Black Hole Crag

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Black Hole Crag
Blackhole Crag from the east
Blackhole Crag from the east
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 30 minutes
Area Gower
Sub Area Thurba to Overton
WGS-84 Location 51.544282, -4.241060
OS Grid Ref. SS 446 852
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.54486, -4.220247
GR Parking Location SS 461 852
Parking Postcode SA3 1NQ
Base Elevation 2 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction South
Aspect Sunny
Wind Sheltered Seldomly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Before/After Low Tide 2.5 hours (See Note)
Crags Within 400m

Black Hole Crag, Boiler Slab, Engine Room Slab, Upper Blackhole Crag

Black Hole Crag
Trad Grades
<= HVS 18
E1 - E3 1
E4 - E5 1
>= E6 0


2½ hours either side of low water.




Looking west from Boiler Slab, there is an obvious low rocky promontory running out to sea. Just west of this, at the foot of a large dome-like headland, is a wall 90m long with a large pool at its east end. Approach is down either side of the gully bounding its east side. Due to the direction of approach, the routes are described from right (east) to left (west).

To the right of the main face is a subsidiary face and gully, rather muddy, and is one of the ways down. The left wall is bulging with a recess and a diagonal crack runs across the upper wall.

There is some confusion around this crag's name. What the locals and Ordnance Survey[1] know as Blackhole Gut is the narrow zawn, described in Gower & S.E. Wales (2003) as Devil's Cwm[2], some 634 m to the west. Further evidence for this is the bone cave known as Upper Blackhole Cave situated high above Blackhole Gut at NGR: SS 4422 8560.[3]

Comments please on the Discussion Page.


From Overton village green, follow the road south-westward to a large gate where the road becomes a track (bridal path). Follow the track westwards for about a half-mile and then go through a metal kissing-gate. (12 minutes).

Then follow the path for about 100 metres (ignoring the footpath going down off to the left) and then branch off right on an overgrown path and up to another gate. Continue through the gate and then cross the field along its northern edge to yet another gate after a further 250 metres. (6 mins).

Go through the gate and then follow the path branching-off left down a narrow dry valley. This will take you, after about 3 minutes, to the foot of Boiler Slab.

Now take the lower coast path for 300m to the eastern side of the first headland to the west. Scramble down the eastern side.


Toward the east of the crag, top out and scramble back down the gully at the east end of the crag. Toward the west of the crag, either reverse one of the easy routes, or walk off left and scramble down easy rocks at the west end of the crag.


rock climbing topo for Blackhole Crag, Gower
See also Nick Taylor's topo in Additional Photos
Gwyn Evans on the First Ascent of "Needs Must" at Blackhole Crag, Gower, South Wales
Gwyn Evans on first ascent (2pts) of the groove of Needs Must
  1. Flying Arête - VDiff
    the ridge to the right of the bulging wall has a hanging nose. Climb up on the right face of the nose and continue along the ridge to the top. 13m

  2. Water Monster - E4,6b
    Start about 3m from the right edge of the wall. Climb up until it is possible to clip a PR and sling (now both missing!)[4] out to the right, then move left and jump for the top. 7m.

  3. Tim's Walk in the Park - D
    Just left of the recess climb the wall to the start of the crack and follow it rightwards to a belay. 12m

    Round on the main face, the east (right) side of the crag has a large pool at the bottom of a slabby wall, which has a red block overhang above its centre.

  4. Right Wall - D
    Gain the centre of the slab by traversing in from the left-hand side of the pool. Climb it directly, finishing right of the block overhang. 12m

  5. First Go - S
    Starting at the right-hand end of the overlap. Go up the slab. 11m.

  6. Goblins vs Martians - VS,4b
    Go across the lower overlap, step left then over a second overlap, then finish up the corner immediately right of the overhang

  7. Goblins vs Martians, Direct - HVS 5a *
    Go up the right side of alcove and around the right hand side of lower roof to join Goblins vs Martians. The direct start can also be used as a less direct means of attaining the groove.

  8. Needs Must - E1,5b **[5]
    The most direct start to gain the roof and groove. goes up the steep left side of alcove and left side of lower roof. High in the grade.

