Thursday, 26 February 2015

Dumbarton, Scottish mecca of modern climbing, to undergo a town planning “charette”

A consultation will get under way in Dumbarton and will focus on the future of the rock and its surrounding waterfront.

BBC news reports that "Dumbarton Rock has a long history. It formed part of a volcano that was active 350 million years ago and in more recent times - the 1500s - Mary Queen of Scots stayed in the castle built on it"…

… and fails to mention that Dumby is also the home of Rhapsody, E11 7a, the world's hardest traditional rock climb (it has received only 4 clean ascents so far), and of over 20 bouldering problems in the 8 grade, including the world famous Sanction, 8b, Pressure, 8b or Gut Buster, 8b+, to name just a few.

Given there is only seven boulders at Dumbarton Rock, speaking of "concentration of hard climbing" would be a euphemism.

Yet, there wasn’t a single piece of climbing info in the BBC news article – I suspect they have not yet discovered that one can climb these rocks with their "bare hands".

Apparently local people, businesses, landowners and historians are being asked how best to promote Dumbarton Rock as a tourist destination.

While we can assume that Glasgow climbers qualify as "local people", what about the rest of the climbing community?

Unesco, help please! We’re talking world climbing heritage here!

Admittedly, tourism rarely is a threat for climbing, but what happens if they decide to make a nice landscaped promenade round the boulders?

There will be safety issues: some climbs might simply get forbidden (or worse, damaged!) to protect the passer-by.

I’m not sure if the architects, Anderson Bell Christie, know anything about climbing, but let’s hope that the design team and the town council are aware of Dumbarton’s value for us.

P.S. (27/02/15): here's today's and tomorrow's programmes (to register, visit West Dumbarton Charrette website

Friday 27 February, Dumbarton Burgh Hall - Open to the Public from 9.30pm - 3.00pm

  • Project team working on proposals and drawing up: 9.30am – 12.30pm* *NB There are no active public sessions during this time but the public and 
stakeholders can drop-in to view what is going on. 
  • Public and Stakeholder Drop-in Session: 1.30pm – 3.00pm 
The public and stakeholders can discuss and feed back on proposals to the project team and in one-to-one sessions if requested.

Saturday 28 February, Dumbarton Burgh Hall
 - Open to the Public from 10.30pm - 1.00pm 

  • Public Exhibition with Feedback / Questionnaire Sheets: 10.30am – 1.00pm 
The exhibition will display annotated plans, drawings and illustrations of proposals developed from the charrette event for comment. 
March 2015

Final Presentation and Feedback event, further details in due course.


John Stewart Watson said...

Hi Pierre 2 climbers attended today and pretty much echoed your thoughts at the consultation.. I am a bit disappointed in the climber turnout. If we don't attend these community meetings it is no wonder we get ignored and our sporting heritage is airbrushed. The meetings are over 4 days and evenings, free, advertised on the BBC so no excuses. They continue this weekend if anyone wants to input and to be fair the local community does support climbing they just need a little education. MCOS bizarrely not involved and I could go on!! Thanks for the blog post advertising this. Come on Scottish climbers show some interest beyond ticking a UKC box and moving on...

Pierre Edinburgh said...

Only 2?! I would have thought that the Glasgow climbing mafia was a bit bigger than that...
Have you mentioned it to MCOS?
Surely some of their representative should be attending. Likewise for the BMC - do you think they have not heard of it?
That's the thing - it's not an evil process, people can actually have their say. But as you say, it's more a matter of making the public and the Town council aware of Dumby's value for climbers. I don't think they will see it as something negative at all once they'll have been explained.

Anonymous said...

I am a reporter from the Dumbarton Reporter and I am keen to include the views of rock climbers in an article about the consultation. If you woulddn't mind sharing your opinion of Dumbarton Rock from the point of view of the climbing community please drop me a line at