There's a lot more to Peak grit than sweeping edges among barren moorland. Join Rob Greenwood in the softer surroundings of Cratcliffe and Robin Hood's Stride, for a bouldering circuit with something lovely for everyone.
Sadly its popularity & softer stone has led to much of the more accessible problems becoming badly eroded (climbing in the wet, not wiping feet etc). Maybe an additional comment to highlight the importance of looking after the place since it surely doesn't need advertising as a destination
I wrote this within the very first paragraph:
“As a result of its softness, care has to be taken, and signs of wear are already apparent, but if you tread lightly then this is a bouldering circuit to be cherished…”.
Within the video we were keen to be seen to be doing all the right things, such as cleaning/drying our shoes and brushing holds. We’ve produced best practise videos and articles before, which tackle the issue directly, but within this we wanted it to be a little more natural.
Thankyou. I somehow missed that so i do apologise. Its just very sad to see whats happened there particularly over the last few years.. the erosion, bad parking etc
Bear with and I’ll take another look at the article next week and see if there’s anything we can do to make the information more prominent. It’s a valid point that you’ve raised and one that’s similarly close to my heart, so anything we can do to raise further awareness is a good thing.
Great stuff Rob. Definitely not pissing on your article. Given the points mentioned it wouldn't feel out of place or finger waggy to put a bit of ethics & stewardship at the forefront in this case
Nice, well-written guide @rob.
Some unrequested feedback, all given with positive intent, take it or leave it as you see fit
I'd always thought Destination Guides were to encourage folks to less visited places.
As @jono.r23 said, RHS and Cratcliffe are showing a lot of wear and tear, which will be made worse by increased traffic.
If people are keen they'll always find their way there without a destination guide, it's in enough guidebooks.
An option could be to remove this guide and replace it with several destination guides, for say, Froggatt Woods, Gardoms, Baslow, and Stoney. That'd spread the numbers to places that aren't already so tired.
Yes Stoney is not tired, thats why you have been able to see your face in the bottom of some parts of it since the late 70's.
As for destination guides to Robin Hoods I think you've got this one wrong Rob.
> Some unrequested feedback, all given with positive intent, take it or leave it as you see fit
Thanks for the qualification, this is - by far - my favourite kind of feedback.
> I'd always thought Destination Guides were to encourage folks to less visited places.
That's never been the case. We've always tried to mix it up so that there's a blend of popular places and esoteric areas alike. Having had a quick scan through the various ones I've written over the years, I've covered some real 'a-list' venues, some off the b-c list, then some that barely make it into the alphabet.
Interestingly the harshest criticism I can recall being given was to a 'less visited place', where the individual - in between the expletives - suggested I had singlehandedly ruined the area (quite a claim). As such, what are we to do when we are inevitably going to piss at least one person off - stop writing them altogether, or continue (as we do currently) with a bit of a balance?
> An option could be to remove this guide and replace it with several destination guides, for say, Froggatt Woods, Gardoms, Baslow, and Stoney. That'd spread the numbers to places that aren't already so tired.
We all have our biases for where we'd like to be featured. Whilst I'd love to produce a destination guide for Froggatt Woods, this would be an undeniably specialist article, suitable for only a very small number of people. Baslow and Gardoms are obvioulsy a bit broader, but even then - neither are somewhere I'd recommend for an easy or accessible circuit, which was very much our focus for this series.
Presently we've got three more in the pipeline, with one being published each week throughout the rest of March, which include the Llanberis Pass, Carrock Fell and somewhere else (venue tbc). We've got plans to do a whole load more, particularly in/around the launch of the next edition of Peak Bouldering, as there's a whole load of new problems and areas within that which could do with a light shining on them.
That said, in doing so I can guarantee you we'll inevitably piss at least one person off!!
Gardoms doesn't strike me as somewhere that would benefit from more publicity.
Mark's Roof, Suavito, Kidneystone, Soft on the G, Bin Laden's etc already have groups underneath them all the time, including when clearly damp, and the car parking is usually full whenever the conditions are OK.
> Gardoms doesn't strike me as somewhere that would benefit from more publicity.
> Mark's Roof, Suavito, Kidneystone, Soft on the G, Bin Laden's etc already have groups of Londoners underneath them all the time, including when clearly damp, and the car parking is usually full whenever the conditions are OK.
Haha gardoms defo doesn’t need any more publicity. It’s rammed!
I always like the circuit on the curbar edge. Whilst there are 20 people queuing for strawberries, GW etc you can have a load of belter problems like thomas the tanked up engine to yourself (well, I’d take a spotter for this!). Finish at art of Japan then loop back down though the woods and do ultimate gritstone experience and walk straight past strawberries and back to the car. No queuing required.
Only problem is that it gets so windy. Defo a circuit for a settled day.
> I always like the circuit on the curbar edge. Whilst there are 20 people queuing for strawberries, GW etc you can have a load of belter problems like thomas the tanked up engine to yourself (well, I’d take a spotter for this!). Finish at art of Japan then loop back down though the woods and do ultimate gritstone experience and walk straight past strawberries and back to the car. No queuing required.
