UKC

An exceptional day at Hoghton Quarry

New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
 TonyM 01 Aug 2011
A big thank you to all the folk who have been doing the recent crag clean up at Hoghton Quarry. A sterling job, and the immense volume of trees, moss and other vegetation removed is clear to see. This is a short report from a first-time visitor to the quarry to help publicise just what an exceptional venue it is and encourage a bit more traffic to help maintain the newly climbable state.

Before visiting I had some scepticism over whether the crag would live up to the rave reports of three of the best E2s on grit. If you no longer get many full days out (and away from family), it’s quite a gamble to leave the ‘banker’ venues in the Peak and head off towards Preston for what might transpire to be just a standard green, rattly Lancashire quarry. Was still a bit unsure on Saturday morning as we headed up the squelchy, over-grown quarry track. But then the first glimpse of the rock caught in the morning sunlight reveals a breath-taking expanse of quarried walls. For grit, the height is absolutely colossal. We were going to have a memorable day.
The true length of the route was apparent after warming up on The Wasp, the obvious corner crack on the right side of Hoghton’s biggest and widest wall. The route, the continuation pitch to the crag top, and a belay round a tree took most of our 50m ropes. Given HVS in the guidebooks, as a warm-up it felt nearer E1.

The big three E2s are Mandarin, Rhododendron Buttress and Boadicea. Not just three-star routes, but genuinely phenomenal lines that give unforgettable and contrasting 30m+ pitches. I’ve always loved repeating the E2 classics at Millstone or Lawrencefield - Regent Street, Billy Whizz, Knightsbridge, Suspense - but these were better – that’s a mark of how good they really are. I won’t give away any beta, other than to say I didn’t think any of them were particularly soft E2s. In comparing the routes, this is how our team summed them up: Mandarin – the most inspiring line; Boadicea – the most technical climbing; Rhododendron Buttress – the most enjoyable.

Other routes are getting cleaned up, so there are a range of other possibilities away from the classic trio. Will upload some photos later in the week. But to anyone considering a visit, I’d give a wholehearted thumbs up. Get on ‘em, while there’s still access.
 Hugh Cottam 01 Aug 2011
Hi Tony,

nice one for enthsusing about these routes. We had a similar day yesterday, where we both managed to lead the big 3 E2s in an afternoon. Each one of them would be a worthy contender for the best E2 on grit. To do 3 in a day is a class outing. Thanks to those who've put the effort in to clean stuff up and those at the BMC who've worked on improving the access.

cheers Hugh
 snoop6060 02 Aug 2011
In reply to TonyM:

Aye, the routes are v.good. Boadicea is defo a lot more technical than it looks from the ground, its much like knightsbrige, but considerably more climbing involved and harder imo.

Need more people down there as they need traffic, the cleaning has been awesome but its still a little sandy.

Get yourself there and take a toothbrush for them locks on Boadicea.
In reply to snoop6060:

As part of team TonyM just to confirm what's said above, really superb routes; doing the 3 E2's plus a couple of the HVS's gave a fantastic day out.

I was even more sceptical initially- the few photos I'd seen didn't do the place justice.

Agree with comment re knightsbridge- Bodicea felt a bit like doing knightsbridge and time for tea all in one pitch!


Its a shame that the access window is so short but get on them while its open and dry!
In reply to TonyM:

Mandarin is the best quarried E2 I've ever done
 Phil Kelly 02 Aug 2011
In reply to Bulls Crack:
> (In reply to TonyM)
>
> Mandarin is the best quarried E2 I've ever done

Have any new lines been climbed there this year? There's certainly scope for a few.

Phil
 Rich Kirby 02 Aug 2011
In reply to Phil Kelly:

Second all the positive comments about Hoghton Quarry. Its an amazing place and has 3 must do E2's. Think long sustained pitches, Millstone quality & U.S.A styli splitter cracks.

Plenty of brushes & 11mm rope under Bodicea so all can do their bit.
 Tom Green 03 Aug 2011
Not just the big three E2s that are clean either.

Tia Maria (HS/VS) clean, loose blocks removed, nice moves.

Route one (VS) clean and climbable. Seen at least three ascents getting a little less grubby at the top each time.

Creme de Menthe (VS) cleaned out, just needs a final brush.

