Watch House East

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Watch House East
Watch House East
Watch House East
Rock Type Natural Carboniferous Limestone
Climbing Style Sport
Approach Time
Area Gower
Sub Area Shire Combe to Southgate
WGS-84 Location 51.565539, -4.094245
OS Grid Ref. SS 549 872
WGS-84 Parking Location 51.566835, -4.087865
GR Parking Location SS 553873
Parking Postcode SA3 2DH
Base Elevation 2 metres (Other)
General Info
Faces Direction West
Aspect Partially Sunny
Wind Sheltered Never
Climbing Type Normal
Seepage Quick drying
Before/After Low Tide 5.5 hours (See Note)
Crags Within 400m

Foxhole Cove, Heatherslade Bay, Little Arched Slab, Ravens Cliff Gully, Utopia Slabs, Watch House East, Watch House Slab, West Promontory Corner, White Edge

Watch House East
Sport Grades
<= 6a+ 1
6b - 6c+ 4
7a - 7b 5
>= 7b+ 0


Virtually non-tidal.


Sports climbs allowed. Retro-bolting permitted with usual caveats.


This is the steep buttress well to the east of Watch House Slabs and just around the corner from Foxhole Cove. The cliff is barrel-shaped and has an obvious depression in its upper section, with a wide corner crack leading up right. To the right, the crag is severely undercut and a groove line running up to the left gives the line of Clip Joint.


From the B4436 follow the offshoot into Southgate and continue to the National Trust Car Park by a roundabout at the end of the village (GR554873). Park here and follow the private road along the cliff top westward (right when looking out to sea) until a wide path breaks off left, just before its end at Number 18 (The Watch House). Follow this path for 200m until an iron stake is seen on the left (and opposite a water tower well over to the right).

Continue along the cliff top for 70m until a rocky ridge runs down and left, where the aspect of the underlying slopes changes from south to south-west. Scramble down here to reach a wave-cut platform. Follow the path back eastwards. Watch House East can be more efficiently reached by walking onto the beach (2 hours either side of low water) from Fox Hole.


Routes have individual bolted lower offs.


Routes are described from left to right.

rock climbing topo for Watch House Crag, Southgate, Gower, South Wales
Watch House Crag
  1. Left-wing Rebolt - Fr. 6b
    Currently the most left hand start. After the second bolt, break left to climb the arête on good holds.

  2. Strain Drain - Fr. 7a
    Start as for Left Wing Rebolt and Straining Pitch but take a line between the two at the rail.

  3. Straining Pitch - Fr. 6b+
    Start as for Left Wing Rebolt. Climb steeply to good holds, step right to a crack and continue steeply to a ledge. Straight over the top overhang to finish.

  4. Touch and Go - Fr. 7a+
    Takes a line right of Straining Pitch through all four overhangs. Fine varied climbing but with a hard crux. Start as for Jump to Conclusions and trend delicately left to join Straining Pitch for one move before breaking right and crossing the second overhang (crux).

  5. Jump To Conclusions - Fr. 7a
    Start 6m right of Straining Pitch below a brownish overhang at 10m. Climb to below the overhang pull up leftwards using a crossly hold and lurch/jump/dyno to a large hidden jug up and left. Straight up more easily to the right arête of the diagonal groove, reach large holds and the lower off. Hard to on-sight.

  6. Pump Action - Fr. 7a+
    Start 3m right of Jump To Conclusions at a prominent red and white stratified niche. Climb this to ledge, step right and continue steeply, to a large pocket below an overhang; over this to reach good finishing holds and a further niche. Step right and climb a groove and corner crack to reach the lower off in a small rock outcrop.

  7. Clip Joint - Fr. 6c
    Start where a red-tipped rock meets the cliff. Climb an overhanging crack with increasing difficulty to reach a good incut. Move right to reach a chockstone and bridge up the groove onto a slab. Continue up a rounded arête to the lower off.

  8. Project

  9. No Rest For The Wicked - Fr. 7a
    A line right of Clip Joint without touching the boulder.

  10. Too many Fingers - Fr. 6c
    Takes the diagonal line of pockets at the right side of the crag, starting from the big boulder. Swing right at the top to finish on the ledge.

  11. Nia Miss - Fr. 5+
    Start on the upper ledge at the right side of the crag at a bolt belay. Step round the corner, and creep leftwards and upwards across the slab, with amazing exposure, to finish on the lower offs of Pump Action or Jump to Conclusions.

  12. Unfinished Project
    The Road To Nowhere and Hue And Cry (traverses) can probably be done in some fashion using existing bolts but haven't done them since the crag was bolted any threads mentioned have long since gone.

  13. The Road To Nowhere - E2,5b
    The obvious lower right to left traverse line. Not as innocuous as it appears. Start at the niche of Pump Action. Climb to an undercut area of white rock and follow the traverse line by horizontal techniques until it is possible to become vertical again. Teeter up to the second bolt on Straining Pitch, before continuing up the hollow flakes to reach a rounded spike, where a grass cornice abuts the crag. Abseil off a sling around this. 21m

  14. Hue And Cry - E2,5c
    A half-height traverse. Above the rounded spike at the end of The Road To Nowhere is a TR. Start from this thread, reached by abseil. Move right to the layback crack of Straining Pitch and follow this to good holds. Descend rightwards to the ledge of Jump To Conclusions and continue steeply right to the slab of Clip Joint. Finish up this. 21m

  15. Bird-Bum - VS,4b
    On the right hand side of the beach below is a super diamond-shaped slab with quartz patches and a shallow alcove in the centre. Take a direct line into the alcove and continue direct to the slab apex. Low tide required, protection is adequate despite appearances from below. 15m


  1. Left-wing Rebolt - Danny McCarroll, John Bullock 2009
  2. Strain Drain - A John Bullock, Danny McCarroll 21/10/12
  3. Straining Pitch - J.Bullock, G.Evans 00.00.1989
  4. Touch and Go - Danny McCarroll, John Bullock, Oct 2010
  5. Jump To Conclusions - J.Bullock, M.Kydd, G.Evans 02.09.1989
  6. Pump Action - J.Bullock, R.Thomas 00.00.1989
  7. Project -
  8. Clip Joint - J.Bullock, G.Evans 16.05.1989
  9. No Rest For The Wicked - A.Berry 00.00.1995
  10. Too many Fingers - Danny McCarroll, John Bullock 2008.
  11. Nia Miss - John Bullock, Danny McCarroll 2008.
  12. Unfinished Project - Danny McCarroll
  13. The Road To Nowhere - G.Evans, J.Bullock 16.05.1989
  14. Hue And Cry - G.Evans, J.Bullock
  15. Bird-Bum - Nick Taylor, John Allen 15.09.2018

Additional Photos