Trolls Appear In The Middle Of This Post

What a sorry tale we have here…

  • Wales Outdoors is business but it is also a friendship and membership walking group
  • Wales Outdoors (Andrew Lamb) has visited bothy’s twice in the past three years, with three people (one client) in 2018 (Dulyn bothy) and four people (friends) in 2019 (Sourlies bothy)
  • Wales Outdoors is a small business offering low client number group activities and walks and even smaller group expedition training and backpacking trips.
  • Wales Outdoors planned to walk in the Carneddau last weekend and take a couple of people, both friends, and perhaps a paying client.
  • Wales Outdoors’ tried and tested Carneddau trip, an expedition Andy first walked alone thirty years ago and is revisited by Andy every couple of years or so, usually involves a night in Dulyn Bothy. This bothy if occupied is avoided and Andy and anyone with him camps higher up the hill. If empty or with low occupancy then Andy usually stays in the bothy.
  • MBA got wind of Wales Outdoors trip, likely through someone on the Wales Outdoors mailing list reading about the plan and then passing the info to the MBA. Dulyn Bothy Coordinator called Andy and told him there is no commercial use allowed for any bothy.
  • Andy argued the point, firstly stating that his use was hardly commercial, the only trip with one paying client, in 2018, actually being a financial loss and also that there was a good deal of, from Wales Outdoors perspective, unwanted commercial use of bothy’s that the MBA tacitly allow and Andy mentioned the army and other services, Plan y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge as well as schools, colleges and charities.
  • Andy wrote to the chair of the MBA
  • The MBA did not respond but instead contacted the landowner of the Carneddau, a company called RWE, who in turn contacted Wales Outdoors and waffled on about no swimming and wanting a disclaimer signed.
  • Andy asserted that he and so Wales Outdoors would never sign an access disclaimer for any wild country trekking or backpacking
  • An MBA representative then contacted Wales Outdoors and without seeking to understand or to engage stated again that there was to be no use of MBA maintained bothy’s commercially and so there was to be no use of MBA bothy’s by clients of Wales Outdoors.
  • The MBA or RWE then leaked details of private business emails to members of the public who then engaged in a hate campaign on the Wales Outdoors Facebook page.
  • Wales Outdoors responded with a series of messages asking them to cease and desist (which they immediately did), asking them to explain why, how and who knowledge of the emails had become public and by including Mountain Training, The British Mountaineering Council and The Great Outdoors Magazine editorial team in the final email asking for the MBA to publicly ban all of those working in education in the outdoors from MBA property or to simplify their position with a fair use policy.

The following is the email trail along with screen grabs of the Facebook Page abuse Wales Outdoors received (not all, Andy deleted the four original posts before deciding it would be a good idea to have saved them).

If you wish to engage on this matter please don’t do so by virtue signalling on Facebook so your ‘friends’ can see how outspoken you are. There is a comments box below and all comments will be published (if not abusive and are constructive) and responded to.

Wales Outdoors are seriously interested in what people think on this matter. We think one paying client over the past three years (none before that by the way) is definitely not commercial. That education and safely exploring the hills with a guide is absolutely the way to go and should be applauded. That fair use is sensible especially when dealing with rules that are unenforceable (are we to see bothy police?). That a walkers charity ‘shopping’ a walking business to a landowner is inexcusable.

Wales Outdoors plan and advertise a trip to North Wales including a possible overnight in Dulyn Bothy.

Dulyn Bothy Coordinator phones Wales Outdoors saying the planned visit is not allowed and refusing to engage or understand Wales Outdoors business model or level of impact.

Email to the chairman of the MBA

I’ve just had a conversation with the coordinator of Dulyn Bothy in the Carneddau. It was noted I am delivering a guided walking trip through my business to that location in May, someone it seems spotted my promotion of my work in Snowdonia and informed the MBA of this, and I have been asked to cease from using this or any bothy with groups.

I was not contacted regarding numbers, regularity or my knowledge of the MBA. Being a former member and someone who has stayed in most bothies in Scotland and Wales I have prided myself on my careful use of the great outdoors and have this to say:

My groups never exceed five people and are more often just three.
I deliver an overnight in a bothy to those wishing to progress with me from novice walker to competent backpacker no more than twice each year, once at Dylan Bothy and once at Sourlies Bothy. These trips are irregular though and often a year goes by without any visit at all.
I provide a verbal history of the MBA and each visit has my group taking rubbish away with them

I feel I was told not to use the bothy based on a misunderstanding of the scale of use. Please note again the rare regularity of visit and the tiny group size.

I will, where I feel it is appropriate, use the UK bothy network for introduction to wild country courses as I have always done.

For clarity, while the MBA tacitly allows the army, mountain centres of excellence such as Plas y Brenin and Glenmore Lodge, the fire brigade, the police, school groups and youth clubs etc. to make use of mountain bothies I will certainly continue with my exceptionally low impact usage both with my small groups and as an individual hiker continuing to explore the best of the UK’s mountain environments.

