Category Archives: Yorkshire Dales.

TWISTLETON SCARS. Climbing on the SW Face.

The main crag at Twistleton hosts many low grade classic limestone climbs and was once a regular venue but slowly the polish increased meaning it fell out of favour with my group of climbers. Thats a shame as the rock was of such good quality and the situation in Chapel-le-Dale spectacular with Ingleborough brooding above on the opposite side of the valley. I wonder if due to less people climbing, not just because of the polish but with the rise in popularity of bolted routes and bouldering, left to nature the rock may roughen once more.  A few outlying crags were developed but we found these a bit short and scrappy, nowhere near the quality of the main crag. The exception to these was a separate area the South West Face, a small compact crag which in fact hosted some of the earlier climbs on the scar back in the 60’s Allan Austin era. This area had avoided the excesses of the main crag particularly no groups and remained a bit of a connoisseur’s area with climbs only on the lower grades.

My gardening induced shoulder pain had stopped me climbing for a few weeks so for today’s outing with Dave I wanted something gentle and he volunteered to do all the leading to tempt me along. He had taken a bit of a beating on gritstone the week before so when I suggested the SW Face limestone he was happy. My day didn’t start well as the cheap Aldi trousers which I had climbed in for over a decade finally disintegrated, a sad loss.  It is so long since either of us had been in Ingleton we were not even sure of the lane to take leading to the crag and once on it were surprised by how narrow it was. Anyhow eventually it straightened out [thought to be of Roman origin here] and we were in the correct valley, the northern side of Chapel-le-Dale. Ingleborough was indeed brooding over us and the show caves on its flanks seemed busy with cars and coaches, it was a lovely Summer’s day.

As is usual the approach to the crag seemed longer and steeper than in our younger days. On previous visits we had probably ticked most of the climbs but had to get out the guide book to reacquaint ourselves.

The start of the starred VD above our sacs looked a bit bold and sketchy so we looked elsewhere for a warm up route. The short easy one we did convinced us of the quality of the rock here and the lack of any polish so we were feeling pleased with our choice of venue. Back to that VD, well maybe not yet. There was a good steep climb left of the tree which followed a line of solid flakes that was very enjoyable. After a leisurely lunch soaking up the sun we avoided that VD by climbing a series of jugs up a steep rib – not a bad move on the route whose name gave a clue. After that we couldn’t procrastinate any longer. A closer look at the steep wrinkled wall in front of us revealed small flakes and even a crafty threaded runner so Dave had a sequence worked out and was soon finishing on the upper wall. The climbing was indeed quality but we both thought under graded for an onsight ascent. To finish the day there was another starred severe crossing a black wrinkly slab round the corner. The start was uninviting and the traverse unclear, though I don’t remember on past visits any difficulty. Anyhow I was in Dave’s hands today and he found an alternative start further right which used flakes to climb more directly up to the superb finishing wall, could even be a new variation route.

The pictures may give some indication of the quality of the rock, the vegetation was not a problem. The climbs were only 10m or so.

Tree Stump Crack D

Tree Wall S *

Juggernaut S **

Play For Today VD ? *

Twinkle Variation S *

 

 

 

 

THREE DAYS IN MAY. 3 – CLIMBING AT POT SCAR. Almost perfect.

