Rock Around Yorkshire

It’s a case of baby steps as RockAroundTheWorld emerges from lockdown, and our first taste of van life (now that some campsites are opening) was a trip to North Yorkshire. The limestone sports climbing around Settle might not figure on the established “Grand Tour” of world class venues, but you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise – it was rammed!

Part of this “local spike” no doubt results from the general trend to bolt clipping outdoors with the ongoing closure of climbing walls, but the other contributing factor is the newly published supplement:


… available directly from Dave Musgrove if you search for him on Facebook or the Yorkshire Bolt Fund. This lists around 400 bolted routes that have been put up in the last 5 years (including the appropriately named C19 at Attermire Scar done on 13th March just before lockdown).

It’s a slim volume and more of a list of descriptions than a stand-alone guidebook (you certainly need to read it in conjunction with the full Yorkshire Limestone guide or other reference to make much sense of it) but I guess that’s not the main point – all profits are going to the bolt fund, and judging by the number of copies we saw being quizzically studied during our visit, it has been well supported. Great to see the climbing community putting something back! By coincidence we seemed to know half the people at the crag, amongst them: Mark and Colin; Stefan and Sarah; and Justin and Chris – seems like everyone had the same idea!

We based ourselves at a couple of “Certified Locations” – micro campsites for no more than 5 vans, often adjacent to farms or pubs, both in the Forest of Bowland. The Bridge Inn provided a warm welcome (within the constraints of Social Distancing!) tranquility, and great views The weather wasn’t this good all the time, but we managed to climb on three of the four days.

We had a couple of trips to Giggleswick North, where a combination of some ivy clearance and a bit of retro-bolting has yielded a bunch of “new” routes scattered across all of the sectors. Probably the pick of the crop is September Buttress, a 20+m 6a that’s now a well-bolted route assembled from a combo of former trad pitches on Ivy Wall. Ramp Direct and Moribund are good lines on Main Wall as is Debbie Direct on Woodcutter.
Over on the far right and immediately above the layby, the Parking Wall has a different character with steeper and juggier routes. Fakir Awakes and North of the Border are both worthwhile,… though beware we did witness a major piece of crag parting company beneath a neighbouring climber and barely missing his belayer.
We caught up with Andy and Rich at the other recently developed area getting a lot of attention – the Escarpment at Attermire Scar. Accessed along the good path past Victoria Cave… … it’s a very pleasant and largely flat mile and a bit through luscious countryside (the peace and quiet being a welcome contrast to the noise of the Settle bypass at Gig!)
Gorgon Buttress has a string of multi-starred 6a/+s and we did four in a row (trying hard not to use the same holds more than once!) with the Super Direct on the namesake route being perhaps the best. Further along is Moonshine Buttress, and El Diamante is worth its 3*. Just to the right, Andy made use of the trad rack he’d lugged in to enjoy the Top 50 Hare’s Wall Direct Eh, it’s grand!

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