Yours

Andrew Lamb

Email from MBA Owner Liaison Officer

F.A.O Andy Lamb
I am writing on behalf of the Mountain Bothies Association concerning your use of MBA bothies with fee paying groups. In the message you posted on the MBA website on 20 April you say that you have been a member of MBA  in the past. If that is the case you will be aware of the Bothy Code, which clearly states that bothies are not available for commercial groups. This rule applies to all businesses such as yours regardless of group numbers, frequency and duration of use. 
You may be aware that most MBA maintained bothies are not owned by the Association but are looked after under the terms of written agreements, which do not provide for commercial use without the explicit agreement of the owner. Unauthorised commercial use can damage our relationship with the bothy owner and there have been cases where bothies have been threatened with closure due to persistent commercial use.
In the case of Dulyn bothy, we have been in contact with the owners, RWE, who have confirmed that you do not have their permission to use that bothy nor do you have the permission of MBA to use Dulyn or any other MBA maintained bothy. 
Please note also that all MBA bothies are currently closed in order to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.
MBA Owner Liaison Officer

Email from RWE Generation UK plc

Good morning Mr Lamb

We are contacting you regarding the commercial operation you have advertised that incorporates land and assets owned and operated by RWE Generation UK PLC, specifically around Llyn Cowlyd, Llyn Eigiau, Llyn Dulyn, Llyn Melyllyn and Coedty Reservoir.  We acknowledge that experiencing the beauty of the environment encompassed by the Carneddau is something that must be shared and made available to anyone who wishes to experience it, and to that end we work with many of the adventure leisure companies in and around North Wales to facilitate that use as safely as possible.

The Llyn’s and reservoirs owned and operated by RWE are part of a modified natural environment actively being used to generate renewable hydro electric energy, as such our operation can introduce risks that may not be apparent at first sight, or change unexpectedly. Specifically they contain abstraction intakes that can draw a person underwater and could prevent them from surfacing, as such none of our Llyn’s or reservoirs should ever be used for bathing. 

Where we work with commercial adventure leisure companies we seek to consent to their use of land owned by RWE,  but in doing so require them to accept liability for their activities.  We would ask you to complete the attached indemnity form which formally consents to your use of our land.  It also acts as a point of contact between RWE and yourself to notify you if we are aware of any operational or maintenance activities which may introduce increased risk in specific areas. 

With specific reference to the Bothy at Llyn Dulyn, whilst we own the property it is leased to the Mountain Bothies Association and as such is under their control. One of their conditions they apply  is that commercial use of the  Bothy is not permitted.  Our consent to commercial use of RWE land does not include the use of the Bothy.

Many thanks for your cooperation.

Kind regards
RWE Generation UK plc
Business Services Manager – Hydro UK

Email to RWE Generation UK plc

Who told you about my trip? 

Do you know what my trip entails? 

Have you any idea of the scale of my operation? 

I will walk across open land and follow public rights of way as and when I desire. I will never complete any imposed consent form for use of any wild space in the UK. 

The MBA, if it is them who have pointed you in my direction, ought to be ashamed of themselves as they do a disservice to their service and to all mountain folk in doing so. 

I will be walking in the area next weekend and it will be with my group as planned and if we choose we will stay in Dulyn bothy, as planned. 

My group by the way is not commercial and consists of three people. 

What a waste of time and display of mean spirit by both yourselves and the MBA. 

Disgusted

Andy Lamb, user of the Carneddau for over thirty years… 

It All Kicks Off On Facebook!

Troll Gallery

And if this is the calibre…

That the MBA or RWE recruit to attack Wales Outdoors, it’s this character that publicly stated she knew I had been in communication with the landowner, then they are welcome to them. 1) likely parking illegally in a van own other peoples property 2) illegally digging out a mine 3) Ignoring the new Natural Resources Wales signs stating caution and with a can in hand went right in… 4) Telling Wales Outdoors bothy’s are shut due to the pandemic but admitting visiting Cae Amos and Nant Siddion – How much more of a virtue signalling duplicitous holier than thou personailty would it be possible to meet? I despair…

Milly B-ka Gallery

Email to MBA and RWE

I will send a full email to you on Monday when back in the office but I think you need to call off your rabid pack and look into who has shared information about your contact and my response to you with those who are now trolling me on fb… 

Email sent from MBA Owner Liaison Officer

Please don’t bother wasting your time or mine by composing a “full email”. I have nothing to add to what I have already told you.I stopped using “social media” several years ago due to the generally puerile and often offensive material it carries and therefore cannot comment on your allegation of trolling other than to say that I do not condone it.

Email sent to MBA Owner Liaison Officer

I will be sending a full response on Monday and I will be taking this matter further. Most seriously is that someone at either RWE it at the MBA has shared details of emails between us. This is an exceptionally serious issue. The reporting of a small guided walking business and subscription based walking club offering mountain education in the great outdoors by a walkers charity is also an exceptionally serious issue and definitely crosses the line. Fact I have visited bothies, since 2017, on two occasions, once with four friends and once with a friend and a client. Under no normal understanding could this at any time be construed add commercial use. Prior to that I visited alone or with partners. Your and your associations response to Wales Outdoors is out of all proportion, as stated to Dulyn Bothy coordinator, and now the attacks on my business fed by leaks from the MBA or RWE are likely criminal in their intent. I will be demanding that the MBA write to all schools, colleges, university groups, subscription climbing clubs, mountain biking groups, UK mountain guides, all services personnel etc stating that bothies are out of bounds for use at any time where anyone is paid or has received any income for any aspect of any delivery that has them intending to visit a bothy. 

