UKC

Newly developed area Forest of Bowland

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 Obi Wan 18 Jun 2021

So it's been 4 months in the making, but it's time for the big reveal!

Myself and my good friend Sandy, discovered a vast area of untouched grit boulders just waiting to be climbed and that's exactly what we did.

We did our research, and as far as we can tell the rocks have never been developed or published (only the roadside boulder).

We have been lucky with the good weather, and spent the last 4 months developing The Wild West.

It is a large area, spanning 5 "sectors" (so far), of good quality moorland gritstone bouldering up at Bowland Knotts.

We have made a downloadable Topo for each sector (and intro to the area) available here -

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ppnjdbu9ik3ynk9/AADpbf5BB_p0FQemjeabqWlXa?dl=0

And the UKC crag details are now online - 

The Wild West

As explained in the description, grades are subjective and my V6 to some may be another's V2, or vice versa. We have tried to be realistic though and appreciate any feedback.

Go play, have fun, and let us know what you think.

We are pretty pleased with it so far, and there is still plenty of scope for more. 

(The climbs have been put up at each sector in order of first ascent, so not necessarily "left to right" on the logbook page as is the norm - if struggling the topos make sense)

 mrphilipoldham 18 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Nice one! I’ll go have a play soon

 Obi Wan 18 Jun 2021
In reply to mrphilipoldham:

Enjoy 👍

 steveriley 18 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Nice, big fan of that fine grained grit you get at Windy Clough, etc.

In reply to Obi Wan:

Hi,

It's not undiscovered, or untouched... I bouldered here a bit when I lived in Bowland for 10 years, moving further North just over 5 years ago. But nice one for putting it on the map and I guess giving it some structure etc. 

All the best Simon

 Obi Wan 18 Jun 2021
In reply to Simonfarfaraway:

Cheers Simon

I did think it strange that nobody would have done anything there considering its position etc.

Oh well,  like you say, we have just gone that extra step I suppose and given it structure and named/graded problems. Nothing documented anywhere so presume people have maybe ust used it as a playground but never logged anything.

Enjoyed having a project, and it will be interesting to see what people make of our problems. 

 Lankyman 18 Jun 2021
In reply to Simonfarfaraway:

I think most climbers who've driven over the top have stopped and pootled about up there. I know I have. To the OP: perhaps you might consider using the name 'Bowland Knotts' as shown on the OS maps? If there is ever a rescue needed up there the local MRT (Bowland Pennine near Dunsop Bridge) will know straight away where to find the bodies.

2
In reply to Obi Wan:

Its great that you have spent some time there and documented problems, and like you say it will be interesting to see how much it is used. I spotted it on a drive back over from Yorkshire.  Living in Dolphinholme it was a trek so I probably only went there a handful of times over the years. Its a great part of the UK. Seeing this makes me want to re-visit. Well done for putting it on the map. Enjoy it, must visit again... but a bit of a trek from the Highlands 

 Obi Wan 18 Jun 2021
In reply to Simonfarfaraway:

Thanks dude 👍

1
 prudol 18 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Well done. Good effort writing it up and clear photos. There are more possibilities going east from the road, Bowland Knotts and Knotteranum.  A favourite place of mine for a summer evening's boulder.   bowlandclimber.com

 Obi Wan 19 Jun 2021
In reply to prudol:

Thanks very much. 👍

Let me know what you think if you try them out. 

 Martin Dale 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

There is more stuff on the road over the moors to the west from Slaidburn going over to High Bentham. Drive up from Slaidburn and it is on the east side of the road as you near the top cattle grid. Again, I've played on it a few times but not documented any of it. Over to you guys to get up there and sort it!

 Obi Wan 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Martin Dale:

Excellent, we will check it out.

 Obi Wan 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Just in case it appears I am taking all the credit, the whole project was a joint venture with @sandrow.

I have asked him to join the thread and say hello, but I think he is being shy 🤣

In reply to Obi Wan:

You’ve done a better job than I did haha. I got the road side ones done and I started on that little roof on the left behind them and got a topo done but gave up.

