Northumbrian Climbing Guide

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Grid Ref: NT924005   Aspect: NW   Routes: 38   Max Length: 16   Average Length: 9Warning Crag on Firing Ranges 
Altitude: 300 mtrs   Walk in: 5 mins   Route quality: ** 
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The crag lies 5 kilometres southwest of Holystone on the Ministry of Defence firing range. It is possible to climb on the crag whenever the red flag is not flying. Follow the Ministry of Defence road out of Holystone to the edge of the ‘danger area’ then turn left and drive for two kilometres until the crag is seen a few hundred metres away on the right. Alternatively turn left from the Elsdon —Rothbury road at the Billsmoor View Point and follow the winding, narrow lane until the crag is seen on the left.
The crag is situated high above a semi-wooded valley on the Otterburn Ranges, which gives it an air of remoteness and solitude out of all proportion to the distance of approach. This fine crag faces northwest and dries reasonably quickly in most places. The rock is of good quality but does not run to holds or protection; this, coupled with its steepness, means that most of the routes are of a high standard of difficulty. Between the crag and the road are some interesting caves where a small stream flows through the crag.
Fell Sandstone Carboniferous, Dinantian
Access issues:
The crag lies inside the firing ranges, so permission should always be sought by phoning 0191 239 4329.
Although climbs have been recorded on the crag in earlier times the crag was not extensively developed until the early seventies with the ascents of: The Arête by Bob Hutchinson; Original Route by Ken Macdonald; and Hugh Banner’s The Last Straw. Standards then took a quantum leap with John Earl’s ascent of The Reaper and Hutchinson’s ascent of Popcorn Surprise. The same team also produced Godzilla and the Camel’s Back. The pace of development remained fierce even after the publication of the 1979 guide and a further fourteen routes were added mainly in the E3/4 range. The routes being: Quiet County by Paul Stewart and John Earl; Funeral Drum, Bob Smith and Paul Stewart; The On Sight Gobbler and Footloose and Flying Free, Bob and Tommy Smith; Priapismic Failure, Bob Smith and Andy Moss; whilst John Syrett’s parting shot was Stella.