Demdike (HVS) had quite a few ascents now, still a bit mossy, but the holds are clear. Great varied route.

Quite a few more lines that won't be too much work to get climbable.

Still 28 more days of climbing. Get on it!

OP TonyM 03 Aug 2011
In reply to Tom Green:
Yep, plenty of lovely long routes to climb. On the day we were there Demdike, Thespis/Lady, Every Face Tells A Story and Route One were all climbed. Goulash and Chattox also chalked/clean. (Of these only Route One is in the Rockfax select guide).

The full updated list of cleaned routes is in the .pdf accessible from the other UKC threads about the Hoghton Quarry clean-up.
 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 03 Aug 2011
In reply to TonyM:
>
> Yep, plenty of lovely long routes to climb. On the day we were there Demdike, Thespis/Lady, Every Face Tells A Story and Route One were all climbed. Goulash and Chattox also chalked/clean. (Of these only Route One is in the Rockfax select guide).
>

There was little point in putting in routes that were overgrown, I only included the place so it didn't fade from memory completely. Great to see it finally getting some of the attention it deserves, I have always maintained that the 'Big Three' are as good as any Grit routes in the UK, quarried or otherwise.


Chris
 lithos 03 Aug 2011
In reply to TonyM:

Hi Tony

am i being stoopid as i can find the pdf - i've searched the forums (using the search !)
- the bmc have a word document with state of play as of 20/7/11

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/Download.aspx?id=847
OP TonyM 03 Aug 2011
In reply to lithos:
Oops, not a pdf. That is the link to the document I was thinking of. I couldn't find it via theBMC's search engine! Even without the definitive brick of the Lancashire guidebook, knowing that it describes the routes in order from right to left would let you locate the routes.

In reply to Chris:
Totally agree with you on the logic behind inclusion in the Rockfax. No point including unclimbable lines. My comment was just to endorse the fact that there is now much more to go at in a visit than just the routes described there.
 liam 03 Aug 2011
In reply to Chris Craggs:

- 'I have always maintained that the 'Big Three' are as good as any Grit routes in the UK, quarried or otherwise'.

Surely then it would make sense to include these climbs in the 'selective' guide if you could see the quality of them?

In my opinion the Rockfax guides to Northern England perpetuate the culture of 'head straight for the 3* routes'. Which leads to good/popular routes becoming ruined by over-use and equally good but neglected routes falling further and further into disrepair.

Would it not make more sense to highlight the quality of these 'forgotten' routes and encourage people to go do them? Cos they wouldn't stay 'forgotten' for long...
In reply to liam:

The Big 3 E2's ARE in the Rockfax guide. I don't have a copy of the northern england guide so can't remember if it was just those that were listed. Think so. If the crag gets more attention, stays cleaner and the access improves then maybe any future editions could justify a few more routes put in.

Chris's point is fair though- why include climbs that are overgrown? And on the 'head for the 3* routes' - isn't that why people buy the selective guides? (which don't just have 3* routes in)

The point of the thread was to flag to people that the crag when cleaned and dry , isn't just good- its amazing, and it needs more traffic.
 Simon Caldwell 03 Aug 2011
In reply to liam:
> the Rockfax guides to Northern England perpetuate the culture of 'head straight for the 3* routes'.

You haven't seen the Northern England guide, have you?
 dti 03 Aug 2011
Nice to see someone mentioning some of the easier routes - is there anything else worth climbing at VS and below at Hoghton to warrant a drive over?
 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 03 Aug 2011
In reply to liam:
> (In reply to Chris Craggs)
>
> - 'I have always maintained that the 'Big Three' are as good as any Grit routes in the UK, quarried or otherwise'.
>
> Surely then it would make sense to include these climbs in the 'selective' guide if you could see the quality of them?
>
> In my opinion the Rockfax guides to Northern England perpetuate the culture of 'head straight for the 3* routes'. Which leads to good/popular routes becoming ruined by over-use and equally good but neglected routes falling further and further into disrepair.
>
> Would it not make more sense to highlight the quality of these 'forgotten' routes and encourage people to go do them? Cos they wouldn't stay 'forgotten' for long...


Hoghton is in Western Grit (that is correct geographical area - not Northern England). There are descriptions and photo-topos for Rhododendron Buttress, Cave Route, Rhododendron Arete, Mandarin, Route One, Boadicea and The Wasp.

