On the weekend of 2nd and 3rd September, a team of volunteers, ably marshalled by Marti Hallett, made some great progress on the big job of creating a new and safe approach path to Battleship Main on Portland. This work was required following a major landslip in the winter of 2014 (UKC News item) which left the old approach impassable and required a new approach from the south to be made. This path was nowhere near as user-friendly and has always required some significant work to make safe. Battleship itself is one of the most popular sport climbing destinations in the south so the work was desperately needed.
Marti told UKC/Rockfax:
‘We did the path work on the same day as the recent re-bolting. The access to Battleship had been limited since the landslip a few winters ago and a lot of people – instead of using the long way in via the veranda – were using what I describe as the rope of death; a 20ft hand over hand down-climb of some old knotted rope over a chossy little cliff just right of the back cliff area.
‘The gully in the centre of Battleship has been used for access, but due to its steep mud slopes this was only possible in the best summer conditions. By adding stepping, soil stabilisation, netting and grass seeding it will hopefully become a safe access route all year round.’
‘There is still a bit more work to do on it and to the veranda route, so I am hoping to get a group down there next weekend to do some path work. All the materials are eco friendly, including untreated chestnut posts and jute stabilisation nets.’
In an interesting collaboration, the funds used for this path restoration have had significant support from Rockfax donations coming directly from the Dorset Bouldering book. The book, by Ben Stokes, was published in July 2015 and £1 from the first 1500 copies sold is being donated to the BMC Access Fund (ACT) and ring fenced for the work (article here). In the end we have channelled all donations made to the BMC ACT from the Rockfax web site, including online sales from other non-bolted areas, and point of sale donations made by people buying from the web site, towards this ring fenced money. Up to the end of June 2017 the total raised was £1492, which includes a £250 boost from the BMC. The target is £2000 which we hope to reach by the end of the year.
Thanks to Sam Parsons – AfterTheSend.com – for the photos.