For newcomers

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Saturday, 6 August 2016

Pinnacle Crag, Warton

Friday 5th August

My 1999 edition of Lancashire Rock is a British Mountaineering Council rock climbing guide. It weighs 1.36kgs, half again as heavy as my tent, and six times bigger than my camera, which sort of contravenes the established concept of a slim volume that can be slipped in the pocket or rucksack to take to the crag. Having said that it has the best collection of rock climbing photos I have seen anywhere.

Having left Bowland Climber to his own devices for three weeks while I was toiling on the SWCP, and following his recovery from a toe operation, he has reverted to his first passion of rock climbing. I met BC through Tony, BC being a friend of his. I climbed with Tony for seven years until he sadly died from cancer in 2003. On my return from my SWCP ups and downs BC invited me to go with two other old (well not as old as me) climbing friends, Rod and Dave, to Pinnacle Crag, Warton. My own climbing days are over - dodgy knees, and a bent Dupuytren contracture finger preventing finger jamming,  and a far too vivid imagination, but I knew there would be entertainment and a chance to get some photos, which is often missed when you are part of the action.

Back to the guide. When I looked at my own copy I found that I visited the crag on 30th April 2000 of which I had no recollection, and soloed two diffs. and one v. diff. (seems a lot of effort for those few minor conquests). I had arranged to meet the trio around midday at the crag and BC sent me directions from the newer edition:

"The crag is very difficult to find the first (or even the second and third) time...", then after more complicated instructions:

"Bear left and head through some scruffy scrub to find the crag skulking in some trees".

Whether or not I got lost is a secret, but there was no doubt that was expected judging from the guffaws as I happened upon these friends, not seeing them until I was within ten yards as I emerged from the jungle.  At first I watched them do a couple of routes shrouded in the shade of that jungle when elsewhere less active people were sensibly enjoying one of the best sunny days of the year. Fortunately we moved on to another area which was a sheltered oasis of sunshine amongst the trees, where we spent a pleasant and convivial day.


For the trio:

Here is a link to Dropbox for all the photos.

  The photos on this post have all been reduced in file size,  I'm not sure about the ones in Dropbox but please contact me if you need any copies, help or whatever:


Anonymous said...

Nice one Conrad,good to see you. Hope you weren't too bored.
Got the pics off Dropbox, is it OK to use a couple on my blog post.

Sir Hugh said...

BC - Thanks for the comment. I look forward to seeing them on your blog.

Roderick Robinson said...

I agree with you about Lancashire Rock; I frequently took it down from your shelves and flicked through its well-photographed pages. Finding myself even further from the action than you are. There aren't many who would judge themselves an inexpert and cowardly rock-climber but I was one. (But why then take up such a sport non-climbers have asked me. For the swagger of being seen carrying 100 yards of full-weight nylon in a rural setting, I replied.)

Theoretically this combination of attitudes should have protected me from grievous injury since I can't ever remember doing a single move I couldn't reverse. But I can still look back on several falls which left me pained in one way or another.

What grade was the climb your mates did?

Sir Hugh said...

RR - I know all the climbs look similar but the photos feature at least 4 different routes, mostly close to each other. The crag is only one pitch high, about 30ft, but the limestone is impeccable and the pioneers have crammed in as many routes as possible. The gradings are all more or less in the Hard Severe category. BC and Dave and Rod are all getting on in years, but in the past have climbed constantly at Hard Very Severe and E1 pushing to E2 as far as I know. The move to get off the ground and mount the overhang in photo 9 must be Very Severe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for defending the trio's moderate efforts. Our combined age is 215yrs, work that out.

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favourite places for climbing - even if it can't boast the quality of climbing of Trowbarrow or almost any crag in the Lakes, a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon and it's easy to get to from Lancaster by public transport, which is essential for me! This year I've been working my way through all the Diff - VS routes here and at the upper crag. I think you covered many of the best. My list of favourites:

Stile Buttress: Simian or Beacon Lighter (prob VS, despite HVS grade)
Plumb: Deadwood Crack, Lone Tree Variation and Flake and Wall.
Pinnacle: Muscles Crack
Aviary Walls: Cutting Edge
Upper: Twin Cracks (VS+), Yellow Edge (VS-), Red Mist (MS), Yellow Wall (VDiff)

Still not climbed in the murk of the small quarry, or dared to venture up the brittle main quarry. Hope to bump into you there sometime.

All best,
Chris W

Sir Hugh said...

Chris W -welcome to my blog. I was just along for the ride at Warton. I climbed for years, but after s knee replacement and other afflictions having a direct bearing on climbing you will see from my blog I am now majoring on multi- day backpacking. It is quite likely I will be along with those climbing friends at similar venues so we may meet. Please feel free to comment on my blog in future.


Conrad Robinson (Sir Hugh), Arnside.

My blogonym refers to my second name, Hugh and the fact I have completed all Sir Hugh Munro's list.