New Crag in Northumberland!

© Simon Litchfield
Libby Kerr sampling sandstone friction climbing. A E5 frightener reminiscent to the three star classic Guardian Angel at Howler  © Simon Litchfield
Libby Kerr sampling sandstone friction climbing. A E5 frightener reminiscent to the three star classic Guardian Angel at Howler
© Simon Litchfield

Somewhere over the rainbow. A brilliant E4 line spacewalking over the lip of the 7m overhang. ***  © Simon Litchfield
Somewhere over the rainbow. A brilliant E4 line spacewalking over the lip of the 7m overhang. ***
© Simon Litchfield
Simon Litchfield and team have been beavering away developing a 'new' crag in Northumberland. Here Simon gives us the full details:

Hands up!! No, I am not talking about the new Northumbrian habit of hunting armed gunmen hiding around your local stomping grounds, I mean, hands up how many of you in the middle of summer have decided to go to that popular south facing roadside crag, which is rapidly taking on the frictional properties of glass while fabulous north and west facing venues are dry?

How many of you just skip over the esoteric section in the back of the guidebook thinking crags with a handful of routes are not worth the walk? How many of you wish to do a new route so you can leave your indelible mark in climbing history? And how many of you dream about finding an unclimbed Crag X (that isn't a pile of choss ignored by generations of sane climbers)?

Back when I was a fresh faced first year student I remember being asked: 'if you did a first ascent, what would you call it'? I was stumped. Were first ascents not done in the seventies and eighties - when lycra was pink and bouldering mats were stolen from the back bedroom? Never did I think I would stumble upon a new route – let alone a new crag.

But with time and experience I realised that even on this small island the spirit of climbing and exploration which has existed for generations, still lives strong. It is just sometimes you have to go a bit further afield to be rewarded.

Lower Tosson – Northumberland's newest crag:

Situated in a grand position above Coquetdale is a fine addition to the Simonside Hills. With generally excellent quality rock with interesting features and tremendous three star natural lines – including the largest roof in the county, it offers a great deal of variety to the climber, whether they be a VD or E5 leader, or a dedicated boulderer. In fact the bouldering potential has barely been tapped into.

Parking and Approach
The is best approached from Hepple Whitefield (nr Rothbury) (GR: NY 987 996). A pleasant 1.8 mile walk past a country house and along access land leads to the buttresses (NY 997 985). There is a right of access under CRoW.

Free Guidebook Download

So what are you waiting for?

Photo Gallery: Lower Tosson

Tons of untapped bouldering awaits
© Simon Litchfield

The Unclimbed Prow - Any Takers?
© Simon Litchfield

Lower Tosson
© Simon Litchfield

The hours cleaning only added to the psyche!
© Simon Litchfield

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13 Jul, 2010
The logbook is up and running: with 50 routes and problems there is loads for people to go at while the long summers days last. Credit should also go to local activisit Graeme Read for keeping the psyche up during the numerous trips! Ill try and get some more photos online soon.
13 Jul, 2010
looks good si, the E6 crackline looks great, the county's answer to Belly Full of Bad Berriews??!!
13 Jul, 2010
Ill freely admit to obsessing about that E6 line for about a year. I even made a pull up board… which remains unused gathering dust apart from the occasional drunken house party acrobatics show… I had a bit of a stern word with myself half way up it and watching me do the moves the Graeme put it on his top 5 climbs to do. I’m not sure if the aerial acrobatics are 100% necessary… they worked for me and a certain degree of weirdness is required. As for Belly Full of Bad Berries … I heard that’s just Northumbrian VS and a smidgen easier than the jamming crack at Eldon!? Good to see you are as active as ever in Southernenglandshire
13 Jul, 2010
How exciting. A big part of the fun of being a climber is looking for a finding obscure and new places to climb (for me it is anyway). I dream of finding a whole unclimbed crag. I have been lucky enough to get some first ascents in the past year or so and it is a good feeling. How did you find this place, why had nobody found it already??????
13 Jul, 2010
Probably by opening the guidebook and reading the "minor crags" section at the back
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