Penberth New Routes

The following route report has been compiled by Jeremy Dyke, who is a local climber and member of Lands End climbing club.

Penberth has been 'on the boil' for about 4.5 years, with visits fitted around other club meets. Development started in Area one, then 'plums' were picked and after that the lines between were gradually filled in. Jeremy is working in Penrose Outdoors in Truro, which is the local stockist of climbing gear, main suppliers being HB, Lyon, Black Diamond, Cairn, Edelweiss, DMM etc. He has responsibility for climbing gear and the Rohan department. The shop also stocks camping equipment, tents by Vango, Khyam etc and all the vital things to make life comfortable in the outdoors.

Other areas which have seen some development by Jeremy include Black Head near Coverack and Pednvounder Buttress near Porthcurno. These other routes are covered by the Chair Ladder Guide for Pednvounder and a new guide for North Cornwall & Devon in production by Dave Hope covers Black Head, with research by Toni Carver for this crag. The guide is due out 1997-8. Toni Carver is also researching a Mid Cornwall Guide.


Outlook South. Tidal. Accessible 3 hours either side of low water, affected by swell and rough seas. Coastguard identity Penberth. Introduction: Penberth had a reputation of the parking spot for more distant crags like St Loy. There were two recorded routes in Des Hannigan's Chair Ladder Guide and no doubt some of the areas early explorers must have visited at some point. Recent developments started in late 1991 when, while 'en route' for St Loy and not relishing the slog over, for routes I had my fill of, I, with the aquiescence of my partner sallied forth for unexplored territory on the left of Penberth Cove.


Starting off in Area 1. A few routes were done, potential explored and routes realised, over the next few years. Partners came and went, but each new introduction spelt an impetus in exploration. In February '96 a meet was held by L.E.C.C. where the club was introduced to the area and impressions were favourable. On that day Des Hannigan left his mark with a new route - 'Short Back & Sides'. Justin Ford and Luke Pavey climbed 'They do at that age', a route not often repeated. In all my visits over the years, I have never seen any other climbers on Penberth. Though there were two existing routes - 'They do at that age' and 'Thirty Something'. The former climbed by Dave Cook in 1981 and the latter ten years later by P. Harrison.

The area is well suited for beginners or as an introduction to Cornish granite. If a warm-up is required - after a Winter lay-off it is perfect for retuning climbing skills. When other areas are raked by winds, often Penberth is a quiet backwater and can provide a calm haven, where you may be lucky to spot the resident minks or perhaps a visiting seal.

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Penberth Routes

Park in roadside car park and walk down to the cove. At the top of the slipway turn left on the the coast path. 30 yards (approx) up the path take the fishermans path off to the right. This leads to the outer rocks on the left arm that form the cove. The first feature is a rocky outcrop on the left, with an obvious roof. It is important NOT to climb on this, as it is covered with greenery (lichen) and to clean it may cause offence to the National Trust who own the cove. Below this outcrop is a sloping slab with large boulders at the top. Area 1 is on the seaward side of the slab.

Area 1

Plan View: Easy way down, directly downwards and not across.

The routes start here.

Organ. Diff 25'. Left hand side of easy way down facing out. Cracks on the slabby wall - climb the cracks. F.A. J Dyke, N Barnes.

Knights Climb. Diff 25' The next break in the wall. Climb the gangway to the overhang, move left into the crack - continue up this to the top. J Dyke, N Barnes.

Excresence. Severe 30' 6' right of Knights Climb is a track of knobbly holds. Follow the holds to the V groove at the top. R Banaster, J Dyke.

Excalibur.V Diff 30' Follow the prominent crack to the top. J Dyke, R Banaster.

Ex-File. Diff 30' As for Excalibur for 8' then step right and up the slanting crack. J Dyke, N Barnes.

D.Tour. Diff 30' or 40' or 50' This climb has 3 finishes (1) is starting left of the next wall after Ex File. There is an obvious traverse line that starts low and gradually gains height. It crosses D.Tain and has been finished by climbing the rest of D.Tain. Or (2) cross to D.Tain and then, when below a depression stepping up into this and so to the top. This is harder - bordering on Severe! Or to (3) carrying on with the traverse for 8-10' then finishing up Bums Rush. J Dyke, M Barnes, T Needham.

D.Tain. Diff 25' Follow deep crack to the top. J Dyke, M Barnes.

Bums Rush. 30' Severe Start under small roof 10' right of D.Tain. Climb crack (thin) up to overhang. There is a good hold on the lip of the overhang. Surmount this and follow slab to the top. J Dyke, R Banaster

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Area 2

Go to the top of the inclined slab pass a large perched rock round the back, and a ledge slopes down. Walk down the swing over the edge and into a shallow trough. Right of this (facing you) is the easy way down to Hornet. Go left for Area 3. From the top of the easy way down you can see a seamed face over the on the right. Scramble down the rocks and cross to the sloping slabs at the base.

Hornet. V.S. 40' Start up the easy slab to the wall, gain the central crack and aim for the V slot at the top. R Banaster, J Dyke

Race Against Tide. V Diff 40' Where easy way down stops this climb starts. You have come down a pocked wall/slab. Above this is a chimney/fault climb up to the bottom of the chimney and enter it. Climb to the top. J Dyke, S Reynolds

Dog-Leg. V Diff 35' Left hand side of easy way down. The slightly overhanging arete is climbed to the top. J Dyke, S Reynolds

There is a large pool under the face taken by Dog-Leg. The next route is at the point where the pool narrows 10' right (facing in). To the right of A-Snip is an inset corner and roof. Taken by Rangamutti.

