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North Wales Limestone


North Wales Limestone  (The Definitive Guide)

ISBN: 9780992981105

Written by: Pete Harrison and Andy Boorman

Published by: On Sight Publishing

Reviewed by: Karin Magog


North Wales Limestone by Pete Harrison and Andy Boorman is the new, much anticipated definitive climbing guide which covers the well known Ormes (Great and Little) and the A55 crags (including the more recently developed sports crags and the established classic trad crag of Craig y Forwyn). As well as a vast array of sports and traditional climbs the guide also throws in a few Deep Water Soloing gems and a brief guide to some of the best link-ups (and classic problems) in the popular Parisella’s Cave. It is also the first time a definitive guide has been released as an App, check out www.thesend.co.uk/apps for more info.

Almost 1000 sport routes and over 500 trad climbs are clearly described. As with all modern guides it is full colour with clear photo-diagrams. All the trad lines are shown in blue and the sports routes are split into four grade bands, each with their own colour. There are excellent sketch maps as well as photo-maps, particularly useful on the Great Orme with its numerous sectors, some of which are above the road and others below. Each sector has detailed approach information which can be very important, as for some areas (such as The Diamond) the approach can be quite complicated. The routes also have a written description and it was good to see the first ascent details listed here as well. One of the features I particularly liked was the sun symbol on the photo-diagrams so you can see at a glance when the crag gets the sun e.g.until 2pm, after 3pm, etc. One thing I would have found useful would have been a much more detailed index for the Ormes, with page numbers for every sector, which would have made finding a particular crag easier. It is also worth noting that all the profits from this excellent climbing guide go into the bolt fund to support ongoing route maintenance.

The guide has some excellent action shots, both trad and sport across the full grade spectrum. Many of them are for crags/areas that I haven't visited before but am now super keen to check-out. Hopefully they will also inspire others to make the effort to visit areas such as Detritus Wall, The Diamond, Dutchman’s Zawn, Craig Pen y Gogarth and Castell y Gwynt, to name a few. Some of the photos that stood out for me in particular include Libby Peter on Zawn Creature in Dutchman’s Zawn, Oskar Alexandersson on Psychic Threshold (Castell y Gwynt), Miles Perkin on the amazing looking Wall of the Evening Light (The Diamond), Will Oates on the stunning Ocean of Emotion (Detritus Wall) and Lee Proctor on the Grand Canyon extension in the excellent sounding Devil’s Gorge. One thing I would have liked to see with the photo captions would have been cross referencing to the page number where I could find the route. However, they are generally within a page or two and there is a comprehensive route index at the back of the guide as well.

North Wales Limestone is also packed with other information, from the local geology and environment to a useful guide to pubs/cafes/climbing walls/shops and campsites. For me the short section explaining the dew point was particularly interesting and the page entitled ‘Where’s in the Sun’ is very useful as a quick guide to which crags may be worth a visit whether it’s sun or shade you’re after. It was also good to see a detailed historical section which is split into two. The first is entitled a ‘Potted History’ and profiles many of the local pioneers who have left their mark. The second more ‘Recent History’ includes the significant new routes and repeats from the last few years.

Some of the areas in the guide have complicated access info such as Craig y Forwyn and many have seasonal restrictions for nesting birds or school holidays. This is all included in the guide but is kept up to date at both the North Wales Limestone wiki and the BMC RAD.

This is a great guide and has a vast choice of routes to go at, regardless of your grade. The authors have done an excellent job compiling all the information and producing a much needed definitive guide to this area.



The North Wales Limestone Bolt Fund

Modern stainless steel bolts are not cheap! Static Ropes and Drills also need to be replaced all too often. The bolt fund relies on contributions from the climbers and the wider community. All donations to help this work can be made via a PayPal link at The North Wales Bolt Fund.

Finally thanks must also go to all the volunteers who have donated their time to the ongoing inspections on the Marine Drive and to the mammoth task of re-equipping existing routes, revamping neglected crags and developing new ones.



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