Craig Y Castell

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Craig Y Castell
Rock Type Quarried Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Trad
Approach Time 10 minutes
Area Inland Limestone
Sub Area Llangattock
WGS-84 Location 51.842509, -3.187568
OS Grid Ref. SO 18277 16647
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.844835, -3.184207
GR Parking Location SO 18519 16911
Parking Postcode NP8 1LL
Base Elevation 390 metres (OS Estimation)
General Info
Faces Direction North
Aspect Rarely Sunny
Wind Sheltered Mostly
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Needs a short dry spell
Crags Within 10.0 km

Buckland Hill, Craig Y Castell, Craig Y Castell Western Extension, Dyffryn Crawnon, Eastern Edge, Gilwern East, Gilwern Hill - Crag X, Llangattock, Llangynidr Quarry, The Lonely Shepherd, Trefil


Overlooking Crickhowell, on the western end of the Llangattock Escarpment, is a surprisingly good crag with excellent views and quality routes across the grades. There are stake belays in place on the cliff top. Both crags face north so are best visited on a warm day where you can appreciate the shade, solitude and serenity of the place. Descent can be made to the left (facing the crag) by crossing the disappearing path and down-climbing beside a tree to a reach a path (best located from below in advance), or by taking the longer but safer path further to the right. For the Western Extension an even shorter approach leads to more solid rock and sheltered lines.


For the Main Area, park up in the layby just uphill from the cattle grid on the Beaufort Road out of Llangattock, the crag can be seen above you. Head left to pick up a path that leads back right to the base of the crag.


1 Mudfall Wall 10m VS Dagger.png
A mud-streaked face at the far left of the crag, just before it disappears into the jungle of the reserve. Start left of centre then traverse right, then back left to finish.

2 Crackin Wall 15m E2,5b
Climb the crack on the left side of the Prow on the left-hand end of the cliff. Stays Clean. Tree belay 15m back.

3 Old Kid on the Block ** 18m E3 5c Climb the left-hand side of the arête to a bubbly break at 8m. Extend over a small roof to calcite jugs (peg), and then follow the spectacular left-hand edge of the arête to the top.

4 The Left Twin 15m VD
Start 6m right of Crackin Wall and follow twin cracks on the right side of the prow.

5 Northern Exposure 15m E2 5b Climb the grotty broken wall between Left Twin and Right Twin past a bubbly break and pull up rightwards onto the flowstone wall. Take the wall direct to the top.

6 The Right Twin 15m VD
Start 3m right of The Left Twin. Climb cracks to a ledge, then the groove and cracks above.

7 The Rock Garden 15m VD Dagger.png
Loose. The sloping ramp 3m right.

8 Stromboli 23m HS,4a
Gain and climb the corner 10m right of the hawthorn tree at the base of the crag.

9 Rebecca 24m VS,4b
The thin crack right of Stromboli. Finish right of the tree.

10 Storm 24m E2,5b **
Start below the gap in the block overhang. Climb to and boldly over this to a ledge. Step right and follow a crack to finish.

11 Typhoon 20m E4 6a Climb a finger-crack right of Storm for 6m (as for Tempest), but move left under a bulge and climb steeply up leftwards to the roof (peg). Make an explosive move to grab a jug. Step up and left; then climb the rectangular headwall on surprising holds (peg) to the top.

12 Tempest 17m E1,5b
Just right of Storm. Climb a crack and the overhang via an obvious block. Finish direct.

13 The Ascent of Rum Doodle 18m VS,4b
Start below an obvious clean corner on the upper wall. Climb cracks to the dusty break, move right to avoid the steep ground, then step back left to finish up the corner.

14 Abseil Wall 18m VD
The easiest line on the wall. Climb the groove on the right side of the brown wall to exit onto the right arête below bulges. Move left and up the wall until the left edge can be gained and then the top. Rather polished.

15 Daedalus 17m VD
Start right of the brown wall. Climb the good crack curving beneath the overhang to reach the corner crack above. Step right to finish easily.

16 Daedalus Direct 17m S
The left arête of the original start on good holds to a junction with that route at 6m.

17 Heaven’s Gate 17m HVS,5b
Follow Daedalus to beneath the overhang, then pull over this to gain a thin crack.

18 Cool Touch 17m E2,5b
A faint line just right of Daedalus. Climb to an overhang (loose), then finish via the ledge above.

19 Fleet Feet 17m E1,5c
Climb the centre of the wall between Cool Touch and Catacomb. A difficult start leads to easier ground above.

Next the cliff leads past a small cave.

1 Catacomb 17m VS,4b
Climb out of the small cave. Finish left of an overhang.

2 Accidentally Right 17m VS,4b
Climb out of the cave and up to an overhang, traverse right along a ledge to finish up the corner.

