Lambing and Bird Closures 2021
The closures will be the same as last year, for the main Mam area these begin on the 15th March and continue until 21st April but the dates vary for some of the other sites – please check the following map if you are unsure.
In addition to the usual closures please be aware that work is being performed on the Hollins Cross path which will likely involve helicopter activity. This work is likely to be between 22nd and 29th March, please be especially aware and take note of NOTAMs.
We Have kept closures to an absolute minimum and are relying on Pilots to read and understand the map and accompanying advice and information so that they can use their common sense when flying during this sensitive period. It only takes one who thinks they know it all from previous years, or do not bother to read and understand, to mess the whole system up for everyone!
The maps below will be posted on sites this weekend but are useless without the accompanying information and advice given underneath…please take the time to read it!
Information and advice
Lambing is a very sensitive time, farmers are stressed and often tired from spending the small hours up to their armpits in sheep. This means that anything we do to upset them is likely to be seen as much more of a problem at this time of year. So please be extra careful not to do daft things like climbing walls or fences, or deliberately taking off or landing in the wrong places. It’s just common sense to avoid low flying or landing near pregnant ewes or newly born lambs and at this time of year that’s pretty much all sheep! You should bear this in mind anytime you make a flight plan or spot a landing but there are two areas in particular where there might be problems.
1. Lose Hill Ridge. The southwest slopes, facing Castleton, between the wall near Hollins Cross and Lose Hill used to be shown as an avoid area but as with last year we have removed this restriction. It is really only an area where we have been asked to avoid low flying or landing when sheep are present and that still applies. But this need not stop you flying the ridge when conditions are good and you can maintain a good height. You just need to plan carefully to ensure there’s no risk of you bombing out when sheep are anywhere above the fence line. They seem to appear late in the lambing period in this area.
2. Mam Nick Landing. You may remember that we nearly lost this landing a few years ago and it remains sensitive. The farmer puts sheep with lambs in this field and if they are there please try to steer clear of them. However, when we are flying they usually move to the bottom half of the field and when that happens its fine to land in the top half.
Nothing that I’ve said above should ever lead you to put yourself at risk by landing in unsuitable places or moving away from agreed landings and open areas to fields or farms just to avoid sheep…just bear it in mind when you make your flight plan or decide on a landing. And if you do have any issues please let me know directly, as we are in a better position to deal with farmers if we know the pilots perspective in advance!
A couple of other points:
Mam northwest Bottom Landing. The landing field in the valley to the north (between the road and railway) is closed but we have negotiated renewed access to the Original Peter Barn landing (see Site Guide). From the air it is marked by a snaking track leading down from a large farm building called Peter Barn. This is slightly easier to reach but it is not an ideal a landing. It has power lines nearby, some areas are extremely wet and muddy and often has cattle on it. A reccy is recommended if you haven’t used it before. The track comes out on the road opposite the (currently closed) bottom landing field.
The Dale Head landing. This is a new issue because of nesting Lapwings, and caused some issues last year as we hadn’t been informed of the situation! It led to our whole agreement with the National Trust being rewritten and we are currently in negotiation over all of our sites in the area – another reason to be careful not to upset the wrong people. Bird restrictions could become more of a problem for us in future as more of the marginal land we fly over becomes dependent on stewardship grants which tend to make birds a high priority! Landing here in an emergency is accepted as the NT understand that we have to land somewhere! This field is little used anyway but if you do land there in an emergency please, again, let me know directly… for the same reasons as above! Landing on or very near the track (or in a nearby sheep-free field) might be preferable!
Stuart Harvey, Mam Sites Officer.