Death Wish © Seymore Butt
The long line of vertical grey and blue streaked limestone on the southern side of the River Skirfare in Littondale are, for much of the year, patrolled only by Peregrine Falcons. Come late summer the magnificent crag starts to attract its other seasonal visitor in search of some of Yorkshireâs finest traditional limestone climbs. The climbing experience at Blue Scar compliments Yorkshire's near-by Big Three, offering, above all, a bit of peace and quiet when the hordes have descended on Malham and Gordale or the traffic noise is continuous on the road beneath Kilnsey. Although there are a few good sport routes here, it is the line-up of traditional pitches which attracts the majority of visitors. Much of the climbing is of a technical and sustained nature, on vertical ground and protected by good natural gear and a fair amount of pegs and threads but long run-outs will be encountered on many of the routes. Blue Scar is, for the most part, composed of excellent, compact vertical limestone; its only obvious weakness being two horizontal breaks that cut across the faces. The rock itself looks blank but has a profusion of small crimps, pockets, side-pulls, slopers and even the odd jug. Undoubtedly the showpiece of the crag is the Central Wall but the Left Wall also has some quality pitches at more amenable grades. The routes on the right-hand side are not as good but are still worth seeking out for sport climbers.
From now on permission will only be given to those who apply in writing in advance. The landowner has issued the following statement:
... 'With effect from the 1st July 2011 permissive access arrangements have changed and access is only with written permission obtained in advance. Proof of current BMC membership will be required. Application forms from firstname.lastname@example.org'....
The owner has agreed that once obtained, permission will last for a season.
Parking and other details will be included on an information sheet available with the application form.
The landowner states that his permission was always conditional on BMC membership (for insurance / liability reasons) but from now on proof of membership will be required. The new arrangements come about because of the problems caused last year by congestion around the farm by parked vehicles. New parking arrangements will be detailed in the information leaflet."
Blue Scar is easily reached from either Kilnsey (5 minutes extra drive) or over the top of Malham and through the village of Arncliffe. The parking for Blue Scar is situated near a farm about half way from Kilnsey to Arncliffe. PARKING SPACE IS LIMITED - take great care not to block any of the farm buildings entrances or the road itself. IF FARMER IS IN THE BUILDINGS THEN PERMISSION SHOULD BE SOUGHT TO USE THE FOLLOWING ACCESS. From the parking places walk to the east end of the farm buildings and go through the iron gate (cow shed) and then through the iron gate immediately on the left into a field. Cross the small stream and walk diagonally across the field towards a gate in the wire fence. Go through the gate and follow the fence line to a gap in the stone wall where the stream runs. Go through the gap, or one 50m to the left, to arrive at the base of the crag. This path is not a public right of way and the approach described is the only permitted access to and from the crag.
New access arrangements are currently under trial between the landowners and the BMC. Currently access can only be gained with written permission of the landowner, Patrick Walker via email@example.com'. Mr Walker owns the farm land and buildings below the left hand side of the cliff and the left wing of the crag. Other landowners own the various parcels of land below Central Wall and the Right Wing and the majority of the cliff face and are happy for climbing to continue but so far, the only agreed access route from the road is via Mr Walker's Land.
Dates: 1 February to 30 June
Reason: Nesting Birds
Peregrine habitually, and Raven occasionally, nest on this cliff and are generally more sensitive to disturbance here than at other sites such as Malham Cove.
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