UKC

Climbs 72
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 10m a.s.l
Faces S

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Tudor Rose (E2 5b) at Guillemot Ledge © Mike Hutton

Crag features

Guillemot Ledge is a large and diverse area that is home to the highest section of cliff along the whole of the Swanage coastline. The big multi-pitch trad routes on the West Face are amongst the most challenging in the south, and almost all of them give tremendous climbing in wild and exposed situations. Across the two areas of the West and East Faces, there is a reasonable grade spread from HS to E6, but Guillemot Ledge should be recognised and treated as a serious cliff where experience of committing and difficult climbing is essential. The rock is usually sound, and the presence of a quarried top on the East Face will calm fears of potential loose finishes when topping-out. A number of the climbs in this area rely on fixed protection from pegs - these should be carefully inspected and backed-up where possible. 

Approach notes

Guillemot Ledge is approached from Langton Matravers. From just outside Swanage town, turn off the A351 towards Langton Matravers. Once in the village, go past the post office and turn left into Durnford Drove. The free car park is 300m down the road (on a track for the last 150m) just beyond Langton House. From the parking, walk south on a good path/track to Spyway Barn. Continue through two fields until the cliff-top path is reached. Turn left and follow the path to just past the next stone wall. Drop diagonally right, down a steep hillside, to reach another stone wall. Follow the valley bottom to reach a rickety stile in the fence.

Cross the stile to find the lower cliff-top quarry on the left. The main abseil and gearing-up ledge lies at the base of the deep gully on the right (looking out) of the stile. Steep rock steps lead down a gully to a small ledge. There is an abseil stake cemented into the ledge.

Access Advice

Seasonal Restrictions

Dates: 1 March to 31 July

Reason: Nesting Birds

Restrictions apply between the Dancing Ledge and Valkyrie Buttress Direct, and also east of The Razor's Edge.

Rockfax Digital

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Guidebooks

Dorset

The Dorset Rockfax covers the superb sport and trad climbing in Portland, Swanage and Lulworth on the Dorset coast. This amazing area is one of the most popular sport climbing areas in the country with a huge number of routes across the grades and great appeal to climbers of all abilities. Thousands of brilliant routes and a relatively friendly climate mean that the area is always busy with climbers.

The 2021 edition of the Dorset Rockfax is the biggest Rockfax to date with 2700 routes on over 600 pages. It is a complete update of previous guides and released in print and digital at the same time. All the crags have been re-photographed using aerial photography and a new set of detailed maps created to make finding and choosing your chosen route even easier than ever.

More info
More Guidebooks:
Swanage (2015)
South West Climbs - Volume 1 (2012)

Out of print:
Dorset (2012)
Dorset (2005)
Dorset (2000)
The National Trust car park isn't free any more. They've installed a pay machine (very recently, from the look of it). Prices for cars are reasonable but the longest period you can buy is 8 hours (for £4), possibly not enough for a long day. They charge extra for minibuses and vans, though. £14 for 8 hours. Fair enough for minibuses that might be carrying 15 people but pretty extortionate for a couple in a van! We went elsewhere (and good job we did because we weren't back inside eight hours anyway).
Luke90 - 27/Jul/17
The dead cow is now decomposing and cooking in the sun. Take a nose plug! you can now smell it from the top of the Ab. Rank!!
darren hudson - 15/Jul/13
There is a dead cow in the boulders below the lower abseil point (in the gully). Probably worth avoiding the area between Mistaken Identity and The Spook due to the smell.
Monkey_Alan - 12/Jul/13
Warning! Look out for the second pitch on smutti. The leader had just started on the second pitch of smutti last Sunday 03/07/2005, and had just reached the section where he was traversing right to make the ascension, when the rock quite literally gave way in his hand, leading to a 50ft fall which pulled out a (threaded through the rock)no. 5 nut and a cam, shattering the rock! This top pitch is treacherous!! Thankfully the leader survived with just a few nasty bruises and a fractured hand, BUT BEWARE.
Tim Kinloch - 05/Jul/05
warning !! Valhalla, HVS on Guillemot West (just left of popular Zo-Zo, VS), has suffered rockfall, which extends from the top down to the overlap. The "steep pull through the roof" on pitch 1 no longer exists. All of pitch 2 is changed and is loose. We survived the route, just, but big lumps of rock were pounding the ledge at the base. Hope we did not kill anyone!
charlifarli - 26/Jul/04
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Climbs at this crag

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