Roche Rock

And now for something completely different…

If you fancy a break from the Culm Coast seacliff routine (ab in, dodge the waves and barnacles and avoid the rattly rock) or simply want a quick fix inland on a day when the weather or tides dictate, you could do worse than Roche Rock.

According to Wikipedia: The rock is of interest to geologists as it is a fine example of quartz shorl; a fully tourmalinised granite, with black tourmaline crystals. This has imbued the rock with a sprinkling of pockets to complement the usual granite blessings of friction and cracks, making for an interesting climbing experience.

We did most of the routes covered by Rockfax. Most of these centre on the sunny south wall

Here’s Helen on Corner and Staircase

The descent is also somewhat unusual, following ancient iron ladders down through the ruined 15th century heritage

Around on the north side, things get a bit steeper (and a lot chillier!) but we braved the cold for Shorty’s Folly, which is outstanding – worth more than the 2*s on offer, and possibly more than HVS. Gear is spaced and it is really quite uphill – mitigated by a succession of surprising pockets.

A couple of logistical pointers:

– the parking layby described in Rockfax no longer exists, but ample free parking is available at the adjacent football ground and they specifically signpost that you can park there for the Rock

– the setting is a bit more urban than you might imagine, and you’re in Bodmin clay pit land, rather than on the moors, but you can pretty much make out both coasts from the vantage point atop the rock.

Worth a visit!

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