/ looking for some easy reached climbing in UK

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karrlander - on 03 Oct 2017
Hello there,

I'm trying here to see if I can find an interesting objective for a quick visit to the UK. We're looking for somewhere we can, mainly but not only, practice our running belay and efficiency skills. The plan is to do Matterhorn next summer. If there's something in it that will scare our pants of we'll be happy for that bonus. We are short on both time and cash so I cheap flight to London and somewhere close to a train would be ideal. Been around Norway a couple of times but it would be nice to see something new. Norway is at least 7h by car for us (living close to Stockholm/Sweden) so travel time looks to be about the same. Our plan is to go mid november but everything might be of interest, if not now so for future planning. We (at least not I) do not push the higher grades but climb anything from rock, mixed to ice.

So, does anyone have any suggestions?

(moved this to a better forum, sorry for messing things up )
karrlander - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

But never mind our future objectives, the most important is the possibility to just grab our rack and some bivygear - take a flight to the UK - climb something funny and then fly back to Sweden in just 3-4 days.
Kirill - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:
Most important thing when planning a climbing trip in mid November in the UK is not to plan anything until you know the weather forecast.

If you fly to London and hire a car, the most reliable venue is Swanage, could be very good at that time of year if it's sunny and the wind is from the North. Around 3.5 hours drive from London.
Post edited at 14:10
karrlander - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to Kirill:

Thanks! I have a look at Swanage. I know about the weather, it's no different from here but we normally just adapt and do some goretex aid climbing if the weather is bad. It's not an adventure if everything goes as planned!
nniff - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Not that easy via London and a train - London being not exactly convenient for climbing. If you do fly to London, Luton airport might be best as it is the right side of London, but trains from there to anywhere worthwhile go via London, so not much help either.

Most straightforward would be fly to Heathrow and get a train from London Paddington to Bristol and the Avon Gorge, but it's a big urban crag rather than mountain. Or Chepstow and Wintours Leap

Swanage is accessible by train as above.

Frankly though, if there's two of you for four days, you'd be better off hiring the smallest car you can because the train will cost as much. THere you can go where you want, rather than where the train will let you.

Very rough timings by car:
Gatwick to Wintours Leap - 2.5 hours if outside rush hour(s).
Gatwick to Wales 4-5 hours
Gatwick to Cornwall - 5 hours
Gatrwick to Pembroke - 5 hours
Gatwick to Peak District 3.5 hours
Gatwick to The Lake District - 5 hours

For Heathrow, about an 45-60 minutes less to all of these. From Luton the same for all those to the West and 1.5 hours less for those to the north.
The M25 between 0630 and 0930 and from 1600 to 1930 is usually crawling, so add an hour to these timings if you're travelling then.

Train tickets bought on the day are a lot more expensive than those bought in advance.
The weather in November is you biggest enemy, especially on long routes to practice efficiency etc.

Cheap Flights to Manchester, Birmingham or Bristol?

GrahamD - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

If its mountain areas you want, do you have any other flight options, such as Manchester ? That is a lot better placed for N.Wales and the Lake District.
Route Adjuster on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

Or even fly direct into Glasgow airport, hire a car then get to Glencoe in a couple of hours, Cairngorms in 2-3 hours or even Skye in 5 hours.
karrlander - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Thanks for all tips! I've tried to find a better flight options but for Glasgow for example you have to fly via Poland or other obscure places and it take between 14 and 28 hours. So London it is I guess. Renting a car sounds lika a good idea but it scares me more than long runouts in the rain. In your part of the world you are still driving on the wrong side of the road if you haven't noticed. Sorry, couldn't help that one.

Anyway, Lake Districts looks like it have really nice climbing for dry sunny days but also some nice scrambling as backup if it's raining. Is it the same in Peak District witch is closer? Sorry for all nooby questions. Only climbed once in the UK before and that was indoors.
Mike Stretford - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

> Thanks for all tips! I've tried to find a better flight options but for Glasgow for example you have to fly via Poland or other obscure places and it take between 14 and 28 hours. So London it is I guess.

There's definitely direct Manchester-Stockholm flights, I've been on one.

Ramblin dave - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

> Anyway, Lake Districts looks like it have really nice climbing for dry sunny days but also some nice scrambling as backup if it's raining. Is it the same in Peak District witch is closer?

Unfortunately not - the climbing in the Peak District is mostly single pitch cragging and bouldering, and while there is some scrambling to be found, it's not really the same class of thing as a proper mountain ridge in North Wales or the Lakes.
karrlander - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to Mike Stretford:

> There's definitely direct Manchester-Stockholm flights, I've been on one.

