Northumbrian Climbing Guide

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Corbys Crags What the symbols
& colours mean
Grid Ref: NU127101   Aspect: WNW   Routes: 59   Max Length: 42   Average Length: 11 
Altitude: 184 mtrs   Walk in: 1 mins   Route quality: **   Bouldering quality: * 
Click here for StreetMap Right of access under CRoW  
Three miles north east of the B6341 (Alnwick-Rothbury) and A697 (Morpeth-Wooler) crossroads. Park in one of the two tarmac lay-bys, the crag is directly beneath them. The upper crag is 200 metres along the road towards Alnwick, on the opposite side. There is bouldering of sorts just below the road from the main crag right up to below the upper crag. A bike is no help, on account of the crag being a wheel's circumference from the car.
Corby's is a west facing outcrop of quite soft Fell Sandstone with routes in the mid to lower grades.It is one of the most popular crags in Northumberland and as a result is suffering from erosion of both the rock itself and the surrounding land. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the drainage from the road has recently been diverted down the crag, and during bouts of heavy rain three separate waterfalls start up. We would request that large groups do not use the crag for training, abseiling etc to minimise the damage.
Fell Sandstone Carboniferous, Dinantian
Soft and friable in parts
There are some excellent routes here, but take care with the friable nature of the rock as protection behind small flakes can easily fail.
The quality of the bouldering on the main crag here is not particularly good. There is an enjoyable little outcrop above the south buttress, and a better area just below the road a couple of hundred metres along towards Alnwick, where a traverse provides an excellent workout. A short distance further towards Alnwick there are some good looking buttresses above the road. The rock here is very soft, but problems and micro-routes have been done.
Surprisingly for somewhere so accessible the first recorded activity was not until July 1970. Ken Macdonald, John Earl and friends visited the crag and a large number of lines were climbed out in the following months. Climbs included Plonka, Man Friday, Audacity and the hardest route at the time, Sunshine Superman. The following few years saw development come to fruition. In 1973 Bob Hutchinson added Corbeau and in 1974 he swung his way up the powerful Gibbon's Gambol. In 1977 Martin Doyle and Karl Telfer claimed Ranadon and Jeff Lamb snapped up Tenacity on one of his raids east. Bob and Tommy Smith brought the crag into the 1980's with the difficult Ash Wednesday climbed in late 1979. Only two lines have been put up since then. Sam's Route on the North Buttress was squeezed in at the end of the cave in 1989 by Stu Ferguson. The other, an obvious but overlooked or never recorded line, Missed Opportunity, was discovered by a young prospective member Graeme Read on the popular South Buttress in 2001.