/ Durlston Head Routes - Swanage

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L K Stubbs 10 Feb 2020

There was a bit of natter recently (in geological timescale) about Tilly Whim caves and the ban.

My pal Mike Image and I climbed extensively in 1964 on these cliffs. We put put a few new routes immediately below the castle. Access was by climbing over the wall and abseiling initially and then a route to climb down was found (we called it Florence, after the rented boat we hired to recce from).

While doing the recce and trying to get onto the cliff from the boat we heard the sound of a ship's bridge telegraph (that's how close it was!). It was a navy destroyer monitoring the Cowes to Torquay power boat race. Presumably they said something fairly unflattering about those two twerps. Fair enough. Anyway over several visits we put up some decent routes which can be found in the Climbers Club guide book, "Dorset" published in 1969. The ban came into force soon after but not because of us. We were low profile. We slept in the caves regularly, indeed it was a second home that year.

The ban was to discourage "grockles" (lovely old word that dates folk) from scrambling and getting into trouble, especially children.

Under certain circumstances the owners of the castle granted access if one "crawled graciously" enough.

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oldie 10 Feb 2020
In reply to K Stubbs:

I posted similarly sometime ago about the ban.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/i.php?f=9      (Remove Tilly Whim ban, Swanage?)

It is obviously invaluable in the nesting season but it seems a main reason was to not encourage tourists, who frequent the clifftop path here to cross the wall, and be in a highly dangerous situation. I think it would be hard to get around the county park staff today. 

The caves were very convenient to reach after train/bus from London. I used to sling a hammock inside (access no longer officially permitted due to possibility of rockfall and presumably to discourage climbers and other tourists). I remember climbing Rendezvous Manque and Steeple (latter was a good line, not quite such good climbing..... one of your routes perhaps?). 

Post edited at 18:18
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oldie 11 Feb 2020
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