Monday, 31 October 2011

New Signs at O'ert Road

I went down to Woodwell O'ert Road yesterday to checkout the state of play, since access was re-opened. Two signs have been erected: one by the entrance point (which is over the wall next to the road, as it always was) and a second immediately right of Cave Buttress (i.e. just right of Angel Deelite). The wall at the entrance has been bolstered with cement, but a stile isn't likely to be added, to maintain the area's low profile, and presumably not make it look like a right-of-way.

As previously stated the signs state the following:

Climbers are welcome to come and enjoy the bouldering on the three designated areas but please observe the following conditions when visiting:

1. For ecological reasons, boulderin
g is only permitted on the three designated areas. Climbers should not proceed past Cave Buttress - this will be marked with a sign.
2. Dogs are not allowed.

3. Climbers must not enter the field directly below the rock.

Please keep to these simple, common sense protocols, along with keeping the area litter free to ensure access is maintained.

I will also be updating the Lakesbloc Woodwell guide access info ASAP.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Woodwell O'ert Road Access Granted

Right then, we have been given the green light to use the crag, however, if you intend to visit please read the rules of engagement:

The National Trust have recently joined in partnership with the BMC to reinstate access to three bouldering areas on Woodwell O'ert Road on a trial basis: Wolf Buttress, Troll Buttress and Cave Buttress.

Climbers are welcome to come and enjoy the bouldering on the three designated areas but please observe the following conditions when visiting:
1. For ecological reasons, bouldering is only permitted on the three designated areas. Climbers should not proceed past Cave Buttress - this will be marked with a sign.
2. Dogs are not allowed.
3. Climbers must not enter the field directly below the rock.

The above is from the updated Woodwell access info page, which is available to view on the BMC website:

Please adhere to all of the above as well as keeping the crag clear of litter (that includes tape and fag butts!) and minimize chalking where possible (i.e. brush off tick marks after your session) as this is essentially a trial run.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Woodwell O'ert Road Access

There is work afoot to open up Woodwell O'ert Road to climbers once again. The negotiations with the National Trust appear to have concluded positively and we are awaiting the NT to finish off work to the access point. They have bolstered the wall with cement and are (hopefully) putting in access information signs over the next few weeks. I will post something when I have had confirmation that the green light has been given, until then please DO NOT visit the crag, as this may jeopardize the process.

Thanks should go to Les Ainsworth for facilitating the negotiations and to the BMC who have funded the cost of the wall restoration, signs and perhaps a stile, although I'm unsure to whether the latter is part of the deal.

Once again, please DO NOT visit the crag until you have heard otherwise.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

New Amenities Map

I have added a map tagging a number of useful amenities in the Lakes area, which will hopefully be of use to visiting climbers. If you have any suggestions for amenities not included thus far, feel free to make some suggestions and I will add them accordingly....

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New Guide & New Problems

I have done a new guide for the stuff on the Seathwaite Fells, which includes a bunch of very good new problems. There are links to the guide, crag info and a gallery available via the link below:

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New Fence at Woodwell

I noticed on the forum someone raised the issue of a new fence being erected by the entrance to Pylon Buttress, at Woodwell. This shouldn't be a problem, it's presumably a new fence to replace the old wire one which deteriorated a few years back. Unlike the original fence this new installation does not completely block the way through to the crag, and is just a means to keep walkers to the main footpath – which goes up to the right at the same point where the (now well trodden) path to the crag goes left.

Whilst the land on which the crag lies is technically private and owned by the National Trust, the last correspondence with NT suggested they tolerate climbing at these sectors so long as foliage remains undamaged and the area is kept free of litter and loud noise.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Brant Fell Chipping

There is currently a thread on regarding some apparent recent chipping at Brant Fell. I struggle to understand the mentality of why someone would do this, and on the face of it you wonder if the person who has noticed/reported the ‘chipping’ has mistaken some innocent hold breakage for a more malevolent act. Sadly, in this circumstance, it is not the case, as can be seen in the images below. These were taken in the last couple of days by keen Brant Fell local user George North, who told me the following: “Headed up to Brant Fell this evening for a bit of traversing. Took a few photos of the chipped footholds. There's about 6 chipped holds. There's one hold that makes a move a bit easier than it was - for the most part it's fairly pointless though. Fortunately they haven't chipped the one foothold on the traverse that would make it a fair bit easier.