3 OrangUtang 17m VD
Start between the cave and a large tree growing out of the rock at a slight rib. Climb a crack and corner above to the top.

4 Sheisskopf 17m S
Climb up behind the large tree to a hawthorn. Climb the wall and overhang above to finish.

5 Jackorner 17m VS,4b
Climb cracks to the right of the large tree and continue over ledges to the tree stump. Climb flowstone to finish up the corner above.

6 Beware of Crocodiles In The Trees 17m E1,5a *
Follow the deep crack right of Jackorner to an overhang. Surmount this to gain the niche and small hawthorn. Move up and left to cracks and the obvious tree to finish.

7 Tales Of The Unexpected 17m E2,5c *
Start beneath the overhang 4m right of Jackorner. A poorly protected start leads to the overhang, poor peg with good wires above. Pull over this to finish straight up on fantastic "glued-on" holds.

8 The Rain Man 17m E2,5b * Dagger.png
Start 2m right of Tales Of The Unexpected and climb directly to the right-hand side of the overhang. Move leftwards through the overhang and step up right to finish left of the tree.

About 18m right from the tree growing out of the rock is a vegetated corner.

1 God’s Teeth 17m VS,4c
A poor climb keeping just left of a vegetated corner.

2 Rockfall Climb 20m VS,4b
Don't panic, the rock is OK. Start up a shallow groove by the cave, then trend right to finish up the corner.

3 Duty Free 21m VS,4c *
Climb a crack and head to ledges below the roof. Step right and finish by bridging up the corner.

4The Descendant 17m HVS,4c
An alternative start to Duty Free which gains that route at 9m by climbing up the arête.

There now follows a bowl capped by overhangs. The next climb breaks through the roofs via cracks at their left side.

5 How To Stuff A Wild Bikini 20m E2/3,5c *
Start at a thin crack, climb easily to a band of overhangs and pull over these, past a detached flake.

Right of the overhangs is a short, mud-streaked, polished buttress.

6 Trading Places 15m HS,4b
Start to the right of the overhangs, but left of a grassy mound. Climb a steep crack in a short polished buttress until it merges with Rowan Route.

7 The Route To Rowan 17m VS,4b Dagger.png
An alternative start to Rowan Route, which ascends the prow/arête of the polished buttress, directly right of Trading Places to a junction with Rowan Route at 6m.

8Rowan Route 20m VD
Start from the grass on the right. Climb direct, past small rowan trees on the left, to the top.

9 Stayin’Alive 18m E4 5c/6a Climbs the arête. Climb the flowstone crack to the left of the arête to the break. Take the crack and pull up to the break. Follow deep flake cracks to a ledge under the arête. Using holds on the arête take the left-hand side (peg) until a hard layback move gains jugs and then footholds on the edge. Finish straight up (peg) to a handy rowan tree at the cliff top.

10 Tarzan Boy 15m E1,5b
Start at a groove 2m right of Rowan Route at the high part of the grass, below a small weakness in an overhang at 5m. Climb up and over the overhang, trend left to a flake crack and finish up the steep wall.

11 Split Indifferences 18m VS,4c
Start at a shallow crack line 3m right of Tarzan Boy. Follow the crack to reach grassy ledges. Trend up and left to the centre of a small wall. Climb straight up via a thin crack with a peg.

12 Canyouhandlit 17m VS
Start 6m right of Rowan Route. Climb the wall leftwards to grassy ledges. Continue leftwards to finish up a corner past trees.

13 Irrelevant Grope 17m VS,4c
Climb a crack in a groove as for Typhoid, move right at an overhang and finish up flowstone.

14 Typhoid 15m VS •
Start 7m right of Rowan Route, at a shallow groove. Go almost directly up the wall and left past the overhang. Move back right to finish up a curving crack in a groove.

15 Lime Juice 17m E1,6a
Start right of Irrelevant Grope. Climb a smooth wall, then an obvious crack up the headwall.

16 Fresh 17m E1,5b
A variation start to Lime Juice taking a thin line to its right. Finish up the crack in the headwall.

17 Castell Main XXXX 15m E2,5b
Climb the obvious corner right of Fresh to its top and exit via some holds on the right-hand side. Step left then up and right onto the flowstone wall above. Finish straight up.

18 No Peg Route 17m HS
Start just right of Castell Main XXXX. Climb flowstone to a ledge, then the wall above.

19 Cuticle 19m VS,4a
Right of Fingernail Crack and left of a cave entrance is a smooth 4m wall. There are many ways up it.

20Once Shy 17m S
Start at an overhanging crack, right of No Peg Route and just left of a flake on the ground. Climb the crack, step right and finish up the wall or, after 4m, traverse right to a sandy groove and follow this.

