The present Climbers' Club Meirionnydd guide is now 11 years old and so we've started work on an update. Doug Kerr and I have taken on the project, ably assisted by a very good team of volunteers.
The Moelwynion section of Meirionnydd (2002) will be produced as a totally separate guide (co-ordinated by Terry Taylor and Paul Jenkinson) while all remaining areas of Meirionnydd will be covered, in the first instance, by a Mid Wales New Routes supplement.
Areas that will be covered in the supplement are: Rhiniogau, Arenig, Berwynion (now to include Pandy and Llanymynech), Cadair Idris, Yr Aran and, for the first time ever in any guidebook, Elenydd will also be included. Elenydd is the area between Pumlumon and the Brecon Beacons and there are literally hundreds of climbs in this region, some of which have, amazingly, escaped inclusion in any guidebook for over 60 years!
We therefore need people to give feedback on any route(s) they have done in Mid Wales and we're particularly keen to receive feedback on some of the less popular crags. We need comments on access, grades, descriptions, allocation of stars etc etc. Are access details correct? Are grades and stars correct? Which routes are affected by vegetation regrowth/ rockfall etc? What's the state of in-situ pegs etc? Any new (or old) routes missing from the UKC database/ Meirionnydd (2002) etc? Have you climbed new routes in any of the above areas? Anything at all really.
Please either contact me via this thread, or email me.
In reply to Dave Williams: Interesting about Elenydd. I was at Aberystwyth Uni with the climbing club there and we never saw/heard of any climbing that close. Always thought the nearest decent routes were at Cadair. Do you have any more info on Elenydd? Is it just lots of bouldering?
I'll to have a look at the OS later on.
cheers for the post! Might get back there sometime.
> (In reply to Hans) I remember reading an article in a 1961 magazine about climbing in Radnorshire. It was a bit of surprise...
Ah, yes, Radnorshire .... the land of 'climbs that time forgot' ....
In 1960, Edward Pyatt's book 'Where To Climb In The British Isles' was published and in it he wrote the following about Radnorshire: "Exploration during the last decade has raised Radnor to third among the Welsh counties." Unbelievably, one of the pioneers of Radnor climbing was Joss Lynam, the famous Irish mountaineer.
By 1960, Radnorshire was home to well over 50 routes, some of which were multipitch and up to 200 feet long. However, developments in North Wales by Brown, Banner etc totally overshadowed it and, in the absence of any guide, it was all quickly forgotten about.
It's amazing to think that these routes have escaped being in a guidebook for over 60 years. We aim to correct that injustice with the new guide. :¬)
In reply to Dave Williams:
i pass through some of radnorshire on a reasonably regular basis and have always wondered about some of the roadside (ish) crags you can see from the A470. I'd be happy to spend some time checking places out if you need people.
> (In reply to Dave Williams)
> Just a note to wish you and your team the best of luck with this fascinating project, Dave.
Thanks Neil. I sometimes wonder what we've let ourselves in for as the geographical area of the new supplement will be the biggest ever covered by any Climbers' Club guide. It'll include multi and single pitch trad on mountain crags, outcrops and coastal cliffs variously composed of igneous rock, limestone, sandstone, gritstone, quartzite, slate....
Oh, there's quite a lot of sport climbing and bouldering too.
> (In reply to Dave Williams)
> i pass through some of radnorshire on a reasonably regular basis and have always wondered about some of the roadside (ish) crags you can see from the A470. I'd be happy to spend some time checking places out if you need people.
Thanks for the very kind offer. We'll be in touch if we need more help. You may be interested to know that Martin Crocker's been busy on some of those outcrops visible from the A470.
> (In reply to Dave Williams) Interesting about Elenydd. I was at Aberystwyth Uni with the climbing club there and we never saw/heard of any climbing that close. Always thought the nearest decent routes were at Cadair. Do you have any more info on Elenydd? Is it just lots of bouldering?
> I'll to have a look at the OS later on.
> cheers for the post! Might get back there sometime.
Sorry to say, but you didn't look closely enough! ;¬)
Actually, there's a surprising amount of climbing in the Aberystwyth area. There's some bouldering, but this is in the minority. Since late 2011, well over 150 new routes have been climbed within 30-40 miles of Aber by local activists, as well as by Messrs Gibson and Crocker. Some of these are sport routes but most are trad - and on excellent rock too.