Beggars belief really, and I’m not sure what you can say or do about it, other than keeping a keen eye out for the perpetrator – surely nobody in this day and age is doing this sort of thing unaware that it is completely unacceptable?

Brant Fell Chipping: Image 1

Brant Fell Chipping: Image 2

Brant Fell Chipping: Image 3

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Fairy Steps Access Issues

Just a quick word of warning regarding Fairy Steps: as of the last access discussion between the BMC access officer/s and the Dallam Tower Estate (owners of the land), pretty much the whole of the crag – bar 50m either side of the actual ‘Fairy Steps’ – is now banned for climbing use. I was told by those involved in negotiations that they are still pressing for a more helpful (reasonable) compromise, however this is technically the state of play.

Obviously, stopping people climbing on the Upper Tier is fairly unrealistic as a public right of way tracks the crag for most of its length, with the escarpments rarely being more than 40m from the path. Obviously anything on or around the Lower Tier is a little easier to police, as the landowners, over the past three or four years, have systematically closed most of the old footpath network that covered the lower hillside.

Whilst the BMC site reflects the info above it is hardly categoric in its stance, this mirrors the rather ambiguous info I was given.

Just thought it was worth a heads up, as I know a few people have been confronted by gamekeepers and the like.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Bad Moon Rising

Having been up to Thorn today, I can see a few of the problems are starting to suffer. The low footholds on Fix my Sink/ And for my Next Trick are becoming progressively more worn, Mothership probably doesn't need any more brushing, but more worrying was the Bad Moon Rising flake.

Today the flake visibly flexed significantly and is evidently on its last legs. What should be done about this is a good question. It's hollow behind, and held only by the thin rock at the left end. It's also pretty eroded. I din't try the problem today because of the likelyhood someone as fat as me would snap it off.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Dry & New Problems

After a good week of dry and not too humid weather, everywhere is seemingly dry or nearly dry. Of course you may have to find somewhere in the shade or that catches a good breeze now summer has finally arrived (for how long is anyone's guess).

These class (probable) new problems at Fleswick Bay fit at least one of the criteria above, and are worth checking out if you are in the vicinity, plus if all else fails you can go for refreshing dip!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Trowbarrow Wet

The Shelterstone has a decent amount of seepage at present, and with the current wet weather this is likely to continue for a while.

As an aside, take care as some thoughtless gimp has left their bowel contents in the landing zone for Vitruvian Man.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Woodell Conditions

All the buttresses seem to be dry and in good nick, especially when the wind is blowing.

Up at Farelton, I noticed yet more dry tooling marks the other day. Words fail me.

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Here it is, the latest incarnation of the LakesBloc top 50 best boulder problems list.

50 BEST BLOC: Tick List
(PDF printable/tickable version at the base of the page)

As always, I'm sure I'll have left something out, that someone thinks should have been a "certain inclusion", but hey you can't please everyone... maybe I'll do a 'Top 100' list on the blog sometime?

Any who, get ticking....

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bowderstone WIKI

I have put together a WIKI website for the Bowderstone. All the main guide inclusions have been added, plus a number of newer links/eliminates, many with photo-topos and video links.

Due to the almost infinite number of variations, links and eliminates possible on the mighty Stone, I thought this would be a good way for anybody and everybody to record their favourite variants, without the need of adding them all to the guide, and making it stupidly large and complex. It is also a way of ironing grade disputes, problems with broken holds, and the exact description/rules for specific problems.

If you want to join the WIKI feel free, anybody can sign up and add/edit pages, although I urge you to read the 'How to use this Wiki' page before you plow ahead.

Bowderstone WIKI

Sunday, 22 May 2011

2011 Top 50 Draft

The link below goes to a first draft of the new 2011 LakesBloc 'Top 50 Best problems' list. I have taken on various suggestions, however if anyone has any more thoughts fire away. There is also a list of a few problems which came close to making the list at the base of the doc. If you think any of these are more worthy than actual inclusions, again let me know... (this link is now dead)

EDIT: See here for the finalized list.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Lad Stones - Sort Out

As briefly mentioned in the latest news report on the site, I have sorted a few landings and cleaned a number of problems up at the Lad Stones, Tilberthwaite.

