Most days I walk to Cummingston sea cliffs it is a great climbing venue along the Moray coast. It is place where you can see dolphins and many other wild life and has great views of the Moray Coast. When my grand kids were visiting they are very young and wanted to visit the caves and pools at Cummingston but the path was in a poor state for the descent down. It was very slippy and eroded and many forget that this is not just a climber’s cliff but one that the locals have used for years.
This is my own local cliff is now very busy with big groups regularly there many use it as a top rope facility with groups at times as large as 15 -20 hammering the cliff. When the weather is poor in the mountains many come over and climb here. Yet there are other cliffs about that you can use with a big group and share the wear and tear on the crag. Have a look in the guide book? Abseiling takes a regular toll on eroding the soft sandstone and many of the belays put in by the RAF Team and the Moray sea school years ago are needing replaced as does the well-worn path to the cliff. We did some work on it years ago with the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team.
There has been some work done on the back wall and I wonder who did it but thanks.
Worth thinking about?
- CUMMINGSTON SEA CLIFFS VOLUNTARY USER CODE.
CUMMINGSTON SEA CLIFFS VOLUNTARY USER CODE ARE THERE ALTERNATIVE?
Do we need to go there at all?!!!!
- Can we be imaginative? Extended bouldering session, offering different activities, etc, would all go towards reducing cliff-top erosion. USING THE STAKES. • There should be no moving ropes going over the edge of the cliff other than when leading/seconding in the traditional manner, or in the case of abseil safety ropes and top-roping.
- All edges with anchor ropes going over them should be protected with either rope protectors or carpet, similarly if abseiling. Carpet provides better protection and its use is to be encouraged– the emphasis is on protecting the rock as opposed to protecting the rope. If you protect the rock you will protect the rope.
- All rigging ropes should be static ropes to reduce stretch and therefore the sawing effect on the ground. • Ropes should be brought to a single point before the edge of the cliff and then extended over the cliff edge and padded appropriately.
Ropes should not be put down a climb unless it is to be used within a short period of time. The rigging can be prepared and ropes left on the top until needed
- Group equipment should be kept together and not strewn around the bottom of the climbs.
- Those climbing with leader-placed protection will always take precedence over a group session. The instructor should therefore make any visiting climbers aware that they will be happy to move the ropes out of the way if the climbers wish to climb that particular route.
FOOTPATHS. • Until appropriate work is carried out, the descent path below Sunshine Wall should be used as little as possible. When used, it should be in such a manner as to minimize any further erosion.
Footpath erosion on descent to cliffs.
EDUCATION OF THE GROUP. • On arrival, the group needs to be made aware that the site is a SSSI as well as any access issues, and be encouraged to preserve or improve the status quo whilst they are there. Their instructor is liable for the group’s actions and behaviour.
- They should not use the cave areas as a toilet. Only areas washed frequently by the sea (i.e. the back of the stack) should be used. Alternatively, there are excellent facilities in the car park.
- • Instructors should ensure groups do not scratch their names onto the rock or throw stones at the crag, as the soft sandstone will never recover.
- Groups at the abseil site at the top of Green Crack should be made to sit well back on the grass and not on the turf cornice at the head of the erosion scar.
INTER-USER COMMUNICATION • If the main heavy-user centres can communicate with each other about any imminent large group use it will help reduce both erosion and congestion. Emailing or ‘phoning each other prior to departure from the centre, planning ahead, and communication are to be encouraged.
The following were included in the consultation process: Pete Hill MIC, Adventure Consultants UK, Malcolm Lee MIC, Glenmore Lodge, RAF Grantown, Abernethy Trust, Active Outdoor Pursuits, Outfit Moray, Mountain Leader Training Scotland, Gordonstoun School, Moray Mountain Club, SNH, Moray Council Coastal Ranger, Andy Nisbet-SMT area guide editor, MCofS Access Committee.
(I would add some other groups Fort George, Kinloss Barracks, RAF Lossiemouth, Moray Mountaineering Club and Outfitmoray that I am involved with and we have some amount of organisations that may be able to help and give something back to the area and preserve it for years to come.
Kinloss Barracks has Army engineers maybe they could help as they are local?
So there is a group who care but to me this seems great lots of words and sadly very little action recently many of these groups are making money from these cliffs and giving little back? I feel that what is happening now is unsupportable and the state of the erosion is getting worse.
Any comments welcome
Andy Lawson – Could I suggest, given the frequency with which the Moray MC use this venue, that the MMC Committee look into this – establishing who owns the land and hopefully agreeing some kind of repair work to the descent path involving landowner, Council (if necessary), and other interested parties for funding (e.g. Glenmore Lodge). It seems to be mentioned frequently but with no associated action. A FOI(S)A request to Moray Council should hopefully identify who land owner is quite quickly.
Who owns the land, Moray Council or a private land owner? It would be problematic to organise or attempt any remedial work without the land owners permission.
Latest info – Hi Heavy , when I was at the Lodge we were very aware of this and wanted to do something as this is an area used often by the Lodge. Therefore we allocated some of our environmental fund to pay Pete Hill to do a bit of research to see if we could find a way of tapping into grants and come up with a plan. Sadly it did not come to anything substantial before I left , but I think we all agree we need to do something. Bob Kinnaird.