He does not believe that the concept of ‘free access’ refers to HIS land (but does on nearby Cadair) and thus everyone has to ask his permission personally before treading on it.
I would welcome any more comments on whether I should take it further or not before making a final decision (and wondering who, in fact, to contact). I assume that the majority believe that operating SOTA on acessland is permitted under the CROW Act and that I won’t be rocking a possibly leaking boat?? As you may gather, I was not aware of the actual terms contained in the Act - I prefer to go for a hill-walk with or without my radio! Tx for your comments.
I think you are very sensible to be cautious about the radio aspect Viki. There is hardly ever a “right” to set up a temporary radio station, and if permission was explicitly sought in National Parks, other farmland with PROWs, NT sites etc, it would often be declined. SOTA activations, generally speaking, should be low-impact and very temporary activities - like stopping for lunch in the middle of a hike.
The farmer’s objection, it appears, was not what you were doing, but your being there. I would be minded to report the incident, but personally I would make no mention of amateur radio. That is a potential unnecessary distraction from the access issue, a bit of a “red herring”.
If you can sleep in a tent and it’s considered open-air recreation, then radio outside must be the same.
There is a massive history of field-day activities in amateur radio all over the world. Just last night my radio club had a talk on VHF contesting through the ages that had video of our modern contesting setup and contrasted it with VHF field day from 1966. We had cine film transferred to video showing people operating radio from a hill top (West Kip, 2 summits along from Scald Law GM/SS-125). Whilst this was Scotland which has always had differing laws, there were still several young men and 3 or 4 tents set up for 24hrs. A typical 60min SOTA activation is massively less impactful that that VHF field day. The only permission needed was from the farmer to drive GM3PSP’s Minor Traveller on the private road to the col. FYI, 3 of the 1966 operators are still club members and were present in the audience and one is still an active contester 57 years later.
Regarding access land. I had a confrontation in the Yorkshire Dales. Wall climbing was insinuated, which had not happened.
The other issue was that I had 3 tent pegs in the soil, I was told this was outwith the access land permission.
He was the game keeper and was (rightly) concerned about disturbing ground nesting birds.
I have also had the 3 tent peg issue on Isle of Lindisfarne a SSSI (I think).
Many years ago the warden on St Kilda (also SSSI) carried my car battery onto the summit of Conicar and went on air.
Not an easy one.
I agree with the previous comments: the temporary pursuit of non-damaging activities like amateur radio, an informal family game of cricket or sticking three pegs in the ground are examples of recreation. What matters is not what the gamekeeper says but what a judge would decide (as in the Dartmoor wild camping case). Obviously, you should remain polite and non-threatening in any conversation. But if you think you are in the right and the landowner or his/her agent continues to harass you, you should phone 101 for assistance unless they get violent in which case call 999.
The laws of England & Wales tend not to have long lists of Do’s and Don’t but rather have a general definition, e.g. recreational activities are allowed on CROW land, and leave to case law / common law to test the boundaries of that definition. Don’t expect to find a law saying it’s a right to set up an amateur radio station or to forbid it. The test of the “reasonable man” or probably reasonable person nowadays is expected. What matters: Is what I’m doing a recreational activity or not?
But as Tom @M1EYP said, in this case it wasn’t even about the activity, his beef was people on his land.
Not that old chestnut! That along with their new buzz word “conservation” is an excuse to get you off their land. ‘Disturbance’ of ground nesting birds by walkers is probably a third-order effect on their population. I refer you to a fuller science/evidence-based explanation of what factors really affect their numbers that I posted last time this came up …
I was reading around the cans and can’ts of access land and found this:
Natural England must review the open access maps they issued in 2004 and 2005. The current deadline for this review is 2024 to 2025. The government is now moving toward a unified national deadline of 31 December 2030. Natural England have started initial planning for the review.
(source: Open access land: management, rights and responsibilities - GOV.UK)
Natural England look after the maps in England, not Wales and I can’t find any mention of this on NRW’s website. So I don’t know if there’s been a consultation period on updating the maps, and the farmer is expecting the land to be taken off the maps, and he’s eforcing it now to try to demonstrate that he’s not allowing people on his land and setting a precedent etc.
