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This guide is, in some ways, a new venture for the FRCC and marks their first foray outside of the Lake District. In fact it could be named, 'Where to Climb if the Weather is Bad in the Lakes' (and you simply have to get on real rock).Peter Botterill and Mark Magas take a look at this new Fell and Rock guidebook. All Fell and Rock guidebooks are widely available from specialist climbing shops in the UK. They can also be purchased direct from the official distributor, Cordee.
The Fell and Rock Climbing Club are an active club for mountaineers and rock climbers in the Lake District. Their main purpose is to encourage members in these pursuits by arranging meets and providing huts. They also work to protect the amenities of the Lake District and promote the general interest of mountaineers.
More info about this Eden Valley South and Lakes Limestone FRCC Guidebook:
The layout is certainly a winning formula, in that the relatively new feature of crag photo diagrams make route finding as easy as it can ever be. In addition another one of the essential boxes is ticked in terms of the photographs. Stephen Reid (now the FRCC guidebook editor) has said in the past, 'The most important part of a guidebook are the climbing photos.' (On the Edge #25, 1991) and in this respect the guide is also excellent, with inspiring photos of most of the areas covered by the guide.
The book features of a number of crags where climbing is banned either for historical reasons or in the hope that climbing will be able to be resumed there in the before the next guide. There are quite a few crags like this in the area but banned crags are clearly marked by featuring red type in the approach section.
This is a very complete guide to the areas and some of the crags are quite esoteric (anyone making a special visit to the Gelt Boulder may be disappointed in its brevity for example). That said the guide includes all the best the areas have to offer and the crags that the locals visit such as Armathwaite, Scratchmere, Windmore end and Coudy rocks in the Eden Valley and Chapel Head, Scout Scar (and maybe Millside Scar now that some excellent re-bolting work has taken place) in the South Lakes.
In addition those used to climbing on bolts in Yorkshire or the Peak might find the grades at Chapel Head and Scout Scar a bit of a shock until you get used to the rock and climbing style at these excellent crags; so take it easy for the first few routes at these venues.
In terms of accuracy there is no information here that would do anything other than enhance the actual climbing experience you were having but Pete Botterill who wrote this review with me did note some historical inaccuracies. The problem with historical sections is that once errors creep into print they become self-perpetuating. Pete, of course, had an eagle eye for them, having been around at the time of much of the developments. Even I spotted some though, and they managed to spell my name wrong! The FRCC have thought about this eventuality though and the guide includes a username and password for the website where corrections can be suggested.
All in all this is a guide definitely worth having and stashing in your bag alongside your other FRCC guides in the unlikely event that it rains when you are on your way to Raven, Dow or Scafell! Or if you live in the area then it'll be great for finding the best crags and routes near you.
Is a retired pharmacist and a climbing legend responsible for putting up lots of hard routes in the Lakes such as Creation and The Gates of Delirium (amongst many others) which have since been responsible for scaring Mark Magas to death. Now a veteran climber he still manages a very respectable 6c+.
Is a senior lecturer in pharmacology at the University of Cumbria Mark and is still a long way from retirement. Mark has lived in the Lakes for 20 years but has only put up one route (but it's in the guide; Sequence Dance 7b).