Chris

 liam 03 Aug 2011
In reply to Chris Craggs:

I am sure you will agree that Hoghton is in the North of England. I may have been slightly misleading in my language, but I was referring to all guides to the North half of England...

My error if Hoghton is in fact in the Western Grit guide, fair do's!

I don't own that guide but there were just a few things in it (going off my mate's guide) that seemed odd. The Falkland Walls at Anglezarke aren't included (is this a one off printing error?), 'Spike' at Wilton 1 doesn't have any stars?! And the classic E5 of Cleansweep isn't included at all...
In reply to TonyM: Hi Everyone

Great to see so many people enjoying the crag - it vindicates the effort everyone has put in so far. I have been keeping the list of which routes have been cleaned/are climbable/are getting regular ascents that is on the BMC website.

Looks like a few people have been busy on other routes so I will get down in the next couple of days to do a stock-take and then update the list.

There's still plenty more good routes that could be cleaned and as noted, there's a stash of cleaning kit below Boadicea. If you do any work, and it would be good if we could all share a bit of the graft, please email me so I can keep on top of the list.

I started work on the bottom pitch of Golden Delicious E3** recently but only removed the worst grot and the gnarled old peg. Unfortunately I didn't have a long enough knife blade to replace it with so if anyone has such a peg with a blade of about 3 inches please let me know - or whack it in yourself, there is an obvious rockscar to show where it goes. Cleaning the rest of this pitch should be quite easy now and the top pitch has already had the treatment so this is one we could get running fairly quickly

Cheers

Colin Struthers
 liam 03 Aug 2011
In reply to colin struthers:

Nice one. Kudos to whoever put in what must have been a mammoth clean up effort in the recent weeks, and to anyone who cleans off the routes.

I regret that I only reaped the rewards of other peoples' hard work today, but will try and get stuck in before the end of the month.

Hopefully this will keep the ball rolling on to next year whereby a minimal clean up will be needed to set it up for the season and therefore increased traffic etc etc will return it to it rightful place as high on everyone's (not just local's) list of places to visit...
 Simon Caldwell 03 Aug 2011
In reply to liam:
earlier on you were complaining that they were concentrating purely on 3* routes, now you're complaining that they're missing them out!
In reply to liam:
> (In reply to colin struthers)
>

> Hopefully this will keep the ball rolling on to next year whereby a minimal clean up will be needed to set it up for the season and therefore increased traffic etc etc will return it to it rightful place as high on everyone's (not just local's) list of places to visit...

Correct. That is indeed the cunning plan. We'll also be tryting to negotiate a longer access period. That fact that lots of folks are now coming to the crag will help our case that it is an important venue.

 kevin stephens 03 Aug 2011
In reply to colin struthers:
Colin, I've got a 3 inch lost arrow you can have, (when I get my A55 guide)

Cheers

Kevin
 liam 03 Aug 2011
In reply to Toreador:

Now your just being pedantic, sounds like your Chris Craggs' sidekick...

All I'm trying to put across is that routes that were once 3* can become dirty and seen as less star-worthy. And when they become less star worthy they see less traffic and the downward spiral ensues.

Certain routes that are omitted from selected guides can get forgotten about and fall into disrepair. In my view people should be encouraged to go do routes that require a bit more attention in order to keep up their quality.
 Simon Caldwell 04 Aug 2011
In reply to liam:
> Certain routes that are omitted from selected guides can get forgotten about and fall into disrepair.

I agree with that. Which is why I applaud the recent Rockfax guidebooks with their inclusion of many 1 and even 0 star routes. Obviously they can't include everything, as they are selective guides.

Anyone know when the new Lancashire guidebook is due out? That'll provide the biggest boost to 'off the radar' crags and routes such as these.
 Lankyman 04 Aug 2011
> (In reply to liam)
>
> Anyone know when the new Lancashire guidebook is due out? That'll provide the biggest boost to 'off the radar' crags and routes such as these.

