/ Burrington Combe

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johncoxmysteriously - on 01 Feb 2014
I see from Peak Rock that E A Baker observed that he knew of only one finer climb on limestone than Dargai Crack, and that was in Burrington Combe in Somerset. Is it known what this route was?

jcm
The Pylon King on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
Hmm thats interesting, i am popping down there tomorrow.

There are two Crocker routes there - E3 and E4 and one VS from the eighties. All worth 1 star each but nothing super special.
Post edited at 14:06
Choss on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Possibly Front face or gully of rock of ages Itself. Face about HVD.

Or we also did a wandering 2 Pitch Effort up a sort of chossy ridge for want of a Better word on the Other side of the road somewhere once. Made my Friends son cry it Did.

Or he could be being Sarcastic?
deepstar - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:
It was probably the "Rock of Ages" crack as there is'nt anything else that would have inspired a cave explorer of that generation.
There is a thruchy chimney in Eastwater Cavern at Priddy named after him so he would have probably liked the crack that the priest sheltered from the storm.
Post edited at 14:22
Choss on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to deepstar:
> It was probably the "Rock of Ages" crack as there is'nt anything else that would have inspired a cave explorer of that generation.

Theres not much there to inspire explorers of this generation either ;-)

(Ps German Shepherd by the way deepstar)
Post edited at 14:20
The Pylon King on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to deepstar:

where is that?
deepstar - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> where is that?

At the front of the crag,where the brass plaque is.
Choss on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> where is that?

You cant miss it. Opposite car park of garden Centre/cafe of old folk Hymn location sightseers and groups of troglodytes Gearing up. Theres a plaque Commemorating rev topLady and everything. If you Climb the buttress or Crack and youre lucky someone will come over and tell you you shouldnt.
The Pylon King on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:

Yeah i know where Rock of ages is but wondered where the crack is. I presume its the gully crack?
Choss on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Thats the one
James Jackson on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Hmm; I live a few miles from the combe, and have only ever walked my dog up it - the climbing is not really very inspiring.
Choss on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to James Jackson:

> Hmm; I live a few miles from the combe, and have only ever walked my dog up it - the climbing is not really very inspiring.

Thats just what all we locals say to keep Travelling Climbers away, Like they do with Other Little travelled quality crags like finedon slabs, and stannington ruffs.

Now the hordes will be descending From the peaks and there will be Queues for routes at burrington. Thanks peaks rock ;-)
Dave Garnett - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

This was on my local patch for three years and I never bothered to climb it, despite doing all the local potholes and sampling such regional honeypots as Ebbor Gorge.
Phil Kelly - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Hi John

Baker co-authored(?) a book called the Netherworld of Mendip, which I think includes a chapter called The Burrington Caverns [based on article in Manchester Guardian of March 12th, 1903]

Maybe it's in there?

Phil
James Jackson on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:

I've done a lot to encourage climbing in the local area, leading to the following on the MendipClimb.org.uk FAQ:

Q: Someone on rocktalk called James Jackson has recommended I repeat some of his new routes, should I?
A: No.

No sense of adventure, some people...
Mick Ward - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to Phil Kelly:

> Baker co-authored(?) a book called the Netherworld of Mendip...

Netherworld of Mendip - it's got a ring to it (well, more like a clang, actually).

Unlike us, he didn't ask Big Ron to be patron... he went straight for Deepstar!

Mick
Bulls Crack - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Hmm thats interesting, i am popping down there tomorrow.

> There are two Crocker routes there - E3 and E4 and one VS from the eighties. All worth 1 star each but nothing super special.

Doubt if Ernest did those
bpmclimb - on 01 Feb 2014
In reply to all:

Sorry to poop the party, but ..

Anything dislodged from the climbs on Rock of Ages will very likely reach the road. The road itself is surprisingly busy; there's also very regular use of the site opposite by large groups of children under instruction, who for caving activities cross the road to reach the footpath. Plus families, walkers, etc., who use the car park.

At best, climbing here is only justifiable when things are unusually quiet.
Mick Ward - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Bulls Crack:

> Doubt if Ernest did those

Said that compared to High Tor Gully they were a piece of piss.

Mick
TXG - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Phil Kelly:

Hello - Though there are some great sporting climbs in the caves of the combe, the caves were mostly dug open between the 20's and the 80's, so seemingly too late to be the one Baker's talking about. Goatchurch was open from the 19th century, but if there's a great climb in there it's news to me!

Should point out that I'm no caving historian, just someone who's relatively local and has done a fair bit of Mendip wriggling.

Cheers
Phil Kelly - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to TXG:

Well, I was only thinking that as Baker's "Moors, Crags and Caves" book covered climbing and caving exploits, it could have been that he mentioned it.

