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Weardale in Winter


Harthope Head Quarry (West)
Alan Dougherty September 2006

OS Explorer (1:25000) sheet OL 31 North Pennines
Map Reference: NY862351
Aspect: north-east
Altitude: 600m
Approach Time: 1 minute

Harthope Head                                                                                          Photo Alan Dougherty

Situation and Character
An old quarry-working, situated on the Tees / Wear Watershed that can offer some water-ice pitches after a prolonged freeze. Itís probably the highest located of the easily accessible ice in the northern Pennines but once below the level of the surrounding moor, the quarry can be quite sheltered. A stake, or a couple of warthogs, might be found useful for pitch-top belays. The lower tiers offer some dry-tooling practice. Itís not the Northern Corries but you are unlikely to upset rock-climbers.



Parson Byers/Woodcroft Quarry

OS Sheet 92

OS Map Reference NZ005368

The best location in Weardale is Parson Byers Quarry. The quarry can be seen looking South of the A689 when traveling from Frosterley to Stanhope on the Durham-Alston road and is located above the old Stanhope Ė Frosterley road across the River Wear. This disused quarry was used as a dumping ground for spoil from the Tyne Tees Tunnel project, and was serviced by a dirt road in the eighties. This is now removed, and access can be had by taking the footpath from GR 002382 on the old Stanhope to Frosterley back road.


Climbers should ask permission from Woodcroft Farm prior to climbing. No dogs please.

Note: The owner does not want to allow any access following a (non-climbing) fatality during the summer of 2009. Please check with the BMC prior to climbing.

The photographs below were taken in January 1982 during a particularly cold spell of weather. The North facing quarry is at about 400-500 metres above sea level, so a good freeze is required to bring it into condition. The best climbing as the 3 right hand photographs show, is where the stream Cow Burn falls into the quarry, giving a grade 3 route. This is just left of centre of the back face. Numerous other steep ice falls form, but have never looked substantial enough to climb other than on a top rope. The ice shown on the left hand photo, just left of Cow Burn, has been climbed. There is another small waterfall at the west end of the quarry worth a look.

Bob Bennett


Bob Bennett exploring Parson Byres, Weardale in the winter of 1983




Bollihope Burn Quarry

OS Sheet 92

OS Map Reference NZ010350

Cliff Lowther has reported good fun conditions up at Bollihope Burn if you can get there! See more on his blog: http://www.roxcool.co.uk/blog.asp?BlogID=62

The quarry has 20 or more good lines estimated III - VI+. It doesn't really look suitable for leading (friable rock and thin and/or potentially loose ice). The best top rope anchors are off a fence about 70m back from the edge. Some posts are extremely rotten, while others seem pretty good if paired up. Take care!


White Force

OS Sheet 92

OS Map Reference NY852280

Sensitive Access: In winter there is usually a notice at the waterfall stating "No climbing as it damages the SSSI".




Harthope Head                          Photo Alan Dougherty




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