Climbs 309
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 300m a.s.l
Faces SW

"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

The usual approach is from the National Trust car park by the Robin Hood Inn. Walk up the road to a stile on the left and a sandy track that leads to the rocks in 10mins.

It is also possible to approach from the Gardom's parking spot.

Rockfax App

Available in the Rockfax App

The Rockfax App brings together all the Rockfax climbing information with UKC logbooks and presents it into a user-friendly package for use on Apple iOS devices (Android version to follow).


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.
D 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 173
7 Bosun's Crack VD 304
8 Bosun's Wall HVD 4a 247
  Poop Deck
10 The Gangplank M * 932
11 Poop Crack VD 4a 97
12 Handy Crack D 666
13 Handy Wall V0- * 45
14 Visitors Only HS 4a * 525
15 Visitors Wall V1 23
16 All Aboard D 505
17 Saltheart Foamfollower HVS 5c * 93
18 Howships Lacunae f6C * 16
19 PDCLW f5 * 3
20 Poop Deck Crack S 4a 373
21 The Pirate E2 6b 3
22 The Pirate Start f6B *  
23 Master and Commander V5 * 1
  Emma's Slab
25 Disabled Seaman f6A+ * 44
26 Cabin Boy f7A ** 83
27 Cabin Boy Variation f6C * 20
28 The Cabin f6A+ ** 82
29 Log f5+ * 47
30 Sling Your Hammock f5 ** 32
31 Dan's ArĂȘte f6C * 31
32 Crow's Feet f5+ * 15
33 Land Ho! HS 4c * 191
34 The Crow's Nest VS 4c ** 1024
35 Scrim Net f6A ** 150
36 Lookout ArĂȘte S 4a * 248
37 The Funnel D * 581
38 Kiss Me Hardy HVD 4a * 645
39 The Dancer E1 5c 16
40 Kiss Me Arse
-
f6A * 57
41 Kiss Me Arse (Sit-Start) f6C ** 61
42 Monocled Mono f6C * 22
43 Kiss Me Softy f6B ** 49
44 Victory Crack HS 4b * 772
45 Victory Gully S 4a * 335
46 Emma's Slab VS 4b * 621
47 Roger the Cabin Boy f6C ** 6
48 Technical Genius f7A ** 32
49 Technical Genius (Sit-Start)
-
f7A+ ** 8
50 Technical Genius ArĂȘte V4 * 17
51 Emma's Dilemma S 4a * 1478
52 Emma Royd VS 4c * 411
53 Emma's Temptation HVD 4c * 1295
54 Emma's Delight HS 4b * 836
55 Deluded VS 4c * 286
56 Emma's Delusion S 4a * 525
57 The Prow VS 4c * 805
58 Artificial VD 75
59 Oak Gully M 62
60 Oak Tower
-
VD 58
61 Heather Corner
-
D 39
62 Heather Corner Slab M 42
  Nelson's Slab
64 The Rigging
-
D 58
65 The Bunk Ladder S 4a 43
66 Captain's Prerogative HS 4b * 895
67 Captain's Bunk HS 4b * 819
68 Telescope Tunnel M ** 559
69 Captain's Crawl
-
M 155
70 Porthole Buttress S 4a * 345
71 Porthole Direct VS 4c ** 1283
72 Victor Hugo E4 6b * 1
73 Captain Birdseye VS 4c 175
74 Blind Eye S 4b * 265
75 The Proprioceptive Octet none 22
76 Admiral's Flushed Head D 10
77 Dead Eye HVS 6a 37
78 Iron Eye V7 3
79 Nelson's Slab Direct
-
V3 11
80 Nelson's Slab HS 5a * 745
81 Half Nelson VS 5a * 311
82 Left Ladder Chimney VD 202
83 Spliced S 4a 17
84 Right Ladder Chimney HVD 4a 151
  Sail Buttress
86 Midshipman / Plain Sailing E2 6a *** 103
87 Nor'-easter
-
HVS 5a 23
88 Cold Compass E2 6b * 1
89 The Kraken E6 6c *** 2
90 Sail Buttress HS 4b ** 2028
91 Roger the Cabin Boy VS 4c * 138
92 Ratline HVS 5b ** 596
93 Amazing Grace E2 6a 4
94 Sail Chimney S 4a ** 1179
95 Topsail VS 4c ** 2738
96 Marie's Gone to Canada E1 5c 3
97 Spinnaker VS 5a 26
98 Monument Chimney Crack VD * 484
99 Monument Chimney D * 720
  Orpheus Wall