Post edited at 20:10

 Obi Wan 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Madmax245:

Ah, it was you that put the roadside problems up? Reachy mcreachface is quality!

Why did you give up on the rest? 

In reply to Obi Wan:

Cheers. Yeh I had a wander over and tried a few out towards the trig point but I just thought there was way too much stuff. There’s a nice looking slab on the east side of the road just down from the other stuff on that side which looks like it could have a few good problems.

 Will Hunt 19 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Looks good, Peter. Unless Robin can provide a more natural Lancashire home for them, I could put these PDFs on www.unknownstones.com if you thought that would make them more findable.

 Obi Wan 20 Jun 2021
In reply to Will Hunt:

Robin has said he will stick them on his website, and his social media; but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to stick them up on your website too? The more the merrier.

If you are happy to, then that would be a massive help at getting them out there for people to find. 

In reply to steveriley:

> Nice, big fan of that fine grained grit you get at Windy Clough, etc.

Hi Steve - it is incredibly abrasive! The grit is full of tiny quartz pebbles that seem to have been shattered on the surface leaving razor sharp edges. Skin & clothes can get shredded!

 Obi Wan 21 Jun 2021
In reply to sandrow:

That's how "shark bite" got it's name. Still got the scars to prove it. 💪

Hi sandy, by the way 👋

Wow, I really must check this crag out considering 10% of the problems are of exceptional quality of national significance!!!

21
 Obi Wan 22 Jun 2021
In reply to radddogg:

> Wow, I really must check this crag out considering 10% of the problems are of exceptional quality of national significance!!!

Er....ok?

 C Witter 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Thanks for these topos, Obi Wan and Sandy! I was powerfully curious and went to take a look today. It's a beautiful place to play and lots to go at. Your topos really helped.

I thought the Monkey Buttress was one of the best bits by far and really enjoyed the three problems through the roof. I'd give them all font 6A/V2. I also did your project or a variant of it - possibly a foot left of the line on the topo, to gain a small dish that allows you to mantle the slopey topout. I think it's about V5/6C, possibly 6C+. It could do with a good clean! Actually alot of the rock is very sandy!

Without intending any offense, I think almost all of the problems are overgraded - especially on the topo. Some of the V5s in particular (awkward and physical but more like font 5+/V1). I think the V6 is probably more like 6A+/V3, possibly 6B/V4. Of course, someone else may disagree with me!

It was lovely to see Ingleborough and the rolling hills in the evening light, surprising curlews from the grass, and revelling in the grit rash.

Thanks once again!

 C Witter 23 Jun 2021
In reply to steveriley:

Windy Clough/Thorn Crag grit is exquisite! The Knotts grit is a bit different, I think. It's a lot more pebbly and tends to be quite sandy. Perhaps it just needs more traffic/a bit of a clean.

 Obi Wan 23 Jun 2021
In reply to C Witter:

No offence taken whatsoever. We are genuinely open to feedback; as I said in the OP, it's really difficult grading new problems. It's obviously based on our current skill levels and personal perceptions. It's tricky trying to find the right balance between under grading when the problem feels easy or even stiff but doable (but may well be nails for others) and over grading when it feels tough (but naturally may not be for stronger, better climbers).

I am pleased you went and checked them out, and seemed to enjoy it, and gave some good positive comments. (Happy you enjoyed Monkey Buttress).

Nice to see too that you agree with some of the grading too so it will be interesting to get more opinions from a wide spectrum of other climbers with differing abilities.

Also, good effort on finishing the project! That one was nails! My initial line was straight over as per the Topo but I imagine your variation hasn't deviated too far? I presume you were nowhere near the holds on the other climbs to the left?

Post edited at 10:06
 C Witter 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Obi Wan:

Thanks for the response! Yes, grading problems is always tricky. And the ones you put more effort into seem like they should get harder grades. Some are genuinely hard to grade, e.g. Pardon My French. It's somehow both obvious and yet a very weird and physical problem!

