Climbs 317
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 267m a.s.l
Faces SW

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"Pensioner's at play" he said © Josh Willett

Crag features

Birchen remains one of the most popular venues in the Peak due to its friendly atmosphere and good collection of low-grade routes. The place has always been a favourite with groups and this long-standing popularity has led to the wearing of many of the already rounded holds. Quite a number of the routes have slippery and awkward starts but get yourself going and things often ease rapidly with height. Summer weekends can be extremely busy, but if you leave the main section and head rightwards to the more secluded buttresses, you will probably find a bit of solitude.

The majority of routes at Birchen have names of a nautical nature linked to the monument on the cliff top, erected to celebrate Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar back in 1805.

Approach notes

Birchen runs along the crest of the moor 3km east of Baslow Village. The usual approach is from the National Trust car park by the Robin Hood Inn, though on busy days the field across the road is also available. Walk up the road to a stile on the left and a sandy track that leads to the rocks in 10 mins. Keeping left at the only fork leads straight to the main section of cliff, whereas heading right leads towards Kismet Buttress. It is possible to approach from the Gardom's parking spot.

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Guidebooks

Eastern Grit

Updated and expanded edition of the award-winning Peak Grit East. Covers all the best routes on the eastern Gritstone edges of the Peak District - Wharncliffe, Rivelin, Dovestone Tor, Bamford, Stanage, Burbage North, Higgar Tor, Burbage South, Millstone, Lawrencefield, Yarncliffe, Froggatt, Curbar, Baslow, Gardoms, Birchen, Chatsworth, Cratcliffe, Black Rocks
More info

Peak Bouldering

The Peak Bouldering Rockfax is a massive book covering a huge area including all the main bouldering venues of the Peak District. It includes many more low-grade problems than have ever been documented before including 17 circuits with problems at V0+ 5a and under, and a further 21 circuits with problems at V2 5c and below.
More info
Another heads up, uni taster sessions happening here 14th + 15th October.
edprince - 11/Oct/17
Just a heads up, my University society will be running our taster sessions here the weekend 1st + 2nd October. If there are any issues at all, feel free to get in touch at covunimountaineering@googlemail.com
edprince - 26/Sep/16
my favourite crag.
Stanners - 11/Sep/15
There is a pay car park and a field across the road. pick which you prefer. wet days I'd say the Ł4 will be worth it.
Lukem6 - 27/Oct/13
Surprised yesterday to have to pay for the Car Park. Ł2.50 up to 4 hours, Ł4 all day. Free to NT or RSPB members.
Dale Berry - 27/Oct/13
The is a problem on the back of the royal sovereign boulder that starts lying down under the overhang pulls through to a slot from slopers on the lip of the overhang and then on to the top with a tiny mono on the top. Does anyone no the name or grade? Thanks
ceturnock - 09/Sep/13
There's a large block halfway up Gun-cotton Groove (VD) on Kismet Buttress which is quite loose. Avoiding using this probably puts it up a grade. Perhaps no longer a "good beginners' climb".
Howard J - 04/Aug/10
Just a quick update... Took a youth group from my Church there this weekend and had a fantastic time. We climbed to the right of the monument, using "On Peak Rock" as a guide. First of all, there's about 500m of delicious rock to the right of the monument, which are not covered by the guidebook :( We camped at the Eric Byne memorial site by the Robin Hood Inn. It's run by the really old couple again, after being run by the Peak authority for a while. It's Ł2.50 pppn, with toilets and fresh water. They now have a bin area which is new since I was last there (2003). Still no campfires, but where can you these days :( Still a superb crag, unbeatable for groups, families, beginners and first-time outdoor lead climbers.
rich in wales - 20/Oct/07
Victory Vice the V Diff on the Kismet Buttress has got bats living in it just a warning!!!
David Hollyer - 30/May/06
I love this crag - Gives us VS climbers the chance for great low grade soloing. Lots of lovely classically grit moves on a small scale.
Reds - 08/Mar/04
Don\'t miss the great bouldering opportunities to be had on the three large boulders on top of the crag. Each boulder has its name carved into the rock and is named after the Flagships of Nelson\'s fleet at the battle of Trafalgar.
Michael Hunt - 20/Jan/02
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Climbs at this crag

