I would like to invite nominations the best routes in these islands, viewed through a particular lens.
You are hosting a well-travelled foreign climber who wants to sample the best that Britain and Ireland has to offer. This person can be of any ability, so the grade of route is not important, but they have climbed at a wide variety of the best destinations in the world, and they are hard to impress.
In other words, routes that you would recommend to anyone, without knowing their idiosyncrasies, and be confident they will like it.
Assume the season and conditions are appropriate.
Prophesy of Drowning
It's just the ultimate in adventure sea-cliff climbing, and I would think pretty unique to the UK. Setting, rock quality, climbing, positions, approach...it's everything UK climbing can be, turned up to 11.
Absolutely. You should have seen the big fat smile on my face for the entire duration of the route.
I think I did!
Other routes on the Islands are incredible too of course, but the fact that Prophesy is really immaculate (and dry!) is a big winner. Routes on Dun Mingulay certainly give it a run for its money, but the crag faces North and I like climbing dry rock in the sun.
> ...I like climbing dry rock in the sun.
Aren't you based in the Lakes?
> Aren't you based in the Lakes?
Fair point! But when the sun shines here for long enough, the rock eventually dries out, and what glorious rock it is. The best Lakes rhyolite is second only to Lewisian gneiss...but there isn't anything round here that meets the OP. The crags are simply not big and clean enough to be world class - they're magical and charming in an understated, British way. And often covered in grot/ a little bit fally-downy.
Old Man of Stoer for sea cliff climbing, atmosphere, adventure and oddity.
An Idwal link-up for mountaineering, charm, perfect rock and a chance to watch the crowds disappear as you continue.
Something at he Roaches to distill it all down to the quintessential experience.
(sorry Ireland, your still an unknown quantity to me...)
Has to be something on slate included, but which one?
The Quarryman is perhaps the obvious choice (from a punters perspective), any better ones?
Strawberries and with a real possibility of doing it On Sight.
Not the hardest on grit, but still the one that everyone would love to climb.
Rainbow Bridge - Berry Head
No doubt about it, one of the best experiences to be had anywhere, doing anything. Might as well do Moonraker while you’re at it.
> Has to be something on slate included, but which one?
There doesn't have to be, but if there is, the Rainbow.
Rainbow Bridge, yes. Moonraker, not so sure.
In the right weather, the shrike, axe or vember.
I was going to say don’t waste any time on grit but on second thoughts just include one route (any will do) just to demonstrate how insignificant it is compared to the best climbing across the British Isles
A selection at Fairhead eg Jolly Roger, Solango, Cornwall Dream Liberator, Rock Dancer, Mercury Direct, numerous at Pembroke Huntsmans Leap, Stackpole and Mother Carey’s, Cloggy: Axe, Shrike Geat Wall, Jelly Roll. At Gogarth Concrete Chimney (tell them it’s dowh so as not to disappoint them). Slate Desolation of Smaug and Poetry in Pink
ill leave others to recommend for Lakes and Scotland but include Centurion on Ben Nevis and loads on the Hebrides including Prophesy of Drowning and lots on Lewis sea cliffs
What would be good would be a nice big coffee table photo/essay book illustrating this, what Extreme Rock should have been
Now that's a good idea!
Re routes, maybe the Great Wall, Pinnacle Arete, Hand Traverse combination? A great way up the crag and the routes are drenched in history.
I think it's fair to have a few of the best grit routes, sure it's small but it's often very nicely formed and plenty of people are into it.
A few shouts for Cloggy routes, but I'm not so sure. It seems like a very British thing. I feel like some foreign visitors might wonder what the fuss is about, and why it's worth the longer walk than crags in the Pass.
Compared to mountain crags elsewhere in the world it's not very big. It's often a bit grubby and rattly and bold. There's an annoyingly loud train chugging nearby. Kind of playing devil's advocate here because I do like Cloggy a lot, I'm just not sure our hypothetical globetrotter is likely to 'get' it.
> Cornwall Dream Liberator
> Mercury Direct
Absolutely not. Wet loose terror - many visitors find gogarth a bit too weird and British - gowler is like gogarth on acid.
I thought it sublime; but then I’ve been conditioned by over 100 routes at Gogarth. I guess for a showcase for UK climbing we should give more regards to rock quality, hence on Cloggy Axe, Shrike and Jelly Roll (also helps to access ab for the other two) rather than the West Buttress routes. No one has mentioned Lundy; brilliant place but maybe few outstanding routes except Devils Slide?
> No one has mentioned Lundy; brilliant place but maybe few outstanding routes except Devils Slide?
A route on the Diamond maybe. I've only done a couple so can't say which is the best.
Everyone has gone for Summer climbing options so in that vein I'd probably venture Minus One Direct (E1 5b) as the best route I've ever done and surely a good route whatever metric you use? sticking on the Ben I'm sure many of the routes on the Carn Dearg Buttress would be worth a punt? Any takers for Shelterstone or Dubh Loch routes?
Are we including winter routes in this or just summer?
Rock only, winter is a big can of frozen worms and you shouldn't freeze cans.
The Ben should have at least a route in there, if only because it's the Ben. Is Minus One Direct good enough? Better than Centurion or Torro or Titan's Wall?
I did Centurion and Minus One Direct on consecutive days a few years ago. In my opinion, Minus One is faaaaaar better, it has an alpine feel like nothing else I've ever climbed in the UK with some truly mesmerising exposure. After pitch 3 the rock is immaculate and every pitch is incredible. I've never done Torro or Titan's wall though so can't comment on those. But Minus One definitely gets my vote!
I actually have expereince of bringing a group from the Munich DAV to North Wales for a week, and the spots that most impressed them were the Slate and Gogarth.
They also absolutely insisted on going to Tremadog to gaze upon the scene of Stefan Glowacz's onsight of Srtawberries, but I'd suggest thats reall only of historical interest and certainly not a must-visit for any other reason.
The beginnings of a list: https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/set.php?id=3494
"Marked as private by the author"?
I only dabbled with the Diamond, seconding a couple of the LH routes, but if Widespread is as good as it looked it must be one of the very best routes in the SW.
Oops, fixed now.
Widespread seems a little off-puttingly bold to me, compared to say Wild Heart which is safe and arguably just as good a line?
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