It goes without saying that London isn’t blessed with mountains and rocky-crags. But that doesn’t mean we had to travel for days to get our outdoor climbing fix, as the beautiful sea cliffs of Swanage, in Dorset, were only 2 hours away on the train.
Last week the London Climbing Guide did just this with a sunny and adventurous trip to the noteworthy climbing areas along the Swanage coast – Including Guillemot Ledge, Dancing Ledge and the secluded quarry area of Winspit. The weather was fantastic and the seas calm, giving us the opportunity to visit some areas only accessible on good days.
Our first visit was to the picturesque Guillemot Ledge just south of Langton Matravers. Access to the base of the cliffs meant a blind abseil down to the boulder fields at sea-level. After attempting a multi-pitch route, which the guidebook labelled a HVS trad route (although as with all subjective grading its hard to know). After failing both lead attempts we reconvened and moved down the "beach" and managed to successfully climb another multi-pitched route out.
With having spent a few hours trad climbing, and with the day progressing, we decided to head over to the abandoned quarry area of Winspit and finish the day off. The disused quarry is set back from the sea and offers some varied and challenging bolted sport climbing. After tackling several different routes on either side of the quarry, we headed for home.
As a realistically accessible location from London in a day, the wonderful Swanage coast is a must and we heartily recommend an excursion to any and all climbers.