Castle Upon Alun

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Castle Upon Alun
The One Third Wall.jpg
Rock Type Quarried Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time 15 minutes
Area Inland Limestone
WGS-84 Location 51.466967, -3.571838
OS Grid Ref. SS 909 753
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.4651471, -3.5705589
GR Parking Location SS 909 751
Parking Postcode CF32 0TL
Base Elevation 42 metres (SRTM Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction Various
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Mostly
Climbing Type Normal
Midge Problem Mild
Seepage Quick drying
Crags Within 10.0 km

Black Zawn, Castle Upon Alun, Cave Inlet, Costa del Major, Davy Jones' Locker and the Sea Caves, Dirty Harry Walls, Dunraven Cliff, Elephant Wall, Every Persons Wall, First Inlet, Folded Walls, Fools Fantasy Area, Mitzy Wall, Nash Point, Ogmore Popular End, Pant Quarry, Phaser Wall, Playtime Wall, Right Hand Wall, Second Inlet, Stone Wings Cliff, Stout Point, The Biscuit, The Castle Area, The Long Wall, The Western Crag, Tiger Bay, Tusker Chimney Area, Twinkle Buttress, Witches Cave, Witches Tip

Castle Upon Alun
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 26
6b - 6c+ 20
7a - 7b 3


A large limestone quarry, off the beaten track. Well worth combining with a trip to Ogmore as the tidal window can be quite restrictive.

Two main areas are present within the quarry. The first is a steep north facing slab of good quality limestone with some lovely water-worn pockets, slots and crack features, making the climbs possible. Unfortunately the run off during the winter means the base of the climbs have a coating of moss which requires a peel at the start of the season. The slabs are a summer and autumn venue due to aspect and seepage.

The east facing side of the quarry contains two walls with low to moderate grades, and some tougher lines on the tall, steep, 3rd wall. It is a decent winter crag (get there early if you want the sun), which dries quickly, and also a cool summer evening venue too.


From Junction 35 of the M4 follow the A473 to Bridgend. Several stretches of dual carriageway and roundaboouts lead to a oddly shaped traffic controlled roundabout, just after the McDonalds (joy), with the left turn signposted to Ogmore By Sea. Two options now present themselves....

Option A. Take the left turn and follow to St Brides Major (4km), just after Pant Quarry. Immediately upon entering the village, 50 m past cattle grid, is a minor left hand turning (poorly) signposted 'Castle upon Alun'. The minor road takes a sharp switch back up a small hill. After 1 km, at an obvious dip in the road, is a cross roads. Turn left here and park at the layby on the left (500m), opposite a telegraph pole,flowmeter box,Glamorgan Nature Plaque adjacent to packhorse bridge over river.

Option B. Take this left turn and continue (1km) until a left turn is signposted to (Ewenny) Corntown, immediately after a river bridge.

Follow this road (1km) to a shop on the right (Ewenny/Corntown Stores), where a narrow road forks off up the hill on the right. Take this road over the crest of a slight hill. The road goes straight down (1km), to a solitary stone wall ringed house on the right. Take the narrow, and hard to spot, road on the right immediately after the house, and follow this to a ford (sometimes deep) and continue (700m), passing under a bridge to reach a small parking space next to the river (telegraph pole, flow meter box and Glamorgan Naturalist Trust Plaque).

Now, from the layby.......Take the uphill footpath through the trees (100m) keeping a wall on your left to metal gate. 30m after passing through the metal gate take a faint path on the right which soon passes under a small rock escarpement to reach the top of the quarry after about 5 minutes walk. Descend through the trees a few metres back from the top of the crag to reach the base of the first routes.

Nearest Post Code: CF32 0TL


Most routes have lower offs, else abseil from trees.


The routes are described from left to right as approached.


On the far right is a prominent short tapering slab which hosts the first five delicacies.

  1. Jump on The Gravy Train - Fr. 4c
    Short first route provide your own belay krabs.

  2. Off the Rails - Fr. 4+
    Short,second route, same LO as next route. 7m

  3. Nick's Sore Nuts - Severe, 4a
    Between the two sport routes is a thin crack with earthy recess.

  4. The Fat Controller - Fr. 5
    Short wall behind tree stump. 8m

  5. Supping on Dregs - HD
    The rib and earthy steps via several tree runners.

    The following routes are now all on a single slab of greater height. It may be worthwhile abseiling easily down to give your chosen route a quick brush.

  6. Scrape the Bottom of the Barrel - Fr. 5+
    The blocky corner moving right over the roof to a shared belay.

  7. Eugene Genie - Fr. 7a
    First line on main slab,thin to start, hard at overlap. 12m

  8. Cordoba Express - Fr. 6c+ *
    Start as for Eugene Genie to the first BR, step up, then move right to a good bucket. Finish directly with interest. 15m

  9. Matalanafesto - Fr. 7a
    Direct (2 bolt) start to Cordoba Express. 15m

  10. Barry Freight - Fr. 6b+ *
    The next bolt line to the right. BB on the left. 15m

  11. A Freem Of White Horses - Fr. 6b+
    Next line to right.

  12. California Freeming - Fr. 6b
    Climb next line to right.

  13. Pubic Enema - Fr. 6b+
    To the right at the top of the crag is a square-cut groove. Gain this with some thin moves and climb it with care at the very top. 15m

  14. Freeming Of Jeannie - HVS, 5a
    A diagonal pocketed crack slants up and right to a slot at 15m. Make a committing stretch up to the BB of Branch Line to finish. 15m

  15. Branch Line - Fr. 6a+
    The slab to the right to step left into the previous route just after the top BR. Follow it to a BB. 15m

    There is one unrealised project to the right,then the stepped earth slope rises steeply.