Third time lucky. Things have changed in the tiny hamlet of Feizor where you always felt you were intruding into the residents’ private territory. Someone has opened a tea room which is proving very popular. The added benefit of this is that lots of parking spaces have been provided in a yard whereas in the past parking was fraught. Honesty box for the Air Ambulance, you never know when you might need them.  It’s a short pleasant walk up to the limestone crag of Pot Scar in the midst of classic Dales scenery, rolling green fields and all those stone walls. In the background is Ingleborough and across the valley distant Pendle and the Bowland Fells. Wary of the polished routes on the main face  [I recall climbing here 40 years ago and witnessing that polish developing gradually on the classic lines of Nirvana, Addiction, LSD etc, there was a name theme here]   we head left to a little buttress with routes suitable for us oldies. The sun is shining and the day warms up quickly despite there still being a brisk wind. The first easy climb is on perfect cracked limestone with no hint of polish, maybe nobody climbs this end. For the second climb I become entangled in trees and vegetation on what would have been a good line, Dave admonishes me for all the delay gardening. Lunch is taken in the sunshine looking at the scenery with the occasional party of walkers going through to Stainforth, no other climbers appear. I next enjoy a steep crack climb with quite reachy moves and the usual grassy mantelshelf near the top. Despite warnings of loose rock Dave quickly climbs a crack, a tree and a flake, as I follow a lot of the holds disintegrate. Another steep crackline and we are ready for home but well satisfied with the day’s climbing. Next time we will visit the cafe and then try the polish.

 

Half way up Domino.

Out of the tree on Periwinkle.

Finishing Feizor with Domino to the right. Notice the blue sky.

For the record…  Fingers Climb D,  Dodger VD.  Domino S.  Periwinkle VS.  Feizor S.

THREE DAYS IN MAY. 1 – CLIMBING AT ATTERMIRE. Too cold.

Sitting in Dave’s garden this morning drinking coffee in the warm sunshine  – what  a great day it was going to be. We decided on a trip to Yorkshire with a visit to Attermire Scar for an outing on limestone.

Neither of us had climbed here for years although at one time I was exploring here regularly with my cousin from Skipton, long evenings and walking out in the dark. There was often a bull in the field! I remember also an occasion, ?20 years ago, achieving 1000ft of climbing in a day as part of a sponsored event to raise money for a climbing wall in Clitheroe. That was a lot of routes. Each sector has its own character and memorable climbs Hare’s Wall, Fantasy, Brutus, Red Light, Flower Power.

When we parked up there seemed a change in the weather, the sun had gone and there was a northerly wind. But relying on the good forecast we were not unduly concerned, though I did throw in an extra fleece. It’s a great approach walk as when you breast the rise the whole extent of the scar is displayed in front of you reminding me of a set from a Western cowboy movie, I half expect to see Apache warriors appearing on the tops of the crags ready for an ambush.

Today we make the long traverse to the SW end passing under Legover Groove area, all the climbs here are tough. There is one line of weakness, Ginger VD, this will be our warm up. As I climb lovely big holds up the steep start I realise my hands are freezing, the temperature has dropped and the wind is blowing strongly across the face. A committing blank move left at half height on more compact rock has me thinking. Then it is simple to the top as the angle eases, grassy top outs are common here and care with choice of belays in the blocks is needed. The wind was even stronger up here and I was glad Dave climbed quickly. Back at base more layers were added and hot tea drunk.

The slab in the middle is Ginger.

We moved along the crag but could not get out of the wind. As I climbed the next route, Wrinkle Slab VD, Dave gave commentary on a cloud that tantalisingly hid the sun whilst all around the sky was blue. I was constantly having to warm my fingers to feel the small flaky holds. I wasted time by going left rather than right at half height which meant reversing and faffing with runners. By the time Dave came up his fingers were white and we knew it was time to retreat, we never did warm up.

Unlucky choice of crags and weather.

Under Wrinkle Slab, ready to go home.

SIMON’S SEAT.

Bolton Abbey Estate riverside car park Tuesday 10am.

£8 please.

Eight?!

Yes it’s half term. But if you had come last week it would have been £4.

It has been in the news this week about airport carparks doubling their charges for school holidays so this is just another example of greedy businesses taking advantage of families. Rip off Briton.

The ‘pieman’ and I set off on today’s walk in a grumpy mood. We had chosen today to climb Simon’s Seat as there was sunshine forecast. Way back this was a regular winter walk for us, then we would extend the route to include the moors above Appletreewick [an interesting name] and Trollers Gill. A straightforward 9mile circuit was planned for today. The paths seemed to have changed now that the land is open access, I seem to remember sneaking in to some of these areas. At one time we also had a major offensive on the climbing routes on the summit rocks of Simon’s Seat – an atmospheric place to be on a summer’s evening. Stand out routes were Arete Direct VS and Turret Crack HVS. See later photos of crag.