Phil
The Pylon King on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

A bit of organised descaling could sort it out, though when i climbed there i didn't come across much loose rock and of course a rock catch fence could always be erected, then it would be no different to Cheddar.

As for children in organised commercial groups, maybe they should wear helmets. I cant believe its particularly safe in the carpark when the organised commercial groups are at work there!!


TXG - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Phil Kelly:

OK, sorry - got the wrong end of the stick. I thought you meant "In there" meaning the caves.

If anyone has the time or inclination to have a proper look, then you can find "Netherworld of Mendip" online here: https://archive.org/details/netherworldofmen00bake

I had a scan through the Burrington chapter and couldn't see a reference to any climbs, though the Rock of Ages and the ridge behind the car park get a mention.

Cheers

Tom
bpmclimb - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> A bit of organised descaling could sort it out, though when i climbed there i didn't come across much loose rock and of course a rock catch fence could always be erected, then it would be no different to Cheddar.

> As for children in organised commercial groups, maybe they should wear helmets. I cant believe its particularly safe in the carpark when the organised commercial groups are at work there!!

>

The safety of the children is paramount in that car park; they're always carefully supervised, and always wear helmets if they're on, under, or anywhere near the steep rock.

I think the proximity of the road below Rock of Ages is a serious issue that needs some solution if there's to be regular climbing there - yes, like Cheddar generally, but perhaps most comparable to certain roadside buttresses (some of which I believe have permanent climbing bans in place on safety grounds).
The Pylon King on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:
> The safety of the children is paramount in that car park; they're always carefully supervised, and always wear helmets if they're on, under, or anywhere near the steep rock.

How about the general public?

> I think the proximity of the road below Rock of Ages is a serious issue that needs some solution if there's to be regular climbing there - yes, like Cheddar generally, but perhaps most comparable to certain roadside buttresses (some of which I believe have permanent climbing bans in place on safety grounds).

It can't be that much of an issue as there are goats roaming on the sides of the combe that are probably more likely to knock rocks down than climbers. Anyway there's no point assuming something cant be done until it's at least been looked into.

Maybe they could permanently close the road, after all that's probably the most dangerous thing in the combe.
Post edited at 21:28
Choss on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Oh just go Climb there. Have a Debate with a Killjoy if you have to.
bpmclimb - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Anyway there's no point assuming something cant be done until it's at least been looked into.

Absolutely, let's find a solution. I was just raising the point that as things stand it is a concern - bit surprised I'm a lone voice on this thread, frankly - I think the dangers are pretty obvious, and the routes having now been discussed on a public forum makes it that more likely they'll be climbed. A hitherto neglected lower grade groove climb that most directly overlooks the road is probably the biggest concern.

> Maybe they could permanently close the road, after all that's probably the most dangerous thing in the combe.

It would make the Combe a much pleasanter place! I'd love to see Cheddar with no road too. Never going to happen in the real world, though.

bpmclimb - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:

> Oh just go Climb there. Have a Debate with a Killjoy if you have to.

Steep rock very close to road and well-used path. Are you recommending climbing here because it's your considered opinion that there's no safety issue? Or because you don't care even if there is? Genuine question.
The Pylon King on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

Stay calm and be seated, all that was being discussed in the thread originally was the history of routes there, not whether anyone was looking to go climbing there.

Mick Ward - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to johncoxmysteriously:

Well it's gratifying to know that E A Baker's still causing trouble 100 years on. No mean accomplishment.

Mick
Choss on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

just ignore me From yesterday, went a bit sketchy.

Youre Right, it was years ago i climbed there. It didnt feel that Risky Back then, but i Assume both foot and car traffic in the combe is much higher now. Therefore the Risk has also increased.

I dont think Climbing there Should be totally out of the Question Though. Small, careful, unobtrusive, parties Midweek say. Maybe rock catch Fences or such? Not sure it would Warrant such Measures for the Quantity and quality of climbing available.

Maybe youre Right, and a self imposed ban should be Enacted. There is plenty of Other rock on the mendips.
The Pylon King on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:
> Maybe youre Right, and a self imposed ban should be Enacted.


F*ck that!

It's going to have lavish multiple colour topos in the new guide.
Post edited at 09:21
Choss on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

It doesnt exist on the RAD, so theres no 'official' steer there.


Gerry on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:

Re. Rock of Ages: The CC guide (2004) says that English Nature instigated a climbing ban but that the BMC was trying to get it lifted. Perhaps they just forgot.
Choss on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Gerry:

Perhaps Time to Revisit the Issue.

Is it worth asking local area Access rep, or just not stir the pot i wonder?