21 Lucky Nut 15m VS,4b
Start right of a flake in the ground and about 10m left of a green corner. Climb through a break in a small overhang, past a hawthorn, and finish direct.

22 Green Corner 15m VD 􀁺
Climb the obvious vegetated corner.

To the right is an ivy-covered overhang and 40m right again is the prominent corner of Stupid Sapling. Several routes have been reported in the area from ancient times (pre-1973) but their descriptions completely bamboozled the previous guidebook writer who omitted them. Only three of them have been successfully re-identified by the intrepid Professor Harwood.

1 Once Bitten 17m VD
Start 6m right of an ivy covered overhang. Climb a broken corner, move right, and finish up the rightwards leaning groove. This may be a line previously referred to as Poor Tom (pre-1973).

2 Valhalla 17m VS,4b
Climb the broken corner of Once Bitten until it is possible to take the crack on the left.

3 Central Slab Direct 15m VD
Start just right of Once Bitten. Climb the centre of three slabs (Possibly the old line of Arctic Wall Unknown Pre-1973).

On the next wall to the right (just right of a large tree growing at 3m) there is a tottering flake on the halfway ledge.

4 The Needle 15m VD
Start below the tottering flake. Climb a crack and corner to the flake. Then up to a small cave. Finish out left.

5 Mountain Hash 15m S
Start below and right of the tottering flake of The Needle. Climb broken rock to a ledge, then the cracks above, to finish between two rowan trees.

6 Fisher’s Folly 20m VS,4c
Start at a v-groove about 6m left of Stupid Sapling. Climb to a break, traverse right and move up to a large ledge. Trend right to a grassy ledge, then finish up the broken crack.

7 Stupid Sapling 15m VD
Climb the prominent corner.

8 The Hobbit 15m VS,4b
Climb the obvious crack 2m right of Stupid Sapling. Step right to finish.

9 Sheep Whispers 15m E3 5c The blunt arête just right of The Hobbit. Bold, but escapable higher up. Climb the bulging arête to larger holds. At a break swing right and surmount an awkward bulge (good wire). Take the wall until forced to follow the groove of The Hobbit to the top.

10 Castell Craig 15m E1,5b *
Follow cracks in the wall 2m right of Flash. Well protected and a friendly top out. 2 pegs.

11 S Route 15m S
Start 4m right of Stupid Sapling. Climb a corner to a flake crack, then climb this to finish up flowstone.

12 Chicken 17m VS,4c
Start at a tree 10m right of Stupid Sapling. Climb up behind the tree, then traverse right to a bush and finish direct. Rather pointless.

10m right of the tree of Chicken is a large overhang at 10m with rather unstable looking rock all around. Just right and at a lower level is another overhang at 6m.

1 Red Mike 17m VS,4c
Start below the right end of the overhang at 6m and below a finishing groove. Gain the groove from the left.

2 I Should Smile 17m E3,5c
Climb the weakness in the wall right of Red Mike, finishing up the very thin cracks in the headwall above.

To the right of the overhangs are three cracks, the left one leading to a groove with a large tree at its top.

3 Diarrhoea Crack 17m VS,4c
Climb the left-hand crack and finish up the wide groove above.

4 Road to Nowhere 17m E1,5c
Climb the thin central crack. From a big block at 8m, finish as for Crack of Gwent.

5 Crack of Gwent 17m E1,5b *
Climb the right-hand finger-crack. Follow the arête to the top.

6 Developing World 18m E2,6a
A fierce eliminate. Follow a shallow groove (between Crack of Gwent and Quiet Hero) for 6m, placing gear in Crack of Gwent, to finish for that route.

7 Quiet Hero 17m E2,5b
Start 2m right of Crack of Gwent just right of some iron sticking out of the ground. Climb an arête to a flake crack above, then move up to finish more easily.

8 Milk Tooth * 18m E4 6b Start 5m right of Crack of Gwent. Climb a rightward-tending flake crack to stand on a hanging tooth of rock currently defying the laws of physics. Move up (in-situ thread) to gain good holds and a peg runner. Grope round for a finger-slot and cut loose for a hand-ledge. Easier climbing leads to a large tree at the cliff edge.

9 Peaches And Cream 18m E2,5c *
Start at a short blocky groove 6m right of the cave. Climb the wall PR, to the overhang. Pull over this and into a right-facing corner on good jams. Finish leftwards.

10 Slurry 17m S
Start 4m left of Briar Crack, where the overhangs end. Climb a groove to a bramble, move up right and climb a corner to finish rightwards.