The path into the estate passed by some ancient oak trees which must have been several centuries old. The Valley of Desolation was entered and the stream and woods followed upwards – the name derives from a storm in 1826 when most of the vegetation was destroyed but not the oaks obviously. A hidden waterfall was glimpsed through the trees. Once onto the open moor a cold wind kept us on the move. All the surrounding fells had rocky outcrops but we were heading for the highest group of gritstone, 485m, Simon’s Seat itself. The land rover track passed the shooters lunch stone. Scrambling up the summit boulders was tricky with slippy snow scattered on the rocks, it was still winter up here. Goback called the grouse. dsc05552

Below the crag we found a convenient lunch stone of our own, out of the wind, with views over to Perceval Hall and beyond. Classic Dales scenery. Reminisces of shared past trips kept us humoured, the Pyrenees, Greece, Turkey, Dolomites, France, La Gomera, Spain. Above we could trace routes on the rocks. We have been lucky.

Our lunchstone.

Our lunchstone.

The classic arete on the left of the crag.

A paved track cum water course took us steeply down into the valley where we joined the Dales Way, another old favourite. We now met people strolling the river bank commenting on the lovely weather – no idea what it was like up on the tops. We kept to the left bank path on the Wharfe which proved ‘undulating’. Good views down to the deadly Strid though.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCSUmwP02T8

The car park was full of £8 vehicles when we arrived back at the busy Pavilion. Coffee at the pieman’s was the most economical option before driving home.

ANCIENT WAYS.

Beamsley Beacon and Round Hill.

Two ancients going their own way.

There will be lots of posts with Autumn colours at this time of year, I went abroad a week ago whilst the leaves were green and have returned to spectacular trees. But today I hardly saw a single tree on these bleak moors. The general visibility was poor also but a combination of The Pieman and The Rockman as companions was sure to provide an entertaining day.

I have driven below on the A59 hundreds of time and looked up at the craggy top but I had never ventured up there. By our roundabout stroll we found were reminders of ancient routes long before the present roads. There were numerous old mile/directional stones and many boundary stones suggesting lots of foot and mule traffic at one time. Tracks tend to connect and the places mentioned on the stones give some idea of destinations. What was the nature of peoples travel – monastic or trade routes?  – people certainly wouldn’t have come up here for pleasure. On the map there is also a Roman road shown but no trace of this was passed today. The whole area was rather boggy, an understatement, and progress was slow and must have been troublesome for those who passed before. There is no trace of paved mule routes here, whereas in many Pennine areas these are an outstanding feature. On the map there are mentions of ‘cup and ring’ stone markings but we didn’t notice any, didn’t look hard enough.

Enough of way stones – there didn’t seem to be many obvious paths…Up on the drier heather slope there had been some harvesting of the heather which was bailed up – to be used for what? There was yet another mystery, two detached boot soles.

Having traversed Round Hill [409m] we arrived at Beamsley Beacon itself [393m], a more popular destination being a short walk from the car park. The prominent Beacon was part of the chain of fires that could be lit as warnings during the Napoleonic wars, recent uses of these beacons have been more celebratory. The large stone cairn is thought to be a Bronze Age burial site but has never been excavated. The trig. point bares a memorial to a crashed Lancaster Bomber crew from the Royal Canadian Air Force killed 5th November 1945.Will have to come back for the views.

 

 

MORE YORKSHIRE GRIT – EASTBY CRAG.