  9. Peg's on the Line - VS,4b/c
    Climb the blunt rib a metre right of Not to be Sniffed At. Make some difficult moves onto the slabby area of rock above and continue to the corner groove on right. Finish up this with a difficult entry pull.

  10. Not to be Sniffed At - VS, 5a/4c *
    At the left end of the pool a crack goes up a corner and becomes a twin crack in the headwall. Follow the cracks, crux on the upper wall. 14m.

  11. Left Pillar - M
    At the left side of the pool is a vague rib. Climb this and the slab above to finish up a corner left of the left corner of the block overhang. 15m.

  12. Rib And Slab - D
    Climb the groove bounding the rib of Left Pillar on its left. Amble up the slab to join and finish as for Left Pillar.

    Just to the left is another pool, with a prominent boulder in it. The next routes must be reached via stepping onto the large boulder and leaning across then traversing in to their starts. 15m

  13. Right Crack - D *
    Climb the crack in the groove just right of the boulder. 12m

  14. Calcutta - D *
    Climb the rib directly behind the boulder on superb sharp blisters. 12m

  15. Shallow Corner - S,4a
    The very shallow corner, 2m left of the boulder, with a capping feature at 3m. Swing round this and finish direct. Good fun. 12m

  16. Right Rib - S
    Climb the corner crack to the left of Shallow Corner, with help from the rib bounding its left end. 12m

  17. Overhang Crack - S,4a
    The chimney groove in the centre of the wall, exiting by the left-hand crack at the blocks. 12m

  18. Left Rib - S,4a
    Climb the rib left of the chimney and finish up the side of the flying fin.

    About 100m west (left), after two deep cuts in the terrace at the base of the crag, is another pool below a prominent narrowing cave crack. The major problem is accessing the base of the routes. Traversing in from the left is 5a and probably deserves a deep water solo grade. Climbing up the rib on the right and climbing down and left is easier. 12m.

  19. Cracked Wall - S
    Climb the most continuous of the three cracks in the right flanking wall of the cave crack. 12m

  20. Deep Cleft - D *
    The deep cleft. 12m

  21. Left Wall - M
    Climb the square wall left of Deep Cleft. 12m.


  1. Flying Arête - G.Evans, M.Hill, P.Hill 8th August 2018
  2. Water Monster - G.Ashmore 29th August 2002
  3. Tim's Walk in the Park - G.Evans, M.Hill, P.Hill 8th August 2018
  4. Right Wall - J.Talbot 1963
  5. First Go - Gwyn Evans Peter Clark 10 July 2019.
  6. Goblins vs Martians - Nick Taylor & Lesley Burgess 15th August 2019
  7. Goblins vs Martians, Direct - Nick Taylor & Lesley Burgess 15th August 2019
  8. Needs Must - Nick Taylor 15th August 2019 (1st free ascent of the groove).
    Gwyn Evans 26 July 2019, the groove with 2 pts.
  9. Peg's on the Line - Peter Clark, Mark Winder Gwyn Evans 24 July 2019
  10. Not to be Sniffed At - G.Evans, M.Hill, P.Hill 8th August 2018
  11. Left Pillar - J.Talbot 1963
  12. Rib And Slab - J.Talbot 1963
  13. Right Crack - M.Woodfield 18th January 2024
  14. Calcutta - G.Ashmore 20th January 2001
  15. Shallow Corner - J.Talbot 1963
  16. Right Rib - J.Talbot 1963
  17. Overhang Crack - J.Talot 1963
  18. Left Rib - J.Talbot 1963
  19. Cracked Wall - J.Talbot, B.Talbot 1965
  20. Deep Cleft - J.Talbot, B.Talbot 1965
  21. Left Wall - J.Talbot 1963



  1. See: National Library of Scotland - Maps
  2. J.O. Talbot refers to Devil's Cwm in Gower Peninsula (1970), p. 82 and Blackhole Crag, p. 79. as two distinct locations.
  3. See
  4. Note via Facebook South Wales New Routes (Facebook) from Goi Ashmore, 03/01/2019, "...the peg on Water Monster is missing (unless someone has kindly replaced it recently)"
  5. The groove at the top was the objective of Gwyn Evans, (in 2019), and climbed via First Go and using two points of aid. Then given a grade of HVS,5a.