A-Snip. 30' Severe Follows a line of holds up the wall to the left of Rangamutti. Dr.A Partington, P Clayton

Rangamutti. 30' Severe Start beneath the corner where the top curves over into a roof. Climb the wall until under the roof. A bold step across reaches the gash which is the top of Short, Back & Sides. Follow to the top. J Dyke, S Reynolds

Short, Back & Sides. 25' Severe This follows the well defined crack 4' right of Rangamutti. D Hannigan, J Dyke, S Reynolds

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Area 3

Easy way down, down the steep ramp between Short, Back & Sides and the gangway wall. Rock pool at the bottom. Next routes start above the pool.

Gangway. 35' Diff Climb on to the large step and go leftwards up the inclined ledge, to a short vertical head wall. Climb this in the corner. J Dyke, M Barnes

Wavemaster. 35' Diff Climb on to the step as for Gangway 6' along go up the wall aiming for the small overhang. This has been taken directly, to the left and also on the right. Go up to the ledge. R Banaster, J Dyke

Minks Fart. 45' Diff Start as for previous routes but aim for right hand edge. Climb the edge and when the angle eases traverse left to the bulging wall. Climb this in the middle. J Dyke, S Reynolds

Nicks Niche. 35' Severe This takes the corner right of previous route. The rock changes from golden granite to black - a dark dank corner - but a real gem! Follows the corner from base to top. N Barnes, J Dyke

Fiddlesticks. 35' Diff An alternative to Nicks Niche - it shares the stepping stone across the pool ar the bottom! On arrival on some poor holds move slightly R and up the broken face of Nicks Niche. The route arrives at the top using the final holds of the previous route. J Dyke, T Needham

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Area 4

Horse Feathers. 40' Diff Starting above the pool at the point where Area 3 turns into Area 4. A sharply defined edge marks the introduction to the slab. Horse Feathers follows the edge, with an awkward, balancy move across the pool. Aim for a prominent foor hold - and little for the fingers. Failure is a ducking - at least. Swing onto the foothold and follow the edge to the top. N Barnes, J Dyke

The next four routes have a common start, due to the intrusion of the rock pool. The back of the pool, which is not slab, rears up into a vertical tower which is home to routes of earlier vintage: 'Thirty Something' and 'They do at that age'.

Ducksoup. 60' V diff About 15' right of the slab the pool narrows and it is possible to step across. There is a ledge sloping leftwards and downwards from this point. You are standing under the tower of ochre coloured rock, and the traverse leads to the bottom of the slab, in a corner. Belay here. Step down to the left, and then step across on to the slab. There are shallow twin cracks and these are followed to the top. J Dyke, N Barnes

A Day at the Races. 60' V Diff Start as for Ducksoup and aim for the corner of the overlap. Climb this, and when the ledge is gained cross it, and up the central portion of the slab. J Dyke, N Barnes

Groucho. 60' Severe Instead of stepping down from the end of the ledge, look up. Above is a slab with a small overlap following. The corner makes for a Groucho -esque type stance, and what follows deserves a cigar! The corner is climbed, and a ledge appears. Cross the ledge or belay here, befor tackling the wall at the back of the ledge. There are two cracks, both have been climbed. The right crack is harder. In the RH corner is a slabby arete at about Diff Standard. J Dyke, N Barnes
Rubble Trouble. 70' Severe A loose climb in two parts. The top is the worst. From the common start of the previous routes, instead of traversing L go straight up the slab to the (almost) ledge. cross this to the bay and take the right hand gently overhanging corner. Up this to finish. R Banaster, J Dyke

Iron Filings. 50' V Diff At the point where the rock pool runs out and about 10' right of the common start there is a standing block. The route climbs this to the sloping ledge. Across to the R are some metal pikes climb past these to the right and follow the cracks to a bulge. Surmount this awkwardly, and then to the top. J Dyke, S Reynolds

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Area 5

Reached by scrambling over the black rocks leading to the seaward side. There is a trench of sloping sides leading to the tip of the cove. Once through the trench look left. The next routes start here.

Special Delivery. 40' Diff The easy way down scrambles from the trench to a seawashed ledge. On the left is a black undercut slab, above is a constricted chimney. Climb the slab, wriggle up the chimney to belay on blocks. J Dyke, S Reynolds

Tales of a Rusty Tramline. 70' Diff The next feature of this area is a prominent twin track of knobbly rock. Follow the tracks to the top. J Dyke, S Reynolds

Postmans Knock. 80' Diff Cross the seawashed ledge to a corner in the middle of the barnacle covered rocks. There is a chute that looks very crumbly, with a slab on the left. Climb the slab, aiming for the nose of rock pointing slightly downwards. Pass this on the left climbing onto a ledge. Cross the ledge to a slab, climb this to a runnel and ascend to the top. J Dyke, S Reynolds Out of the Shadow. 60' 4b Severe Right of Postmans knock is a large buttress. Cross the seawashed ledge, take the Right slanting crack. Good protection and jams in the middle, follow corner crack to the top. M Bolland, R Mitchell 22/2/96

Other scrambles and short routes are possible and a lot has not been recorded.

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