Climbing mountains was a popular pastime of Victorian gentlemen in the mid-19th Century, mostly around the Alps. This type of climbing was mostly walking with the aid of an ice axe and ropes for safety. Rock climbing as such involves vertical ascents up rock faces and was first carried out in Britain in the Lake District in the early 1880s. It was popularised following a solo (where a climber ascends on his own without protection) ascent of the 70ft Napes Needle on Great Gable in 1886 by Walter Parry Haskett Smith.
It is not known when rock climbing was first carried out in Shropshire but it must have been around the turn of the century. Since most quarries were still active then, this would have been on small outcrops of rock. This type of rock climbing is known as “bouldering” and was initially done without the use of ropes or climbing aids. The term is also used for modern artificial climbing walls. As large quarries became disused, climbers used them for longer and more difficult climbs.
Grades of Climb
Each climb is given a grade which informs the climber how hard it will be to climb.
The second part of the grade (technical) gives an indication of the hardest move to be found on the route (irrespective of how many of them there might be) or how strenuous it is. It starts at 4a, presumably because lower grades are regarded as too easy to be worth mentioning! The scale is
4a 4b 4c 5a 5b 5c 6a 6b 6c 7a 7b.
Thus a typical climb might be grades as VS5a.
Gazetteer of Climbing Sites
(See UK Climbing Gazetteer)
Sandstone rock with 2 climbs
Limestone rock with 38 climbs.
Basalt rock with 3 climbs.
Rhyolite rock with 4 climbs.
Sandstone rock with 171 climbs.
Sandstone rock with 18 climbs.
Limestone rock with 49 climbs.
Man-made monument with 5 climbs.
Limestone rock with 125 climbs.
This quarry is a nature reserve managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust. Due to rare nesting birds, parts of the cliffs are under restricted access from 1 March to 30 June.
Dolerite rock with 2 climbs.
Sandstone rock with 180 climbs.
There is a publication Climber’s Guide to Nescliffe
Sandstone rock with 10 climbs.
Igneous rock with 47 climbs.
Restrictions apply during the nesting season.
Sandstone rock with 1 climb.
Quartzite rock with 27 climbs.
Restricted to Cranberry Tor. No permanent climbing aids permitted.
Not a recognised safe climb. In 2016, a climber had to be rescued after getting stuck on the unstable rock face. He was brought down by two fire crews from Wellington, safe but embarrassed.
Rhyolite rock with 3 climbs.
Sandstone rock with 9 climbs.