Thanks to Brian and all others for their comments. I have now delved into the law on Access Land and, as others have said, I cannot find that we are banned (eventho’ potholers and carriers of canoes are!) and I have thus started to try to find a way of reporting the incident by contacting the National Park (who are rthe designated Authority) and National Resources Wales who seem to decide what they ought to do. In the course of this I found that the farmer could apply for temporary exceptions for up to 28 days (which I believe he wouldn’t bother to do) but NOT on (amongst others) Sundays between 1 June and 30 September. I have to admit to a smile when I read this
I will let you know of any developments but would still welcome ideas on who actually to contact.
I would definitely focus your report and account on the access (and suggested denial of it) only though. The radio activity is irrelevant here, but mention of it could complicate the matter (and in the worst-case scenario, cause difficulties for SOTA more widely).
I would start with the police, as the act of setting dogs on people could be considered assault, as well as the breaches of the act that could be considered criminal, I would also be contacting the National
Park and detailing what happened, and CCing in the relevant local authority department in the same E-mail. Maybe also consider CCing in the local MP and councillors too… Essentially make enough noise, and someone will likely listen!
I really think this needs reporting to somebody in authority Viki, sending your dogs to attack people is not on, & as mentioned above, I would be classing that as assault.
Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
Neither of us want to make an issue of the 2 dogs as they were basically friendly (even if the owner was not). The first i was aware of them was when the black dog approached me slowly with his tail wagging, when I was talking to the farmer or when packing up, and he enjoyed being patted. When they were sent after us on the descent they came to say hello and the black one got another pat and the brown one just stood on the narrow path I was going down and was easily brushed aside. I do not feel this can be construed as an assault. Much in the same way, Rodney suddenly found he was joined in the bracken by 2 dogs (completely silent and with mouths closed) and raised his stick automatically in case it was needed - apparently then the farmer called the back. Again, it would be stretching it to describe this as an assault on the part of the dogs. This is not an angle I want to pursue as the dogs had clearly NOT been trained to attack - or had NOT been ordered to do so. I have never met so very calm and friendly ‘sheep’ dogs before. … I wonder if they are as friendly with the sheep?? Tx for the concern everyone but, on this occasion, these dogs were not a problem - the farmer was.
I have had an automatic response from national park email system and will await developments. I have given the location but not the name of the farmer yet. I will let you know of any develoments.
I am now in contact with the Access and Well-Being Manager (!!) for the Snowdonia National Park who, after a small amount of confusion over where the actual summit of this hill lies as the name ‘Craig y Castell’ is printed in 2 locations on the map - neither of them ao the actual summit, has agreed that I was definitely on Access Land. He also confirms that there is very little likelihood of the area being ‘de-listed’ in the next review in 2029 so the farmer will have to learn to accept the situation. I have now identified the farmer and it is possible that he might be visited or some ‘other measures’ taken in due course but it may be quite some time before this happens as the Manager has a large workload.
I feel that this is as good a response as I could expect and I am happy to wait and see what, if anything happens. Meanwhile, if anyone else goes up there and has a similar problem I suggest they send a report to the Snowdonia National Park to add to the pile! Thanks for your advice everyone. BTW the word ‘radio’ has not been mentioned in any context but I have stated that I went there because it was a Marilyn and supplied a link to the entry on hill-bagging for the hill. (Did you know it was only 153m above the relevant col and thus only just scraped into the Marilyn category??)
Yes! In fact you can see with the out-of-order summit heights of GW/NW-073 to GW/NW-078 that these must have all been added later, rather than at the launch of the GW association. In the case of Craig y Castell, this was promoted to Marilyn status in 1995 (due to it being a marginal case, as you infer). However, because it was not in Alan Dawson’s 1992 “Relative Hills of Britain” book (the original reference work for the GB Marilyns), it was inadvertently omitted from the initial/launch SOTA list for GW. It was however added (along with Mynydd Rhyd Ddu GW/NW-073) 30 days later once these omissions had been spotted!