wear.So perhaps this week wasn't the perfect moment to enjoy the peace and freedom of two wheels on the Sustrans-developed way.

22 July 2006

Map makers rapped by watchdog

The Ordnance Survey, producers and purveyors of the maps most of us use, has had a rap on the knuckles.It’s not for leaving their maps without revision for years, or spelling Gaelic names wrong.

21 July 2006

Leaders will not face prosecution for Everest death

A millionaire’s attempt to bring a private prosecution of three men he held responsible for his son’s death on Everest has been thrown out.Michael Matthews, who at 22 was the youngest Briton to summit the world’s highest peak in 1999, was lost on the descent.

20 July 2006

Everest death: Brit climber could have been saved

The controversy continues over the death of climber David Sharpe on Everest. An expert in mountain medicine says that the stricken Brit would have sto...

17 July 2006

Tinder-dry moors at risk as heat wave continues

Northumberland was the first national park to issue a fire warning this weekend.The National Park Authority says the upland areas are tinder dry after weeks of hot dry weather.Anyone who's been out and about on the fells and mountains of England and Wales recently will testify to the fact that things are very dry – expect water restrictions soon!National Park rangers are asking the media – ie us – to warn walkers to be careful and not to discard cigarette butts, matches and glass in the outdoors.

17 July 2006

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