Pen Trwyn and North Wales Limestone
The effects of the rain shadow, created by the mountains of Eryri,
on the North coast of Gwynedd and Clwyd is well known. The resorts
of Llandudno and Colwyn Bay were established on this coast to
take advantage of the lower rainfall and longer sunshine hours.
Despite a better climate than even Tremadog and Gogarth enjoys
and steep limestone faces that were climbed on extensively in
the Peak, it was not until the mid to late Eighties (after a huge
amount of development), that the mainstream of climbers began
to take notice of the advantages to the area. Talk about a slow
learning curve! North Wales limestone is now one of the major
climbing venues of Britain.
There are two main areas, the Great Orme - forming the headland
to the north of Llandudno and the Little Orme a mass of spectacularly
beetling cliffs and steep grassy slopes to the South East of Llandudno
and easily seen from the sea front. A third very important climbing
area was to be found at Craig y Forwen; however, access problems
have halted activity there.
The character of the two Ormes are quite different to each other,
on the Little Orme access to the routes can be difficult and sometimes
dangerous while on Great Orme nearly all the routes can be approached
in a few minutes - some pitches start on the tarmac.
Getting to the cliffs
The easiest approach to Llandudno along the A55 coast road; it
is also possible to leave the A5 at Betws y Coed and get to Llandudno
via Llanrwst. A number of junctions are signposted to Llandudno,
once in the town head for the Promenade, from here one can see
the Little Orme (on the right looking out to sea). Also, one can
see the Llandudno Pier, the approach to the Marine Drive - the
main access to the routes on the Great Orme, lies just past the
pier. The added benefit for climbing in the Llandudno area is
that most of the climbing is still quite accessible even if one
arrives by bus or by train.
As previously mentioned, access to Craig y Forwen is not possible
at the moment; the BMC has been meeting with the landowner, but
with little success as yet. On the cliffs above Marine Drive make
sure you stick to the designated areas. Also there are bird bans
on the cliffs hereabouts, particularly those of Little Orme; make
sure that you keep to them otherwise they might be lost as climbing
areas. You wouldn't want to climb with all that guano around anyway.
A Rock Fax Guide
North Wales Limestone - Published by The Climbers Club. Written
by Andy Pollit.
Maps - Ordnance Survey
Landranger 1:50,000 No. 115, 116
Outdoor Leisiure 1:25,000 No. 17; Pathfinder 1:25,000 Sh 78/88
New routes information can be found here on this web site, for
more detailed information on developments, one could ask around
the shops in Llanberis; or, look through a copy of one of the
recent New Routes books either in Pete's Eats Cafe: or, Parisella's