By the time I arrived they were setting up the ropes – yes we have succumbed to top roping with the excuse of our too many birthdays. I was roped in, literally, when Dave phoned at 9am to say he and Rod were heading for a short day’s climbing at Cadshaw in the hills south of Darwen. I always enjoyed climbing there. By the time I had breakfasted, boiled an egg for a sandwich, cut my toenails, found my rock boots, filled my flask and put petrol in the car I was behind schedule, but no matter I was not expecting to climb for very long.

Motorways are becoming busier and busier and Darwen town centre was a nightmare. I eventually parked up alongside their cars. The OS map shows the ?natural crag as the Fairy Battery. Fairy Buttery or Fairy Buttress the origin is unknown. I decided to walk in a slightly longer way than usual to cross the sometimes tricky Cadshaw Brook by a footbridge downstream. This was a mistake as the path on the north side of Yarnsdale was overgrown and little used. Colourful bluebells diverted my attention. A cuckoo was calling in the woods above. I eventually made it through to below the rocks, there wasn’t a fairy in sight.

Not to be repeated.

I tied on and made my way up the first easy route – West Buttress, this was first climbed back in the 1930s certainly in big boots. The rock has become much more polished over the years. The route further to the right was a classic hand jamming crack – I noticed a few scars on the back of my hands as I relaxed in the post climb bath. I had to be lowered off the next climb, unable to hold on long enough to get my legs up without straining my left knee ligaments. I’m climbing basically with one leg!

West buttress.

Hand jamming.

Time for lunch.

The next two climbs on the higher east face were enjoyable on more positive rock where one could move around finding the best hand and footholds.

I used to solo all these routes before turning to harder things – how times change. Looking at an old guide book I see that I have led all the climbs here but one – Druids Direct E3 6a. How times change indeed.

Those harder routes, Druids Face.

I didn’t retrace my difficult inward route but joined Dave and Rod crossing the stream dry footed, walking out well satisfied with the day.


4 thoughts on “CADSHAW – FAIRY BATTERY.


    Your thrash through the overgrown path is not to be devalued. My theory which I apply to myself is that it stems from an increased innate desire in some to explore things anew and long may it continue – the next such venture could discover another Borrowdale 2.

  2. Michael Graeme

    Motorways certainly seem busier, and faster now. I’ve never been to the Fairy Battery, but have wondered about adding Yarnsdale onto a circuit of the reservoirs, which would take them in. It sounds like that section of path isn’t very well walked, though.


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