I continued where Dan Varian left off, by evening out (as much as possible) the superb, steep back face of the Panorama Stone. I’ve also sorted the terrible landing of the large impressive prow on the right side of this face, which was apparently climbed last year by Mick Adams. This was achieved by filling the chasm with dead gorse bushes, which has created a surprisingly good (springy) landing, when covered with a couple of pads.

Image top right: sorted landing of the big prow on the back of the Panorama Stone.

Other problems recently cleaned include: Hades Lair, Warstater and the Underground Butler, the good warm ups on the small block below Groove Armada, and finally, The Death Clock and Booze Baron on The Bothy. The last problem mentioned has lost a handhold and is now considerably harder (7b+?), and less good than when in its original state. The top outs to Smoking Guns and the highball 6c crack, on The Bothy, could do with a sort out, but I haven’t gotten around to this as yet. The fantastic Traci Lords, has also lost the small LH start gaston originally used, although there is a small pocket below the gaston. It looks like it will now be a bit harder – 8aish? Mick Adam's may have done it in its current state, although this is unconfirmed.

Below is a topo of the fantastic Warstater Face on the back of the Panorama Stone - a must visit face for all Bowderstone aficionados.

  1. Rocko's Modern Life (7a+/V7) SDS From the far left corner climb a rightward curving line into p2 and finish via this.
  2. Hades Lair (7a/V6) SDS From a big side pull and slot make a powerful move to a good hold and continue direct to finish. *
  3. Warstarter (7b+/V8) SDS Start at the base of p2, pull on and move right to a rail, then up right again to two small parallel slots/pockets. From here climb direct to the top of the block. There are a few dodgy looking holds high up, try to avoid these - there are plenty of other solid grips to choose from. **
  4. 7a/V6 SDS Use a good, obvious slot/pocket for your RH and a small edge LH to pull on and up to the rail, continue left into p2 and finish as per this.
  5. Warstarter RH (7c/V9) SDS Start a little lower the the previous problem, with the good slot/pocket for your LH and and a small crimpy pocket for your RH. Make a couple of tough moves to gain the rail and finish as per p3. Finishing as per p4 is 7b+.
  6. Battalyst (7c/V9) SDS Start as per p1 but link into p3 to finish.
  7. Big Prow (7c/V9?) The highball prow from standing utilizes some thin holds and a big a reach. Not sure if the sitter has been done?
Finally a big shout out to Ben Freeman, Dave Jones, Dan Turner, Tom Newberry, Andi Smith, Mick Adams, Tony Simpson and Dan Varian who's efforts in getting up to this great venue (despite the current poor info available for the crag - my bad!) and apply some traffic and add new problems, has helped shift loose rock, cleanup the holds and give useful feedback. Thanks guys.

If anyone else is thinking of visiting in the near future, I have added a few new images to relevant gallery on LakesBloc, to help drum up some psyche:

Warstarter Video

warstarter font 7b+ from on Vimeo.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Farleton Dry Tooling Continues

The blithering idiot/s who have, over the last year or so, been dry tooling on the crags around Farleton and Hutton Roof, seem still to be active, as the scratches and damage to the right of New Rose show...

Do you really need to be told that this is a bad idea, and completely detrimental to the rock and area!?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

New Duddon Venue

Over the last month or so myself and Andy Hebson, have been feverishly working out, cleaning up and documenting a previously unrecorded bouldering area in the Duddon Valley, in the western Lakes...

Find out more via the site:

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Woodwell was dry today.

I note that the BOBN hold has finally fallen off leaving a much less positive edge. Part of the Closer undercut has also broken, although this makes minimal difference.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Planet Fear - The Corporate Express?

Ok, so it looks like Planet Fear are going to go ahead with their St. Bees Bouldering festival, having decided they are unprepared to accept the views of many local activists – including a number of key developers of the area and some of the ‘founding fathers’ and equippers of the cliffs – who all think it is an ill-conceived idea (due to the fragility of the area and not wanting set a precedent for these kind events happening on the headland in future) and essentially a marketing exercise.

The assertion placed on this Blog stating that Planet Fear had no right to advertise the event as a BMC endorsed event was proven correct, and the BMC asked PF to remove the BMC logo’s and affiliation text from their website, which they have now done. In an email the BMC sent to all concerned parties, the BMC said it in no way endorsed this event, but said it could not find objection if various access protocols were adhered to.