Climb name Grade
  Far Left
2 Portside HS 4b 17
3 The Briny E1 5b 5
4 Starboardside HS 4b 18
  Bosun's Wall
6 Bosun's Nose S 4c 195
7 Bosun's Crack VD 340
8 Bosun's Wall HVD 4a 273
  Poop Deck
10 The Gangplank M * 1030
11 Poop Crack VD 4a 148
12 Handy Crack D 776
13 Handy Wall V0- * 61
14 Visitors Only HS 4a * 590
15 Visitors Wall V1 31
16 All Aboard D 569
17 Saltheart Foamfollower HVS 5c * 105
18 Howships Lacunae f6C * 33
19 PDCLW f5 * 5
20 Poop Deck Crack S 4a 420
21 The Pirate E2 6b 4
22 The Pirate Start f6B * 1
23 Master and Commander V5 * 1
  Emma's Slab
25 Disabled Seaman f6A+ * 66
26 Cabin Boy f7A ** 115
27 Cabin Boy Variation f6C * 38
28 The Cabin f6A+ ** 98
29 Log f5+ * 59
30 Sling Your Hammock f5 ** 33
31 Dan's ArĂȘte f6C * 43
32 Crow's Feet f5+ * 18
33 Land Ho! HS 4c * 213
34 The Crow's Nest VS 4c ** 1144
35 Scrim Net f6A ** 165
36 Lookout ArĂȘte S 4a * 290
37 The Funnel D * 649
38 Kiss Me Hardy HVD 4a * 722
39 The Dancer E1 5c 17
40 Kiss Me Arse Stand-start
-
f6A * 72
41 Kiss Me Arse f6C ** 94
42 Monocled Mono f6C * 30
43 Kiss Me Softy f6B ** 64
44 Victory Crack HS 4b * 894
45 Victory Gully S 4a * 383
46 Emma's Slab VS 4b * 719
47 Roger the Cabin Boy f6C ** 14
48 Technical Genius f7A ** 52
49 Technical Genius Sit-start
-
f7A+ ** 9
50 Technical Genius ArĂȘte V4 * 19
51 The Lash V10 1
52 Emma's Dilemma S 4a * 1686
53 Emma Royd VS 4c * 463
54 Emma's Temptation HVD 4c * 1497
55 Emma's Delight HS 4b * 951
56 Deluded VS 4c * 326
57 Emma's Delusion S 4a * 612
58 The Prow VS 4c * 900
59 Artificial VD 110
60 Oak Gully M 77
61 Oak Tower
-
VD 63
62 Heather Corner
-
D 42
63 Heather Corner Slab M 42
  Nelson's Slab
65 The Rigging
-
D 59
66 The Bunk Ladder S 4a 62
67 Captain's Prerogative HS 4b * 1020
68 Captain's Bunk HS 4b * 915
69 Telescope Tunnel M ** 627
70 Captain's Crawl
-
M 191
71 Porthole Buttress S 4a * 389
72 Porthole Direct VS 4c ** 1488
73 Victor Hugo E4 6b * 1
74 Captain Birdseye VS 4c 196
75 The Proprioceptive Octet none 26
76 Blind Eye S 4b * 316
77 Dead Eye HVS 6a 41
78 Iron Eye V7 3
79 Nelson's Slab Direct
-
V3 11
80 Nelson's Slab Direct Sit-start f7A 2
81 Nelson's Slab HS 5a * 858
82 Half Nelson VS 5a * 352
83 Left Ladder Chimney VD 239
84 Spliced S 4a 18
85 Right Ladder Chimney HVD 4a 184
  Sail Buttress
87 Midshipman / Plain Sailing E2 6a *** 97
88 Nor'-easter
-
HVS 5a 23
89 Cold Compass E2 6b * 2
90 Colder Compass V5  
91 The Kraken E6 6c *** 2
92 Sail Buttress HS 4b ** 2387
93 Roger the Cabin Boy VS 4c * 167
94 Scuttlebutt V6 1
95 Ratline HVS 5b ** 663
96 Amazing Grace E2 6a 4
97 Sail Chimney S 4a ** 1324
98 Topsail VS 4c ** 3132
99 Marie's Gone to Canada E1 5c 4
100 Spinnaker VS 5a 28
101 Monument Chimney Crack VD * 582
102 Monument Chimney D * 803
103 Pillar Wall S 4a 189
104 The Bow S 4a * 366
105 Bugger V1 19
106 Orpheus Wall HVS 5c ** 640
107 Underworld V2 23
108 Peaches E4 6b *** 36
109 Peaches Start V3 6a 21
110 Cream V5 8
111 Pixie V1 7
112 Pixie Sit-start V5 3
113 Orgasmic Variations in a Broom Cupboard
-
E1 5c  
Climb name Grade
114 Nelens
-
E1 5b 1
115 Monument Gully VD * 338
116 Book Sniffer E6 6b 1
