/ Contending for most hopeless place for a climber to live in UK

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JonmapDL - on 12 Aug 2013
Oxfordshire, post code SN7.

Everything logged within ~30mile radius is either a bridge or child's climbing frame. Nearest piece of natural rock is 40miles (1hr+) away: 'Cleeve hill'.. barely notable.

The peak is 3hours away, pembroke another half hour.. closest reputable rock is either Cheddar at 2hours or tumbridge wells at another 15mins (w/ m25 :s).

Don't get me wrong, lovely place.. but basically hopeless for the climber.

Any challengers?
Ramblin dave - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:
Pish, even the more accessible bits of East Anglia are worse than that. We dream of having multiple choices of decent climbing venues within four hours drive!

Try Lowestoft of something - nearest proper trad is the peak, somewhere above 4 hours away, north wales and the lakes are both about six hours. Although I suppose you can get to southern sandstone in a mere three hours if you really want to.

I'd be interested to hear who on here actually lives in the least climber-friendly place, though.
Professor Bunsen - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

I give you... Maidenhead
puppythedog on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Just moved to COlchester. Try anything from CO1. Nearest rock is Southern Sandstone which is about 2 hours away, then Avon and the Wye at 3.5 hours and everything else is 4.5 and upwards.
davidbeynon - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Sheffield.
freerangecat - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Cambridge!
1step2far - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: 40 miles away?!! That'd be heaven! Try Living just outside of Lowestoft! It's a 65 mile round trip just to the nearest indoor wall. (Not counting Lowestoft sports centre- It wobbles, which is very disconcerting!)As for outside, as a previous poster mentioned peaks almost 5 hrs from here. Wales 7-8 hrs. Which leaves southern sandstone which you can do as a day trip- a good three and a half hrs drive! As the crow flies Europe is closest!
1step2far - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to 1step2far: And what makes it worse isn't just the distance but the road network! It takes two hours to get to the nearest motorway making journeys much longer than they need be. Joy!
Father Noel Furlong on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

This thread is really cheering me up. :-)

Thanks
Trevers - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Professor Bunsen:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> I give you... Maidenhead

Under 2 hours to Avon Gorge isn't appalling
mwr72 - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

This thread has turned into the "Four Yorkshire men".
BusyLizzie on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Perhaps you could learn to love Symonds Yat and the rest of the Wye Valley? Two hours away, so ok for a day out.
SteveoS - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

CM Postcodes. Especially along the M11.
JonmapDL - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to 1step2far: 'As the crow flies Europe is closest!'

HAHA. ahh that is priceless. I think we have a new leader.
1step2far - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Yep, there's nothing more soul destroying than entering your postcode with a 100 mile radius and the circle taking in the coast of Holland! =-O
Flashy - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to freerangecat:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> Cambridge!

No way! 2.5 hours to the closest bits of the Peak or to Craig Rhiwarth. Plus Stansted makes the Alps close.

keith-ratcliffe on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave: I lived in Norwich for a while and spent hours in Transit minibuses getting out of there to find rock. I felt really sorry for The Cromer Ridge Mountain Rescue Team who had to practise stretcher rescue on a pile of hay bales.
freerangecat - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Flashy:
> (In reply to freerangecat)
> [...]
>
> No way! 2.5 hours to the closest bits of the Peak or to Craig Rhiwarth.

I don't think that's anything to be celebrated... a fair distance to any decent climbing walls too. I think the fact that it's so painfully flat here makes it all seem that much worse (and the fact that I lived in Durham for 8 years before moving here!)

1step2far - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) I felt really sorry for The Cromer Ridge Mountain Rescue Team who had to practise stretcher rescue on a pile of hay bales.

Hahahahaha that's made me chuckle!!!
coinneach - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to 1step2far:

The Observatory on the Nevis summit







It's all downhill from there
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Cornish Cream - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Professor Bunsen:

About to move to Taplow for a new job. Where is the nearest plastic?
Flashy - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to freerangecat: I wasn't celebrating Cambridge's suitability as a location for a climber, I was pointing out that it's a very long way from 'most hopeless place for a climber to live"! You can day trip from there, and a lot of very good places are equidistant for weekends. I got tons done when I lived there.
keith-ratcliffe on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to 1step2far: We chuckled a lot when "Climber & Rambler" magazine published our letter requesting volunteers to join the team and an appeal for equipment. Not even the PS saying that a hay baler would be very welcome gave it away.
freerangecat - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Flashy:

