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Easy climbs near Durham

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Yrmenlaf 03 Jun 2004
My wife & ten year old want a rock climb on Saturday.

We live in Durham, and don't want to be out for more than about 4 hours.

I want somewhere quiet.

Wife was in a wheelchair until this time last year, probably not into a long walk

Ten year old (of the male persuasion) and I went to Captain Cook's Crags a couple of evenings back: did a couple of diffs and vdiffs - he is fairly slightly built, not much upper body strength. So I am looking for slabby diffs / vdiffs / severes

I had wondered about Wainstones 0r Slipstones (both might be crowded), or Botton Head (smartboys is disparaging)

Any ideas?

Any other ideas
 Fiend 03 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

Scugdale. Ideal. 5 minute walk and loads of good short routes on nice rock from Mod - E3. Good for soloing. Go for a pub meal at the Black Horse in Swainby afterwards (portions expensive but enormous and good).

Wainstones is a bit of a hike.
Bokonon 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

I doubt Slipstone would be crowded...I was ther over the bankholiday w/end and it was empty, despite the lovely weather.

but the walk in although not along way, could be a ball-ache if your not particularly mobile.

 sutty 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

Bowden in Northumberland is not a long walk in, but a fair drive. Scugdale is ok if your wife can get up to it from the walking point of view, about 10 minutes brisk walk so 20+ if slow.
Joe W 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:
Yeah, I also used to live in Durham, and am a keen climber.
The closest crags I found were slipstones in Yorkshire or Shaftoe in Northumberland. Both being about 45 - 1 hour drive. There is unfortunately not much leading to be done at either, as most of it is bouldering, but if you are pushed for time it could be a good day out, Slipstones has more route potential. The walk to both is about the same of about 10 - 15 mins, neither are particularly difficult in terms of gradient. Another option is Goldsborough Carr in the Barnard Castle direction. There is hardly any walk in and a few great little routes with easy grades as well. Its probably about 45mins to an hour drive and is in a nice spot. If you have more time, then all the really good stuff is about an hour and a half drive. It's about the same time to the lakes, Yorkshire or Northumberland. Out of these, I'd recommend Shepherds Crag in Borrowdale in the lakes. 2 hours max to get there, 5 min easy walk with a really good cafe underneath and some great pubs nearby. Also there are lots of routes of all styles and all difficulties, from classic vdiff multipitch adventures - little chamonix, to E8 single pitch, easy slabs, basically everything you could want!

Northumberland is great for out of the way quiet crags but tends to be a bit harder and more bold. Yorkshire is great too! Man, I wish I was in England now!
Chris Shorter 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

The Wainstones is rarely crowded, although it does take around 30 minutes at least to get to and it is a steep up hill walk in places.

Definately don't go to Botton Head. It is a long walk and it is rubbish when you get there. I am the person who suggested to Steve Crowe that the pages in the guide could be sacrificed for toilet paper in an emergency.

Scugdale is you best bet, although it can be crowded and parking can be a problem then.
 Alan Stark 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

Surprised no-one has mentioned Causey Quarry, between Sunniside and Stanley, about 8 miles from Newcastle.

It's got to be a lot closer to Durham than most of the places mentioned so far, and is a 5 minute walk in from the car park.

It does tend to be a bit thuggy, with little below VS, but is liberally endowed with trees at the top, and has a long history of top roping.

The Low level girdle is worthwhile and certainly builds up forearm strength quickly.

It has been done wearing wellies in the wet in the middle of winter, when the ground was covered in snow! (using feet is an added luxury)

It used to be in the Northumberland guide, but I believe it has now migrated to the North East England guide -- check the database for further details.

Climbed my first VS, HVS and E1 there, although all were graded northumberland VS at the time.
 Simon Caldwell 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:
Wainstones is a good one, although it's quite a long walk, this is along the Cleveland Way and is a well constructed track.
Or how about Peel Crag/Crag Lough? Less than an hour from Durham I'd have thought, and lots to go at in the lower grades - a few bird restrictions at the moment but plenty left without.
 jamiemoss 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

Scugdale is the obvious choice in terms of climbing - tonnes of great, slabby easy stuff. But the walk-in is a bit of a hike - not long (10 mins), but well steep.

Goldsborough has a much easier walk-in, but the easier stuff there is just not the same quality as Scugdale's easier stuff.

Causey quarry is a bit steep, a little dirty and off-putting. Not recommended for an easy day. Wainstones is excellent but has a longish and steep walk-in. Slipstones is superb, but does not offer much good easier stuff.

So i reccommend scugdale. Once you get there you will love it.

