Climbs 367
Rocktype Gritstone
Altitude 250m a.s.l
Faces NE

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Tim on Cow Udder (E1 5a) at Ilkley, Yorkshire © Jamie Moss

Crag features

Ilkley has been a popular destination for generations of climbers. Sitting proudly above the town of the same name, the crag almost seems to have adopted the character of a dour Yorkshire man - the Quarry can be dark, cold and oppressive, especially in high winds; the Cow and Calf are sturdy and uncompromising. As with Yorkshire men, be patient and tackle them on your terms and you could well be rewarded.

The most famous routes are on the Cow with Milky Way and The New Statesman being great testpieces of their eras. The Cow's smaller sidekick has some popular bouldering and micro-routes. Probably the least attractive of Ilkley's venues is the Quarry which manages to feel cold and desolate even on summer days. Bits of the Quarry have collapsed over the years and the council's removal of the rock above Wellington Crack has added to the general air of neglect. Despite this, there are some excellent climbs and a day spent here should be rewarded with a healthy set of ticks.

The crag faces northeast and doesn't get a great deal of sun, though the right-hand side wall of the quarry is the exception to this, hence its popularity.


CD = Cameron Duff

TC = Total Climbing

Approach notes

There is a large car park (tea waggon normally in-situ) opposite the Cow and Calf pub, a short walk from the entrance to the quarry, the big buttress of the Cow and the huge boulder of the Calf.

I love this place, its got it all. It is windy and cold and close to the car park and everything!
hop360 - 15/Jul/08
Been a few times, but today was great. Midweek, no crowds, warm weather, couple of other climbers, Walewska, Peg Crack, Blucher, Josephine Superdirect, Letterbox Crack all led. A great place for a quick fix of climbing.
Crofty - 24/Jun/08
Sorry what I meant to say,is it is the best crag in the world!.When you are bored with Ilkley you are bored with life!.
Huw - 05/Dec/05
Probably the best crag in the world.
Huw - 02/Nov/05
The bouldering on the back of the calf is very good in my opinion. Very enjoyable if you like climbing on crimps/ pinches/ undercuts on overhanging terrain. A bit of polish, but nothing compared to places like almscliffe... and the problems are mainly eliminates, so a guide is kinda useful. Lots of people walking around the place, but its nothing to cry about, most of them arent climbers and hence wont be top-roping anyway :). (Find something else to whine about :) )
Scott - 21/Aug/05
I'd rather have a few beginners on a crag than a whingeing twat with a made-up name like 'salamanda' !
matt - 24/Jun/05
Some excellent climbing spoiled by hordes of day trippers hence noise, and loads of top-roping beginner parties hence polish. The sight of hundreds of pairs of trainers scuppering helplessly across crucial small holds will make you cringe.
Salamanda - 25/Jul/04
Polished, but good climbing to be had
mick whiteoak - 31/May/04
If u want to get to grips with grit there are few better places than Ilkley. If ur doing ur first lead or E7 there is something there for u and one of the best walls of VS climbs anywhere. S Crack and Walewska are worth the trip alone - just hope u find somewhere to park when the weather is good
howard - 14/Mar/02
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