The Gower Climbing Festival is an opportunity for you to come and experience what the Gower peninsula has to offer on its plentiful limestone cliffs and beautiful beaches. There's 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 first festival was held in 2009, and it 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 2009 festival video (embedded below), or look at the 2009 festival report, complete with a feature article in the BMC's Summit magazine.
We've created a map highlighting where the accommodation, climbing areas and pubs are in the surrounding area — see below or click to view a larger version.
Update: The festival's base camp has had to be changed — due to circumstances beyond our control we are no longer able to use the field near the Worm's Head Hotel as a base camp, nor are we able to offer free camping. Sorry for this last-minute change — we're going to be using Pitton Cross campsite as a base camp again instead. This campsite offers full facilities, but will not be free (please visit the Pitton Cross Camping website for further details of costs). Evening events will still take place in the Worm's Head Hotel as previously advertised.
Just like last year we'll have topos and sarnies from the festival base camp all weekend. In addition, the following confirmed events will be taking place during the festival weekend:
- Friday 10th September
- Arrive on the peninsula, unpack and come for a drink at the Worm's Head Hotel.
- Saturday 11th September
- From 9:00am, register at the BMC tent and receive topos and bacon butties (donations to the bolt fund / RNLI welcomed), and recommendations for where to go climbing over the weekend.
- Evening entertainment at the Worm's Head Hotel with good food, good beer and a pub quiz.
- Sunday 12th September
- From 9:00am, breakfast rolls will be served up again, before heading out for another day of Gower climbing.
Topos for selected crags will be available on the Saturday morning from the festival's base at Pitton Cross campsite. For those wishing to explore more of Gower and other regions of South Wales there's the definitive guidebook from the South Wales Mountaineering Club, 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.
- 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.
Free camping courtesy of the Worm's Head Hotel (field only; no facilities, but public toilets nearby)(no longer available unfortunately — see the events summary for more details)
- Pitton Cross Camping, pitches from £11 per night, dogs welcome
- Worm's Head Hotel, rooms from £58 per night
- Pilton Moor stables, self catering cottages for small groups and camping available: 2 man tent at £15 per night
Alternatively take a look at the-gower.com for a range of accommodation options.
Please do not wild camp on Gower — there are many campsites and other accommodation options available instead.