/ Abseiling in or around Wiltshire?

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joss_bouncer - on 26 Sep 2013
Hi all,

does anybody know where the best place to take a small party of begginers abseiling in the Wiltshire(ish) area is?

I have a group of friends who are planning a holiday to South Africa, and whilst there they will be doing the Table Mountain Abseil. Two of them have abseiled before, many moons past, and two are begginers.

They're not really interested in going from a multistorey carpark, so I'm looking for somewhere that has a good range in height to build them up, taking into account that my longest abeseil rope is 60m.

We'll be going on a Sunday, and I want to avoid inconveniencing other climbers as much as possible. All advice gratefully accepted. Thanks.

Joss.
In reply to joss_bouncer: I'm sure Ian Parnell claims that Wiltshire is the only County in the UK with nowhere to go climbing in it, so you might be stuffed beyond down buildings.
joss_bouncer - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA: I'm pretty sure he is correct, I think my nearest climbing is Cleve Hill in Cheltenham. We're prepared to travel a couple of hours if neccesary.

I have guide books for Wye Valley, Avon and Cheddar and Symonds Yat, but I have been climbing at any of these for about 8 years now, so can't really remember the crags that well.
Dave 88 - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to TobyA:

Surely Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey and many more are completely devoid of climbing opportunities?
Dave 88 - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to joss_bouncer:

I wouldn't think cleeve hill would be too appropriate. Bit loose and lack of decent anchors.
RANGITOTO on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to Dave 88:

Where are you in Wiltshire?
In reply to Dave 88:

> Surely Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, Surrey and many more are completely devoid of climbing opportunities?

You'd think so but maybe they all have some alarming choss pit esoterica that just about counts as climbing to rock-starved locals?

joss_bouncer - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to RANGITOTO: Swindon
RANGITOTO on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to joss_bouncer:

Ahhh.............

Shame that Vallis Vale is off limits.

What about the Mendips?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/map/index.html
joss_bouncer - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to RANGITOTO: I had a look at Fairy Cave Quarry, seems to have some good range, but having never been there I don't know what the abseiling would be like, and it's a little far to drive to find it's no good. Have you been RANGITOTO?
RANGITOTO on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to joss_bouncer:

Yes, I used to climb there a lot. I think you now need a combination lock code from Ian Butterworth:

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/access-to-fairy-cave-quarry-agreed

You could abseil at a number of locations in the quarry:
Robs Crack - Stakes at top
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=29995

Balch's Slide - Tree at top
http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=30015

There could well also be lots of other options.

joss_bouncer - on 26 Sep 2013
That's a great help thanks bud.

If anyone else has any further info on FCQ they'd like to contribute that would be good.

Also if anyone has any suggestions for Symonds Yat, Avon Gorge or Wintours Leap, that would also be great, as easier access and shorter drives! :)

Thanks people.
lazzaw - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to RANGITOTO: But remember that Fairy Cave is all slab climbing so nothing vertical.

Vallis Vale near Frome is just a few minutes away from Fairy Cave (and probably closer than FCQ for you). It's not terribly large but there is a stomping big telegraph pole plus a couple of bolts at the top to set up from. Not much choice in height (about 20m) or routes but they are close to vertical and walking to the top to abb off only takes a couple of minutes from the bottom.
JimR - on 26 Sep 2013
In reply to joss_bouncer:

Split Rock is a popular abseil location and not too far
John Willson - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to joss_bouncer: Symonds Yat and Wintour's are not good places for beginners' abseiling sessions, though the former is much used as such. The ledges and steep tops can be unsettling, and you probably will end up inconveniencing other climbers (if they don't inconvenience you first).

By far the best single pitch for this in the Forest of Dean is Stony Green OS 645086 (page 247 in the Yat guide). A very gentle launch with the 25m slab steepening just a little towards the bottom. The main disadvantage is that there is only the one line but I always found that beginners are quite happy to do the same one over and again, and they can build up confidence, speed, and technique in doing so. The other snag is that another party may get there before you.
SimonCRMC - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to RANGITOTO:
> (In reply to joss_bouncer)

Re Fairy Cave:
I know you were trying to be helpful (always good on UKC!), but whilst it's not uncommon for climbers to abseil back down both routes after climbing them, I'm not sure I'd want to be suggesting two of the best routes in the quarry to be used purely for abseiling! Balch's Slide will get a whole lot slidier in a few years time if that happens. As you've climbed at Fairy Cave you'll probably appreciate the point. The OP might also want to note that there's a lot of loose rock elsewhere in the Quarry so care is required. Other venues would be better, I think.
joss_bouncer - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to John Willson:

My Symonds Yat guide book only goes as far as page 128, it's a little outdated I guess. :) I'll see what I can find about it on a search of here and the wider web, thanks John.
GridNorth - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to joss_bouncer)
>
> I wouldn't think cleeve hill would be too appropriate. Bit loose and lack of decent anchors.

Don't know about that, everytime I've been there were stakes all over the place on Castle Rock and I would have thought that the loose stuff would be manageable.
wilsers on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to joss_bouncer:

Sea Walls, Avon Gorge (25M) - good tree anchors and or bolted anchors. Might be climbers but probably not.

Car Park Quarry, Goblin Combe (about 15M)- Good tree anchors and some good iron ground spikes. May be climbers but unlikely.

Most places at Symonds Yat (7M to 30M). More options than I can list. Great tree anchors all over the place and you will be able to find a place where there are no climbers easily.

There are places in Box Woods (Wilthsire) if you just want to get the principles of abseiling but they are loose and not recommended. There's a great looking old quarry there too but it's in someone's back garden :(

Andy
lazzaw - on 27 Sep 2013
In reply to JimR:
> (In reply to joss_bouncer)
> Split Rock is a popular abseil location and not too far
Yes - forgotten about this. Vertical rock with trees at the top to abseil off and it is just a short walk/scrabble around the back to get to the top.

bpmclimb - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to RANGITOTO:
> (In reply to joss_bouncer)
>

>
> You could abseil at a number of locations in the quarry:
> Robs Crack - Stakes at top

> Balch's Slide - Tree at top


To the OP: please don't follow this advice. These are not suitable sites for a group abseil (presumably all wearing muddy trainers). Added to which, the access situation at FCQ is sensitive; the landowner has made a special concession for individual climbers, not organised groups.
bpmclimb - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to lazzaw:
> (In reply to RANGITOTO) But remember that Fairy Cave is all slab climbing so nothing vertical.
>
> Vallis Vale near Frome is just a few minutes away from Fairy Cave


Sorry to weigh in with more bad news, but Vallis Vale is best not used for any reason for the time being - see recent post on the BMC thread.
bpmclimb - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to bpmclimb:

Sorry, I meant the BMC Areas forum
lazzaw - on 30 Sep 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: Ah, I wasn't aware of that. I was on a scout/cub camp at Tedbury near Mells on Saturday night and the footpath closure didn't seem to stop the huge rave that could be heard coming from there from 10pm until 9am. Not the best night's sleep I've had!

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