When the supplement comes out, I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised by the sheer variety - and quality - of climbing that Elenydd has to offer. Who knows, it might even tempt you back ....
In reply to Dave Williams: It's probably politically impossible but what about including some West Midlands crags like Pontesford Rocks that currently have no guide in publication. I'm sure it would boost sales.
Private Practise E3 5c ** (correct) - committing and steep and a bit bold, a good route.
Conwy Corner S *** (correct) - can't remember much.
Irish Rover Direct E2 5c ** (deserves stars) - correct grade, deserves a couple of stars as it's the obvious true line.
The best outcrop climbing in Wales?? Deserves a lot more attention.
Wilderness Grit E3 6a *** (correct) - brilliant indeed, safe but thin and dramatic finish.
Later That Night E3 5c *** (more than *) - as classic as WG, not as cruxy but better balanced, a fine climb.
Araf Nawr E3 5c * (maybe not **) - good climbing but marred by seriousness as they say.
Emilya E2 5c ** (not quite **) - great wee climb with a sketchy finish but not substantial enough for ***.
In An Ideal World E1 5b ** (easy for E2 but nice) - a fairly gentle climb, bold but not that hard, good.
Rock Steady E3 5c *** (correct) - bloody great, well worth it's *** and 2 photos in the book, great bit of rock, good technical crux, everything!
This One Too E1 5b * (not HVS 5b) - tricky route with some fiddly pro, but a good direct line up the wall.
Craig Y Merched:
The Gadgie E2 5b ** (correct) - fine at this grade, some bold moves but steady, nice line and nice climb.
The Haw Lantern E3 5c ** (missing peg so not E2) - I think this deserves it's upgrade, sketchy start and a tricky, substantial finish, good route albeit slighty disjointed.
Magic Mushroom E1 5b ** (correct) - can't remember much, but it was fine.
Very minor and unimpressive, no stars for anything.
Great Mambo Chicken F6b+ * (bolted) - can't remember much.
[x] Grips Of Wrath F6c+ ** (bolted) - desperately thin.
[x] Bolt From The Blue F6c * (bolted) - hard finish.
Bryn Eglwys Quarry:
Completely impossible to find, if it exists at all!
The current guidebook, although covering a wonderful variety of rock with plenty of evocative description, is fairly awful and archaic as far as a functional guide goes. It took me the better part of a year and countless toilet revisings, page stickers and pencil cross-referencings to make sense of it. The lack of linkage between adjacent maps / sub-maps and crag pages is particularly problematic, as is the distance between crag pages and topos / diagrams, and the generally outdated maps and approach details. I will be very much looking forward to a new guide to this exciting area!!
In reply to Fiend: 'Craig Y Hyrddod’ is quite a slog and was in poor condition in summer 2009.'
Very true, I was tempted by the photo in the guide and slogged up there last July and it was in terrible nick. I spent some time trying to clean the ‘Hurricane Wall’ and ‘Dearg Doom’ HVS’s on the left hand side but after an hour I realised I was getting nowhere and wasn’t equipped for the kind of cleaning needed. The start of ‘Dearg Doom’ was completely buried on moss, grass and earth, you needed a trowel and I had a nylon brush.
But I wandered over to ‘Slabby Buttress’ and ‘Pixie Wall’ didn’t really need cleaning at all. I think it faces west so it was in the sun and didn’t have anywhere near the run off that 'Craig Y Hyrddod’ has.
> (In reply to Dave Williams) It's probably politically impossible but what about including some West Midlands crags like Pontesford Rocks that currently have no guide in publication. I'm sure it would boost sales.
I'll mention it to Doug. As you'll be aware, he authored the last two West Midlands guides - but I think his final words on the subject were "never again!"
Seriously though, your proposal isn't a silly one but practically it just wouldn't work. We've got a huge task ahead of us and a large enough geographical area to cover as it is, as well as literally hundreds of new routes to check, errors re. grades/ access details to correct etc etc. However, this new supplement will contain definitive coverage of areas not that far from Pontesbury (but within Wales, or mainly within Wales) which have no definitive coverage in any current guidebook.
