The BMC Gower Climbing Festival is now in its 10th year, now making it the longest continuously running climbing meet up in the UK! Regular attendees from all across the UK will confess to the delights of the Gower climbing, the fabulous scenery and the much appreciated morning bacon rolls. Newcomers are always welcome, and we will provide as much help as we can to ensure a great weekend of climbing is had by all!
The festival base this year will be at Pitton Cross Campsite, near Rhossili (see Accommodation, below). For those eager (or brave) enough, the Friday evening will begin with a relaxed Deep Water Solo session at the Platform area of Rhossili. Kicking off Saturday with fresh bacon and/or egg butties from local sources for a small donation to the RNLI or the local bolt fund always shakes off the morning chills! There’ll also be some friendly chit-chat and advice for those who want it for a fun day of climbing ahead of them. For those keen to cram in a little bit more from their weekend, local aficionado Matt Woodfield will be running a morning workshop at King Wall, Fall Bay on problem solving and self-rescue on sea cliffs – well worth it for some more adventurous days! The evening will be spent in the pub with a family-friendly pub quiz and a talk from adventurer Barry Grey about his various expeditions and recent challenge of solo crossing the Antarctic! Sunday will see a free kids outdoor taster session at local crags after the morning meet to get the kids off the plastic and on to some real rock! (See Youth Day Out, below, for details) Everyone else can look forward to a relaxed day of sending, smiles and sore bodies all round.
Hope to see you there!
The map below highlights where the accommodation, climbing areas and pubs are in the surrounding area. Click to view a larger version.
Gower offers plenty of climbing for everyone, with trad routes ranging from Diffs to the high Extremes, sport routes from Fr3 to Fr8b, and a handful of bouldering areas too. The festival has been held in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and each of the previous events turned out to be a great success, with plenty of visitors from all over the UK joining us for the weekend. The best way to find out what this year’s festival will be like is to watch the festival video (see below), browse our Facebook group look at a festival report or chat to local climbers!
Youth Day Out
This year, the festival is holding a session aimed at giving young climbers a chance to get out onto rock. Under supervision by qualified and experienced individuals, the session will be held on Sunday morning following the bacon and egg butties. Multiple bottom ropes will be set up with various routes ranging from Diff up to Hard VS.
We will be meeting at Pitton Cross campsite at 9:30am and heading to the crag together. After a morning of fun, we will be leaving the crag and back to the campsite for 3:00pm.
Parents will need to be in attendance for supervision. Numbers are limited to 20 on the day, and you need to be able to put on a harness, tie a figure of eight and be able to bottom rope belay. Equipment can be borrowed, but you may want to bring your own (especially harnesses and rock shoes).
To sign up, please download and fill in our participation form.
Once completed, please return it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the email subject: "Gower Climbing Festival Youth Day" and the attendee’s name.
Self-Rescue & Problem Solving Workshop
Run by Gower aficionado Matt Woodfield, this workshop will give experienced climbers an introductory taste of problem solving and self-rescue skills for when things start to go a little pear-shaped! Most Gower crags are very user friendly with easy scrambles to the bases; however, some other crags in the UK are a little trickier to access. Consequently, escaping such areas can be even more challenging! But fear not, as Matt gives you some advice and tips here.
Evening Slideshow and Pub Quiz
After a slideshow and talk by guest speaker Barry Grey at the Monksland Pub, the quiz is your chance to flex your climbing knowledge muscles. The quiz won’t be all questions, as the usual dingbats and other picture rounds will make an appearance. Make sure you swot up!
The local team will be on hand both mornings with the finest Gower bacon and/or egg rolls for a donation to the RNLI or the local bolt fund. Plenty of locals at the event will be around to make recommendations for your day’s climbing as well as guidebooks available from the campsite shop.
Everyone is welcome to attend the festival, although please note that the organisers will not be providing instruction for beginners. If you are new to climbing and would like to come along, we recommend that you employ a qualified instructor. Here are some local instructors that know the area well:
- Matt Woodfield: Call 07849 109100 or email email@example.com
- Dynamic Rock Adventures Ltd.: Call 01792 845655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other options can be found on the Association of Mountaineering Instructors website, which has contact details for many providers.
Topos for selected crags will be available on the Saturday morning from the festival’s base at Pitton Cross campsite. Some of these are also available from this website (see right), to give you a taste of what to expect. For those wishing to explore more of Gower and other regions of South Wales there’s the select Gower Rock guide, the definitive guidebook from the South Wales Mountaineering Club, or the Rockfax South Wales Sport Climbs guide, all available from good guidebook stockists. Alternatively, the SWMC wiki has up-to-date details for most crags in the surrounding area.
Selected climbing areas
The following are some of the most popular and well-known Gower crags, but there are plenty more all along the peninsula. More detailed information about these and other areas in South Wales is available on the SWMC wiki, or you can click on the titles below to view the crag pages on UKClimbing.com.
- Shipwreck Cove and Mermaid Wall
- A new development of the recent addition to the Gower’s sport climbing scene is the extension of Shipwreck Cove to Mermaid Wall. The former features incredible top end sport climbing routes from F7a up to F8b+, while the latter gives great low end grades from F3 up to F6c.
- Fall Bay
- This area contains some of the most popular routes on Gower, and you could easily spend the entire weekend here. King Wall is a popular crag with numerous routes in the Diff to VS range. Above this tidal crag is Lewes Castle, a slightly tougher affair with most grades around VS and HVS and a few low Extremes.
- Yellow Wall
- Gower’s showcase crag, with several serious trad undertakings. With the tides right all weekend, abseil in and get on the likes of Muppet Show, Transformer, or the crag’s namesake: Yellow Wall.
- Juniper Wall
- One of the tallest crags on Gower, with a collection of great VSs, and a contender for one of the best HVSs on Gower: Assassin.
- Boiler Slab
- This easy-angled limestone slab is great for novices and beginners, with lots of routes in the VS to E2 range, and a handful of Severes. At low tide the sea reveals rock pools below the crag, great to cool off in and explore.
- If tough sport is why you’ve ventured onto Gower then head for Oxwich, set near some of the best panoramic views on Gower. Home to a classic Fr6c, Kissin’ the Pink, and many more routes from Fr7a upwards.
- Three Cliffs
- Probably the most well known area of Gower, and the location of one of its most well known routes: Scavenger. With trad mainly in the lower grades, the routes are generally slabby affairs, though for the more adventurous there’s Under Milkwood.
- Foxhole Cove
- Home of sport routes from Fr3 to Fr8b, with the majority of grades around 7a (around 25 routes in total).
We’ve arranged a few options for your stay on Gower, from camping through to hotel rooms. We recommend pre-booking with the accommodation directly where appropriate.
- Pitton Cross Camping, pitches from £11 £8 (see below) per night, dogs welcome
- Pilton Moor stables, self catering cottages for small groups, camping available
- Worm’s Head Hotel
Alternatively take a look at the-gower.com for a range of accommodation options.
This year, Pitton Cross Camping is £8 per person per night (instead of the usual £11). Please make a booking by phone (01792 390593) or online, and mention that you are attending the festival to get the discounted price.
Please do not wild camp on Gower — there are many campsites and other accommodation options available instead.