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Warden raises concerns over kite fighting on Baildon Moor
8:00am Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
The ancient Asian sport of kite fighting, where razor-sharp strings are used to cut competitors adrift, is taking place high on Baildon Moor.
And environment warden Mark Scrimshaw has raised safety concerns to town councillors. He came across about 10 men and a boy taking part in the sport last Thursday.
“I went onto the top of Baildon Moor to the highest car park, above the reservoirs,” said Mr Scrimshaw. “What I then watched for some time was fascinating and exciting. Kites are flown to several hundred feet and the aim is to attack an opponent’s kite by cutting its string with your own kite’s string, resulting in it fluttering to the ground.”
Mr Scrimshaw spoke to the men, and was told the losing kites would be abandoned.
“I was a little concerned that they may be a danger to livestock, as are many of the sky lanterns on the market which have wires that may be ingested by animals,” he said. “However, I was able to examine one of the kites and they appeared to be entirely bio-degradable, being made of thin tissue paper, thin strips of wood and string.”
But Mr Scrimshaw was worried about the kite strings, which are thin, strong and coated with powdered glass. “One of the competitors was bleeding from several cuts on his hands,” he said.
Having researched kite fighting, Mr Scrimshaw found that occasionally deaths caused by the string are reportedly due to the string cutting the throats of people, particularly children. He recommended to Baildon Town Council it should not be something to be encouraged, with cyclists, horseriders, walkers and golfers all present on the moor.
But Baildon town councillor Ian Lyons (Lib Dem) is a fan of adventurous pursuits and said the matter needed investigation.
“Skydiving, rock climbing, lots of things are dangerous in some way or another and I think this would probably be a good thing, but it would need rules and regulations around an established club,” he said.
Danny Jackson, Bradford Council’s countryside and rights of way manager, said: “Kite fighting is unusual around here, but obviously it is potentially hazardous to other users of the moor and we would urge people not to do this on public land.”