There's so many good problems along the edge. I only did Thomas the Tanked up Engine (f6A+) for the first time the other week and wondered why I'd not done it before. Other personal favourites include Sean's Arête (f7B), Fidget (E2 6b) and Trench Flakes (f6B+).
Another 'edge' that deserves more attention, but is destined never to get it because of the walking involved, are the Derwent Edges. There's a fantastic 'mountaineering circuit' to be had starting at Hurkling Stones, then stopping off at Coach and Horses, White Tor, Dovestones Tor, Back Tor and Howshaw Tor, before turning around. Best done on a warm-ish day, pre-spring if possible (to avoid the midge), and treated as a social outing. Loads of good problems across the grades, with arguably the best being in/around the 5-6s, although there's a few good 7s about too.
Seans arête is absolutely nails! I can’t even get off the floor
> Seans arête is absolutely nails! I can’t even get off the floor
It used to be my party piece, but the key word there is 'used'.
Suspect I'd have trouble repeating it in front of the camera, unless some seriously special effects were involved!!
Here's my 'well on the beaten track' Curbar circuit. A nice way to spend a lunch break. I should do an 'off the beaten track' version. Could be fun. Trench Flakes is one of my favourites, so that's a good starting point.
> Derwent Edges guide would be great on ukc!
This one is definitely coming, I promise - not least because I wrote 99% of it a few years ago, but never got around to finishing it. It'd be great to film it too, as it's such a stunning circuit (although I'm not sure Nick would thank me for suggesting this, as it'll be him hefting up the heavy camera!!).
Sounds like it might be a good hybrid bike/bouldering day out that does.
In retrospect some of my alternate suggestions weren't the best, they were supposed to be examples rather than requests
And I agree that it's a tricky balance of when to encourage traffic to a venue or not.
Speaking of Carrock Fell, I remember pleading with Greg Chapman not to publish his first guide to it as I enjoyed having the place pretty much to myself. I think he got that one correct. Aside from the obvious more people and litter, the place itself hasn't been affected too much, and we have lots more problems to go at. Plus it helps ease the traffic at the Bowderstone.
Heh, last time I went to Gardoms there were 13 people under Mark’s Roof. I scuttled off mumbling something middle aged.
Maybe I could interest Vertebrate in publishing ‘Mediocre Rock’. I’ve had some cracking days out in recent years at some oddball bouldering venues in the Peak, Yorks, Lancs.
> Why would that be George? I'd say it would be better left alone...
So if RHS/Cratcliffe are off limits because they're too popular, and the Derwent Edges are off limits because they're too obscure - where's within limits to write an article about?
I suspect the answer may be - only areas that aren't local to <insert own name here>
Nice film Rob and crew, I suppose it's always a fine line between showcasing some of the finest places in the Peak to climb which are ultimately becoming victims of their own success and also preseving their popularity and the environment.
I visited RHS when I was 14 and didn't go back there for many years as I didn't know the circuits and no doubt there will be many who have never been to this area, that the article will inform and perhaps they will plan a trip on the back of it.
It's a magical place, but sadly Cratcliffe & RHS are certainly looking rather worn and tired these days and the amount of chalk & donkey ticks at the moment on the boulders is pretty depressing. Did the starter holds on Dry Wit really need all that coverage of chalk?
There are some great esoteric places for bouldering in the Peak and it would be good to see UKC highlight and showcase these, to get people away from the honey pots and to see some traffic on the problems where the lichen returns through lack of traffic.
It's always easy telling people what to do though, so maybe I need to get my finger and keyboard out and knock something up...
Sorry, I missed this earlier in the week.
I suspect my answer to you would be similar to the one I gave further up the thread, which is that people always have a bias towards what they want, and for more experienced climbers that tends to be content covering more esoteric and unknown areas; however, as proved by the conversation ensued - even that can be quite contentious, with some people preferring to keep those places quiet too. As such, it feels a little like we're damned it we do, damned if we don't. I'm not sure what the answer is here, other than to maintain the balance, although what I would say is that we'd welcome any submissions from you - should you wish to write something (drop me a DM if it is of interest).
With regards to Dry Wit, that wasn't - you'll be glad to hear - our doing. I gave it a thorough brushing, but the issue you have when there's that much chalk is that whilst it's possible to remove most of what's built-up at the back of the hold, it's incredibly difficult to remove the general whiteness without getting it wet. I have emptied water bottles over problems previously in attempt to remove these stains, but given that we were there in the middle of the day - and there was a chance others would wish to try it - opted not to, just in case I inadvertently ruined someone's day!!
Within this series we wanted to be seen advocating best practise, so you shouldn't see a single tick mark or donkey line in sight, and we were proactive in being seen to clean/dry our feet, brush off tick-marks, and leave the place litter free and tidy. The issue when you make these things too instructional is that they tend to only get viewed by people such as ourselves, who need no further instruction - hence we opted for a more passive approach. That said, you'll notice we raise certain key issues throughout and within the one that's due to go live later today we go into quite a lot of detail about damp/wet rock when we approach a problem that's out of condition.
Hopefully that answers some of your concerns.