11 Only Yesterday 15m VS,4b
Climb the grooves above the start of Slurry, i.e. a direct finish.

12 Briar Crack 6m VD
The short chimney, just before the cliff becomes very scrappy.

13 Jug Thug 8m E2,5b
Start 6m right of Briar Crack. Climb the broken crack line through a series of overhangs.

14 Redstart 8m HVS
Start 3m right of Jug Thug at a hawthorn. Climb to a ledge left of the hawthorn. Move out left at the same level to beneath the corner of the overhang. Move up and left to a crack, then finish up the steep headwall.

Twelve metres right of the grass ridge at the right-hand end of the main crag is a smooth rectangular wall. The routes retreat from trees at 8m.

1 Elaine E4 6a*
Climb the left side of the rectangular wall to a peg. Mantle up rightwards and retreat from the tree.

2 Lilian E3 5c*
Climb the wall to the right of "Elaine", avoiding the groove on the right. Swing left at the break and mantle up to the tree.

3 Scooter Groove VS 4c*
Start at the next wall to the right of "Lilian". Climb the obvious groove with a crack in it, moving left below a small overhang to pull through a gap on the left.

4 Scooter Arête E1 5C*(Highball Font 5+ with mats).
The arête further right of "Scooter Groove".

5 Akala - Fire In The Booth 9m E2 5b*
In the small bay on the right of the crag, right of the stepped descent path. Climb the blocky left facing flake which forms an overhang at 2 metres into a slab above. Start below the overhang and climb into and up the blocky flake using a edge on the lip, crimps, a small spike and a knee to get your feet above the lip. Then climb the slab to a top out on the bank.

First Ascents

  1. Unknown Pre-1973
  2. C.Court, M.Bishop 1984
  3. Martin Crocker, John Harwood 2.10.2011
  4. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  5. L Davies 1990s'
  6. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  7. Unknown 1973-1978
  8. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  9. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  10. P.Littlejohn, S.Lewis 30.06.1979
  11. Martin Crocker, John Harwood 16.10.2011
  12. C.Court, M.Bishop 1974
  13. Unknown Pre-1978
  14. J.Harwood 21.08.1999
  15. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  16. L.Davies 08.1993
  17. L.Davies, P.Thomas 17.05.1985
  18. L.Davies, P.Thomas, M.Henry 31.05.1985
  19. C.Court, M.Bishop 00.00.1984
  1. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  2. J.Hamill-Keays, J.Hamill-Keays 00.00.1989
  3. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  4. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1978
  5. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1980
  6. L.Davies, P.Thomas 1993
  7. L.Davies, P.Bruten 18.05.1985
  8. L.Davies, G.Christmas 08.1993
  1. Unknown Pre-1973
  2. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1979
  3. C.Court, M.Bishop 1984
  4. L.Davies solo 00.08.1993
  5. C.Court, P.Bruten 1984
  6. Martin Crocker, John Harwood 20.5.2012
  7. L.Davies, J.Smith 1986
  8. L.Davies 08.1993
  9. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  10. P.Bruten, L.Davies 03.08.1986
  11. L.Davies, J.Smith 15.05.1986
  12. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1979
  13. D.Hope 1980
  14. Unknown Pre-1973
  15. C.Court, P. Bruten 1984
  16. L.Davies 1985
  17. C.Court solo 1986
  18. N.Grant, N.Kinsford 1978
  19. Unknown Pre-1973 Kingsford 1978
  20. N.Grant, N.Kinsford 1978
  21. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1978
  22. Unknown Pre-1973
  1. Unknown Pre-1973
  2. Unknown Pre-1973
  3. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1980
  4. Unknown Pre-1973
  5. Unknown Pre-1973
  6. Unknown Pre-1973
  7. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  8. Mark Lambert & Malcolm Brook 1966
  9. Martin Crocker, John Harwood 27.5.2012
  10. C.Court, M.Rosser 1986
  11. Unknown Pre-1973
  12. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1979
  1. T.Penning, P. Cresswell 18.04.1982
  2. P.Thomas, L.Davies 03.07.1985
  3. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1pt. 1979 FFA T.Penning solo 18.04.1982
  4. L.Davies, P.Bruten, P.Thomas 1985
  5. Gwent M.C. 1985
  6. L.Davies, P.Thomas 1988
  7. P.Thomas, L.Davies 14.06.1986
  8. Martin Crocker, John Harwood 4.11.07
  9. C.Court, L.Davies 00.00.1985
  10. N.Grant, N.Kingsford 1980
  11. L.Davies, D. Leitch 14.00.1986
  12. Unknown Pre-1978
  13. C.Court solo 1986
  14. Unknown Pre-1973
  1. Martin Crocker Pre 2017
  2. Martin Crocker Pre 2017
  3. Guy Percival 10.08.17
  4. Guy Percival 10.08.17
  5. Will Calvert 23.05.17