Clinging to the farthest tip of Cornwall, West Penwith is a sparsely populated granite Peninsula standing up against the full might of the Atlantic Ocean. Its traditional celtic heritage, empty beaches and clear blue seas make this a popular holiday destination for most and that's before you even consider what it offers those vertically inclined!
Samuel Wainwright exposes this gem of a climbing area in all its glory. Grab yourself a Cornish Pasty and get in the mood for some perfect seaside climbing.
These articles are very... nice, and the pictures are lovely. But they read a bit like Guardian magazine introductions to cornish climbing - vague, obvious and a little bit bland... I reckon most on UKC will have heard of Bosi and know that there might be some surf in Cornwall. Bring back JCM's articles.
In reply to UKC Articles: I live down in Cornwall and have to say I meet a lot of climbers on their first visit, who haven't necessarily heard of Bosigran, Chair Ladder etc. As for Carn Barra, well comparatively, hardly anyone goes there really, despite it being possibly the best signal pitch venue in Cornwall. So I think these articles do serve a worthwhile purpose as well as being well written and accurate.
Chalk and cheese to JCM's excellent stuff.
> These articles are very... nice, and the pictures are lovely. But they read a bit like Guardian magazine introductions to cornish climbing - vague, obvious and a little bit bland... I reckon most on UKC will have heard of Bosi and know that there might be some surf in Cornwall. Bring back JCM's articles.
Exactly. Only really of interest to someone who'd never considered that there might be some decent climbing in West Cornwall... maybe that is the bulk of the UKC readership, I dunno (kind of hope not)?
I think a bit more on the character of the climbing would be helpful - Cornish granite can be f^cking brutal; I get my arse kicked every time I go down there...but once I'm on the crimpy delights of the Killas slate or greenstone I get a much easier time.
In reply to UKC Articles: Worth mentioning the Lizard which can be a good bad weather alternative as well as a different experience from West Penwith.
Oh! and parking at popular places such as Sennen is virtually impossible in high summer on anything like decent weather, and Land's End (Chair Ladder) can be expensive. Trick is to say that you are a member of the BMC which sometimes works or gets a reduction.
On average I find it slightly easier and friendlier compared to grit in my normal range below E1. Never had a problem parking at Sennen either (worst case had to wait 10 minutes once) and if you park on the top road you wont have to pay (follow a footpath down).
> How so? I seem to get on with it reasonably well compared with Dartmoor granite (much nastier stuff) - but then nearly all of my trad is on granite or sandstone (really not a fan of limestone!)...
I find the climbing astonishingly hard and awkward, and the grades really mean. I remember getting a shock on the top "5a" pitch of Thin Wall Special, expecting a juggy flake to pull through the roof but finding an awkward roof crack to jam instead; Kafoozalem is pretty desperate for E3 with some incredibly awkward moves, but Raven Wall is twice as bad - it's just absolutely horrible. I was climbing E3 regularly on all different kinds of rock when I was last there but I'd never have got up that one clean in a million years (although I knew that just by looking at it). Dream/Liberator is blatantly 6b (and E5?) - 6a leaders consistently fail. There are numerous other routes I've failed on at grades I'm normally consistent at.
The climbing (and grades, if they're separate?) at Carn Barra seemed much friendlier though. And Kenidjack and Gurnard's Head I find very reasonable - the rock's got holds to pull on!
> I find the climbing astonishingly hard and awkward, and the grades really mean.
So think what it's like for those of us without local gritstone on which to practise climbing without proper holds - not to mention being used to those soft Scottish grades I went to Cornwall for the first time ever in April and found the going very tough on the granite - even by granite standards it seemed decidedly awkward and gnarly. We had to go to the Lizard for some light relief and confidence restoring grades. It was all very good though! Unfortunately conditions prevented us getting on Gurnards.