While we may not have giant mountain ranges, stunning summers or snowy winters, what the UK can offer is a middle ground between anything and everything. I've never been in a region that was so gentle in its scenery or its weather, and this makes it ideal for the climbing enthusiast that is just looking for a good time. Although there are more difficult climbs and skiing in the French Alps, or more extreme scenery amongst the hills in Spain, in the UK, you'll find quiet little villages, nice climbing routes and peaceful views. In this three part series I'll show you some of my favourite climbing spots in the UK - places where you can really enjoy the natural scenery whilst challenging yourself physically. In the second part I'll talk about some fun rock climbing in Yorkshire. In the third part you'll see climbing in the Cheddar Gorge and more.
I included this area in an article about some of my favorite walking routes in Dorset, but Dancing Ledge is really known as a climbing spot. It's probably the most extreme of the spots that I'm going to discuss, although for a unique reason. It's certainly not the highest or the most difficult climbing you can find in England, but it does have one particular difference. Some of the routes here hover over the sea! The Jurassic Coastline is about as wild and rough as England gets, and Dancing Ledge makes the most of this and combines 16 metre high rock faces with the power of the ocean meeting the coastline. Routes here range from relatively short and easy, to insanely difficult, and due to the fairly exposed location, it's absolutely advised to go with someone who knows what they are doing!
I've talked about this mountainous and rugged part of Wales several times before, but this time with a highlight on some of the climbing spots. Perhaps two of the popular spot, Idwal Slabs is a place I've visited several times. The scenery here in the Spring and Summer (not advised in the worst weather months to be honest) is remarkable. I consider the entire Snowdonia valley to be in the top five most beautiful places in the UK, and climbing these flowery slopes is an absolute privilege.
The climbing here is fairly relaxed, with multi-pitch faces (where you stop and start at different point on the way up one cliff) up to about 160 m high. The Idwal Slabs area also overlooks a peaceful lake, and becasue camping is allowed anywhere in Snowdonia, this makes the ideal place to camp, cook and climb all in one location.
Heading to the most northern part of England, Brimham Rocks are a really fun and interesting location to climb, and also a wonderful area to explore in general. Although this is not an area to find exposure and altitude, these rocks seem to have been made to just play. There are hundreds of short but sweet bouldering routes, that are relatively safe for everyone to enjoy. The wind and rain have eroded these quite soft rocks to create some crazy and fun shapes, and the flowing and curving shapes are unlike anything else in the area.
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