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Middle Head Crag


OS Sheet: 94

Map Reference: NZ632011

Aspect: South

Altitude: 300m

Approach Time: 20 minutes


View from Middle Head Crag


Situation and Character

This crag is in a pleasant situation at the head of Farndale and gives a number of short routes, some of which are worthwhile. The crag is best visited in the spring before the bracken takes over at the base of the routes.



Developed by Dave Paul and Steve Brown during the 1970s.  Franco Cookson and David Warburton added more routes at the right end of the crag in 2007.


Access and Approaches

Take the Farndale East road from Church Houses towards Dale Head and park on the right just before Elm House at the head of Farndale (NGR643004). Continue along Daleside Road (green track) on foot. Shortly after crossing a bridge over a small stream, the track leads through another gate way. Continue on the main track until directly below the crag where a gate on the right gives easy access the boulders below the crag.



The Climbs

Composed of natural, weathered sandstone the crag can be divided into four buttresses. The rock is generally solid; however Holly Tree Buttress is well named!


Left-hand Buttress

This buttress is severely undercut with a prominent roof crack at the left hand end. No climbs have been reported although there is some potential for routes.


Beowulf Buttress

Situated roughly in the centre of the crag, it is characterised by a large roof.


1. Do or Fly   8m   HVS 5c

Climb a wall and overhang direct 7m left of a perched block.


2. Taboo   8m   HS 4b

The pleasant corner just left of the perched block.


3. P.B. left-hand   7m   M

The obvious crack/flake on the left-hand side of the perched block.


4. P.B. right-hand   7m   M

A line of ledges, which is a useful descent.


5. Beowulf   10m   E3 5c

The obvious roof-crack.


6. Rowen   8m   VD

The wall and crack 5m right of the roof.


Just across the grassy gully is…


Holly Buttress

The Holly dominates the right hand side of this buttress.


7. Para   7m   VS 5b

The delicate little scoop on the left edge of the buttress.


8. Woodstock   7m   S

The obvious crack up the dark wall; pleasant.


9. Rock Pipit   10m   E1 5b

The groove and black overhang via the cleft.


The next buttress is about 40m further right.


The Prow


10. Assegal   8m   HVS 5b

The left wall of the obvious aręte.


11. Zulu   12m   S

The large, rounded aręte. A nice climb.


12. La Fuente del Ritmo   12m   VS 4c

The right wall of the aręte.


13. Snowflake   8m   HVS 5b

The aręte and corner 10m right of Zulu.


14. Good old Mutt   8m   HVS 5a

The chossy corner and crack in the overhang left of The Prow.


15. One Man and his Dog   8m   HVS 5a

The attractive cleft right of The Prow without the aid of the tree.


16. Choc-a block    8m   VD

Start up One Man and his Dog. Traverse right around the big block. Finish up a wide crack.


17. Aiguille de la Franco   HVS 5b

The aręte right of 'One Man and his Dog'. Hard moves lead to the second break which provides a Jug. An interesting move then leads to easier climbing.

Franco Cookson, Solo, 29th October 2007 


The next buttress about 20 metres to the right of 'Aiguille de la Franco' provides two climbs.


18. Crazy Horse   E1 5c

This is the left rib/aręte. A stretchy leg comes in handy when pinching the aręte, or teeter up on tiny holds.

Franco Cookson, solo, 29th October 2007.


19. A Mans Best Friend    HVS 5a

Thin and fingery up the face to the right of Crazy Horse.

David Warburton, Solo, 29th October 2007


Another 20 metres along a buttress with no routes on can be found. To the right of this is a prominent ridge.


20. Talking Bull   HVS 5a

Climb the line (left of a holy tree), to a heathery finish.

Franco Cookson, solo, 29th October 2007 


About 15m to the right lies:


Red Wall

Only two climbs have been recorded to date.


21. Iron Men   7m   HVS 5a

The steep, red wall on small holds.


22. Iron Clad   HVS 5a

Climb the 'not-so-steep' wall to the left of Iron Men. Using the left aręte if you must.

David Warburton, solo, 29th October 2007


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