The cliffs at Zennor might not be the most extensive, but they offer a couple of excellent hidden gems which combine a friendly approach and outstanding outlook for a low-octane dose of Cornish fun.
The crag looks a bit furry on initial inspection,
but the plum lines of The Royal Forester, VS, and Rosebud in June, HVS,
… are both completely clean of the whiskery lichen. Really good moves on sharp, incut holds, and generally good gear make for a thoroughly enjoyable visit.
A couple of miles down the coast, Carn Gloose also has a limited selection of routes, but Astral Stroll provides more than enough reason for a visit in its own right – if the Extreme Rock tick wasn’t motivation enough.
It’s not entirely obvious where the route starts, so here’s a photo of the ab point and view down to the rock promentary which provides the launch pad.
There’s further scope for confusion as much of the original first pitch has fallen down, but we stumbled across the fairly obvious higher alternative which is fine.
Inevitably we timed our start to coincide with high tide, and the easterly wind was whipping up a spray and giving me a bit of a wetting as I belayed Jim on the first pitch. As soon as we rounded the corner the sea was as smooth as a millpond. Traversing across in an unlikely position you arrive at a left facing corner, and even though the way-marking pegs are long gone, it’s obvious that the only way is down… An intimidating but ultimately fairly straightforward (easy for me to say, as leading I had a top-rope for this bit!) down climb on sharp positive holds leads nearer to the sea and an urgent traverse rightwards through some steep ground. Here’s Jim having just completed the down-climb
… and just about to launch across the steepness.
The view upwards and onwards of pitch 3 is pretty intimidating – a wide crack leads up and out to a series of pointy overhangs. Here’s Jim poised a long way above the void, savouring the outrageous exposure!
Pitch 4 isn’t a pushover either, as the rock turns a bit Gogarthy, but you’re soon topping out among the flowers knowing you’ve had a memorable adventure. Great name: Astral Stroll – it’s strictly space walking!