Created by an amassed army of volunteers it is truly a book by the people for the people, backed by the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club with its long tradition of creating the definitive resource for the area. This battleship full of knowledge has been slowly patrolling every single inch of rock in the region, guided at the helm by Robin Nicholson, Adi Gill, Andy McCue and Matt Troilett. The latter half of the team are Lancastrians proving what can be achieved when you give peace a chance.
The scene had already been set by the extremely well received Volume 1, which features the might of Almscliff, Brimham and Caley. The initial concept, masterminded by Robin, of how to divide the crags and areas between the two books sees Ilkley, Widdop, Rylstone and more in Volume 2 - the yin and yang has been restored.
With the world's eyes on the county due to it being 12th in the 2012 Olympic medal table and the host of the 2014 Grand Départ of the Tour de France it's an honour to now showcase its fabled rock with over 75 crags sharing 2,100 routes from moderate to E9 and 2,900 boulder problems from Font 1 to Font 8b. We have over 180 full-colour action photographs; hundreds of full-colour topos; over 30 illustrated access maps and stunning aerial photographs; 6 bouldering circuits featuring classics, unsung gems and unusual challenges; exclusive profiles of the climbers who shaped the Yorkshire Grit scene, from Ron Fawcett and Jerry Peel to John Dunne and Jordan Buys; full first ascent details, climbing history and graded lists.
Ilkley finds itself as the headline act due to its iconic buttresses and sprawling mass of mini craglets not to mention its significant presence in the climbing scene since pre-1900, although every chapter is capable of holding its own - Widdop, Crookrise, Earl Crag, Shipley Glen, Woodhouse Scar and Pen-y-ghent complete the journey.
The full-colour topos enable easy route finding, all backed up with descriptions that bring out the character and history of the climbs. There is extensive coverage of the bouldering at each venue with all but the least popular eliminate included. Some crags feature for the first time, others (perhaps only mentioned in passing in previous guidebooks) get the full treatment; Calderdale crags such as Scout and Dovestones, moorland gems well known and loved by the locals, are now shown in all their glory to tempt climbers from further afield to sample their delights. And Volume 2's loving arms have also welcomed the new orphans, Buckstones and Birchshow, which have been left un-adopted by neighbouring guidebooks in the past.
On those rained-off days during a trip when you find yourself thumbing through all the guidebooks in the nearest climbing shop with a cafe, your eyes are instantly drawn to the action photos within so it was imperative to go the extra mile and show the crags and routes at their best. Who better to have on the team than Mike Hutton, one of the country’s leading climbing photographers. As he did for Volume 1, Mike was on hand to capture the willing guinea pigs who jumped on route after route, sometimes getting a little out of their depth (or was that just me?). Pete Wilkinson also proves he’s equally as handy with a Nikon as well as a fingerboard and has showcased some excellent work supported by all the other individual submissions.
The profiles of climbers included in this volume offer a great insight into the development of the crags and the scene by the individual who shaped it whilst at the very top of their game. We only wish we had more space to include accounts from other household names within the pages of the book. Ron Fawcett and John Dunne are forever present and their achievements are well documented and although we have exclusive interviews with both in this book it was nice to delve into the world of the unassuming legend Jerry Peel, and I was fortunate enough to pen an interview with my friend and king of Baildon Bank Iain Edwards shortly before his untimely death.
It has been a privilege to be part of a team whose members have given their time and knowledge for free to create a book they can all be proud of and - though it slightly pains me to say it - it couldn’t have been done without a Lancashire influence, although I’m convinced that buried within the Calderdale chapter is some subliminal message about Wilton 1 being the best crag in the UK…
Climbing areas covered by this guidebook:
Chapter 1 – Ilkley: Cow & Calf Rocks, Rocky Valley, Windgate Nick, Swastika Stones.
Chapter 2 - Barden Moor: Crookrise, Rylstone, Eastby, Deer Gallows, Rolling Gate, Fairies Chest, Embsay, Halton Heights, Shelter Cliff, Crookstones.
Chapter 3 - Widdop & the Calderdale Crags: Widdop, Heptonstall, Gorple, Scout, Clattering Stones, Dovestones, Scout Hut, Blake Dean, Mytholm, Horsehold Scout, Hawk Stones, Bridestones, Robin Hood Rocks, Ogden Clough.
Chapter 4 - Earl Crag & Surrounding Area: Earl Crag, Hawkcliffe, The Hitching Stone, Farnhill Quarry, White Crag.
Chapter 5 - Shipley Glen & Baildon Bank: Shipley Glen, Baildon Bank, Gilstead, Eldwick. Chapter 6 - Woodhouse Scar & Kirklees Crags: Woodhouse Scar, West Vale, Holmfirth Edge, Honley Quarry, Buckstones Edge, Darby Delph.
Chapter 7: Pen-y-ghent, Sharphaw.
Minor climbing venues within each area are also described.
Volume 2 is now on sale at various locations and online.
The YMC would also like to offer their thanks to Mike Hutton, who supplied many of the superb images for the guide - you can see more of his work on his website www.mikehuttonphotography.com.
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