Climb Pembroke's Blog

We want you to see what we've been up to here at Climb Pembroke, and get a taste of who we are and what to expect if you come Sea Cliff Climbing with us here in Pembrokeshire on one of our Rock Climbing Courses or Family Rock Climbing days out

A day in Range West

Lots of the areas climbers in Pembrokeshire visit are owned by the MOD and used for live firing exercises. These areas are closed to the public during the times they are shooting their guns and blowing stuff up, but when the army are not playing war, people are aloud in to walk the costal path, except for Range West. 

For years climbers would historically sneak "under the radar" into Range West and put up new routes on this extensive area of sea cliffs. Climbers found there by MOD guards were instantly chucked out and threatened with arrest. Despite climber's best efforts to negotiate access with the MOD, they would not budge on their ban. This continued until the early 90's, when a leading activist of the day organised a mass-trespass of around 80 climbers and notified the press of their intentions. The result was in the climber's favor and access was granted, as long as anyone wishing to climb attended a safety briefing at the local base. 

This was the first time I had attended this briefing, which so happened to co-inside with the launch of the new Range West guidebook. Around 60 climbers turned up to the briefing, which was given by an amusing, high-ranking chap that basically told us not to touch anything we found on the ground because it could explode and kill us. After that we put our names down on a list, were issued a day pass and were granted access to the Range. 

I was climbing with Dan Donovan for the day. He is a pretty strong climber but said he "wasn't feeling very fit at the moment". I took that comment with a pinch of salt and we headed to Mount Sion East. 

First up we climbed a total sand-bag of a two pitch E1 5b called Games Without Frontiers. It turned out to be around E3 6a, with a the crux in the middle of a not over protected traverse. I fell off this seconding but was glad I had employed a back rope tactic to stop a monster swing into space. Next I ran up a classic called Surge Control and with the tide on the turn Dan climbed a route that he had spied as unclimbed a couple of years ago, but it had been plucked last year as a 3***, two pitch E3 by Paul Donnithorne and Bob Brewer, named Twisting by the Pool. With withered arms we headed to the St. Govan's Inn for a pint, with the usual contingent from the Bristol climbing community.