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West Cornwall

Where to stay | When to visit | What gear to take | Guidebooks

West Cornwall, the area including both the Land's End and Lizard Peninsulas, is home to a wealth of sea cliff climbing to rival any in the country. Although there are plenty of hard routes, the area is perhaps best known for it's more amenable classics.

 

Sennen with a good swell!Right: Sennen Crag (click for more!)

The coast stretching from St. Ives on the North Coast, round to Penzance on the South (which I have referred to as The Land's End Peninsula) is composed mostly of granite sea cliffs, although there are a few examples of Greenstone and Killas Slate crags scattered around the North Coast between St. Just and St. Ives. There are 3 "main" crags - Bosigran and Sennen on the North Coast and Chair Ladder on the South although. These tend to absorb most visiting climbers so if it's somewhere a little quieter you're after study your guide book and you won't find it hard to get of the beaten track!

The Lizard Peninsula is, on the whole, a relatively recently developed climbing area. The rock (that you climb on!) here is of 3 main types - Mica Schist, Ampribolite and Serpentine. These rock types can vary dramatically in quality from excellent to ....! Fans of steep juggy routes, generally with good gear, will be happy here!

 

 

 

 

Flannel Avenue HS Chair LadderRight: Barnaby Carver on Flannel Avenue HS Chair Ladder.

Where to stay
During the summer tourism is the main industry in the area and a plethora of accommodation options are available: Whether you fancy a B+B or camping you will not have trouble finding yourself somewhere.

When to visit
The summer months are always most popular with both normal tourists and climbers alike and the weather can be excellent... but we all know what the British climate is like! My own preference is to visit either between September and May, when the crowds are not about and the crags/pubs are quiet. The weather can be more of a gamble but having said that you do get plenty of fine settled spells. It is worth noting that the area has it's own micro-climate which can sometimes work to your advantage... If the Land's End Peninsula is damp it can be gloriously sunny on The Lizard!

What gear to take
A standard rack of gear should suffice (wires, Friends, quickdraws, Hexes etc). An abseil rope can also be very useful!

Guidebooks
Definitive West Cornwall (Published by the Climbers Club).
Selected Climbs West Country Rock (Rockfax) - available to buy online from the javu shop, South West Climbs (Pat Littlejohn/ Diadem), Cornish Rock (Tim Dennell and Rowland Edwards)

... and remember many of the crags here are tidal. The Climbers' Club webite has time-tables.

New routes information
Is available at javu.

javu articles
West Cornwall guide review

 


Bouldering
West Cornwall has never been famed for it's bouldering! However, it does have plenty of fine venues.

Clodgy PointRight: A rather high problem at Clodgy Point (5b).

Godrevy Point (OS 580 432)
This is the headland just North of St.Ives. Wave-wahed rock is the order of the day, and there are plenty of hard things to go at!! Low tide is required, and as with many sea-side bouldering venues dampness can be a problem - sunny afternoons/evening are best.

Clodgy Point
Lying just to the South of St.Ives this area is home to a handful of fine problems. The only problem can be finding somewhere to park in St.Ives over the summer months. Many of problems here have been developed by local lad Barnaby Carver.
Comprehensive downloadable guide at javu.

Sennen
Although "all a bit vertical" for most modern boulderers' palettes, the base of the crag here does provide some good problems, some of which are extremely technical!

 

 

 

Clodgy Point

Right: A not-so-high problem at Clodgy Point!

Porthcurno Area
The beaches between Porthcurno and Logan Rock are well worth a look! Pednvounder Beach (OS 394 224) is perhaps the best, especially if you're into nude bouldering!!

Carn Brea
This is the the rocky hill above Redruth and is easily spotted from the A30. Well worth a stop off on the way down to Land's End . The best problems can be found at the far western end, beyond the monument.

Gwynver
Guide available here.

 

 

 


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