In reply to Toreador: I was talking to Les Ainsworth earlier this week regarding the loose rock danger in Trowbarrow and asked him about this. There seems to be a logjam with another BMC guide. It may be early next year (possibly - ish)?
Les Ainsworth 04 Aug 2011
In reply to Toreador:
I am afraid that the definitive Lancs guidebook has been massively delayed due to the previous guideworkers being completely brassed off by Rockfax creaming off their work, creating 'honey pot' routes and crags by ignoring a lot of good climbing and often describing the climbs incorrectly - A pity that no-one ever checks the routes. Anyway, it looks like the next definitive Lancs guide will be out some time in 2012. Meanwhile, I would encourage Lancs climbers to visit Hoghton and have a climb and a clean until the end of August. Thanks to all of you who have contributed - A great effort.

Incidentally, with respect to Chris Craggs comment, I can't see how omitting good routes that are currently overgrown does anything towards getting these routes restored to their previous glory. But then, if guidebooks are meant as cash machines for publishers unwilling to bother climbing the routes they describe, what else can you expect? All I can say is that it is good that some climbers still put conservation of our climbing heritage above profit.


In reply to Les Ainsworth:
Wonderful Les. Most elegantly put.

I was up at Hoghton ealier in the week and just could not believe the amount of (unpaid) work that people have put in. Having discovered the cleaning gear handily left I will return before the end of the month to put a few hours in.

On a more practical point, we left a screw gate at the top of Rhododendron Buttress to back up the crab which we noticed does tend to open when weighted!
 Michael Ryan 04 Aug 2011
 Nik Jennings 04 Aug 2011
In reply to TonyM:
Does anybody know what the current state of play with Poo is? Are the bolts still in it? Are they in good condition? Or have they/will they be replaced? Is there a policy in place about the bolts? Is it a sport route or a trad route? Is it clean?

I'd be keen to head over and have a look at some point but a bit of a heads up as to what it's like (and what equipment I'm likely to need) would be appreciated.
 liam 04 Aug 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

- 'Les ... god speed with the definitive guidebook, essential and wonderful work and much appreciated'.

Mick ... Slightly patronising.
 dti 04 Aug 2011
Am I being naive in thinking that Rockfax aren't that bad - they seem to provide a product that a lot of people want. Furthermore, I actually quite like the selective guides as they mean I don't have to buy several different guides - if I didn't live in Lancashire I wouldn't have bought Lancashire rock as a large amount of climbing in the guide/lancashire seems fairly rubbish to me... The select guides tend to point me towards good climbs in good venues. But I guess climbing is all about different tastes.

Anyway, all slightly off-topic. Thank you to everyone who has been tidying up at Hoghton and I can't wait to get out there next week.
 Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator  UKC Supporter 04 Aug 2011
In reply to dti:
> Am I being naive in thinking that Rockfax aren't that bad - they seem to provide a product that a lot of people want. Furthermore, I actually quite like the selective guides as they mean I don't have to buy several different guides - if I didn't live in Lancashire I wouldn't have bought Lancashire rock as a large amount of climbing in the guide/lancashire seems fairly rubbish to me... The select guides tend to point me towards good climbs in good venues. But I guess climbing is all about different tastes.
>

That's the plan, we always manage to upset someone though that is never the intention.


Chris
 Michael Ryan 04 Aug 2011
In reply to liam:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC)
>
> - 'Les ... god speed with the definitive guidebook, essential and wonderful work and much appreciated'.
>
> Mick ... Slightly patronising.


Not patronisiong at all.

Definitive guidebooks are the bedrock of our historical climbing record.
 liam 04 Aug 2011
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

Thanks for enlightening me.
 Simon Caldwell 05 Aug 2011
In reply to Les Ainsworth:
> I am afraid that the definitive Lancs guidebook has been massively delayed due to the previous guideworkers being completely brassed off by Rockfax creaming off their work, creating 'honey pot' routes and crags by ignoring a lot of good climbing and often describing the climbs incorrectly

Everyone's different of course.
Personally I've been inspired by the improvements introduced by Rockfax to try to help produce a new Yorkshire Grit guide that's even better, but I can understand others feeling differently.

Not sure about the 'honey pot' thing. It's certainly not the case in my local area, the Northern England guide has some utter rubbish included, especially for the Moors, while omitting some quality routes and even crags. Maybe it's different in Lancashire, I rarely get over there - but having seen the photos, will definitely try to get to Hoghton next year (can't make it during this year's open period). I may even bring some secateurs and help with some of the easier routes...
 Ann S 06 Aug 2011
In reply to TonyM:

Anyone interested in joining me as per link below?

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=469938

New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Loading Notifications...