Actually, I didn't like "Kick in the Nuts" very much - it felt a bit artificial. But, El Mono, Commitment Issues and Dish it Up were very good. Commitment Issues was my favourite! I liked trying to span between the two pillars and the crack felt a little insecure to start with. I thought it was a degree harder than El Mono... though, I was wishing I had a spotter on all three.

Yes, my "solution" to the project is very slightly left of the topo line, but right of 'That's All There Is'. There's probably a harder eliminate still to be had further right, but if you look over the lip, the only obvious feature is a shallow three-finger dish. A Saucerful of Sadness (f6C+) starts under the roof (to be honest, I'm not sure where it is best to start, as it can be done from lower or from the ledge at the same grade), gains the break and then the saucer/dish to mantle up. It may be 6C, but last night my tendons felt a bit strained and I gave it a 6C+. I look forward to it being downgraded imminently!

Post edited at 10:26
 Obi Wan 23 Jun 2021
In reply to C Witter:

> look forward to it being downgraded imminently!

🤣🤣

 steveriley 23 Jun 2021
In reply to C Witter:

Agreed, I've been up to Windy Clough/Baines Crag very occasionally since the 80s. Really enjoyed my recent visit (apart from injuring myself and putting me out of running for 2 months, grr!) with a map to the territory - it's great to see it documented.

And Obi Wan, nice attitude - you put yourself out there when you put something up. We don't always get it right and you can never get a consensus grade from one or two ascents

 Obi Wan 23 Jun 2021
In reply to steveriley:.

> And Obi Wan, nice attitude 

Thanks 👍

In reply to Obi Wan:

Cheers for the topos guys... I took the missus and my wee lad for a relaxed session today... Lovely little spot quite relaxing. I'd have to agree with the C Witter on the grades they feel a bit out the v5s like mother hugger, parden my French and no bloody swearing all felt about 6a/+ish but I'm short so they didn't feel bunched which I imagine they would for the tall. Looks like there's quite a bit still left to be developed. Good work lads. Cheers 

 Obi Wan 27 Jun 2021
In reply to Ehmarra:

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, and appreciate the feedback. 

It's good to get others opinions, I think over time if the general consensus is that the grades are generous then we will rewrite the Topos. (Maybe I am weaker than I thought 😉)

Out of interest, grades aside, what did you think of the problems themselves?

In reply to Obi Wan:

Yeah there's some enjoyable problems. I didnt get over to the shark attack block so thibk I'll go there next time. Looks like there's quite a bit that could still be developed. I think the fact the first problems are a 3 min walk from the car is a real bonus at the monkey business bloc is decent, though a little intimidating. 

 Obi Wan 27 Jun 2021
In reply to Ehmarra:

> monkey business bloc is decent, though a little intimidating. 

Monkey buttress is probably my favourite. It was the first area we developed. Feels high and committing once on it, but the landings are pretty good and the problems are awesome. 

 C Witter 28 Jun 2021
In reply to Ehmarra:

I also went again - I think a few of my downgrades may have been a touch harsh. But agree about Mother Hugger and Pardon My French being 6A. I think Shark Bite Buttress has a few good problems. The one begging to be done is to sit in the cave, gain the handrail under the roof, push out for a rounded "jug" then pivot onto the lip and traverse this via the break and heel hooks all the way to where "That's all there is" and "Shark Bite" go through the roof.  I think that would be 6C+ and sustained! I only had a couple of goes due to trying to save energy for Sunday tradding... and significant forearm skin loss! If you do go to Shark Buttress, take a stiff brush - I forgot mine and it's really quite lichenous. It's a bit upsetting when landing the hold deposits a teaspoon of grit and lichen in your eyes...

 Obi Wan 28 Jun 2021
In reply to C Witter:

Cheers for the photos. Checked the line of "saucerful" and it is somewhat left of the project, so a completely new/different problem. 

I've updated the description. Good effort my friend, I'll head up and give it a go. 👍

In reply to Obi Wan:

> Er....ok?

