Cornish Classics

"Cornwall?" - I hear you cry. "That's not in Scotland!"... No, Cornwall is not in Scotland, however, it is a brilliant place to go rock climbing, especially in the summer. Their climate is much more Mediteranean than the rest of the UK, the sea is blue and if you're lucky you might see a basking shark.

So, what's the connection with Scotland? Easy, they wear kilts, too. (Oh, and I've been climbing there and loved it!)

Here are a few classic routes to be found in Cornwall which are a must for any visiting climber.
The three climbing areas are each about 7 miles from Penzance and, if you have a sign saying PLEASE hitchhiking from a major roundabout shouldn't be a problem; the locals are really friendly!

Sennen Cove

The Cove is just North of Penzance and has a lovely climbing arena just 5m above the sea. (It's not uncommon to get wet if it's rough!) The rock is Granite -very grippy granite!!- and the routes are all short and severe. Grades range from Diff. to E6.

The Routes:

Demo Route (VS 4c)

A great route up the prominent crack at the left side of the arena. Go straight up, but don't get stuck inside the second crack/grove!. Get some bombproof protection at the top of this and climb under and around the prominent overhang at the top (on the left side).
A great route.

Overhanging Wall (VS 4c)

In the centre of the arena, to the right of a leftwards sloping ramp. Climb up and to the right to a narrow ledge below an Overhanging Wall. (The wall has two cracks in it forming an X.) Get some pro. in here! Reach up to the apex of the X and make bold moves upwards to the top!


The routes here are short and as such have been graded down by whoever wrote the Guidebook. Budding VS leaders should ensure that their protection is immaculate here!

Additional Information

The main climbing area here is directly below a prominent disused Coastguard Lookout Post, and the most convenient descent route is by abseil, if you have a spare rope.
Top roping can also be set up easily for most routes.


A little further round the North coast (near Pendeen) is Bosigran. A superb line of cliffs 150 feet above the sea. The granite is fantastic and so are the routes. Most of the grades here are accurate and routes tend to be about 150 feet in length or more. The Climber's Club have a hut (with double glazing, showers, phone, cookers, beds... I'm not sure HUT is the right term, but that's what they call it!) near the top of the cliffs, so if you're a member you've got it made! [We had to bivvy! - but the milkman passes at about 10:30 every morning]

The Routes:

Doorway (S)

A superb winding route for everyone to try, pitch three being the best. Just ask someone on the cliff where it goes (care required at the top!)

Doorpost (HS)

A really enjoyable route with an interesting traverse on the first pitch, then continually interesting climbing to the dual cracks at the top! A wonderfull route with lots of exposure.. a must for every up-and-coming leader to enjoy!
Again, if you've no guide, just ask!

Also recommended:
  • Little Brown Jug (VS 4c/5a)
  • Autunm Flakes

Chair Ladder

Just South of Lands End. Long, exposed and well climbed routes which are true to their grades. To climb here it's best to buy the guidebook as the cliff is very complex and the access is tidal...

The Routes:

  • Terriers Tooth, 190ft, Very Difficult (4a) -yes, 4a!

Please add to these routes....

The Guidebook

The guides for these areas are:

  • Bosigran and the North Coast of Cornwall
  • Chair Ladder
They are both published by the Climbers Club.