I... think hopelessness is sometimes in the eye of the beholder (to completely mangle a phrase but you get the idea). there have been arguments made for and against most of the places mentioned on this thread from what I can see, and I don't think Cambridge is much better than most (although I agree if you head further east things are worse)
Only a hill - on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:
Skegness is surprisingly good, having previously lived in Norwich and coastal Suffolk...
aultguish on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:
35 crags within a 10 mile radius and the nearest being 0.4miles away...............I'll get my coat
gethin_allen on 12 Aug 2013
In reply to Only a hill:
Now that does surprise me, knowing you lived in Glencoe for a while I'd have thought you'd have high standards.
Ramblin dave - on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to freerangecat:
> (In reply to Flashy)
>
> I... think hopelessness is sometimes in the eye of the beholder (to completely mangle a phrase but you get the idea). there have been arguments made for and against most of the places mentioned on this thread from what I can see, and I don't think Cambridge is much better than most (although I agree if you head further east things are worse)

Cambridge is certainly fairly crap - I'd put it at "just about tenable if you don't mind spending half your time in cars". Move half an hour or so further east, though, and you wouldn't be able to climb on a day trip regularly and your weekend venues would be more circumscribed and things would really start getting bleak. If I lived in Lowestoft I'd probably start looking for another hobby.

That said, I do sometimes fantasize about how nice it'd be to be able to nip out for a climb after work, or have a lie-in and go climbing on the same day, or go for a pint after work on friday and climb mountain rock in the same weekend rather than having to spend friday night in the car... and I can't imagine living here with other Serious Commitments (young kids, say) and getting much done.
freerangecat - on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to freerangecat)
> [...]
>
> That said, I do sometimes fantasize about how nice it'd be to be able to nip out for a climb after work, or have a lie-in and go climbing on the same day, or go for a pint after work on friday and climb mountain rock in the same weekend rather than having to spend friday night in the car... and I can't imagine living here with other Serious Commitments (young kids, say) and getting much done.

I think that's the problem - in Durham you could do that and here it's so much harder that without a lot of time, energy and like-minded partners climbing doesn't really happen. I got very little climbing done in the couple of years I lived here before being struck down by ME last December, partly due to commitments and a lot to do with leaving my climbing partners up north (I went to Harlow wall a handful of times towards the end of last year after meeting a fellow climber through Scouting, and have been scrambling in the Lakes once and walking in the Peak on my own and I think that's it). anyway, it's all academic to me now.
teflonpete - on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to Cornish Cream:
> (In reply to Professor Bunsen)
>
> About to move to Taplow for a new job. Where is the nearest plastic?


Reading.

http://www.readingclimbingcentre.com/

About half an hour drive from Taplow.
needvert on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

In Australia anything less than 4h drive is considered day trip worthy. Up to around 10 hours for weekend worthy. Depends who you hang around of course! Big country, takes a while to get around.
Postmanpat on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:
> Oxfordshire, post code SN7.
>
> Everything logged within ~30mile radius is either a bridge or child's climbing frame. Nearest piece of natural rock is 40miles (1hr+) away: 'Cleeve hill'.. barely notable.
>
> The peak is 3hours away, pembroke another half hour.. closest reputable rock is either Cheddar at 2hours or tumbridge wells at another 15mins (w/ m25 :s).
>
Rubbish, Wye Valley and Avon are well under 90 minutes. Much better than living in London, for example.

Trangia - on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Hastings

Loads of fantastic steep sandstone cliffs right on our doorstep......all of which is crap. SS is 30 miles drive away
rossh - on 13 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

I live in SN7 (Uffington) too. Admittedly there is not much decent very close by but as long as you can hack the driving you are at least close to fast roads which get you pretty quickly to the south west, wales or the lakes within 4 hours. Easily doable for weekends.
Captain Fastrousers - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to needvert:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> In Australia anything less than 4h drive is considered day trip worthy. Up to around 10 hours for weekend worthy. Depends who you hang around of course! Big country, takes a while to get around.

Except in Tassie, where anything over a 1.5 hour drive seems to be reserved for a weekend trip (preferably a long weekend).
Muel - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Rubbish. I live in this little town called Sheffield, takes me nearly 2 hours to get to any decent rock.

Buses suck.
combatrock on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Hello fellow SN7'er! Having also lived in Lowestoft (the horror, the horror...) it's not so bad here, honestly! Got to Portland in 2hr 45min at the weekend and you can get to wintours/wyndcliff/ban y gor in 1hr 30min. Compared to the flat lands of East Anglia, it's a haven of climbing potential :)
Dave 88 - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

You have to embrace the rubbishness! When I lived in Reading, everything was over an hour away so it meant I had plenty of choice and ended up doing some varied climbing. That said, if I lived east of London I would be pretty livid!
Needkraken - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave 88: Yea, Reading before the indoor wall was pretty bleak as a climber, many hours in a bus
Ramblin dave - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> When I lived in Reading, everything was over an hour away

Aw, diddums!

