Walltown Crags form part of the Whin Sill, a dolerite edge which outcrops along the length of the Roman Wall. However, because the rock has been quarried, the climbing is more reminiscent of the crags of central Scotland such as Auchinstarry than it is of the neighbouring Crag Lough. In the past much has been made of the looseness of the rock at Walltown and certainly in the early stages of development a lot of loose material was removed. Now most of the routes are pretty solid but there are undoubtedly still a few dodgy holds waiting to surprise the unwary. It is not always obvious which holds these are; soloists be warned, the crag was bolted for a reason! There are two climbing sites at Walltown. Little Walltown provides short routes of 20-34' on generally steep rock. The main crag, by contrast, is larger (18-20m) and more laid back and offers steep slab and wall climbing of a technical nature. Holds on both crags are usually positive and quite large. The catch is that they can be few and far between. A long reach can sometimes be an advantage. Some routes have mixed protection, and a set of rocks is recommended. Little Walltown crag is on land administered by the Northumberland National Park authorities who have banned climbing there, so no further mention is made of this crag.
Whinstone Quartz Dolerite, Permo-Carboniferous
Whilst the crag is bolted, the bolts are much more sparse than you would expect on modern sports routes. A rack of wires is essential.
No recorded problems.
Other interesting stuff:
The usual overload of Roman Stuff, the Roman Army Museum is at the car park.
Over the years, climbers have visited Walltown Crags, but it was not until 1984 that any sustained interest was shown in the highest and most impressive black walls of the central area. In this year most of the major climbs in this guide were claimed as pre-cleaned but otherwise on-sight leads by Paul Linfoot. However, a recent developments guide of the time cast doubts about the validity of some of the alleged first ascents being made in the county and details of these routes were not included by the authors of the next NMC guide. In 1992/93 the crag was recleaned and bolted by the author and friends.