  16. Project
    Homemade hangers, rusty bolts.

  17. Feed The Five Thousand - Fr. 6c
    First alcove, tricky.

  18. Maris Piper Are Best - Fr. 6b+ *
    Through the 2nd alcove, above the second step on the slope. A stiff pull onto the steep slab above the alcove leads to the shared belay.

  19. Anal Retention - Fr. 6c **
    The route of the crag. Up and right of the alcove at the base of the crag is a white section of rock. Climb this by technical moves. 14m

  20. Banal Pretention - Fr. 6c
    Up to the right is a slot at 3m. Gain this by a technical sequence and continue with difficulty. 12m

  21. The Trainspotter - Fr. 6b *
    At the top of the banking are some shorter lines. This was the left-hand one, with a tricky start. 11m

  22. Trolley Service Suspended - Fr. 6b *
    Start as for Trainspotter, tricky mantle then widely spaced holds lead to a high ring and chain belay.

  23. Weak Lemon Drink - Fr. 6b+
    The line to the right has a hard start followed by a dyno for the big triangular pocket. Finish direct. 10m

  24. Top Rail - Fr. 6b
    Start as for the Sidings then take a leisurely hand traverse left finishing at the chain belay in the short corner.

  25. Bottom Rail Fr 6b+*
    Start as for Trainspotter traverse to belay of Branch Line.

  26. In The Sidings - Fr. 6a
    The last line on the wall, at the top of the bank just L of the corner and the huge tree stump.

  27. Tip Tope Rail Fr. 5+
    Climb Sidings until standing on the Top Rail then shuffle leftwards to the belay of Five Thousand.


First Wall

A path through the trees leads to the rambling walls on the sunnier side of the quarry.The rock here is not as solid so despite the humble grades of some routes the ability to assess and evaluate the reliability of the rock is essential. A F4 here involves more climbing skills than a similar grade at the climbing wall.Always wear an helmet and take care.A 17mm spanner will tighten any nuts which have loosened.

First Wall

The wall to the left of the vegetated spur.The first 2 routes are lengthy,rambling hollow expeditions but this is obvious from below so proceed appropriately.

  1. Popular Pimp Publication - Fr. 4c
    Short left hand line. Helmet needed. Chain L.O.

  2. Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies - Fr. 4
    A series of ledges takes one to a high lower-off near the top of the cliff. Helmet vital.

    Further right is a series of more continuous walls.

  3. Freeming At The Gusset - Fr. 6a *
    The left side of the wall, passing an orange scar, with a tricky move to gain the veg ledge. Finish as for the next route. 9 bolts. 16 m.

  4. Freempie - Fr. 5c
    Short wall to foot ledge then gain the veg ledge, avoiding the jigsaw blocks on the right. Final lay back section is good, with a stretch to the shared belay. 8 bolts. 16 m.

  5. Galena Puts Lead In Your Pencil - Fr. 5c *
    Rib and crack above to belay on the right side of high blocky roof. 10 bolts. 18 m.

  6. Plum Bob - Fr. 5b
    Short, curving, right facing groove directly above ash tree stump. 8 m.

  7. Burton Line - Fr. 5b
    The second right facing groove with a tricky pull up onto the hand ledge. 9 m.

  8. Joys of Fatherhood - Fr. 6a+
    The wall left of the crack to its shared belay. 8 m.

  9. Quadcam of Solace - Fr. 6a *
    Leftward trending crack. 9 m

  10. Crack Liquor - Fr. 6b+
    Gain and climb the crack in the front wall of the pillar. 10 m.

  11. The Freem Team - Fr. 5b
    Gain and climb the right arête of the pillar.Get that hollow feeling,take care with the large block at the top. 10 m.

Second Wall

To the right of the vegetated spur, a wall rises above a steep slope. The climbs are gained easily with the help of a rope handrail.Although not high in the technical grades careful selection of holds,a helmet and a thoughtful approach will be well rewarded.A 17mm spanner will tighten any loose nuts and feel free to leave your own carabiners at the lower offs if in your judgement those in place are unsatisfactory.

  1. Sticky Fingers - Fr. 4+
    Start as for the following then step left to the lay back.

  2. Fickle Finger of Fate - Fr. 4c
    Groove to tree. Belay on right.

  3. Knuckle Down - Fr. 4a

  4. Ring Finger - Fr. 4c
    Shattered groove to shared belay.

  5. Finger Flicking Good - Fr. 5c
    Gain and climb the layback.

  6. Fingertip Mistress - Fr. 6a *
    Gain and climb the crack.

  7. Knee Trembler - Fr. 6b *
    Start as for the following but move left over the roofs.

  8. Bush Trimmer's Corner - Fr. 5c *
    The open corner at the far right of the terrace.

Second and Third Walls

Third Wall

At last, Solid Rock!