117 Monument Gully Buttress HVS 5b * 437
118 The Keel HVS 5b * 188
119 Naughty Nauticals E2 6b 17
120 The Boom HVS 5a 2
  The Three Ships
  Victory
123 Orion f5 237
124 Neptune f4 * 262
125 The Victory Traverse f3 * 191
126 Euryalus f4 * 324
127 V for Victory f3+ * 428
128 Prow Left f4 * 413
129 Prow Right f4+ * 411
130 Prow Right Dyno
-
V4 * 34
131 Yarding Arms f6C  
132 Victor's Ledge f4 * 290
133 Defeatist V4 1
  Defiance
135 Finisterre f4 * 354
136 The Defiance Traverse f5+ ** 145
137 St. Vincent f4+ * 352
138 Calvi f4+ * 304
139 Aboukir f4 * 343
140 Tenerife f4 * 408
141 Tenerife Right-hand f4+ * 241
142 Kiss Me Easy f2+ 3
  Royal Soverin
144 Royal f3+ * 311
145 The Royal Soverin Traverse f5 * 101
146 Bilge f4 * 270
147 Buccaneer Left V0- 93
148 Buccaneer f4 * 200
149 Press Gang f5 * 142
150 Orlop f5 * 209
151 Mini Roof V2 * 36
152 Up the Bow * f4 5
153 Eohippus * V6 1
154 Ahoy Captain * f6A+ 1
  The Promenade
156 The Long Promenade VS 4b ** 56
157 Cutting Corners S 4a 30
158 The Promenade D ** 1437
159 The Promenade Direct HVD 4a * 988
160 PromarĂȘte f6A ** 70
161 The Chain S 4a * 899
162 Megamix Left f7A+ *  
163 Gritstone Megamix f7A *** 38
164 HMS Daring f7B+ *** 9
165 Splendide Audax
-
V8+  
166 Thing on a Spring f7A ** 138
167 Mayday E2 6b 1
168 Anchor Traverse HS 4b * 255
169 Floating Anarchy HVS 5a 64
170 Hollybush Gully VD 4b * 438
171 Powder Monkey Parade S 4b ** 2004
172 Oarsman ArĂȘte f6B+ * 16
173 Traverse into Hornblower V6 1
174 Oarsman f6B+ ** 36
175 Oarsman Sit-start
-
V6 ** 1
176 'Oar 'Ouse f7A * 7
177 Hornblower f6C *** 123
178 Obstructive Pensioner f7A+ ** 12
179 Pensioner Right-hand
-
V7 *  
180 Jumpers for Trousers f7C+ ** 6
181 Eliminate Flake f4+ * 16
182 Hangover HVS 5b 88
183 Admiral's Progress D * 585
184 Polaris Exit D * 281
185 The Admiral's Head
-
D 19
186 Admiral's Flushed Head D 17
187 Spring on a Thing * f7A+ 1
  Trafalgar Wall
189 Bulbous Bow f5+ * 204
190 Hammock VS 5b * 239
191 Camperdown Crawl HS 4c ** 2257
192 Camperdown Crawl Right-hand f5+ 54
193 Barnacle Bulge HS 4c * 1215
194 Trafalgar Crack VD 4a * 3041
195 Trafalgar Wall S 4b ** 2748
196 The Defiance Variation
-
f5 14
197 Defiance Crack
-
VD 4a 26
  Stoker's Wall
199 Bell Bottom ArĂȘte S 4a 323
200 Sailor's Crack S 4b * 335
201 Sailor's Problem VD 773
202 Whatknot? S 4b * 413
203 Reef Knot S 4b * 788
204 Sheetbend S 4b 382
205 Nautical Crack VD * 1209
206 Heave Ho S 4a 393
207 Yo-Ho Crack VD * 1821
208 Rum Wall VD 900
209 Rum Break VD 132
210 Stoker's Break VD 994
211 Stoker's Hole HS 4a * 1156
212 Stoked S 4a * 1314
213 Stoker's Wall D * 1264
214 Stoker's Wall Traverse
-
VD 3c 46
215 Stoker's Wall Crack
-
M 2c 61
216 Stoker's Wall Flake V0- 41
217 Chasing the Dragon V9  
  Copenhagen Wall
219 Scandiwall S 4b 71
220 Copenhagen Corner Left-hand VD 34
221 Copenhagen Corner S 4b 496
222 Copenhagen Wall Traverse
-
V0 34
223 ScandiarĂȘte VS 5c * 435
224 Dane's Delight HS 5b * 739
225 Dane's Disgust HS 5b * 443
226 Carlsberg Export f6B 25
Climb name Grade
227 Mermaid f7C * 4
228 MP3 f7B ** 102
229 Copenhagen Wall VS 5a * 558
