Best climbing in the UK part 3

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The first two parts of this series looked at six incredible climbing spots in the UK, from the gorgeous Snowdonia Mountains, to the Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire and the scary but exhilarating Huntsman's Leap in Pembrokeshire. Part one featured epic climbing in Snowdonia and part two looked at the cliffs of Pembrokeshire.

Brown Slabs - Lake District

Situated at the southern end of the beautiful huge lake known as Derwent Water, Brown Slabs is very well known as an ideal place for beginners to learn a little of the climbing trade before moving on to slightly more difficult and complex routes. As well as the easy beginner routes, the camping in the Lake District is incredible, as is the walking and relaxing scenery, so it's an ideal place to spend time, whether you climb or not.

Brown Slabs are a 50 m high rock section in the Shepherd's Crag section, with scrambling, bouldering and also a few multi-pitch opportunities. The Lake District is one of the largest and most varied of all the national parks in the UK, so even if you are not a climber, this is an area packed with activities and things to do for all the family.

Lake District National Park
Lake District National Park
Lake District National Park, United Kingdom

Harrison's Rocks - East Sussex

Quite similar to the weird outcrops of Brimham Rocks that I mentioned in the previous article, Harrison's Rocks is a huge sandstone block that sits in quite a lonely place. The routes are never higher than 10m, so danger levels are low, and it's a fantastic place for younger climbers to get their first taste. The site is also very well bolted (meaning there are loads of screws put into the rock that you can clip your ropes into), further increasing beginner enjoyment and safety.

One of the biggest draws for this particular site is that it's quite easily reachable from London, and so you can spend a day or even half a day at the site and still be connected to the city.

Harrison's Rocks
Harrison's Rocks
Harrison's Rocks Car Park, Tunbridge Wells TN3, UK

Cheddar Gorge - Somerset

This final spot is probably the most advanced climbing of all those I have mentioned, and features almost 350 mapped routes that are dominated by 'trad' climbing (where there are no screws already in the rock, and you have to put them in yourself - trust and technique required in spades).

This is an extreme area, and the twisting, jagged rocks were formed by more than a million years of glacial meltwater, with numerous caves and underground caverns to explore. This is where much of the military, emergency services and special forces do their training, as the rocks and cliffs here are as dangerous and unpredictable as anywhere. But all this shouldn't put you off, as this also happens to be one of the most geologically impressive areas in the UK, with incredible shapes carved out of solid rock by nothing more powerful than water.

Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge, Cheddar BS27 3QF, UK

The author

Joe Thorpe

Joe Thorpe

I am Joe. I grew up in the UK, have lived in Africa and Paris, and now reside in Spain. An outdoor enthusiast, I like nothing more than to find a deserted beach, build a campfire and enjoy the view.

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