I would be happy to put in some work hours in the combe if it would help Access.
The Pylon King on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:
Talking to Martin Crocker about it he said the ban was instigated to stop organised commercial groups from using it, as they used to, and not aimed at individual climbers.

It is something that i am looking into for the new guide.
Post edited at 10:41
Dave Garnett - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Choss:
> (In reply to Gerry)
>
> Perhaps Time to Revisit the Issue.
>
> Is it worth asking local area Access rep, or just not stir the pot i wonder?


Seriously? Am I thinking of the wrong Rock of Ages? Has some unusual geological activity occurred since they took the photos for street view, or are people really talking about the 20 feet of irresistible challenge to the left of the ivy?
James Jackson on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to Dave Garnett:

I'm away from my guides, and indeed the combe at the moment. The only bits of rock worth climbing (loose term...) would be the bit that gets toproped to death just by the cattle-grid at the bottom of the combe, and the bit surrounding the cave (covered in vegetation though). Which of these is rock of ages, or have I missed a bit out?
Dave Garnett - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to James Jackson:

The Rock of Ages is the one with the sign in front of it telling the story of how it was cleft for the Rev someone or other, as commemorated in the famous hymn.
bpmclimb - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Yes but if there's one thing we all know from experience on UKC it's that the OP can't dictate the exact scope of the discussion. If someone has a related point that they think is pertinent they're going to post it up. Exactly as it should be on a public forum I reckon.

I've spent many hundreds of hours running climbing and abseiling activities at Burrington Combe, and as well as looking after my group on the day, I help to marshal the whole area, which includes keeping an eye on traffic situations, road crossings, where rock is falling from, and who or what dislodged it. I would say that I'm as well placed as anyone to make an assessment of what is or isn't dangerous there.

Whatever anyone may think, I don't have some SPA-related axe to grind here, nor am I trying to poop the party just to be awkward. I just genuinely think that rockfall from the Rock of Ages has a higher chance of a serious outcome than just about any other crag I can think of in the area.

Given that I think that, why would I not post up about it on a thread specifically about climbing on the Rock of Ages? I can't think of a better place.
bpmclimb - on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to James Jackson:

> I'm away from my guides, and indeed the combe at the moment. The only bits of rock worth climbing (loose term...) would be the bit that gets toproped to death just by the cattle-grid at the bottom of the combe, and the bit surrounding the cave (covered in vegetation though). Which of these is rock of ages, or have I missed a bit out?

It's opposite the top-rope-to-death bit, on the right-hand side of the road looking up the Combe.
The Pylon King on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:
Yes but i think it is pretty obvious to anyone who knows the bit of rock in question or certainly anyone going there that it is potentially dangerous so your post seemed rather unnecessarily patronisng.

As there is a crag entry in the database that anyone can access then maybe it would be more useful and appropriate to put the warning in there.

As far as i am aware, abseiling was practiced there for many years without any accidents from dislodged rock ever occurring and as i said earlier, a rock catch fence would easily solve the problem.
Post edited at 18:31
The Pylon King on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

> I just genuinely think that rockfall from the Rock of Ages has a higher chance of a serious outcome than just about any other crag I can think of in the area.


How about High Rock in Cheddar Gorge!!
The Pylon King on 04 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

Also, as there is a crag entry in the database complete with crag photos that anyone can access then maybe it would be more useful and appropriate to put something there to warn people off.

Gerry on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Yes indeed. Free fall from the top of Coronation Street. I saw a rock land between two cars there once, long ago. The cars were moved away pretty quickly!
bpmclimb - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

your post seemed rather unnecessarily patronisng.


Sorry that it seemed that way to you. I've just read my first post again, and as far as I can see it's just pointing out an issue that hadn't yet been mentioned - nothing more than that.

Re High Rock: yes, similar issues. But as you know safety there has already been debated, and a compromise solution reached. As far as I know, as things stand, anyone can climb at any time on Rock of Ages.

The idea that climbers should simply be left to self-police in these situations is a bit naive, in my opinion. I think some will behave sensibly and others won't. We don't want unnecessary restrictions, but there are certain crags where a few rules are called for.






bpmclimb - on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to The Pylon King:

Well they may not have been particularly welcome, but at least my posts have catalysed a debate about it, which is good, I reckon - at least things like descaling and fencing have been mentioned now. Anyway, the issue is probably best debated at a BMC meet - I'll ask for it to be put on the agenda for the next meeting.
The Pylon King on 05 Feb 2014
In reply to bpmclimb:

Yes i have been planning on doing that for some time now. Obviously we don't even know if climbing is still banned there.
Post edited at 12:05

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