You are right! Just found the Manchester option. Glasgow and Edinburg was the one I couldn't find. Thanks!
wbo - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander: id fly to Manchester and go to somewhere like Stanage and climb a lot of routes. ITS very managable to organise and you'll get a lot done. If you've been doing mountain routes in Norway mountain crags in the UK won't be very special and getting ro somewhere like Pembroke takes too long

karrlander - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

This is a great help! It looks like Lake District is a good place to go where we can get something done no matter the weather. Flights goes directly to Manchester and are not to expensive so that will probably be the starting point.
The next question is: Where to go in Lake District? It doesn't have to be that big or have a lot of routes. The combination of a nice trad multipitch for a sunny day and an exposed scrambling if it rains would be perfect.
elliptic on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Langdale is the obvious place to aim for.

Easily accessed from the M6 or the railway from Manchester, lots of classic trad on south facing crags if you're lucky with the weather, and if not then Jack's Rake is do-able in any conditions.
Gordon Stainforth - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to elliptic:

> Langdale is the obvious place to aim for.

> Easily accessed from the M6 or the railway from Manchester, lots of classic trad on south facing crags if you're lucky with the weather, and if not then Jack's Rake is do-able in any conditions.

Agreed. Far more suitable for the OP's requirements than the Peak District.

deacondeacon - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

If you have specific dates that can't be changed go to our most southerly uk county, The Costa Blanca
Casa Alfredino - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

If you are going to Manchester then I'd say the other direction to look in is North Wales - the Lakesis great but routes are generally quite short (longer than the peak mind) and the density and spread of the routes is far better. There are routes there you can do which link into grand days out - for example Idwal Slabs, to Continuation Wall and on wards gives you about 400m of climbing. There's nothing like that in the lakes, as lovely as it is...
tmawer - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to Casa Alfredino:

Some good link ups to be had in langdale too, with a bit more walking, but for training for the matterhorn maybe that would be acceptable?
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 03 Oct 2017
Casa Alfredino - on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to tmawer:

They're certainly acceptable, just not as good IMO. Just in Ogwyn and Idwal there's a whole bunch of them so you can spend more time climbing. That said, you can also do some great link ups in the Wye Valley and Avon where again you'll have less travelling time, really easy access and the weather could be better than up north at that time of year...
davidbeynon on 03 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:
Driving on the "wrong" side of the road is something that you should be able to adapt to in a couple of hours. Having the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car acts as a constant reminder of which side of the road to be on. Trying to reach through the door to change gear takes a couple of days to get over in my experience.

Not sure I would want my first experience of driving on the left to be anywhere near Heathrow though.
Post edited at 20:23
nutme - on 03 Oct 2017

For training for Matterhorn you really want Lake District in England or Snowdonia in Wales. Both miserable in November. You can check statistics but from my mind it's like 15 rainy days a month.

South has a lot of good crags and cliffs. But it won't help to climb Matterhorn really.

I live in London and love mountain routes more that crags. But in Nov/Dec would go Costa Blanca or Majorca for mountain climbing. Normally it costs cheaper than Lakes as well. Trains and accomodation in UK is expensive.
Post edited at 21:16
karrlander - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Lot's of great advices here, thank you all! Looks like Langdale, Lake District is what we are going for if we get the chance. Guidebook recommended above is ordered. I know it is a good chance to get miserable and that's according to plan. The driving on the wrong side was mostly a joke and is easily fixed, I let my friend drive.
I have realized that with the cheap flights and a lot of "easy" accessed areas with my kind of climbing there will be more weekend trips to the UK in the future.
Violinist - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Surely Ben Nevis. Might even get some snow Big multipitch routes and masses of scrambling if it's a wee bit wet. I got a very cheap flight from Copenhagen to Edinburgh on Norwegian a while back - if you can get down there to fly easily enough could be worth while.
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

I think Snowdonia is a way better venue than the lakes in november. The climbing areas are closer together and more varied, its cheaper and the wetish weather options are much better (Slate, Tremadoc, Gogarth or indoors). An alternative plus for the Lakes in mid November is the Kendal Mountain Festival is on.
karrlander - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> I think Snowdonia is a way better venue than the lakes in november. The climbing areas are closer together and more varied, its cheaper and the wetish weather options are much better (Slate, Tremadoc, Gogarth or indoors). An alternative plus for the Lakes in mid November is the Kendal Mountain Festival is on.

