Watch House Slab
|Watch House Slab|
Watch House Slab
|Rock Type||Natural Carboniferous Limestone|
|Approach Time||10 minutes|
|Sub Area||Shire Combe to Southgate|
|WGS-84 Location||51.565784, -4.096438|
|OS Grid Ref.||SS 547 872|
|WGS-84 Parking Location||51.566835, -4.087865|
|GR Parking Location||SS 553 873|
|Parking Postcode||SA3 2DH|
|Base Elevation||7 metres (Other)|
|Faces Direction||South West|
|Crags Within a Half Mile.|
Anemone Wall, Foxhole Cove, Heatherslade Bay, Minchen Hole, Pobbles Quarries, Ravens Cliff Gully, Shire Combe Buttress, Watch House East, Watch House Slab, West Promontory Corner, White Cove, White Edge
|Watch House Slab|
|6b - 6c+||11|
|7a - 7b||1|
A very smart little crag that is non-tidal and has some excellent routes up to 15m long.
The rock is limestone, smooth and slabby at the base and bulging and rough above half height. There are some interesting features such as sandstone, breccia and calcite veins to give the routes some individual character.
The crag faces south west and so gets the sun by mid morning. However, as the crag lies within a deep gully it does not get the benefit of evening sunshine.
The steep shady wall on the opposite side provides some nice mid-grade routes. The tidal gully is currently being developed.
Walk west from the National Trust car park in Southgate. Walk onto the first headland (above Foxhole Cove) and take a diagonal track running westwards down to a large non-tidal platform. Facing the sea, turn right and walk round into the gully; ten minutes from bus-stop to first bolt. Please avoid using the steep path directly above the crag to prevent damage to the wild flowers and also avoid rockfall onto the routes.
Sport routes have shared or individual lower offs with stainless rings. A pre-placed rope should be considered for the trad routes.
MAIN SLABThese are described in the traditional manner, from left to right.
- Thorn - Fr. 3
Starts at the top of the slope on the limestone rib left of a sandstone ledge. Climb the obvious snaking rib, which is steeper than it looks
- Wynne - Fr. 4
Climbs the rib and groove right of Thorn using some breccia. Some nice bridging at the top.
- Excavation - Fr. 6a
Enjoyable, start at the obvious sandstone beehive at the extreme LHS and stay left of the (loose) arête. Can be climbed right of bolts at about Fr. 4.
- Mr Angry - VS, 4b
Loose. Start at a leftwards slanting groove, with some sandy rock at its base. Climb the groove for 6m then move rightwards to finish straight up over a tiny overlap.
- Tickety-Boo - Fr. 5+
Nice slabby climbing.
- Rise and shine - F. 5 *
A delightful jaunt, with rapidly increasing exposure. Climb to the second bolt on Tickety-boo then break diagonally right along the obvious line of weakness, all the way to the lower-off at the top of the St Vitus dance slab. The gear should be removed on top-rope.
- Fob - E1, 5c
Start 3m right of Mr Angry. Make awkward moves up a thin crack, then continue directly, taking care with loose undercuts on the overlap.
- Sport Wars - Fr. 6a 
Start left of the bolts. Interesting moves lead to pleasant climbing above.
- Tread Gently - Fr. 6b+
A slithery start leads to easier climbing above.
- Mainspring - E1, 6a
Start 3m down the slope from Fob. Mantleshelf with difficulty over the initial bulge and continue directly, PR, to a grassy ledge. Finish diagonally up the final wall. Belay well back or slide off to a sport route chain.
- St Vitus’s Dance - Fr. 6c+
A slab climbers delight climbing straight up to the little arch. Not as blank as it looks. The name alludes to the full-body wobble of the first ascentionist.
- The Drilling Fields - Fr. 7a
Nice moves over the overlap and above to an enjoyable open finish.
- Anonymous Bosch - Fr. 6b
Slabby and then steep.
- Jaded Locals - Fr. 6b **
Romps up the big undercuts before swinging rightwards through the steep section. Nice.
- I Bolt, Therefore I Am - Fr. 6c+ *
Climbs straight up to and through the overhang left of the calcite streak, staying just left of the bolts throughout. The moves through the overhang are very fingery, so good luck in finding the hidden finishing hold!
- Escapement - 6b
Newly bolted to produce a steep line with some very nice moves between pockets. Climb just left of a calcite streak and cross it at the top to share the lower-off of Trad Man.
- Bending Sickle - Fr. 6a **
A right to left curving diagonal, following the line of pockets under the overhangs to finish up the final slab of St Vitus Dance. Very nice climbing and surprisingly different to the routes it crosses. Start just left of the calcite fault at the right end of the crag, then follow the pockets under the overhang until they run out. Clip the bolt above but keep going left, using side-pulls, to join St Vitus Dance at the arch, then romp up the final slab.
- Trad Man - Fr. 6a+/6b
Climbs the wall right of the calcite streak at the seaward end of the crag. Now cleaned and re-bolted to make a worthwhile route. Climb up the wall right of the calcite streak using pockets then stretch right to reach good layaway holds that lead up to a tough finish in the groove.
- Sport Girl - Fr. 5
The steep wall right of Trad Man has surprisingly good holds. Starts on the grassy ledge above the other routes.
THE SHADY SIDE
The wall opposite the slabs is steep and in the shade from mid-morning. The routes are described from left to right.
- One step in the shade - Fr. 6b+
Starts on the ledge above the gully (belay bolt). Climb the slab and steep buttress then lean across the rubble-filled gap, clip the bolt and make an exciting step over on to the very overhanging wall using a good undercut which allows progress up and right. (DO NOT try to climb the slab instead of stepping onto the steep wall, you will pull a ton of rubble down on your second!). There is a krab at the top of the buttress to help with stripping. Please leave it there.
- Bella Donna - Fr. 6c
Deadly. Climbs the hanging rib right of the rubble. Stay right of the bolts.
- Shadow Master - Fr. 6c+
Takes the centre of the overhanging wall starting via the black slab. Nice moves on surprisingly good holds.
- Umbra - Fr. 6b+
Starts up the slope beyond the triangular lower buttress (belay bolt). Climb the leaning wall with increasing difficulty to a distinct crux at the hanging crack. Step right into the niche
- Penumbra - Fr. 6b
Climbs directly up the wall via two sloping ledges to finish right of the niche.
Please note: these are new routes so there will be some loose rock, please take care and wear a helmet.
The Tidal Gully
- Raspberry Ripple - Fr.4
The slabby side of the zawn beneath the main crag. Takes the edge of the pink rippled slab near the cave.
- Thorn - Bethan McCarroll 2017
- Wynne - Danny McCarroll and Bethan McCarroll 2017
- Excavation - J Bullock and D McCarroll 2008
- Mr Angry - E.Alsford, P.Donnithorne 16.09.1988
- Ticket - Bethan McCarroll and Danny McCarroll 2008
- Rise and shine - Bethan McCarrroll June 2011
- Fob - G.Evans, N.Lewis 18.09.1986
- Sport Wars - D Cook and D McCarroll 2008
- Tread Gently - J Bullock and D McCarroll 2008
- Mainspring - G.Evans, N.Lewis, J.Bullock 23.07.1986
- St Vitus’s Dance - D McCarroll and D Cook 2008
- The Drilling Fields - J Bullock and D McCarroll 2008
- Anonymous Bosch - J.Bullock, L.Moran 09.07.1986
- Jaded Locals - J Bullock and D McCarroll 2008
- I Bolt, Therefore I Am - J Bullock and D McCarroll 2008
- