Author Topic: Current situation on Portland  (Read 797 times)

Offline tim.rose2

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Current situation on Portland
« on: May 15, 2020, 08:03:26 pm »
I'm not getting involved in the should / shouldn't we argument, but though this was worth posting in case anyone is thinking of caving on Portland in the near future...

As those who cave there know, most caves are accessed from the cliffs which are extensively used by climbers.  Currently there are numerous threads on UKClimbing regarding access to the cliffs and climbing - I would recommend any cavers consult these.  However in short...

Most local people do not know there are caves. 
Cavers are typically mis-identified as climbers (bags of kit, ropes, helmets, heading down narrow paths over the cliffs.).
Despite what Boris blurted out the other night many Portland residents (and also Dorset Council) are determined to continue the lockdown as was.  See Dorset Council website for advice on visiting Dorset.
All car parks are still blocked (confirmed by my Mother today) and will remain that way at present.
Locals deliberately parking on the roads rather than on their drives to ensure there are no spaces for visitors in the usual parking spots.
Portland used to be a island community with its own laws (ok 200 + years ago) and some locals believe it still should (very small minority - most Portlander's are very friendly welcoming people).
Vigilante action reported against climbers during lockdown includes cars being moved, flat tyres, unpleasant threats.
Threats continue that visiting climbers will be dealt with until 'it is safe'.

Dust needs to settle - when climbing is back to normal caving will continue unnoticed.

I also heard today some visiting fishermen & walkers are receiving an equal dose of Portland justice.

 

Offline Alex

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 10:57:18 pm »
plays the banjo music....

The thing is will it ever return to normal? I think it might not in a lot of places, we don't like outsiders. Only come when it's safe? There is no guarantee a vaccine will be produced so it may never be safe. I fear people will continue to use this as an excuse to stop the disruptive outsiders from visiting. Maybe, people are scared? I think a great jedi master once said, fear leads to hatred and hatred leads to the dark side.
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline tim.rose2

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2020, 11:16:43 pm »
My opinion is that tourist spots just need to get used to seeing 'outsiders' again.  A few weeks and I'm sure climbing / caving will resume on Portland.  The fear seems to be that people will turn up on mass and as a consequence everyone will die - if visitor numbers increase gradually and there's no detrimental effect then all will be fine shortly.

For the record I do not live on Portland (anymore) and am not expressing any opinion as to the rights / wrongs of what's happening, simply reporting what I've heard so that others can decide whether to visit or not.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2020, 11:25:28 pm »
The tourist destination question is a double-edged sword, and both sides have a valid argument for incomers both visiting and not visiting. Castleton, where we're based, is almost entirely powered by visitors. I'm no farming economist, but I doubt that sheep-farming is the primary income of the village. I don't know how the place is coping as we're staying away, but I can't imagine the Blue John shops, local provisions stores, pubs and showcaves are having a great time without any customers. It's not like the villagers are buying earrings every week. Or even chocolate flapjacks. God, I miss those... :(

It's all very well hoping folks will come straight back when it's all over, but that also relies on locals not giving the impression they're rabid protectionists, and being friendly and polite when they refuse access, rather than scattering nails about and spray-painting 'GO HOME' on nice buildings. This country is so interconnected socially and economically that the last thing we need is for all these interdependent communities to fall out with each other.

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2020, 11:50:32 pm »
 Castleton is powered by pensions so I imagine the locals will be hostile - the business owners don't really employ many of the people that live there.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2020, 12:18:24 am »
True enough - I meant the commercial aspect of the village in terms of folks coming to buy things, but I take your point about the pensions - I doubt all need to work. But there could be an uneasy tension develop as the 'rights' of tourists to visit places challenges the 'rights' of people not to have to endure tourism. If most of the villagers could survive quite nicely without the income from visitors, they could find themselves in an awkward spot if the shop-owners start to re-open.

Offline Ed

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2020, 01:17:31 am »
plays the banjo music....

The thing is will it ever return to normal? I think it might not in a lot of places, we don't like outsiders. Only come when it's safe? There is no guarantee a vaccine will be produced so it may never be safe. I fear people will continue to use this as an excuse to stop the disruptive outsiders from visiting. Maybe, people are scared? I think a great jedi master once said, fear leads to hatred and hatred leads to the dark side.

One of our neighbours was sat in the front garden (in what looks like a sheep pen) playing a banjo the other night......

Honestly

Pretty mouths are welcome in Nidderdale - especially if the squeal like a pig

Offline mikem

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2020, 06:09:17 am »
As with most things there is no perfect solution, just shades of grey that will hopefully improve over time. The hostility to climbers (& by association, cavers) has been far worse in the past than it even is now, but visitors provoking locals will delay things getting back to where they were in recent times.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2020, 12:12:16 pm »
Of course there is the reverse issue, which I haven't seen mentioned once anywhere, as plainly it has never, ever happened, ever. That of country folk visiting towns and cities to do their shopping. Oh yes they do. Or they did, anyway. Tesco on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield in particular gets a lot of custom from Hope Valley, Calver area, and I bet it's just the same on the other side of the Peak District. Now I'm sure us city folk would never do anything as rude as scattering nails over the road, as it's plainly impractical, and lynching is just plain rude - but if it were the case that this trade were continuing, what then?

Just saying - for balance ;)

Offline mikem

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2020, 12:38:01 pm »
Village shops have seen a big increase in sales during the last 2 months (one farm shop on countryfile reckoned they had 50% more turnover). This is partly due to people being stuck at home (so not buying stuff near work or passing supermarkets on way home) & partly due to not wanting to go in the big shops so often. TBF, them country folk are at lower risk of having the virus, so less of a threat than the other locals...

Offline Ed W

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2020, 10:10:15 pm »
Just remember it is Portland we are talking about...


Offline mikem

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2020, 10:39:11 pm »

Offline moorebooks

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2020, 05:08:57 am »
Village shops have seen a big increase in sales during the last 2 months (one farm shop on countryfile reckoned they had 50% more turnover). This is partly due to people being stuck at home (so not buying stuff near work or passing supermarkets on way home) & partly due to not wanting to go in the big shops so often. TBF, them country folk are at lower risk of having the virus, so less of a threat than the other locals...

I live in a small town with Waitrose, Lidl , Aldi and a Market Hall , but I use a corner shop regularly  not because of not wanting to go to the big shop but to avoid the massive queues to get into them. There is usually a 40 minute wait, if you only want basics like Milk,  Bread  , washing up liquid and like its only a few pence dearer and no hassle. A small farm shop has short queues too as its quite expensive but the amount I buy especially if its not pre packed  the extra cost is negligible . My town Post Office always has a long queue , I travel to a village  3 miles away exercise my dog on a country walk and use that if I need to (albeit I had been doing that for years anyway). Not all is what it seems

Mike

Offline mikem

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2020, 07:27:18 am »
I've heard things are never as they seem on Portland!

Offline ZombieCake

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2020, 07:12:06 pm »
Maybe best to stay at home rather than go shopping in other places:




Offline Fred

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Re: Current situation on Portland
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2020, 12:51:36 am »
Further information on Portland is available from Mark Steel's in depth radio documentary; available on You Tube, search for "Mark Steel's in Portland" - don't mention the R word*

In the interest of fairness similar documentaries on other caving areas e.g. the Peak (Matlock and Matlock Bath) and the Forest of Dean are also available in this series.

*ra**its
The one thing to remember about an adventure is that if it turns out the way you expect it to, it has not been an adventure at all.

 

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