The point being that for 3 stars to be awarded to a route/problem it has to be of exceptional quality in every regard and of national significance. I just find it hard to believe that these three problems meet the necessary criteria to be up there with The Sloth, Dream of White Horses and Cemetery Gates. If I'm honest, I can't really agree with any boulder problem having enough about it to get 3 stars.

Flame suit donned.

11
In reply to radddogg:

> The point being that for 3 stars to be awarded to a route/problem it has to be of exceptional quality in every regard and of national significance.

Just your opinion obviously - never seen that written down anywhere - until now. Did you write that on a tablet of stone...

 DaveHK 11 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

> Flame suit donned.

You'll need the flame suit because you've said a silly thing. Why would you judge boulder problems against routes? They're so different as activities as to make comparison impossible. By your own criteria for a boulder problem to be *** it just has to be of national significance as a boulder problem.

Post edited at 21:36
 C Witter 11 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

Different guides use star systems in different ways. A few guides in England (e.g. FRCC Scafell) and SMC guides in Scotland - they actually use a 4-star system. Some of the Welsh Climbers' Club guides don't use stars at all. It's not quite as rigid as you seem to think.

Anyway: I think you might enjoy the boulders, Rob.

 The Pylon King 11 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

Old trad farts dont think boulder problems should get any stars and young boulderers who do any new, vaguely good, problem automatically give it three stars!

 C Witter 11 Jul 2021
In reply to The Pylon King:

> Old trad farts dont think boulder problems should get any stars and young boulderers who do any new, vaguely good, problem automatically give it three stars!


I must be middle-aged, then, because I gave one of the best problems at the crag two stars.

In reply to DaveHK:

> You'll need the flame suit because you've said a silly thing. Why would you judge boulder problems against routes? They're so different as activities as to make comparison impossible. By your own criteria for a boulder problem to be *** it just has to be of national significance as a boulder problem.

I don't do enough bouldering to know many three star problems. But ok, let's compare with a three star boulder problem The Traverse Of the Gods (8b+) at  Craig y Longridge

Are we really saying there are three separate problems as good as that? How you can judge the quality over 5 moves is slightly perplexing to me.

In answer to the other question of "my interpretation" of starring, I am simply using the descriptions given in North Wales Limestone. The system is clearly defined in the intro:
zero - a good route unless stated otherwise.
1 - exceptional quality within the guidebook area.
2 - exceptional quality within N.Wales.
3 - exceptional quality nationally.

I'm not saying the bouldering isn't good, I'm sure it is, I'm just questioning the dilution of the star system. Spraying stars at an obscure logbook isn't going to turn it into a honeypot.

And this is meant in a wider sense too, many new routes are put up with star ratings which seem to be nothing more than an attempt to encourage repeat ascents.

​​​​​​

Post edited at 01:12
8
 Obi Wan 12 Jul 2021
In reply to The Pylon King:

> young boulderers who do any new, vaguely good, problem automatically give it three stars!

I haven't been called young for a long time! I'll take it though 😉

 C Witter 12 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

> In answer to the other question of "my interpretation" of starring, I am simply using the descriptions given in North Wales Limestone. The system is clearly defined in the intro:

> zero - a good route unless stated otherwise.

> 1 - exceptional quality within the guidebook area.

> 2 - exceptional quality within N.Wales.

> 3 - exceptional quality nationally.


Um... I don't want to pop your bubble, but... Bowland Knotts are not in North Wales...!

Rather than indulge in constructing tedious dogma, why not just accept that this is based on a topo by some enthusiastic people who've documented this area for the first time. Here, the following system applies:

- 0 stars: we wanted to do the line before someone else did, but it's a bit naff
- 1 star: I thought it was a bit naff, but it was my mate's FA and he liked it
- 2 stars: we both thought this was pretty quality
- 3 stars: I couldn't do this problem to start with and gave it a lot of energy and skin; when I finally got it, I was over the moon and I can't wait for someone else to get out from under their keyboard and go try it.

Cheers!

