/ Family climbing near Hexham, Northumberland

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jhob - on 29 Mar 2019

We're going on holiday in April near Hexham in Northumberland.  We'd like to get a bit of climbing in and was wondering if there was much in the way of easy grade sport routes up that way, I'm thinking 4/5 sort of grade.  It'll be with my wife who is a novice climber and kids aged 7 & 8, one of whom is a very good climber and the other who takes a while to get his confidence up but enjoys steady routes.  Failing that, any worthwhile indoor venues?

TIA

Post edited at 22:02
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Andy Hardy on 29 Mar 2019
In reply to jhob:

You'll struggle to find sport climbing in Northumberland. Lots of places for bouldering and top roping (or leading 😉)

Indoor you're looking at Newcastle (several walls / bouldering centres) or even Carlisle

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full stottie on 30 Mar 2019
In reply to jhob:

There's no easy sport anywhere near the Hexham area.  The easier sandstone crags are more than an hour's drive - Berryhill is great for kids -  Berryhill  - and you can mix it with a day out as nearby there's the Heatherslaw Mill light railway and even Alnwick Castle - Harry Potter et al, on the way. BUT if you are not leading the routes please top-rope from the top of the crag unless you have a rope protector. Kyloe Out is another option, but again take care of the rock. Indoors there's Newcastle Climbing Centre or bouldering at The Valley (Climb Newcastle), and you can double that up with stuff in the City.

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jhob - on 30 Mar 2019

Thanks, I hadn't considered top-roping but that would definitely be an option.  Berryhill sounds like a goer, thanks for that suggestion.  Any other low-grade top-rope friendly crags near Hexham we should consider?

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Franco Cookson on 30 Mar 2019
In reply to jhob:

Peel Crag/ Crag Lough are much closer, some good routes, fab setting. Some belays are tricky, some not, beware of the odd loose rock.

Post edited at 22:13
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pass and peak - on 03 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

As mentioned Peal and Crag Lough are your closest bets and are Dolerite rather than the usual sandstone so not so dependent on a dry spell, (lethal if wet though) as others have said check for loose blocks. The NMC have an excellent online guide you can find here http://northumberlandclimbing.co.uk/ that should be of help

M

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tripehound - on 03 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Curtis crag near the Wanneys is just up the A68 from Hexham. There is a collection of short routes there from diff up to about E1. Decent rock and some bouldering options too.

A bit further up the A68 is East Woodburn. Several routes from  vdiff upwards. Lovely rock and it gets the sun as it faces SW. Nice position too.

Post edited at 14:30
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Simon Caldwell - on 03 Apr 2019
In reply to Franco Cookson:

and some of the easier routes at the right hand end of peel Crag seem to be used for top roping a fair bit - things like Route One (VD)

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Simon Caldwell - on 04 Apr 2019
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

obviously someone disagrees but doesn't want to say why

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Mel Turnbull on 04 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Hi Crag lough is fine for kids if a dry day ,some routes can be top roped if needed

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jhob - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  Will definitely need to top rope as a) I only have a (60m) sport rope and b) I've never led a trad route before and don't fancy starting that in a group where I'm the most experienced climber.

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teh_mark on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Crag Lough and Peel Crag will be good value for money, because you'll either get to experience a different type of rock that's not too prevalent in the UK - or if it's slightly damp you'll get to experience ice climbing without axes or crampons.

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jhob - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

haha!  I live in the Peaks so mainly climbing limestone and grit, although mostly limestone quarries as I'm more of a sport climber.

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Martin W on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to full stottie:

> Berryhill is great for kids and you can mix it with a day out as nearby there's the Heatherslaw Mill light railway

And the Hay Farm Heavy Horse centre: https://www.hayfarmheavies.co.uk/the-horses

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Rog Wilko on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Franco Cookson:

> Peel Crag/ Crag Lough are much closer, some good routes, fab setting. Some belays are tricky, some not, beware of the odd loose rock.

And I would add to that, if the OP isn't familiar with those crags, he'll find some of the biggest sandbags in the UK. I once had to aid a V Diff there. I'd also add that these crags face north and you need some decent air temperatures to enjoy the climbing there.

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hoolabloom - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Crag laugh and Peel are some of the least sandbagged climbing spots in the county. 

Youll find some nice routes but it may be cold at this time of year. Berry hill would be warmer but you'll need to set up carefully if you're top roping to avoid rock damage 

Have fun Northumberland has some great spots to climb 

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teh_mark on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Sandbags, or just different? I used to think the same about grit ('oh my God, who stole all the holds from my v. diff!?'), but then I realised it's just a different style of climbing and requires different skills from hauling on small positive holds on limestone.

Not trolling, genine question. I haven't been back to either crag since about 2010 when I'd just started climbing, but I can't help but wonder whether it's just a technique difference thing rather than routes genuinely being undergraded.

Post edited at 23:14
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Mel Turnbull on 13 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Hi its just a different type of climbing on c lough but ok after a few routes the Eastern end not climbed on as much as it needs to be

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jhob - on 13 Apr 2019
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> I'd also add that these crags face north and you need some decent air temperatures to enjoy the climbing there.

We're up here now and I'm thinking that climbing might be off the cards unfortunately as it's pretty chilly, looking at max 9 degrees and the forecast is pretty breezy too which with crag aspect is unlikely to make for fun climbing with kids in tow, which is a real shame.

Keeping fingers crossed the forecast changes!

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jhob - on 13 Apr 2019
In reply to jhob:

Also, just in case the weather does change to favour us, is it generally straight-forward enough to set up a belay/top rope on at Crag Lough/Peel?  Got a set of nuts and quite a few slings with us.

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