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Middle Hare Crag

By Alan Dougherty, June 2007



The crag is some 40m long, divided into five blocky buttresses and is, on average, four metres high.


OS Explorer (1:25000) sheet OL 31 North Pennines

OS Map Reference: NY955167 (left-hand end)

Aspect: South

Altitude: 400m

Approach Time: 30 minutes


Situation and Character

An edge of mostly good quality Gritstone, situated 1km from Goldsborough. The crag is not named on the map but lies between West Hare Crag and East Hare Crag. It is situated, just north of a wall/fence line, on the slight ridge, visible due south from Goldsborough Carr. The crag is some 40m long, divided into five blocky buttresses and is, on average, four metres high. The landings are mostly excellent but lichen can be a problem, especially on some of the finishes, for which faith in one’s ability to mantelshelf well is most useful. The place itself is cracking. Really isolated, lovely views, a sun trap and sheltered from the wind, a really nice place to hang out on a sunny afternoon, you can hear a pin drop.


The described problems were climbed by Alan and Carol Dougherty, and Kevin Flint during early April 2007. No evidence of previous climbing was noted but a photographic slide of nail-booted climbers in the Bentley Betham collection, held at Barnard Castle School, looks possibly like the venue.


Access and Approaches

Approach as for Goldsborough Carr, then head south, crossing the Yawd Sike, near a prominent cairn, and continue directly upslope, making use of one of the various ATV tracks. Alternatively, follow the Pennine Way – Bowes Loop to the gate at GR: NY 965171 and then paths by the fence south-westwards. This is a longer approach but the going is easier and it passes the minor bouldering at East Hare Crag.


Middle Hare Crag lies on moorland that is designated Access Land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Under that Act the land can be subject to temporary closures of up to twenty-eight days a year. Notification of closures should be posted at Access Points locally and, prior to a visit, can be checked on www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk  or via the Access Helpline on  0845 100 3298. It appears, however, that no temporary closures have been applied to this land since the inception of the Act. The area is sheep pasture and dogs should be kept under close control. The moor is designated a Special Protection Area and during the ground-nesting birds’ breeding season (mid-April to mid-July) it might be prudent to follow the longer access route, to avoid any disturbance.


The Climbs

The five buttresses that comprise the crag are separated by chimney/gully features. Descents can be made easily at either end of the edge. The problems are described from left to right:


Buttress One

A small face at the left-hand end lies almost at a right angle to the general aspect: The Left End Wall:


1. The Medievalist  4a

Follow a tiny corner feature 1m to right of left-hand end of wall.


2. Beany-less  4b

Centre of the wall – long reach from the horizontal break.


3. Golden Plover VD *

Delightful climbing up the corner between the Left End Wall and the Front Face.


The Front Face


4. Mobbed by Corvids  Severe 

Climb past the obvious flake.


5. Snipe VD

Centre of the wall, starting at the top left corner of a square-cut feature at the base.


The rest of this buttress is rather broken and is separated from Buttress Two by a slender grass-filled chimney.


Buttress Two


6. Redshank  4c

Climb the left-hand corner, on good holds. It steepens to overhang and the finish is slightly precarious.


7. Eat Porridge/Work Less  5c / 6a  **

Takes the wall that steepens increasingly, direct, just to the left of the obvious flake feature at half height, to a precarious mantle-shelf finish.

18 Eat Porridge / Work Less (climber: Alan Dougherty / photo Carol Dougherty) 


8. MPG  5a/5b   

Two metres right of the flake feature. Climb wall directly to exit just left of a small prow.


9. GFI  5c

One metre left of the right-hand edge of the Buttress. Climb the wall directly through a small prow to an off-putting mantelshelf finish.


Buttress Three

Identified by the pronounced overhang at the top, this section has much stonier landings. It is bounded on its left by a chimney (possible descent) and on the right by a block choked gully.


10. Stepped Corner  VD

Takes the stepped corner at the edge of the left-hand chimney.


11. Prow Left-hand  5b

Reaching up to the apex of the roof is easy – leaving it less so!


11a. Snake Charmer   5c/6a

Takes the prow on the right hand side with a fingery pull over the top.

Paul Miller, Andrew Yeadon both solo 27/9/08 

Paul Miller on Snake Charmer Photo: Andrew Yeadon


The Snake! "Named after the adder that we had to keep a keen eye on that was sunning itself on the ledge!"


12. Devastating Brevity 5c

Just to the right is a sandy scoop and smaller overlap, which are taken direct. Beware lichen and some friable rock.


13. Masterpiece of Brevity  Not 5a

One metre further right. Takes the wall and slight overhang on some rather doubtful rock.


Buttress Four


14. Moss Fool 5b

Just in from the left-hand is a fingery wall with a tiny overhang. A decent edge to finish but the rock is not above suspicion.


15. Squeezed In  5a

An eliminate between the adjacent problems. Take care with the finishing holds.


16. The Scoop  5b

Two metres right of the block choked gully is a scoop capped by an overhang. Climb it direct taking care with the finishing holds.


17. The Corner  4c

Corner to right of The Scoop. It is quite reachy.


18. Just That Move  5c/6a  **

Three metres right of The Corner (just right of where the heather ends) is a clean section of wall with a good handhold. The crux is establishing the feet on this hold and reaching for a rounded break. The finishing holds are good.


19. Stroll Through the Heather  5c/6a

Just to the right of the previous problem. Jams in the horizontal crack at arms’ reach – feet high – rounded holds to top.


20. Excellence of Brevity  6a  **

Three metres right of Just That Move. Attain good handholds, amongst lank heather, at 2.5m. Halfway between this and the top, a tiny edge and carefully placed sprang should allow the decent finishing holds to be reached.


21. Delusion of Comedy 5a 

One metre in from the right-hand edge of the buttress is a large hold at 2.5m. Climb the initial overhang to reach this hold and so to the top.


Buttress Five

Is under-cut at head-height.


22. Fuel Economy  5c/6a  * 

Gymnastic fun up the left-hand corner to an easier finish.


24 Fuel Economy (climber Carol Dougherty / photo Alan Dougherty)


23. Arriving Calm  6a  **

One metre right of Fuel Economy. Heel-hook the horizontal break, then make a powerful move, using the small but positive, diagonally aligned, incut, to reach for good finishing holds.


24. Erstwhile Boy Racer  5b

Three metres right of Arriving Calm  and just left of the dead heather. The awkward finish is facilitated by a small side-pull.




25. Strenfest  40m  5c  *

A left to right crossing that is open to variation but the following provides good sport: Start with a fingery section across the Left End Wall (5b). Keep low across Buttresses One and Two (straightforward). The overhang of Buttress Three is the obvious line for handholds (continues straightforward). Then, keeping low, cross strenuously, on rounded holds, the more lichenous Buttress Four (5b). Enjoy a rest in the chimney, then hand-traverse Buttress Five via the horizontal crack second from the ground (5c).



NGR: NY 95861674

A small selection of problems on decent Gritstone:


A useful reference is the pointed, Up-ended Slab, set at quite a high angle and covered in bullet scars. Its west side gives a layback up blind parallel cracks (5a) and the front face is 5b (unless tall) – easier if edge holds used. Eight metres west is a distinct prow which goes at 5a on the left, 4c on the right and 5c via the central aręte (pad the wall and don’t fall off!). Seven metres east of the Up-ended Slab a small, two tiered block gives a heel-hook problem from a SDS.


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