Ok, for a first visit in nov, where do you suggest we go and how do we get there?

As I wrote earlier, there are so many tempting suggestions here that I better get into some kind of frequent flyer program!
GrahamD - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

> I think Snowdonia is a way better venue than the lakes in november. The climbing areas are closer together and more varied, its cheaper and the wetish weather options are much better (Slate, Tremadoc, Gogarth or indoors). An alternative plus for the Lakes in mid November is the Kendal Mountain Festival is on.

Climbing wise I'd agree with Snowdonia but not quite so accessible without a car
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Fly to UK (best to Manchester) train/bus to Bangor and bus/use lifts and partners on UKC/ hitch locally to the best places for the weather forecast. Lots of bivi places in Llanberis pass and Ogwen. Campsites all over. Barns (cheap and dry so useful in Nov) at some climbing areas, including Tremadoc and Ogwen.
Offwidth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to GrahamD:

You really think the Lakes is better without a car? Buses are better and quicker in Snowdonia and hitching is easier.
Gordon Stainforth - on 07 Oct 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

Isn't there an extremely regular bus to Langdale from Windermere?

The advantage of Langdale is that most of the best crags are south-facing, get a lot of sun and dry out very quickly. If it's bad in N Wales, it's Tremadoc, or Tremadoc, or Tremadoc ... (Gogarth etc too far without a car, and even then quite far). The Llanberis North crags don't seem to dry out nearly as fast as Langdale, in my experience. East Face of Tryfan, though, goes in all weather and dries out fast.

Snowdonia not quite such a nice place to stay if the weather is crap.
Offwidth - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:
The mountain crags in my experience are pretty much the same in drying speed in both areas but Snowdonia is much more impressive and compact. You are also forgetting Llanberis slate for quick drying rock. Gogarth is also very possible given the plentiful climber traffic in that direction if the mountains are in clag (using UKC Lifts and Partners). We used Snowdonia in November successfully for our first club trip for years and we always got out and did something. Yes Windermere to Langdale is OK on buses (change at Ambleside) but it leaves you with fewer options than being based near a main road. I fail to understand the delights of Langdale in crap weather other than the pubs being a bit nicer but again you forget that Snowdonia has the excellent bar and other facilities in Plas y Brenin that are better than any pub: highly recommended in dire weather as you can climb indoors and meet loads of others involved in local mountain sports.
Post edited at 11:40
beardy mike - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to nutme:
> South has a lot of good crags and cliffs. But it won't help to climb Matterhorn really.

I don't agree with this statement at all. If you know what you are looking for you can get huge milage in of the crags around Bristol - Wintours Leap, Avon and Cheddar by enchaining easy routes. You get a scramble down between the routes which adds to the training load. So for example at Avon I would look at something like this:

Morpheus Vdiff 66m Morpheus (HVD)
Sleepwalk S 63m Sleepwalk (S 4a)
Nightmare S 54m Nightmare (S 4a)
Idleburger Buttress Vdiff 15m Idleburger Buttress (VD)

198m at Seawalls

Jog down the road to main area and then do this:

Dawn walk s 52m Dawn Walk (S 4a)
into Bobs Climb Vdiff 42m Bob's Climb (VD)
Sinister HS 42m Sinister (HS 4b)
into Direct route S 25m Direct Route (S 4a)
The Arete Vdiff 40m The Arete (VD 4a)
into Original route 25m Original Route (D)
Central Gully HS 4a 60m Central Gully (HS 4a)
Easy Route Mod 60m Easy Route (M)

346m there giving you a 544m day up to HS with quite jogs down between the routes. You could be there in 2 hours from Heathrow... If you manage that lot you'll be fine on the Matterhorn!

You can do a very similar day at Wintours albeit a notch harder with more routes around the S mark.
Post edited at 12:04
GrahamD - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to Offwidth:

I think the train directly from Manchester airport makes the Lakes easier personally
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 08 Oct 2017
In reply to karrlander:

Not sure how we got onto public transport I thought you were renting a car?

Tha Lakes North Wales thing is hard to weigh up. I think probaly North Wales is better but on a first visit it is more marginal. There is some good scrambling in langdale (Jack's Rake) and low down easy routes (Middle Fell Butress). Ceratinly the book recomended is full of options not that I've done them all

I don't really a session on the slate helping here but there is slate in the Lakes and it isn't much of a walk from langdale let alone drive.
karrlander - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

> Not sure how we got onto public transport I thought you were renting a car?

My fault! I can rent a car but fear driving on the wrong side.


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