I agree with you about potential sales and a new West Midlands guide is definitely needed, but this supplement can't cover that ground as well. It'll need a separate guide in its own right. Sorry I can't be of more help.
Excellent stuff; just the type of comprehensive feedback we need. Thanks very much for your time in compiling these notes.
You'll be pleased to learn that the new supplement will hopefully be easier to use than the old guide, which was the last CC guide to be produced in a non-digital manner. Current CC guide design is much better and is continually evolving (for the better) too.
For others reading this thread, this is just the sort of valuable feedback we need so if you've climbed in Mid Wales and have an opinion - either good or bad - then please email me or reply via this thread. Many thanks.
Unfortunately, this is an all too common a problem, not just on Craig yr Hyrddod but elsewhere in the region too. We are very much aware of it and it has been (and will continue to be) a matter for much debate. It's basically down to a combination of difficult access, lack of traffic, changing styles of climbing etc etc, compounded by wetter and warmer weather which leads to more and more growth of greenery.
Sorry to hear you had a bit of a wasted day. I visited Craig yr Hyrddod in 2003 and had a good day as the routes were still quite clean then.
In reply to Dave Williams:
OK, although I have only done the popular trade-routes...
Jack of Diamonds VD *
Sweet Baby James HVS ** Very pleasant
Mud Slide Slim VS 4c 4b 4b *
Blubell Babylon VS - 4b 4b 4c *
Willow the Wisp VD **
Acheron HVS 4b 4c 4c 4b 5a 4b *** Outstanding route
Doom VS 4b 4c 4c **
Aardvark HVS 5a 5a***
Voie Suise E2 5a 5b *** (with the first pitch of Aardvark. This was becoming a little vegetated when I did it but removing stars from any of these routes would probably mean the best routes in Wales are destined for obscurity)
Moa Man E1 - 5b 4b - ***
Emporer's New Toes HVS 5a ** Very sustained. There was an abseil loop near the top which would have missed out the technical crux over the final block.
Gyllion HVS 5a 5a 4b ** Didn't bother with the E1 next to this as it was clearly a hoax at 3 stars...
Have done all the easy classics here. All were very well described in the old pink Tremoadog guide.
Good luck with the guide. One of my favourite areas, and one in which we never met or saw another climber.
Thanks a million Alan. Very, very useful info and not to worry that they're 'trade routes' - all feedback is very welcome and there will undoubtedly be quite a few changes to both stars and grades even amongst the more popular routes. Eg. Emperor's New Toes was given HVS 5a by the first ascentionist, but it was then downgraded to VS 4c by the time the 2002 guide was finalised. It's now generally accepted that it's at least HVS 5a, although there has been some debate as to whether E1 5a may be more appropriate. Ah, the joys of guidebook writing!
Pleased you very much like the area and as for seeing no other climbers, one of Martin Crocker's new routes in Elenydd is actually called "Sure Not To See A Soul". :¬)
In reply to Dave Williams: Not a wasted day at all. I was learning how to use my shunt and had a great day out in the mountains and didn't see another soul all day, until I got back to the car park that is. A couple clearly used this as their metting spot and were getting jiggy in one of the cars
It's just amazing how quickly nature can take over given the right conditions. I loved the rock on Pixie Wall and this showed me what Hyrddod (and the rest of Arenig) would be like be when it was clean and dry. As you pointed out last year started off warm and dry and then just got wetter and wetter but that trip has not dented my enthusiasm to return to Arenig.
The problem with crag condition is unavoidable....it's a pity as Hyrddod looks so good in the book (and I'm sure the underlying rock is excellent), but there's little that can be done in these N-ish facing less popular destinations.
Apart from perhaps a shiney new guide to show off and promote the crags even more ;).
In reply to Dave Williams:
I'll agree to the approach to Tap Y Gigfran being desperate. We bailed without getting any climbing done, just couldn't find a safe way to get onto the ramp with it being so wet!
> (In reply to Dave Williams)
> I'll agree to the approach to Tap Y Gigfran being desperate. We bailed without getting any climbing done, just couldn't find a safe way to get onto the ramp with it being so wet!
Thanks for this info. The new supplement will attempt to provide up-to-date info regarding access to cliffs/ routes, as well as descents.