Back to ground level, a cleaned section through the slab leads to a steep wall, immediately right of "Bush Trimmers Corner". This is the last wall in the quarry to fall into the shade, by 12:00 in Winter.

  1. Licence to Drill - Fr. 6c++ *
    Climb easily up the slabs, just right of the corner, passing a mesmerising geode en-route. A tricky sequence on the headwall accesses the cliff top and a pleasant exit. Shared belay to the right.

  2. Ocho Pussy - Fr. 6b+
    A Left to Right girdle. Gain the geode of Licence to Drill then traverse right to finish at the lower-off of Cold Finger. 20m

  3. For Your Arms Only - Fr. 7b *
    A technical and powerful route, starting at a shothole just right of Licence to Drill. Escalating difficulties culminate in a reach for the big crystalline pocket.

  4. Dyno Another Day - Fr. 7a *
    Pass the second shothole, trending rightwards to good pockets in the leaning headwall. Glory dyno to finish. Pull out to a shared belay on the left. 20m

  5. Out of Pocket - Fr. 6c *
    Amazingly good pockets guide one up the surprisingly steep calcite sheet. Finish up the flakes on the right (2 bolts) or direct (1 bolt), which is slightly harder.

  6. Cold Finger - Fr. 6b+ *
    Move up the cracks briefly to join the ramp line. Shared L.O. to right.

  7. Another of Dai's projects.
    Get on with it!

  8. The Hilti-brand Rarity - Fr. 6c+
    A right to left rising line for those looking for more of a pump. Starts up the crack of Cold Finger and straight into Out of Pocket. At the first break move left and follow a thin crack, Dyno Another Day, to the higher break. Traverse left to meet Bush Trimmers Corner and finish at its lower off.

Rubble Wall

Right of the overhanging wall is a recessed bay. The rock is very shattered here. Consequently, it is not a place where the cunning linger.

  1. Snake in The Grass - Fr. 4c
    Left-hand line to rubble roof.

  2. Nest of Vipers - Fr. 5a •
    Shattered groove to shared belay. Hangers removed.


  1. R.Thomas 00.08.2016
  2. R Thomas 2005
  3. R.Thomas 2016
  4. R. Thomas 2005
  5. R.Thomas 30.07.2016
  6. R. Thomas Eugene28.07.2016
  7. Eugene Travers Jones 1995
  8. R. Thomas 1995
  9. G.AShmore
  10. R. Thomas 1995
  11. Andy Freem pre 1991
  12. Andy Freem pre 1991
  13. R.Thomas 1995
  14. Andy Freem pre 1991
  15. R.Thomas 1995
  16. closed project
  17. R.Thomas Nick Eugene 25.05.2017
  18. R.Thomas Rich Phillips Gavin Leyshan 24.05.2017
  19. R.Thomas 1995
  20. R.Thomas 1995
  21. R.Thomas 1995
  22. R.Thomas Matt Hirst 13.08.2016
  23. R.THOMAS 1995
  24. R.Thomas Eugene Jones 00.08.2016
  25. R.Thomas Giles Davies 26.07.2016

Tip Tope Rail 20.05.2020 Roy Thomas Goi Ashmore

First wall sunnyside

  1. Dai 2017
  2. D. Emanuel 24.09.2016
  3. R.Thomas Sept 2016
  4. R.Thomas Ed Chapman 15.09.2016
  5. R.Thomas Goi 31.08.2016
  6. R.Thomas Goi 31.08.2016
  7. R.Thomas Ed Chapman Jon Woolacot 01.09.2016
  8. Dai Emanuel 2017
  9. D.Emanuel 17.09.2016
  10. R.Thomas R Phillips Gavin 23.09.2016
  11. R.Thomas R.Phillips Gavin Leyshan 23.09.2016

Second Wall

  1. R.Thomas nick Richie 09.09.2016
  2. R.Thomas nick 07.10.2016
  3. R.Thomas nick 04.10.2016
  4. R.Thomas nick 04.10.2016
  5. R.Thomas rich 04.10.2016
  6. R.Thomas rich 04.10.2016
  7. R.Thomas Eugene 25.09.2016
  8. R.Thomas, Rich, Gavin 23.09.2016

Third Wall

  1. A.Rosier, R.Phillips 13.11.2016
  2. Roy Thomas 2016
  3. A.Rosier 13.11.2016
  4. A.Rosier, R.McAllister 21.10.2016
  5. R.Thomas R.Phillips 10.11.2016
  6. R.McAllister, A.Rosier 30.11.2016
  8. A.Rosier, R.Thomas, R.Phillips 22.12.2016

Rubble Wall

  1. R.Thomas, R. Phillips 11.10.2016
  2. R.Thomas, R. Phillips 11.10.2016