The underlying issue Planet Fear seem to have missed is that this is NOT a suitable place for this kind of corporate event. Despite PF’s offer of a litter sweep and claims all excess funds raised from the sales of accommodation, topos, parking etc. (all via their website) will be given to the BMC/local bolt fund, this is completely unverifiable as it is an event run by a commercial business with no external governance from an impartial body – how are we supposed to know how much money has been taken?

On a personal note, I feel particularly peeved that PF are charging for a topo to St. Bees, that will, I have no doubt, be primarily ‘researched’ via my website, which I spend countless unpaid hours and litres of petrol updating. More fool me you might say.

Anyway, Planet Fear have added their own ‘Yes-No Poll’ to their Facebook page, so I suggest the people who voted on the LakesBloc Poll make their voices heard via this medium if they so wish, as I am now turning the LB poll off. Planet Fear Poll.

For Planet Fear's current stance click here.

LakesBloc Poll Final Result (click for larger view):

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Top 50 List: Update Time

I'd quite like to update the "Top 50 Boulder Problems" list on the site (see link below), as it hasn't really had a proper overhaul for five years or so. Any recommendations for removals and replacements across the grade spread would be appreciated in the form of comments below...

Current List:

Monday, 28 March 2011

Woodwell Pretty Dry

The word on the street suggests that the majority of Woodwell is pretty much dry, bar the usual damp breaks....

Friday, 11 March 2011

Planet Fear St. Bees Festival - Good Idea? Bad Idea?

I have now had a number of negative comments and emails shot my way regarding the forth coming Planet Fear Bouldering Festival, to be held at the crag from the 29th to 31st April. I have put a poll on the the LakesBloc home page, I'd be keen for your input. Thanks.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Not Bad Dave

Richie Hession reports that a chunk of rock has fallen out of the roof of Not Bad Dave at Woodwell Middle. The problem is still climbable, and the rock seems stable now but just be aware. The rock band under this roof has always been a bit brittle.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Graded Lists Updated

I have updated the 7-8s graded list/s to include any recent additions to the various LakesBloc areas, as well as revising the grades and stars of a number of problems.

Feedback welcome....

Thursday, 17 February 2011

St Bees Head South - Landslip

There's been a landslip at St. Bees Head - South, from hill/cliff above the north end of the beach. Shouldn't cause too many issues if you need to get to the crag but be careful...

More info and images

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

St. Bees Issues

Thought I’d share this email I recently sent to the BMC with you, as it could affect anyone who utilizes St. Bees Head…

“First up, as I'm sure you are aware St. Bees becomes evermore popular as the years roll on (partially my fault I guess), and with the increased footfall and year-round visitors the descents are taking increasing hammer, to the point where the base of the central, and most used access point, is crumbling into the sea, becoming a) an eyesore and b) slightly dangerous - the last section does not have an insitu 'confidence rope'. The upper sections are also becoming quite worn, with the original vague trail becoming an obvious muddy track with a couple of deviations off the main path. A possible solution is perhaps to close this off through the winter months (when it is at its most fragile) and ask users to use the slightly longer but easier northern descent or the more 'adventurous' southern descent at the Fisherman's Steps?

The second issue is something that is probably beyond your control but I thought it was worth bringing to your attention, as it could in future cause access problems, if and when the RSPB catch wind of it. In a nut shell the fisherman who use the headland are generally complete arse holes! They persist on leaving copious amounts of litter and various other junk - plastic bags, large towels covered in fish guts, bags of semi-defrosted bait, teabags, crisp packets, sandwich rappers, fishing line, etc etc. - on the headland after their sessions, allowing it to be washed into the sea when the tide comes in. I do not over exaggerate when I say it is pretty much every fisherman I have ever seen on the headland, whether at the north or south head. If you want further details I can furnish you with numerous anecdotes of leaving the crag with my crash pad full of bags of THEIR rubbish which I have removed. Fortunately, whilst this is a fairly big problem on the southern head, there is still fairly low numbers prepared to handle the more arduous descent into the northern head, although it does seem as though numbers are increasing – there were 6 guys there last Sunday.”

I had a positive response from the BMC. With regards to the erosion issue: there are few obvious solutions tabled and this will be discussed at the next BMC “Lakes Area Meet”, so if anyone has any views on this please feel free to attend and give your input. Regarding the fishermen and their rubbish issue: there’s not a great deal we, as climbers, can do about this other than take anything you can away and dispose of it properly. Not our job I know, but it may help alleviate any future access issues.