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)".
Opposite: Ferdia Earle on the FA of ''The Shield'' (F6b) at Llyn Brianne.
[©Andrew Wielochowski. All rights reserved.]
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.
New Climbs Archive
It is good to see that folk have been getting out with the new Central Wales - Elenydd guidebook as there has been plenty of activity at most of the crags. Since the guidebook's publication, new routes and problems have been added to a number of venues, namely Craig Cnwch, Craig Caban Coch, Castell Bach, Cwm Tydu, Pen Bilis and Borth. Descriptions of all these new discoveries are in our New Climbs Archive, an exciting and hopefully a very informative new addition to our website. Click HERE for further information.
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.
BMC Local Area Meeting: Mid Wales
The next British Mountaineering Council Mid-Wales Area meeting will be on Monday, 19th November at 1930hrs. The agenda will be uploaded to the local area pages of the BMC website prior to the meeting. One definite item for discussion will be 'the identity of the BMC in Wales'. The meeting will be held in The White Lion, Machynlleth, which is both welcoming and convenient (separate meeting room, parking, simple food (provided) and bar).
STEEP STONE ~ Working in partnership with BMC Cymru
The Climbers' Club Journal 2018
'Above Secret Waters', written by Dave Williams, will appear in the second of two Climbers' Club Journals being published towards the end of 2018. The article provides the context for the development of climbing in the Elan Valley in the early 1950s, as well as introducing the interesting characters who first explored these long forgotten cliffs.
© Steep Stone™, trading as Steep Stone Climbing and Steep Stone Publishing.
All rights reserved.