2
 DaveHK 12 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

> But ok, let's compare with a three star boulder problem The Traverse Of the Gods (8b+) at Craig y Longridge

I'm guessing you haven't done the TotG or any of the problems at this 'new' venue?

You've abandoned routes as a yardstick for judging boulder problems and picked a boulder problem that's longer than many routes as your yardstick. You also say you don't do much bouldering or understand how the quality of 5 moves can be judged. 

Given all that I'd suggest that you're probably not in a position to be criticising the star allocation at this venue. Maybe it's right and maybe it's wrong, it will settle down with a consensus of people who have actually climbed the problems and understand how the star system is applied to bouldering.

If you've got questions or concerns about starring in general then maybe start a separate thread and and couch it as a question rather than a criticism.

Post edited at 10:01
 Offwidth 13 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

A boulder problem is just that. TotG is effectivly a long low risk pitch just above the ground. There is a reason long traverses in Font ended up with something more akin to sport grades. I do think too many problems and sport climbs get too many stars compared to trad climb norms but then again most guidebooks I worked on didn't give any stars at all to boulder problems to help cut honey-potting.

In reply to C Witter:

I know Bowland isn't in North Wales. I was merely explaining that "my methodology" wasn't "my methodology". I'd actually read it somewhere previously. Maybe I could have been less sarcastic with my observation but, oh well.

1
 Andy Gamisou 14 Jul 2021
In reply to radddogg:

> I know Bowland isn't in North Wales. I was merely explaining that "my methodology" wasn't "my methodology". I'd actually read it somewhere previously. Maybe I could have been less sarcastic with my observation but, oh well.

You raise a good point though, and one worthy of its own thread - dilution of the star system.  The routes in the UKC logbook in the area I climb suffers greatly from this, with most routes at one crag being given 3 stars which is a bit silly really.  And each new route (logged by its creator) given 3 stars.  Odd that. I have a website that documents the area and I avoid route stars like the plague. I wish guidebooks would do the same, for what I would think obvious reasons.

Post edited at 05:51
In reply to Obi Wan:

Hey mate went back up today to try shark attack bloc but most of breaks,/ rails were wet. Anyhow think I put up a new one at area 51. On the left hand side of the prow. Facing down hill. Sit start / low start from good low hold, feet on wall opposite. Make a dynamic move with left hand to lip... Right heel... Then to good crack at the top. No use of detached wall behind. Would be easier for the tall and very hard for the small. Good moves. I've attached photos in ukc page... Thought about 6a/+ but could be any where from 5+  to 6c depending on height and reach Rommedahl Thommason (f6A+)

 Obi Wan 31 Jul 2021
In reply to Ehmarra:

Nice work! I'll give it a go when things dry out. 

Don't know if you noticed on the logbook page but we have put a couple more up on some butresses just downhill from shark attack. 

Moby Dick and Sleep Deprivation

Post edited at 19:30
 Obi Wan 31 Jul 2021
In reply to C Witter:

Also, managed to get back and do A Long Stretch (f6A). Quality problem! Took a few attempts, I reckon it'll definitely be easier for the taller. 

Checked out Martin Dale's additions too, a handful of lower grade problems just behind. Very pleasant indeed. Not hard but nice, and made a little more "challenging" by the rocky landings.

Keep it up people, loving the interest this place has generated, and loving going back to climb new ones others have put up. 👍

In reply to Obi Wan:

I only noticed them on ukc after I'd finished... Will try next time.... Think c witter said it but there's def scope for a hard pull from bottom of prow and direct out to join parden my French. The place you'd pull on from is about half way down the base of the prow... Left hand is good but right hand is a tiny crimp, feet are poor, unless you used footblock on right but that would take away from the problem and I think if you eliminated the foot blocks this would be a problem creeping into the 7s maybe??. 

 Obi Wan 31 Jul 2021
In reply to Ehmarra:

Yeah I think I remember him mentioning that. Just need the weather to come back and I'll go have a look.

I remember I found "French" pretty stiff when I put it up (not to start another debate about grading 😉), so you're probably right with a possible variation going at 7 upwards. 


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