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Kisdon Scar

Details of this crag was previously recorded in North of England Rock Climbs by Stewart Wilson.


OS Sheet: 92

OS Landranger Sheet:  898010

Aspect: South

Altitude: 300m

Approach: 5 minutes


Situation and Character

The largest crag in Upper Swaledale, situated a short distance downstream of the delightful hamlet of Keld. This riverside scar consist of an impressive South-facing, leaning wall up to twenty metres high. Unfortunately the rock is very blocky and inclined to looseness, often on a large scale. The trees which cap much of the wall contain large quantities of ‘Hanging Death’ you have been warned!



The first definite route was the line of what is now Hard Rock; this was pegged by Chris Craggs and Dave Hobbs in 1968. Chris was so impressed by the potential of the crag that he rushed back twenty-two years later with Cohn (The Red Hat) Binks for a free ascent of the route as well as to climb Rock On to its left. They noticed a line further left with spaced bolts and threads reputed to be the work of John Dunne. Chris and Cohn abseiled down several other lines, some of which showed evidence of cleaning, but they were: ‘obviously overly desperate’. They raised their hats and retreated in good order. In 1991 Chris Sowden and Tony Burnell began to develop some of the obvious potential setting Keld in Action. There remains a considerable amount of steep, blank rock and development will doubtless continue, albeit in the upper grades.


Access and Approaches

There is limited parking in the centre of Keld but it is advisable to park by the Youth Hostel on the main road and walk into the village. Follow the Pennine Way south for a couple of hundred metres then branch left down to a footbridge over the River Swale. Follow the path on the other side of the valley as it swings right around a ridge. The crag is visible from here and its base is reached by a descent over steep grass followed by a short traverse.


The Climbs

The climbs are described from left to right.


1 The Tragedy of Bertie Pawle F6b

Climb the first of the two bolt-protected lines on the left-hand flat wall of the crag.


2 Feroz Khan F6b

Climb the second bolt-protected line.


Further right is a ragged crack which is the common start for the next two routes:


3 Soldier F7b

Climb the ragged crack then break out left before the impressive groove.


4 Keld in Action F7b

Climb the ragged crack and continue up the impressive groove.


5 Mrs Homeyold-Strickland Calls It a Day F7b

Start 6m right of Keld in Acton. Follow the bolts!


Just right of the centre of the crag is a great, red corner; the scene of a rock fall and just right is a rib with bulges.


6 Dunne’s Route Grade Unknown

Climb the rib and bulges. Some of the best rock on the crag!


To the right are two groove lines:


7 Rock On E2 5c

Climb the left-hand groove. An exercise in bridging.


8 Rock Away E3 6a

Break left out of the left-hand groove and climb a difficult corner containing peg runners.


9 Hard Rock E3 6a

Climb the cracked corner and bulge by a chain-link bolt.