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Yorkshire Gritstone V2


Yorkshire Gritstone (2014)

ISBN: 9780951526767

Written by: Robin Nicholson with Adi Gill, Matt Troilett and Andy McCue

Published by: Yorkshire Mountaineering Club

Reviewed by: Steve Crowe


Yorkshire Gritstone (2014) YMC
Volume Two Ilkley to Widdop

Yorkshire Gritstone Volume 2 by the Yorkshire Mountaineering Club is the definitive guide to all the rock climbing and bouldering on the south and west half of the Yorkshire Gritstone crags. It weighs in at over 750 pages and describes over 75 crags which are arranged logically into six geographic areas.

Chapter 1
Ilkley: Cow & Calf Rocks, Rocky Valley, Windgate Nick, Swastika Stones.

Chapter 2
Barden Moor: Crookrise, Rylstone, Eastby, Deer Gallows, Rolling Gate, Fairies Chest, Embsay, Halton Heights, Shelter Cliff, Crookstones.

Chapter 3
Widdop & the Calderdale Crags: Widdop, Heptonstall, Gorple, Scout, Clattering Stones, Dovestones, Scout Hut, Blake Dean, Mytholm, Horsehold Scout, Hawk Stones, Bridestones, Robin Hood Rocks, Ogden Clough.

Chapter 4
Earl Crag & Surrounding Area:Earl Crag, Hawkcliffe, The Hitching Stone, Farnhill Quarry, White Crag.

Chapter 5
Shipley Glen & Baildon Bank: Shipley Glen, Baildon Bank, Gilstead, Eldwick.

Chapter 6
Woodhouse Scar & Kirklees Crags: Woodhouse Scar, West Vale, Holmfirth Edge, Honley Quarry, Buckstones Edge, Darby Delph.


Chapter 7

Pen-y-ghent, Sharphaw.

Previous Guides
I started my Yorkshire Grit apprenticeship with the 1982 edition by Eddie Lesniak but it was the Yorkshire Grit (1989) guide according to Graham Desroy (and the Well Oiled Machine) that is the most tattered edition on my bookshelf. In those days we were limited to just twenty five full page full colour action photos which included the Ian Horrocks classic shot of John Dunne on cutting edge New Statesman. This was soon supplemented by Steve Rhodes OTE Bouldering Guide (1993) which set the standard for simple page design and plain production but it lifted the lid on the secret art of bouldering in yorkshire by recording over 2500 problems that had previously been passed down by word of mouth. “Boulderers in Yorkshire have never sandbagged or know anyone who has ever sandbagged a visitor. Sandbagging simple does not exist here” Steve Rhodes.

I was pleased to see that the YMC settled on Font grades for their comprehensive coverage of the bouldering with almost 3000 boulder problems from Font 1 up to 8B described. I was very impressed by the extensive coverage and detailed presentation of the bouldering, especially in Calderdale, by people who obviously know their patch really well. Widdop is well known but places like Scout, Dovestones and Scout Hut show off their outstanding quality for the first time. “For bouldering Fontainebleau is the best in the world at 10 out of 10. Derbyshire probably 1 whereas Yorkshire is 6 or 7 because there is so much of it. Look at somewhere like Barden Moor from Crookrise over to Rylstone it would take a lifetime to climb it all, and that’s just one area!” Ron Fawcett on page 147. A number of suggested Bouldering Circuits have been included at the popular crags Ilkley, Crookrise, Widdop, Earl, Shipley Glen and The Woodhouse Circuit. While they reveal many of the quality problems they also highlight some of the hidden gems.


For five years I have been trying to get more info about “The Gritstone Kilnsey” AKA The Roost and now I have discovered that the landowner, who lives on top of the crag, does not permit access to the crag! Lets hope the access can be resolved because Matt Troillet’s E7 Fascination Street looks fantastic. However there are 74 other crags to visit. There is a great diversity to gritstone climbing on both accessible roadside crags and up on esoteric remote crags in superb settings with well over 2000 routes covered from Moderate to E9. I must admit that I was disappointed to see that the idiosyncratic P grades have been dropped after two editions. Each section has it’s own graded list and there is a full route index at the end of the guide.


This volume two is a feast for the eyes with a superb selection of inspirational action photos, clear photodiagrams, impressive aerial photography and detailed maps. The climbing on these gritstone crags has always been a joy but I must say that the quality of production of this fifth edition by Robin Nicholson has certainly set a new standard for definitive guidebooks.
Now that every crag and boulder has been photographed combined with the spectacular aerial photography and traditional plan diagrams, I can no longer blame the guidebook team for getting lost. I now realise that it is my own ineptitude! The guide is packed with over 180 inspirational action photographs by Mike Hutton, Pete Wilkinson et al that cover the entire grade spectrum.

Various profiles and short essays can be found throughout this guide which celebrate the characters that shaped the development of climbing on Yorkshire’s gritstone outcrops. Featured are John Dunne, Ron Fawcett, Jerry Peel, Jordan Buys, Naomi Buys and Iain Edwards. There is also a detailed and engaging historical section illustrated with classic first ascent photos including another great shot of John Dunne on the now popular New Statesman, or as John puts it “The greatest line on the grit”. It is also good to see that the bouldering gets it’s own dedicated historical write up on page 726. So from the excellent front cover of Shock Horror by Mike Hutton all the way through to the detailed history at the back you realise that this is more than just a climbing guide rather it is a celebration of all that is great about climbing on Yorkshire Gritstone. For me it is the extensive coverage and detailed presentation of the bouldering across all the areas covered that really makes this guidebook worth buying.

Yorkshire Gritstone Volumes 1 & 2
I would like to thank Robin Nicholson, Adi Gill, Andy McCue and their team of volunteers for all the hours of effort they have put in to produce what is by far the best ever coverage of gritstone climbing and bouldering in God's Own County.


The Yorkshire Mountaineering Club has been responsible for the publication of the definitive guidebooks for Yorkshire Gritstone and Yorkshire Limestone for over 40 years.

The recording of new routes on Yorkshire Gritstone can be made at www.theleedswall.com/newroutes

Peakbouldering.info has a useful section on Yorkshire Grit on which you can build a personalised ticklist of problems by grade, crag, rock type, style or even number of mats needed!  

Climbing information for the area around Huddersfield, in Kirklees West Yorkshire (www.kirkleesclimbing.co.uk

Learn more about Mike Hutton here:www.mikehuttonphotography.com 


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