Jordan Buys reviews the new Lancashire Bouldering Guidebook by Robin Muller. For more info on Lancashire Bouldering see Robin's excellent UKC article here: Lancashire Bouldering.
I’ve been climbing in Lancashire for quite a few years now. When the weather has been kind to us we headed to the quarries, pretty much always with climbing gear and ropes. I can hardly remember ever just going bouldering, maybe the odd time to Brownstones or Longridge, but it always felt like just practice for the real thing.
My zeal for climbing in Lancashire has come and gone over the last few years, maybe because I’ve done the majority of really cool stuff and have not been looking from another perspective. I had heard of a few folk beavering away finding boulder problems in places I would never have looked and even places I had walked right past. I still didn’t believe there would be much of worth until I had the guidebook in my hand. How wrong I was.
336 pages full of well researched random venues really does leave you with a desire to go exploring. It is divided into 3 sections, Forest of Bowland, The Quarries and The East Lancashire Moors. Some of the venues are really worth travelling to and are well trodden as it were, but this guide at least documents the more mysterious boulder problems through good research and lays them all down in print for once. Some places are proper local venues, best not travelling far for, but this is great really too. I’ve had a few days visiting places quite close to home and been rewarded with a cracking couple of short sessions. There is something nice about having to not travel far for new and inspiring problems. Lancashire locals, this is well worth getting.
Robin has definitely shown some sort of obsession with this guide book, climbing so many new problems of all grades, however large or small. Flicking through, you really do come across a lot of easier grade climbs. Thinking about it, I can’t recall a guide ever having such a high percentage of easier good looking problems of every style.
He has used a nice format throughout, colour photo topos with clear markings where the problems go and clear written descriptions to match. The maps work okay despite being very basic. The only thing I would say is that with most folk using SAT NAV nowadays it would have been well worth Robin including the GPS reference for the parking at each of the venues. Also the mentioning of crag orientation would have been good to include in the crag description.
I enjoyed the interviews in the back, people like Hank Pasquill, Paul Robins and John Gaskins normally keep themselves to themselves so this was a nice touch.
I find the action photos inspiring and catch Lancashire in a good light. The only thing I did notice was not one photo (bar an advert) features a woman....
So all in all a good first guidebook from Robin, I know its prompted many people already to go out onto the wild moors where they would never have dreamed bouldering lay. I’ve had some great days using it and no doubt plenty more to come.
Where can I buy the guidebook?
The guidebook is available from lancashirebouldering.com, priced £25.
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