I must have climbed here as much as anywhere over the years as one of my original climbing partners lived in Skipton. Looking back at my red 1974 guide it is well ‘dirty’ thumbed.  The front cover features Allan Austin climbing at Ilkley with the rope tied round his waist and it was he who pioneered many of the outstanding lines at Eastby. The routes here tend to be slabby and when a subsequent guide book appeared YMC brought in P grades:

P1 Well protected with falls only damaging egos,

P2 Bolder, sparse protection with plenty of air time, could be painful,

and P3 You will be lucky to walk away from a lob, get life insurance.

It was then we realised how challenging had been some of the slabs, particularly pre-Friends. Nonetheless the classics were slowly ticked Knuckle Slab, Mist Slab, Nose Climb, Whaup Edge and even The Padder although I never could muster up the courage to lead Pillar Front. This crag is relatively low lying, dries quickly and gets any sun going so I think we often visited early in the year before venturing onto the ‘mountain crags’. So today, almost August, we were surprised by the vegetation, fortunately a track wove up through the head high bracken, it was like being in a maze.  You no longer have to have written permission from the Cavendish Estate to climb here, sorry I’ve misplaced my permit.We were beaten by a few minutes to the base of the crag and left the only other team to start on the well trodden Eastby Buttress. We went right to below Knuckle Slab but chose easier climbs to start. Birch Tree Crack was a mistake, despite being a good line many holds were obscured by vegetation. Scoop and Crack was much cleaner and I, with prior knowledge, avoided the finishing boot wide crack [unprotected ankle scraping and thrutching]  for a delicate step left onto a slab. That’s more like it. The descent was as hairy as the climbs ?P2.

Now we were able to get onto Eastby Buttress …… and enjoy some classic wall and crack climbing. Once your wrist is locked into a crack just pull up and find somewhere for your feet – repeat and repeat and you are at the top. Great views of Pendle and Longridge Fell in the distance and down below little steam trains chugging along on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey line.

We finished on Nose Climb Original, a steep wall pops you onto a holdless slab to run up and reach a  final secure jamming crack.

Not a P3 in sight.

CREAKING GATES ON ROLLING GATE.

Climbing at Rolling Gate.

It’s the hottest day of the year with temperatures in the 30s. This high Yorkshire crag faces NW and seemed an ideal choice for the conditions and so it was. A sweaty walk deposited us in the shade of the scattered rocks which form a rather broken edge.                                                      The obvious start was Veterans Flake which wandered about to eventually surmount the large flake, all a bit of an anticlimax. It was however pleasant to belay on the top in a breeze with views over Grassington into upper Wharfdale.                                                                                  Next up was Long Crack a proper gritstone thrutch around several noses in a corner, sweaty work today. The descent  brought us to the foot of The Main Buttress and the start of Rolling Gate Buttress the starred route of the crag. The first steep and bold 10ft seemed hard, my left hand reluctant to leave a decent slot for small slopers above with only slanting footholds – surely not severe. Eventually a hand on the arete enabled my feet to move higher and the ‘better’ hand holds above reached, heart in the mouth stuff. Then large ledges were shuffled onto and left insecurely round bulges with no protection, I’d not brought the big friends. Don’t seem to remember it being this hard 40 years ago!

Rolling Gate Buttress.

Rolling Gate Buttress.

We retreated to a shady corner for lunch and composure, our gates were certainly creaking and our resolve weakening in the heat. However to the left was a rib leading to a cracked wall which looked inviting, The Pillar, and we couldn’t resist. Easy climbing up the right side of the lower rib was almost alpine in nature. A stance was taken below the top wall which close up looked steeper and longer.  Once committed a lovely sequence of slots, ledges and cracks led to the top on perfect gritstone – the best of the day. We only wished it could have gone on for another 50ft but life is not like that.

I finished with a quick solo of Six Metre Wall, there are lots of other good looking boulder problems hereabouts.

Fortunately we arrived back at the lane just as the farmer was wanting access for contractors with oversized trailers. [they were in a rush before tomorrow’s potential heavy rain] We thought we had parked responsibly but could now appreciate his problem and were soon on our way. What a change however to meet a pleasant and chatty farmer, in the circumstances, to round off our great day out.