101 Pillar Wall S 4a 173
102 The Bow S 4a * 285
103 Bugger V1 16
104 Orpheus Wall HVS 5c ** 589
105 Underworld V2 16
106 Peaches E4 6b *** 45
107 Peaches Start V3 6a 15
108 Cream V5 5
109 Pixie V1 5
110 Pixie (Sit-Start) V5 3
111 Orgasmic Variations in a Broom Cupboard
-
E1 5c  
112 Nelens
-
E1 5b 1
113 Monument Gully VD * 307
114 Book Sniffer E6 6b 1
115 Monument Gully Buttress HVS 5b * 369
116 The Keel HVS 5b * 154
117 Naughty Nauticals E2 6b 12
118 The Boom HVS 5a * 2
  The Three Ships
  Victory
121 Orion f5 175
122 Neptune f4 * 194
123 The Victory Traverse f3 * 126
124 Euryalus f4 * 250
125 V for Victory f3+ * 327
126 Prow Left f4 * 314
127 Prow Right f4+ * 304
128 Prow Right Dyno
-
V4 * 28
129 Victor's Ledge f4 * 195
  Defiance
131 Finisterre f4 * 262
132 The Defiance Traverse f5+ ** 92
133 St. Vincent f4+ * 267
134 Calvi f4+ * 224
135 Aboukir f4 * 252
136 Tenerife f4 * 310
137 Tenerife Right-Hand f4+ * 169
  Royal Soverin
139 Royal f3+ * 239
140 The Royal Soverin Traverse f5 * 70
141 Bilge f4 * 214
142 Buccaneer Left V0- 70
143 Buccaneer f4 * 154
144 Press Gang f5 * 101
145 Orlop f5 * 163
146 Mini Roof V2 * 31
  The Promenade
148 Cutting Corners S 4a 18
149 The Promenade D ** 1263
150 The Promenade Direct HVD 4a * 868
151 PromarĂȘte f6A ** 49
152 The Chain S 4a * 808
153 Megamix Left f7A+ *  
154 Gritstone Megamix f7A *** 23
155 HMS Daring f7B+ *** 3
156 Splendide Audax
-
V8+  
157 Thing on a Spring f7A ** 84
158 Hollybush Gully VD 4b * 379
159 Anchor Traverse HS 4b * 215
160 Floating Anarchy HVS 5a 54
161 Powder Monkey Parade S 4b ** 1752
162 Oarsman ArĂȘte f6B+ * 9
163 Oarsman f6B+ ** 21
164 Oarsman Sit-Start
-
V6 ** 1
165 'Oar 'Ouse f7A * 6
166 Hornblower f6C *** 102
167 Obstructive Pensioner f7A+ ** 6
168 Pensioner Right-Hand
-
V7 *  
169 Jumpers for Trousers f7C+ ** 7
170 Eliminate Flake f4+ * 6
171 Hangover HVS 5b 84
172 Admiral's Progress D * 517
173 Polaris Exit D * 250
174 The Admiral's Head
-
D 3b 17
  Trafalgar Wall
176 Bulbous Bow f5+ * 184
177 Hammock VS 5b * 204
178 Camperdown Crawl HS 4c ** 1969
179 Camperdown Crawl Right-Hand Variant VS 5c 50
180 Barnacle Bulge HS 4c * 1050
181 Trafalgar Crack VD 4a * 2602
182 Trafalgar Wall S 4b ** 2420
183 The Defiance Variation
-
V0 5b 13
184 Defiance Crack
-
VD 4a 26
185 The Long Promenade VS 4b ** 52
  Stoker's Wall
187 Bell Bottom ArĂȘte S 4a 297
188 Sailor's Crack S 4b * 293
189 Sailor's Problem VD 694
190 Whatknot? S 4b * 366
191 Reef Knot S 4b * 719
192 Sheetbend S 4b 336
193 Nautical Crack VD * 1088
194 Heave Ho S 4a 353
195 Yo-Ho Crack VD * 1567
196 Rum Wall VD 798
197 Rum Break VD 125
198 Stoker's Break VD 888
199 Stoker's Hole HS 4a * 1033
200 Stoked S 4a * 1149
201 Stoker's Wall D * 1105
202 Stoker's Wall Traverse
-
VD 3c 38
203 Stoker's Wall Crack
-
M 2c 46
204 Stoker's Wall Flake V0- 35
205 Chasing the Dragon V9 7a  
  Copenhagen Wall
207 Scandiwall S 4b 44
208 Copenhagen Corner Left-Hand Variant VD 30
209 Copenhagen Corner S 4b 445
210 Copenhagen Wall Traverse
-
S 4a 31
211 ScandiarĂȘte VS 5c * 383
212 Dane's Delight HS 5b * 659
213 Dane's Disgust HS 5b * 390
214 Carlsberg Export f6B 20
215 Mermaid f7C * 3
216 Copenhagen Wall VS 5a * 507
217 MP3 f7B ** 64
218 Wonderful Copenhagen VS 5a * 348
219 Mast Gully Ridge VD * 513
