Sharing good times on the Culm, crossing tidal pinch points to enjoy the hidden gems.
The bouldering at Hartland needs no introduction, it has been on the radar for many years, and for good reason, easy access and great problems, in short, there is something for everyone here. Many talented climbers have been involved with the development here and at all other venues along the coast, from all over the country, James Squires, Mikey Cleverdon, Grant Edwards, Mike Adams, Dave Westlake to name a few. Their history goes back to the mid/late 90's and are responsible for the bulk of the action, having gauged time and distance to explore the Culm, taking time out of climbing and work/life balances to search for the gems that litter the area. I feel that we all owe a certain debt to these early pioneers. During the last 2 years, (2018) Ruby Petch, Kyle Whitehand and "Solly.k.d" have discovered and developed many significant boulders. The region is constantly being discovered and in some cases rediscovered... several nomads exist, walking alone on the most extreme beaches putting up often hard and highball lines, free of the need to "claim", simply happy to explore and climb at will, their problems go unnoticed by the larger community and thus, get rediscovered by each new wave of young buck and longhorn alike. Credit due here, though he probably won't like it, to Neil Jenkins, who has found many a gem!
The photo above is of a young Adam Wheeler, a recent visitor already working his way through some of the hardest boulders.
The bouldering extends for many 1000's of metres in both directions from The Quay, just South you have the Rhino Block and slightly North is The Board at Blackpool Mill, and around a few spits of rock you find Blagdon.
At Blackpool Mill Mouth, go past the white cottage and walk onto the beach, The Board, one of the first serious bits of bouldering on the coast, established back in 1992/3 is on your right. Past this, heading north, rock hop until you see the main beach, where there is a fine slab, a steep wall as well as a few small freestanding boulders. One of the best, fun lines here is the Low Traverse, 6b for the pump factor, sadly the pebble height can vary a lot, often covering the steep side entirely.
This whole area has many fine Slabs and mini blocks, some hard some easy, this one, below, is just before The Trench at The Quay. The second photo is just before the Arch, a good warm up and/or hard eliminate boulder. The black and white image above.... Jurassic Park!
The adventure gets a whole lot more serious when you go further north or south, tide flow is a real issue and escape options from the beaches can reduce to zero, but despite this, many fine blocks have been found and developed. The Lighthouse sector has several gems, an eerie setting and the risk of prosecution for trespass ? James Squire put up his hard line, Hartless here, while moons ago Neil Jenkins had added several other quality problems.
The main action is on the steep wall facing the lighthouse, see photo below, while the beach has a very rounded boulder with two quality problems.
Barley Bay, is the large beach to the right of the Lighthouse, this has large blocks at the far end, getting to them is reasonably adventurous. One of the earliest pioneers has developed this section, but he lives a nomadic climbing life and sees no reason to spill the details. Culm Dancer has the best North Devon insta' and you can follow him via the button below - just don't expect him to divulge any secrets.
Recently we hooked up with Ollie at Punters Climbing (insta) and we are indebted to him for sharing his photos.
See below (Total Power just South of the Quay and Freddy Free Loader).
Below, a few images from the easily accessible Lighthouse sector, the style here is very much like Font' but smoother.
A little further down the winding lanes, or the A39, you pass many fine boulders, more on them soon, and eventually hit the seaside town of Bude, home to OK pasties and some excellent bouldering.
Below are a few of the great problems around the town Northcott Duckpool and Sandy Mouth.
Thanks again to Ollie/Punters Climbing.