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BLACK HEAD
GR 944 644

Situation and Character: A very friendly E to NE facing wall which, although short, has some of the best quality rock in Torbay (none of the routes required any cleaning). Virtually non-tidal (although 2 hours either side of high tide is recommended for the Deep Water Solos), but best avoided if a heavy swell is running, the main features are an overhung bay below a prow, a large central groove and a cave at the right hand end. The routes are described from right to left. Note: it is advisable to pre-place a rope to tree belays set well back. There is also a Deep Water Solo guide to the crag.

Approach and access: If approaching from Babbacombe drive past the DIY centre car park then take the next turning on the L (passing big hotel on corner). Follow this road a short distance to a Pay and Display Car Park on the R. Park here then follow the Hope's Nose (the headland to the S of Anstey's Cove) path. 260 yards past prominent concrete shelter a track branches off Lwards (not to be mistaken with another track with wooden steps just before). Follow the path down to the cliff top and continue S until an obvious steep descent path is reached, complete with in-situ string. Alternatively follow the first 2300ft of Morning Town Ride!

1) Suspect Devices E2 5c #
25ft
The obvious line through the overhang below the jutting prow. Swing up L and climb the unhelpful crack to finish up the groove behind the prow. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 6.4.97

A Variation finish E1 5c 25ft # moves R after pulling through the lower overhang. FA Ian Parnell Clark Alston Autumn 1997

2) Antiques Roadshow Severe 4a *
40ft
The rising crack-line starting a few feet R of the previous route. Finish direct from ledges. FA Clark Alton, Steve Martin 31.3.97

3) See Emily Play HVS 5a *
30ft
The lovely grey slab more or less direct to a thin crack. Finish as for Antiques Roadshow. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin. 31.3.97

4) Lucy Lastic E1 5b
30ft
The R facing groove just R of the slab. Start from the L and finish direct. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 31.3.97

5) Big Red Rock Eater VS 4b #
30ft
The large central groove. On reaching the overhang traverse L to finish up the arete. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 6.4.97

6) Sing Harpy E2 5b
30ft
The innocuous looking R facing flake a few feet R of the groove. Climb direct to the slanting crack and pull over into the shallow groove. Finish direct. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 31.3.97

7) Homo Brittanicus E3 5c **
30ft
The wall above the "trench" at the Rhand side of the main ledge. Pull direct over the overhang to reach an obvious slot (Friend 2.5) and continue direct to an overlap. After hard moves R trend L up the slab to finish as for Sing Harpy. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 6.4.97

8) Help the Aged E2 5b
30ft
Start from the ledge R of the "trench". Trend L up the crinkly black wall to the large hole (bold). Move R into the groove and follow this to a step R to finish. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 31.3.97

9) Spacehopper E2 5c * #
30ft
The fine white groove above the R side of the ledge. Enter the groove from below the arete and follow it to a ledge on the left. Finish direct up the cracked wall. FA Clark Alston, Steve Martin 6.4.97

10) Zit Alors E2 5c
30ft
Start as for Spacehopper but step R and climb the scooped face direct. Finish up a groove. FA Clark Alston, Ian Parnell Autumn 1997 The following two routes are best ascended in the deep water solo style - mid tide or above is required.

11) Bazuka E3 5b **
50ft
An excellent traverse of the cave. Follow the obvious line of large holds into the cave, up to the roof and across a short hanging wall. FFA Dave Henderson 5.7.98 (onsight solo) FA Ian Parnell, Clark Alston Autumn 1997 (originally called Warts 'N' All). See also the Deep Water Solo Guide to the crag!

Veruca XS 6a/b S1
50ft
Traverse to the back of the cave from either side then gain an obvious traverse line leading out to gain a "sit down stuff your legs in" rest. From here stretch out right to gain edges on a hanging wall then make some exciting moves to gain large flaky jugs. A few more moves gain a corner and thus a large ledge. FA Dave Henderson 5.7.98 (onsight solo) (the start described was climbed about a week later) See also the Deep Water Solo Guide to the crag!

Gormless E3 5c #
40ft
A pointless piece of trivia! Start up Sing Harpy, traverse R at the level of a slot (jammed wire) into Homo Brittanicus. Keep going R past Help the Aged and finish up the short arete to the right. FA Clark Alston, Ian Parnell Autumn 1997


Based on original text by Clark Alston - cheers Clark, you're da main man!


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