The publication of the Central Wales - Elenydd guidebook has brought to light the existence of a much earlier guidebook to Creigiau Dolfolau in the Elan Valley. Privately published, probably sometime in the mid-1950s and unaccredited, the 12 page A Climbers' Guide to Radnorshire is thought to be the work of EH Lane, one of Radnorshire's early rock climbing pioneers.
Needless to say, this an exceptionally rare guidebook. There may only be one copy left in existence and we are extremely grateful to Brian Davis for bringing it to our attention. Compared to modern climbing guidebooks, it makes for some very contrasting and almost otherworldly reading; an absolutely fascinating insight into what was a very different world: ".....It is a 'rubber' cliff, for nails would quickly destroy the small holds, and clinkers, in particular, skid badly on the rather soapy surface....." and: ".....the slowest of cyclists will reach it in less than an hour from Rhyader (sic)".
It is good to see that folk have been getting out and using the new Central Wales ~ Elenydd guidebook. There has been plenty of activity at most of the crags and, in addition, new routes and problems have been added to a number of crags. Find out more by visiting our New Climbs Archive, an exciting and hopefully a very informative new addition to our website.
First ascent details for Elenydd, Y Rhinogydd, Cadair Idris, Rhobell Fawr, Yr Aran, Yr Arenig and Y Berwynion most welcomed, as well as feedback on existing climbs and problems and all other aspects of climbing in Central/Mid Wales.
To coincide with the new guidebook's publication, Climber, Britain's premier climbing magazine, featured two Destination Articles in consecutive issues. The first, UNDISCOVERED WALES PART 1 - THE RADNORSHIRE ENIGMA, describing what is on offer in Powys' Elan Valley, was in the July-August 2018 issue. The second, UNDISCOVERED WALES PART 2 - WAY OUT WEST, highlighting the very best climbing on Ceredigion's hard sandstone sea cliffs at Ynys Lochtyn and Pen Bilis, was published in the following September-October issue.
Written by Steep Stone's Dave Williams, both articles provide essential background reading, especially for the first-time visitor. For those who missed out on the hard copy print editions, digital back issues of both are currently available to purchase HERE.
Buying the Central Wales - Elenydd Guidebook
Distributed nationally by Cordee, it can be purchased from the following retailers:
Local Central Wales stockists
The guidebook is also stocked by many other specialist rock climbing and outdoor retailers not listed above - eg. online-only retailers such as Cordee, The Climbers' Club, Rock & Run and Climb Europe.
The Climbers' Club Journal 2019
'Above Secret Waters' is an account of the very beginning of rock climbing in Radnorshire. Written by Dave Williams, it will be published in Volume 128 of the Climbers' Club Journal, which is due for publication in the Spring of 2019. The article provides the historical context for the development of climbing in the Elan Valley during the early 1950s, as well as introducing the interesting and diverse characters who first explored and pioneered new rock climbs on these long forgotten, secret cliffs.
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