The Gower Climbing Festival, now in its 8th year, is a well established event in the BMC calendar for climbers from all over the UK. Regular attendees 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. Saturday begins with fresh bacon butties from local sources for a small donation to the RNLI or the local bolt fund. There'll also be some friendly chit-chat and advice for those who want it for a fun day of climbing ahead of them. The evening will be spent in the pub with a pub quiz while climbers share stories of their day. Sunday's plan is the same as Saturday, concluding after the morning meet.
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 and 2015, 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 read the feature article in the BMC's Summit magazine.
Youth Days Out
This year, the festival is holding sessions aimed at giving young climbers a chance to get out onto rock. Under supervision and planning by the BMC's Youth officer James McHaffie, the first session will be held on Saturday at the ever popular Three Cliffs Bay. Multiple bottom ropes will be set up with various routes ranging from Diff up to Hard VS.
For parents unsure as to where the crag is, we will all be meeting at Southgate car park at 9:45am and heading down together. After a day of fun, we will be leaving the crag and back to the car park for 4:30pm.
On the Sunday, the session will be run at Fall Bay near Rhosilli. This time, a combination of bottom-ropes and top-ropes (with volunteer belayers) will be used. Once the tide goes out, there will also be a chance to do the giants cave abseil - an exciting free hanging abseil right through the centre of the roof of the cave.
The day will start at the Rhosilli Bay car park at 9:15am with a walk through the fields accompanied by views of the Worms Head. The day ends at 4:00pm back in the car park with the tempting option of ice cream!
Numbers are limited to 20 per 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 Days".
Sea Cliff Workshop
Run by Gower aficionado Matt Woodfield, the sea cliff workshop will give experienced climbers an introductory taste of climbing sea cliffs. Most Gower crags are very user friendly with easy scrambles to the bases, however some other crags in the UK are a little more tricky to access. Consequently, escaping such areas can be even more challenging! But fear not, as Matt gives you some advice and tips here.
After a day out, James McHaffie will be giving us a quick slideshow at the Monksland Pub at 8:00pm about his latest adventures and escapades. For those who don't know, as well as being the BMC youth representative James is a formidable climber with some top hard ascents to his name. Not one to miss!
Your chance to flex your climbing knowledge muscles in our usual pub quiz held at the Monksland Pub at 20:30. 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. Special festival topos will be available, and there'll be plenty of locals at the event to make recommendations for your day's climbing.
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:
- Dynamic Rock Adventures Ltd.: Call 01792 845655 or email email@example.com
- Matt Woodfield: Call 07849 109100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Simon Rawlinson: Email email@example.com
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 new select Gower Rock guide, or the definitive guidebook from the South Wales Mountaineering Club, both available from all 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 23 routes in total). Re-geared in 2009 by local climbers funded by the bolt fund, arguably the premier sport crag on Gower.
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 £10 £7.50 (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 £7.50 per person per night (instead of the usual £10). Please make a booking by phone (01792 390593) or online, and mention the BMC to get the discounted price.
Please do not wild camp on Gower — there are many campsites and other accommodation options available instead.