220 Mast Gully M 264
  The Fo'c'sle
222 Mast Gully Wall VD 4b 161
223 Mast Gully Crack HS 4b * 239
224 Mast Gully Buttress VS 5a * 227
225 Fo'c'sle Wall VS 4c * 409
226 Fo'c'sle Crack S 4b * 757
227 Fo'c'sle Chimney VD * 286
228 Fo'c'sle ArĂȘte VS 5b * 91
229 Fo'c'sle ArĂȘte Direct Start V1 4
230 Broadside f6A+ * 29
231 Lowside V5 * 6
232 The Brigand f7C+ ** 3
233 The Buccaneer f7A * 3
234 Cave Gully VD * 103
  Tar's Wall
236 Ta Very Much HS 4c 119
237 Tar's ArĂȘte VD 4a * 431
238 Ta Ta For Now HS 5a 301
239 Tar's Crack VD * 534
240 Tar's Teeter VS 4c * 14
241 Tar's Wall HVD 4b 685
242 Sodomy f6C ** 32
243 Tar's Traverse D 360
244 Tar's Climb M 226
245 Tar's Gully D 409
246 Pig Head S 4c 289
247 Pig Head Start f4+ * 6
248 Pigtail S 4a 336
249 Pigtail Start f4 ** 5
250 Wavedance f4+ * 132
251 Prow Wall M 264
252 Prow Wall Start f2+ * 5
253 Prow Gully M 43
254 Prow Gully Prow
-
HD 3a 27
  Barbette Buttress
256 Barbette ArĂȘte S 4b 37
257 Barbette Crack HS 4b * 254
258 Barbette Wall S 4a 168
259 Barbette Buttress S 4b * 431
260 Cannonball Crack S 3c 111
261 Cannonball Wall Direct Start
-
VS 5a 73
262 Cannonball Wall VD * 451
263 Gunner's Gangway D 324
264 Lieutenant's Ladder D 192
  Seasick Slab
266 Midge's Manoeuvre E2 6a 12
267 Middy's Manoeuvre HS 4c * 158
268 Midway E1 6b 40
269 Torpedo Tube HVD 4a * 256
270 Flataback E1 6a 19
271 Das Boot VS 5a 28
272 Gunner's Groove D 299
273 Seasick ArĂȘte Left-Hand Variation
-
V0 * 18
274 Seasick ArĂȘte f5 ** 463
275 Seasick Slab f3+ * 637
276 Seasick Steve f6A+ * 17
277 Sick as a Parrot
-
HD 4a 31
278 Men United f5 * 30
279 Isle of Men f5+ * 21
  Wooden Leg Wall
281 Three Sheets to the Wind
-
HVD 4b 18
282 Cabin Fever HVD 4a 94
283 Wooden Leg Wall - Left Corner D 3b 24
284 Spotted Dick
-
V3 3
285 Moby Dick S 4a 183
286 Old Codger VS 4c * 89
287 Bold Codger E2 6a 5
288 Wooden Leg Wall HVS 5c * 67
289 Owd Gadgee E2 6a 4
290 Young Gadfly
-
HS 4b 17
291 Wooden Leg Wall - Right Corner
-
HD 3c 25
292 Stoker's Crack S 4b 104
293 Stoker's Saunter VD 126
294 Knick Knack E1 5b 44
295 Easy Corner M 48
296 Matelot's Meander S 4a 147
  Kismet Buttress
298 Yard Arm
-
V0- 35
299 Implosion HVS 5c 43
300 Explosion VS 5a * 196
301 Blast Hole Wall VS 5b * 138
302 Cor Limey! VD 28
303 Powder Keg S 4a 48
304 Refuse
-
V3 5
305 Fuse VS 5a * 261
306 Gun-Cotton Groove VD * 490
307 Cook's Rib E1 5c * 146
308 Horatio's Direct VS 4c * 174
309 Horatio's Horror HS 4a ** 541
310 Heavy Cruiser E1 6a  
311 Nelson's Nemesis VS 4b *** 848
312 Tom's ArĂȘte E5 6b 1
313 Victory Vice VD * 153
314 For Queen and Country HVS 4c 52
315 Device HVS 4c 160
316 Gunpowder Gully ArĂȘte S 3c 165
317 Gunpowder Gully D 123
318 Sea Dog Slab VD 154
319 Sea Dog Slab Direct
-
V0- 4b 10
320 Sea Dog Slab Indirect
-
V0- 5a 7
321 Sailor's chute HVD 4a 71
322 They Think It's All Over
-
VS 4b 6
323 It Is Now
-
VD 3c 15
324 It Is Now Direct VD 4b 11
325 Nelson's Slab Direct Sit-start Plinth Eliminate * f7A 2
326 Colder Compass * V5  
327 Scuttlebutt * V6  
328 Traverse into Hornblower * V6 1
329 Anchor Management *
-
VE ** 1
330 Soverin Full Traverse * V4 6a ** 1
* Climbs listed in red are waiting to be checked by a crag moderator, and may not be accurate.

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