Barbondale access during shooting

8 August 2019

Avoiding access conflicts in Barbondale for September and October

Although this was included in our March newsletter, with the approach of the shooting season, the following is a timely reminder.

In Autumn 2018, the CNCC received reports of some access problems in the Crystal Cave, Dog Holes and Barking Gill area of Barbondale. The gamekeeper had been attempting to keep all visitors away from this area, even though it is access land under the CRoW Act. It was also noted that this area is often used by school groups for gorge scrambling.

Our investigations revealed that this area is also the breeding area for the local shooting syndicate with shooting taking place each week in September and October. The shoot is run as a business and so the gamekeeper is very keen to ensure it runs smoothly. Specifically, shooting takes place each Thursday during this period and the gamekeeper wishes that the birds are not disturbed or dispersed on this day or the day beforehand.

There should be no reason to restrict access to the caves in the area if cavers can keep away from the feeding grounds up on the open hillside. Access to both Crystal Cave and Dog Hole can be made either by ducking through the culvert under the road or by going through the gate and keeping close to the wall until the gill is reached, and following up the gill, rather than taking a route across the open fell. The direct route to Barbon Pot however is likely to be most disruptive and should be avoided at critical times.

Possibly it is best to avoid the shoot area on Wednesdays and Thursdays of September and October if you can easily rearrange your plans for an alternative day/month.

If cavers can be more aware of the needs of the shoot between the end August and the beginning of November, then good relations with the other fell users should be maintained. Please pass on this information to all interested parties.

Photo: Looking down Barbondale from Barbon Pot (courtesy of Jane Phillips)