Email sent to Mountain Training, The British Mountaineering Council and to The Editor The Great Outdoors Magazine

I have been contacted by the MBA and told no commercial use of bothies. I agree but I disagree also. As always life and business is nuanced. I run walks in the wilderness and introduce small groups to backpacking and wild camping. This is very small scale. One paying client in the past few years. The MBA say this is unacceptable. Please clarify MT’s position on mountain professionals using the great outdoors for education. 

Further, if you agree that mountain leaders cannot EVER use a bothy with a paying client would you support the urging of the MBA to write to all mountain professionals, the army, schools, colleges and universities, charities etc and ask that where anyone is paid for training, to monitor or to assist with a walk, event or overnight that makes use of a bothy that that use is prohibited and all known uses will be challenged.

Finally, the MBA passed my details over to a landowner without my permission and the landowner contacted me to also state that the bothy I intended to use (with friends and perhaps one paying client, so four people max and £135 income for a full weekend of two nights away, one in a bothy and one camping with the intention to camp if the both was occupied) was not available for commercial use. This information was leaked, I believe by the MBA to a rabid team of internet warriors who then went on to flood my social media with abuse. 

What is your opinion on a charity and a landowning business sharing confidential information with randoms in order it seems to achieve damage to my small business?

Andy Lamb

Wales Outdoors

Email sent to MBA, RWE, MT, BMC and TGO

Copy of message sent tot Roger Muhl on May 7th to update Sian Greenman of the facts of this situation:

I will be sending a full response on Monday and I will be taking this matter further. Most seriously is that someone at either RWE or at the MBA has shared details of emails between us. This is an exceptionally serious issue. The reporting of a small guided walking business and subscription based walking club offering mountain education in the great outdoors by a walkers charity is also an exceptionally serious issue and definitely crosses the line. Fact: I have visited bothies, since 2017, on two occasions, once with four friends and once with a friend and a client. Under no normal understanding could this at any time be construed as commercial use. Prior to that I visited alone or with partners. Your and your associations response to Wales Outdoors is out of all proportion, as stated to Dulyn Bothy coordinator, and now the attacks on my business fed by leaks from the MBA or RWE are likely criminal in their intent. I will be demanding that the MBA write to all schools, colleges, university groups, subscription climbing clubs, mountain biking groups, UK mountain guides, all services personnel etc stating that bothies are out of bounds for use at any time where anyone is paid or has received any income for any aspect of any delivery that has them intending to visit a bothy.

I now see no need for a full response as I think most issues are covered in the above quoted communication but I do require answers to these questions:

1) I therefore require the MBA and/or RWE to inform me of who informed members of the public who went on to attack my business on Facebook that I had been in communication with RWE (I made public that I was in communication with MBA)?

2) What action will RWE take if it is found that the MBA leaked this information?

3) If RWE leaked this information then on what authority, for what purpose and was this with the MBA’s knowledge?

4) Given that Bothy’s are used by a wide variety of individuals and organisations in a careful manner with only rare unsavoury usage or overuse taking place is it still the case that the MBA are stating that an individual mountain professional is unable to use a bothy with a client for any reason and if that is the case what action does the MBA propose to take to at first inform all users that anyone receiving any income from time in the hills that includes a visit to a bothy must cease the bothy part. In my opinion that includes all educational, student, services personal, charities,  trainers and mountain professionals, both businesss’ and individuals. 

The alternative to 4) is of course to realise the inability of the MBA or any landowner to police much of the use of the Great Outdoors and to update guidelines to a fair use policy. It’s a simple thing for me to state to any possible client that they are paying for my time up till 6pm and then they are on their own till the morning when we start walking. If we happen to be camped near a bothy and they choose to stay in it then so be it – that could be their decision. 

We’ll Wait And See

When I have coordinated the responses I’ll update this page. It will be interesting to see how MT and the BMC approach this as I believe it effects the use of the Great Outdoors for education, for training of services personnel and for charity events. Think of TGO’s annual 250 person walk across the Highlands as one example… Where would that be without bothy’s. And they charge for entry and make much from the event through interest and sales of the magazine…

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Walk leader @ Wales Outdoors, life model @ Cardiff Life Models and poet @ Self Published I opened the first mountain bike hire business in the Brecon Beacons National Park in 1995. Since then my business, Wales Outdoors, has grown and morphed and is now the most active and most popular guided walks and adventure travel provider in Wales. Andy has been a volunteer co-ordinator, guided walks programme organiser and part time central area warden for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, chair of Brecon Beacons Tourism, a Duke of Edinburghs area co-ordinator, a Princes Trust social inclusion manager, the catalyst for the Brecon Beacons National Park Environment Charter and a key motivator for the inception of the outdoor activity peer group, SWOAPG. Join Me! for a walk or two :)

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