All the above are less than 1hrs drive from Durham.
Nick Mackee 04 Jun 2004
Could anyone let me know the best guidebooks for the above climbs (and Durham in general)? I saw the reference to the Northumberland and North-East ones - are both available? Who publishes them?

I heard that there was a new edition of the Northumberland guide coming out, does anyone know if this is true?

Thanks.
 Simon Caldwell 04 Jun 2004
Anonymous 04 Jun 2004
Kepier crag in the woods by the wear just by te junction with the A1 has some easy stuff, i've heard, though i've never been. and now i'm leaving after four years, and probably never will. unless i get off my backside tomorrow.
Anonymous 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Bokonon: nonsense, it rained most of the day if you recall, just not very heavily,
iskven 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Anonymous:
it was lovely weather because he wasn't in oxford
and got to climb outside for once

iskven
 JDal 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Nick Mackee:
> I heard that there was a new edition of the Northumberland guide coming out, does anyone know if this is true?

Back end September/Octoberish
 jamiemoss 04 Jun 2004
In reply to JDal:

The current northumberland guide is out of print (anyone seen any copies anywhere?). There's a bouldering guide to northumberland, which will at least get you to the crags, if not to any actual problems (its topos and descriptions are notoriously poor).
Nick Mackee 04 Jun 2004
Okay, thanks very much for all the replies.
 JDal 04 Jun 2004
In reply to jamiemoss:
> (In reply to JDal)
>
> The current northumberland guide is out of print (anyone seen any copies anywhere?). There's a bouldering guide to northumberland, which will at least get you to the crags, if not to any actual problems (its topos and descriptions are notoriously poor).
The online guide at http://www.thenmc.org.uk/pages/guide/index.htm will get you to all of the crags (Plus miniguides for some of the minor crags).

 Simon Caldwell 04 Jun 2004
In reply to JDal:
Nice site, never got round to visiting before.
There seems to be something wrong with the Walltown section though, the description says it's 18-20m high, but most of the routes in the guide are given as about 5m (one is sais to be 1m!)
And contrary to the colour coding, Queens Crag doesn't have an online guide.

 JDal 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Thanks for the feedback on Walltown, I'll put the route lengths in (I think I've got them!)

I've just got permission to put The Tipalt and Vindolanda QUarry routes in from Stew Wilson - they were in teh North of England Guide. Queens has just been promoted to a major (if not very high) crag in the forthcoming guide so I'm sort of banned from putting the routes in! Sorry.
Yrmenlaf 04 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

Thanks for all your advice.

I have the old North York Moors guide. I prefer softer toilet paper. The old (brown) North of England Guide, the old Northumberland guide and the New North East England Guide.

I had forgotton Causey. I guess it will be over brutal to our taste.

Crag Lough also. Which is sad, since the first time I went out with my (now) wife, we went climbing there.

I always found the easier climbs at Goldsborough a bit scrappy (the harder climbs, now, are good)

So, Slipstones, Scugdale or Wainstones it is. I have been to Slipstones already this year (the climbs at the far end seem very suitable), and have not been to Scugdale or Wainstones at all recently.

I will see how I feel when I get up.

Thanks again.

Y.
Joe W 07 Jun 2004
> Kepier crag in the woods by the wear just by te junction with the A1 has some easy stuff, i've heard, though i've never been. and now i'm leaving after four years, and probably never will. unless i get off my backside tomorrow.

Kepier crag sucks. There are about 3 boulder problems worth doing only, the climbs are all dirty and falling down. We did find a dress and a wig and loads of tranny porn in a cave though!!
 ericoides 07 Jun 2004
In reply to Yrmenlaf:

slightly off-thread but here's some thoughts re climbing very near to Durham.

if you don't really have great bouldering asperations, kepier crag can be great on a summer's evening - if you like getting sand in your eyes, there's a bigger cliff on the same side of the wear but closer to Durham which you can top rope. Equally, there is a much larger extent of sandstone on the other side of the river. from framwellgate bridge, drop down to the N side of the Wear, walk past the sewage works and along a track through some fields until you reach the river again. carry on for about 3 minutes through the wood and it's there. I top roped most of it, but it's pretty foul, sandy, and many blocks are hazardous. At least this was the case in the early 1990s. You can also try and climb the viaduct further along the river; it's fun to ab off the viaduct straight into the river.

There's another crag that equally sandy and somewhat like Causey, but nowhere near as good: it's due W of Langley Park (about 5 miles?) and is above the river browney. There's a viaduct nearby I think too . . . my memory is pretty shaky re it though. There's a cave with overhangs etc, lots of graffiti and detritus. Anyone else been there?

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