Another wet weather alternative to the mountains, but one that
still retains its enigmatic aura, even though a guidebook to the
area has been published recently. The area is renowned for its
remote cliffs, the difficulty of access to some crags, large swells
and waves and its sometimes-suspect rock, this peninsula holds
an adventure area par excellence. Furthermore, with no coastguard
rescue here, little if any 'outside' knowledge of where the routes
lie and the possibility of serious epics and dire consequences
awaiting the foolhardy - is it really surprising that few mainstream
climbers have visited the area? Have we put you off yet? For those
that have the ability and the nous to prevail, a tremendous arena
awaits; to those coming straight out of the climbing walls; or,
dangling on bolts find somewhere else to hone your skills.
The rock on some of the cliffs is like nowhere else in North
Wales, some crags have gritstone style climbing, and others make
you feel as if you're on a stack of boxes with band of crumbly
biscuits between each layer.
There are only about 160 rainy days a year at Cilan, producing
around 1,100mm of rain per annum; also on some South facing crags
one may find it possible to climb all day in a T-shirt, even in
January. Conversely, in the Summer one is always never to far
from some cool North facing crevice in which to escape the heat.
Although most of the cliffs in this area are sea cliffs, some
- such as Gwylwyr and Tyn Tywyn are old quarries, these quarries
have extremely compact rock and some routes may require many small
wires. The sea cliffs on have their own difficulties; leaving
abseil ropes and jumaring equipment in place may save one from
a swim in some cases of failure. On other cliffs stake belays
may be needed to set up an abseil. The largest cliffs are at Cilan,
they need particular care in their approach, the steep concave
slopes descending to the cliff tops are not the easiest of places
to work out ones position. At Cilan and at Craig Dorys the nature
of the rock allows the use of many camming devices, double sets
may be required on some routes.
Getting to the cliffs
Most of the cliffs are to be found along either the North or the
South coast. Therefore, the best approach depends on where one
wishes to climb. If the cliff is on the South coast, e.g. for
Cilan and Tyn Tywyn; then the best method of approach is to head
for Pwllheli then to take the A499 west towards Abersoch. For
the North coast cliffs follow the A499 out of Caernarfon then
take the B4417 through Nefyn and continue along this road to Aberdaron.
Once at the correct location of some cliffs your problems are
not over; indeed one may find that they are only just starting.
The convex slopes lead one down temptingly to the edges of some
ferocious cliffs; beware of these slopes in wet weather when slips
are possible and in dry weather when the soil just crumbles under
your feet. Then, in many locations one has to find the abseil
stakes - these are not always obvious - having been hidden by
grass, taken out or rusted away. In places there are no abseil
stakes and rabbit warren threads may be necessary for abseils
and for belays at the top. In other areas, make sure you have
long enough ropes; one approach requires a 70m length. Have Fun!
Lleyn - a climbers guide by D. Ferguson, I.A. Jones Published
by Thrillsucker Publications.
Maps - Ordnance Survey
Landranger 1:50,000 No. 123
Pathfinder 1:25,000 No. SH12/22/32; SH13/23; Sh34/44 - these will
be replaced by the Outdoor Leisiure series in time.
New routes information is available on this website; or, look
through a copy of one of the recent new routes books in Pete's