230 Wonderful Copenhagen VS 5a * 392
231 Mast Gully Ridge VD * 574
232 Mast Gully M 283
  The Fo'c'sle
234 Mast Gully Wall VD 4b 181
235 Mast Gully Crack HS 4b * 274
236 Mast Gully Buttress VS 5a * 248
237 Fo'c'sle Wall VS 4c * 461
238 Fo'c'sle Crack S 4b * 866
239 Fo'c'sle Chimney VD * 319
240 Fo'c'sle ArĂȘte VS 5b * 104
241 Fo'c'sle ArĂȘte Direct Start f5+ 5
242 Broadside f6A+ * 30
243 Lowside V5 * 7
244 The Brigand f7C+ ** 3
245 The Buccaneer f7A * 4
246 Cave Gully VD * 117
  Tar's Wall
248 Ta Very Much HS 4c 128
249 Tar's ArĂȘte VD 4a * 494
250 Ta Ta For Now HS 5a 330
251 Tar's Crack VD * 603
252 Tar's Teeter VS 4c * 15
253 Tar's Wall HVD 4b 737
254 Sodomy f6C ** 47
255 Tar's Traverse D 395
256 Tar's Climb M 277
257 Tar's Gully D 476
258 Pig Head S 4c 327
259 Pig Head Start f4+ * 17
260 Pigtail S 4a 377
261 Pigtail Start f4 ** 22
262 Wavedance f4+ * 141
263 Prow Wall M 302
264 Prow Wall Start f2+ * 14
265 Prow Gully M 55
266 Prow Gully Prow
-
HD 3a 30
  Barbette Buttress
268 Barbette ArĂȘte S 4b 42
269 Barbette Crack HS 4b * 281
270 Barbette Wall S 4a 183
271 Barbette Buttress S 4b * 473
272 Cannonball Crack S 3c 124
273 Cannonball Wall Direct Start
-
VS 5a 82
274 Cannonball Wall VD * 521
275 Gunner's Gangway D 364
276 Lieutenant's Ladder D 222
  Seasick Slab
278 Midge's Manoeuvre E2 6a 13
279 Middy's Manoeuvre HS 4c * 168
280 Midway E1 6b 44
281 Torpedo Tube HVD 4a * 266
282 Flataback E1 6a 21
283 Das Boot VS 5a 31
284 Gunner's Groove D 325
285 Seasick ArĂȘte Left-hand
-
V0 * 25
286 Seasick ArĂȘte f5 ** 514
287 Seasick Slab f3+ * 711
288 Seasick Steve f6A+ * 33
289 Sick as a Parrot
-
HD 4a 34
290 Men United f5 * 38
291 Isle of Men f5+ * 26
  Wooden Leg Wall
293 Three Sheets to the Wind
-
HVD 4b 20
294 Cabin Fever HVD 4a 97
295 Wooden Leg Wall - Left Corner D 3b 25
296 Spotted Dick
-
V3 3
297 Moby Dick S 4a 190
298 Old Codger VS 4c * 97
299 Bold Codger E2 6a 6
300 Wooden Leg Wall HVS 5c * 70
301 Owd Gadgee E2 6a 4
302 Young Gadfly
-
HS 4b 17
303 Wooden Leg Wall - Right Corner
-
HD 3c 29
304 Stoker's Crack S 4b 105
305 Fashionista V4 **  
306 Stoker's Saunter VD 134
307 Knick Knack E1 5b 44
308 Easy Corner M 52
309 Matelot's Meander S 4a 154
  Kismet Buttress
311 Yard Arm
-
V0- 36
312 Implosion HVS 5c 45
313 Explosion VS 5a * 214
314 Blast Hole Wall VS 5b * 152
315 Cor Limey! VD 34
316 Powder Keg S 4a 55
317 Refuse
-
V3 5
318 Fuse VS 5a * 295
319 Gun-Cotton Groove VD * 550
320 Cook's Rib E1 5c * 164
321 Horatio's Direct VS 4c * 198
322 Horatio's Horror HS 4a ** 587
323 Heavy Cruiser E1 6a  
324 Nelson's Nemesis VS 4b *** 956
325 Tom's ArĂȘte E5 6b 2
326 Victory Vice VD * 166
327 For Queen and Country HVS 4c 56
328 Device HVS 4c 167
329 Gunpowder Gully ArĂȘte S 3c 178
330 Gunpowder Gully D 130
331 Sea Dog Slab VD 163
332 Sea Dog Slab Direct
-
V0- 4b 10
333 Sea Dog Slab Indirect
-
V0- 5a 7
334 Sailor's Chute HVD 4a 74
335 They Think It's All Over
-
VS 4b 8
336 It Is Now
-
VD 3c 16
337 It Is Now Direct VD 4b 12
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

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