;-)
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

As several have rightly said, Colchester must be 'right up there' (to borrow latest royal parlance). Very worst of all in terms of time or distance from real rock would probably be somewhere like Cromer or Aldeburgh.
victorclimber - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Spurn Point
Tom Last - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> Hastings
>
> Loads of fantastic steep sandstone cliffs right on our doorstep......all of which is crap. SS is 30 miles drive away

Climbable boulders on the beach near Fairlight - disqualified ;)
dissonance - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> As several have rightly said, Colchester must be 'right up there' (to borrow latest royal parlance).

its got some long traverses depending on your approach to history.

Jamie B - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Edinburgh is pretty rubbish; there's very little low-grade sport within a half-hour drive, and those routes which are on offer are threatened with chopping. Something should be done (by someone else).
felt - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to dissonance:

I once found a bit of rock in Friday Wood.
leland stamper on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to Gordon Stainforth: OK stakes are raised. I grew up just outside Maldon -further east than Colchester. Colchester had a castle which you could climb on. We were reduced to putting up aid routes on old railway bridges. There was a missing brick climbing wall in Witham Sports Centre in the 70's.Day trips to Harrisons were not a problem as long as the queue for the Dartford tunnel wasn't too long!
Gordon Stainforth - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to leland stamper:
> (In reply to Gordon Stainforth) OK stakes are raised. I grew up just outside Maldon -further east than Colchester. Colchester had a castle which you could climb on. We were reduced to putting up aid routes on old railway bridges. There was a missing brick climbing wall in Witham Sports Centre in the 70's.Day trips to Harrisons were not a problem as long as the queue for the Dartford tunnel wasn't too long!

That's why I thought places like Aldeburgh or Cromer might be worse. (Climbing on buildings, trees, etc, doesn't count. John and I did loads of that in Hertfordshire in our youth in absence of anything else.)
martinph78 on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Grimsby is a hopeless place for a climber to live. Or anyone for that matter!
quiffhanger - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Ox really isn't that bad. I'm OX4 and get out most weekends.

Wye valley is more like 90mins if you get a good run & I've managed Swanage, Southern peak, Cheddar & Brean in under 2 hours, tho budget ~2hr20.

Best of all, as there's climbing North, South & West within about 2 hours in dubious weather you've got loads of options and can nearly always find dry rock.

The hard part is avoiding traffic (I tend to leave v early or v late) and finding the psych to train at Ox Brookes when it's mega sweaty and rammed.
Purple - on 14 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: Brownstones Quarry.
Linden - on 15 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:
Isle of Wight? ok, Swanage/Portland aren't that far, or Harrisons Rocks the other direction, but they are both 2-3 hours away, plus ferry time, plus an extortionate ferry fee!
JonmapDL - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to Jamie B: hmm I dunno. Lived in Edinburgh for 4 years thought myself quite fortunate climbing-wise. But ye, you probably need to be flexible - into trad and bouldering. If just sport climbing is limitted outdoors but very good indoor.
johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

What are you talking about, man? In the first place, if it's taking you 3.5 hours to get from Oxford to Pembroke you need to drive faster, and in the second place Avon etc are fine. Even London is worse, and as for somewhere like Dover....although I suppose to be fair then you do have Font.

jcm
Calder - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to Father Noel Furlong:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> This thread is really cheering me up. :-)
>
> Thanks

Me too - By having Parbold Quarry 10 mins down the road I almost feel spoilt. :)
johncoxmysteriously - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to Linden:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
> Isle of Wight? ok, Swanage/Portland aren't that far, or Harrisons Rocks the other direction, but they are both 2-3 hours away, plus ferry time, plus an extortionate ferry fee!

There's always Albatross. But I think you make a good claim. Assuming there's some climbing on Shetland.

jcm
GrahamD - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to freerangecat:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> Cambridge!

Given all of Suffolk and Norfolk is to the east of Cambridge, Cambridge is hardly the worst. Especially since the A14 opened.
Sarah G on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Skegness?

Great chips though.

Sx
Jamie B - on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

I think you may have missed my sarcasm (in light of recent posts).
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 20 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Keswick is pretty crap.

It takes ages to walk to any of the crags!
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Morgan P - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to mwr72:
> (In reply to JonmapDL)
>
> This thread has turned into the "Four Yorkshire men".

Haha I was thinking exactly the same thing!

..You're lucky! Back when I was a lad we used to have to walk 40 miles to the nearest steep pile of gravel!
MJ - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL:

Wormwood Scrubs.
Steve Perry - on 21 Aug 2013
In reply to JonmapDL: I worked on and off for a year in Brightlingsea further east from Colchester, I then did 6 months in Great Yarmouth just north of Lowestoft, followed by 18 months in Wells Next The Sea and 2 years in Grimsby. It was complete climbing exile. Luckily I'm now based in North Wales, just rewards I'd say.

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