Gower Climbing Festival

Friday 30th August — Sunday 1st September 2019


The BMC Gower Climbing Festival is now in its 11th year, making it the longest continuously running climbing meetup 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 (veggie options available too!). 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 Moorlakes Wood Activity Centre, a private woodland next to Swansea Airport. It has camping fields, plenty of trees for hammocks, hard ground for campervans and a bunkhouse for those who don't have a tent.

Activities will start Friday afternoon, we are kicking off the festival with a BMC Hills 2 Oceans beach clean up at Swansea Bay. In the evening Tom Livingstone is giving a talk at The Climbing Hangar. We will be kicking off Saturday with a free yoga class and a fresh bacon and/or egg butty from local sources for a small donation to a charitable cause. 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 new to outdoor climbing, local aficionado Matt Woodfield will be running a free morning workshop introducing sport climbing and leading. The evening will be spent in the pub with a family-friendly pub quiz and a showing of the climbing film Blood Moon. 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 climbing workshops, below, for details). Then for those who want to learn a bit more about sport leading Matt is running the full length learning to lead sport workshop (see learning to lead, below). More experienced climbers can come along to a session on how to bolt. There is something for everyone, so whether it’s your first time climbing on real rock or you’ve climbed for years, come and enjoy a fun weekend on Gower!

Hope to see you there!

Festival schedule

Advice can be given about what crags you might like to visit as well as activities and workshops throughout the weekend.


Moorlakes wood campsite opens
Talk by Tom Livingstone at The Climbing Hangar Swansea (SA7 9FH)
Campfire at Moorlakes wood


Yoga on site
BMC breakfast on site
Introduction to leading workshop with Outdoor Matters — meet at Moorlakes campsite
Vertical positioning workshop with Outdoor Matters— meet at Southgate car park (Pennard Stores, SA3 2DH)
Quiz at the Beaufort Arms pub in Kittle (SA3 3JG)
Showing of ‘Blood Moon’ at the Beaufort Arms
Campfire at Moorlakes wood


Yoga on site
BMC breakfast on site
Full introduction to sport climbing workshop with Outdoor Matters — meet at Moorlakes camp site
Morning kids climbing session — meet in the pay and display car park in Port Eynon (SA3 1NN)
Afternoon kids climbing session — meet in the pay and display car park in Port Eynon (SA3 1NN)

Plus lots more!

BMC Hills 2 Ocean Swansea Bay beach clean up

This year the BMC want to remove mountains of waste from the places we love and we want to get involved!

There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. If no action is taken, this figure will treble within the next ten years. 80% of litter in the seas comes from inland. Plastic bottles, crisp packets, cigarette packs and cans will end up in our oceans unless we do something about it.

We will be heading to Swansea Bay for a walk along the beach to fill our bin bags and make the coastline a little bit nicer for everyone who uses it.

Friday Night Entertainment

The Climbing Hangar, Swansea’s new biggest bouldering Gym have agreed to host a talk by our guest speaker Tom Livingstone on Friday evening (30th August). Delicious food and drink will be available, for an evening of exciting adventures and teeth clenching tales.

Tom Livingstone

Tom has a passion for trad, winter and alpine climbs taking him all around the world putting up first ascents in Alaska and the Himalaya but also spending plenty of time on British sea cliffs and Scottish ice. Extra cool fact, Tom says his first lead climbing experience was on the Gower!

Photos courtesy of Tom Ripley and Dan Lane photography

Morning Yoga

Get warmed up for a strong day climbing with a free morning yoga class! Abbey from Yogi Bach will be running an energising morning flow at the campsite on Saturday and Sunday morning. Open to everyone! Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or have been meaning to try it out for ages, come and join in to get your morning off to a fantastic start, just in time for breakfast!

Introduction to sport climbing workshop

A free morning workshop on Saturday looking at the core skills required to take your indoor leading onto real rock, led by local guidebook author and Mountaineering Instructor Matt Woodfield.

We’ll cover clipping draws and threading the lower off as well as some top tips for staying safe and enjoying sport climbing outside.

Meet at Moorlakes campsite in the morning to introduce yourself to Matt and secure a space on the course. There’s no need to book, but you can let Matt know you’re keen by emailing him at climbwithmatt@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Outdoor Matters

Full sport climbing course

If this sounds good but you want to know it all then join us on Sunday for a full intro to sport climbing course, just £50 for BMC members.

The full course will be a full day looking at all the skills you need to enjoy climbing on bolted routes.

You’ll be looking at:

With lots of opportunities to climb and put things into practice you’ll be well on your way to being an independent sport climber by the end of the day.

You can book the full course now by emailing Matt at climbwithmatt@gmail.com.

Vertical positioning workshop

On Saturday afternoon Matt is a running another free workshop! He will run you through the basics of vertical positioning when photographing subjects on a sport route.

He’ll be covering planning and preparation for shots as well as the skills you need to position and protect yourself when you want to step your photography up from just “bum shots”.

If you want to up your photography game and have a worthwhile entry for the Festival photography competition then this is for you.

Check out Matt’s full course on his website.

Youth climbing workshops with Rock UK

The awesome team at RockUK, Summit Centre will be running a morning and afternoon youth climbing workshop to introduce the younger generation to the joys of climbing on real rock! Whether your child has only climbed on plastic or is only just getting in to the sport, this isn’t an opportunity to be missed.

Two sessions will be available to book on to. 10:00-12:00 or 13:00-15:00. Spaces are limited so make sure to book your spot before it’s too late! Please note that RockUK will not be providing transport to and from the climbing venue, but lift shares can be organised on the morning of the session. A small charge of £3 will be required to book on to the day per participant taking part on the day. Meeting details will be updated soon

Booking Conditions:

Please follow book your place via the RockUK website form.

Saturday evening events

On Saturday evening we will be heading to the Beaufort Arms, Kittle, SA3 3JG, for dinner and the famous Gower Climbing Festival pub quiz. The quiz is a chance to flex your climbing knowledge muscles and get your hands on some exciting prizes provided by our generous sponsors at Up and Under and Pongoose. The quiz won’t be all questions, as the usual dingbats and other picture rounds will make an appearance. Make sure you swot up!

For afters we will be showing the climbing film Blood Moon, a Posing Productions film following Robbie Phillips, Calum Cunningham and Alan Carne as they attempt to open a new climb, ground up, on a 700m Big Wall called Tsaranoro Atsimo in Madagascar. Not to be missed!