Most climbers think that there is no bouldering in Pembrokeshire, and why would you think otherwise? The standard trip to Pembrokeshire is a blend of the following ingredients:
• A bank holiday weekend
• Camping at Bosherston
• A traffic jam
• Classic trad routes in Mowing Word and Mother Carey’s Kitchen
• (and most importantly) Cream Tea.
With so much to think about and no established bouldering guide or circuit, the visiting climber seems to have no appetite for unlocking Pembrokeshire’s bouldering potential- or is it the cream teas that stop the hungry from exploring?
Well to those who have made the effort it is clear that Pembrokeshire has a lot of potential and is one of the last unexplored corners of the UK in terms of bouldering. It stands to reason that 180 miles of rocky coastline must yield some problems. When consider the rock types on the peninsula; limestone, sandstone, rhyolite and dolerite, the potential here begins to slip into focus.
There have been a few attempts to buck the trend and develop Pembrokeshire’s bouldering resources. My project here is to bring all the information that exists, past and present, together. This might provide the spark needed to get a scene going- leading to a systematic review of what’s available down there, way out west. You never know, people might travel for the bouldering rather than the trad on those bank holiday weekends. (However, it will take a little more than a bit of bouldering to reduce cream tea consumption.)
The first real bouldering development culminated in the production of “Anorak – Pembrokeshire Bouldering” a fanzine type bouldering guide published in 1997. There was an article in “On the Edge” magazine that people talked about for a while, a few people checked the venues out, sent some significant lines, and then the scene seemed to evaporate. A second attempt to create a buzz around Pembrokeshire’s coast line resulted in a PDF topo for Newgale North. This was written and distributed by Mark Hedge and he did a pretty good job. Mark’s input resulted in some interest and conversations on Ukbouldering. However no real momentum was created, the topo disappeared, and the pace of development in Pembrokeshire raced towards stop once again.
One of the many problems at Maidens Castle, Trefgarn.
So how can we light the touch paper, create a scene and get Pembrokeshire’s many potential locations developed? Well, to start with, here are those original topos- copy and paste these addresses into your web browser and use the information wisely!!
Firstly, here is the original Pembrokeshire bouldering guide – this is an interim version which has dropped a few of the venues from the original and has tried to incorporate photo topo’s and V grades. Use it with caution- it is not comprehensive and it originally only tried to point the way to potential so use it in this way:
Next we have Mark Hedge’s Newgale Guide, this is more comprehensive and useable:
Below is a picture of the slabs at Newgale North, these slabs create the caves referred to in Mark's guide.
Watch this space over the summer as I intend checking out more of Pembrokeshire’s bouldering spots with development in mind. In the meantime here is a video of a newish problem put up by Dan Warren in Newgale North (also some esoteria on Holyhead Mountain).
Remember the potential is there, it just needs to be unlocked. Use these resources to guide you and see what you can find. However if you do go and find nothing, don’t worry, you can have a cream tea, they are always easy to find.