Hey all, I'm a Maltese climber working in the Medway area. Just moved here along with my sport climbing equipment hoping to find a climbing club or at least gym. No luck so far and I was wondering if anyone had any tips for climbers living in the Gillingham, Chatham or Rochester area?
Also if anyone has space in their climbing group, hit me up. Am willing to start off as the belay b****, really desperate to restart climbing here!
You can top rope solo chalk (avoid any that has flint bands as it is like a row of knives). There are some outcrops on the coast east of Margate, on that whole coast from Margate to Beachy Head even many leadable documented routes if you are clinically insane. Either hard chalk as a rock climb or soft chalk as "ice" climbing. Not sport climbing though.
Less insane, you have sandstone bouldering and top rope climbing to your west, Google "Southern Sandstone" to learn more. Again this isn't sport climbing but it can keep your climbing muscles working. If you think of Southern Sandstone not as something serious but as just a laugh, then you can have a really good laugh, enjoyable and definitely worthwhile but in it's own way!
Obviously in addition to the above non sport climbing you can always go into a bouldering wall/gym and have a chat with the people who work there, they can advise a local club. Enjoy!!
The BMC website lists all affiliated clubs and you can search by area or on a map. There appears to be a club in Maidstone http://www.maidstonemc.co.uk/
Do note that the cliffs round thanet (margate etc) are protected the last I hear so we should not be climbing on them. Elsewhere the coastguard like to be informed before you climb
There's not much outdoors close by but there are a few Indoor places for bouldering and indoor walls.
The climbing experience is a good bouldering centre which is in Maidstone City centre so easy to get to by car or train. It's about 20min drive depending on which bit of The Medway you live in.
The Reach in Woolwich is also pretty good for leading but is a bit more faff to get to. About 45 min drive depending on traffic.
There are other indoor places but I haven't felt the need to head to them 2bh. Lots in London, as well as Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.
I usually travel for outdoor climbing and make a weekend of it, there's a lot of climbing within 3 hours drive from the Medway.
I would definitely reach out and contact the MMC (Maidstone Mountaineering Club). Maidstone, Canterbury and Tunbridge wells all have good bouldering walls and are a good places to meet people as well as The Reach and Mile-End in London which all are easily done in an evening trip.
Southern Sandstone is a sensitive climbing area with hundreds of fantastic climbs, which are not 'just for a laugh' (often a quote used if someone has not developed the technique required to climb on it, like with all areas) and there is some pretty cutting edge climbs in the area also. It is top-roping so it is recommended you dedicate some specialist equipment and read all the info to avoid damage to the rock and your equipment.
As you are new to the area, I would suggest getting a hard copy of the Southern Sandstone Climbs Guide https://rockfax.com/climbing-guides/books/southern-sandstone-climbs/ as well as checking out the website www.southernsandstoneclimbs.co.uk
The code of practice can be found here.