Selected climbs on Bray Head. The cliffs below Bray Head (O290 156) provide a pleasant introduction to sea cliff climbing and all that it entails: abseil approaches, tidal belays; etc. They are modest in height and difficulty - nothing higher than 28m or harder than 5a. The rock is slate, smooth and hard with sharp holds, providing good friction when dry, but very slippery and best avoided when wet. The benign influence of the sea ensures that temperatures never drop too low and the fact that this stretch of coastline is very sheltered, being protected by Bray Head from the westerly winds, makes climbing here possible throughout the winter. It is not the place to be, however, when the winds are coming from the east or north-east. The best time to visit the cliffs is at low tide, though many of the climbs can be done at all states of the tide. The national newspapers publish tide tables, giving up-to-the-minute information on the times of high tides all around our coast. There have been many changes in the Bray area since the last Bray Head guide was published in 1978. A huge increase in the population of Bray and North Wicklow, coupled with an upsurge of interest in leisure walking, has led to large numbers using the Cliff Path on a daily basis, making the climbs immediately above the Path unfeasible. In addition, the extension of the DART service to Greystones has greatly increased traffic, and security, on the section of the railway line running below Bray Head, with the result that many of the climbs on the cliffs below the line are now out of bounds. However, the two areas detailed here, Cable Rock and Streaky Slab, have no access problems, as they can be reached without trespassing on the line. We have listed only the more popular climbs in these two areas; routes that have been climbed frequently over the years and have stood the test of time. Full details of all the climbs on Bray Head can be found in the Bray Head guide book, published by the F.M.C.I. in 1978 and copies of this are included below.
Access by public transport. All the climbs are accessed from The Cliff Path, which runs along the coast, above the railway line, from Bray to Greystones. The Path starts at the southern end of Bray Esplanade (twenty minutes walk from Bray DART station, or five minutes from the terminus of the 45 bus route). From here a pleasant walk of about twenty minutes will bring you to Streaky Slab, while the gate for Cable Rock is a further ten minutes along the Path
Access by car. Travelling south on the M11/N11, ignore the turn-offs for Bray and take the turn off signposted Greystones. Take the Greystones exit on the next two roundabouts. Immediately after cresting the long hill (Windgates), take the turn on the left, which ends at a private car park fronting some new houses, Turn here and drive back up the road a short distance, to where there parking is possible against the hedge on the left. Walk down past the houses, cross the stile, and follow the track down to a gate and a second stile where some steps lead down to the Cliff Path (5 minutes). This point on the Path is a 30 minute walk from the southern end of Bray promenade, or a 15 minute walk from Windgates, which is on the No.84 (Dublin/Delgany) bus route. Turn right for Cable Rock, or left for Streaky Slab.
The climbs, and the climbing areas, are described from left to right (south to north).
Wicklow Rock Climbing Guide (2009)
|2||Airy Edge||VD *||2|
|4||Jack Spratt||VS 4b||1|
|5||Lean crack||VD *||2|
|6||Shaft||VS 4b **||2|
|9||Black Bottom||VS 4c|
|10||Tough Soot||HVS 5a, 4c||2|
|12||Spinnaker||VS 4c *||5|
|13||Cricklewood||S 4a **||5|
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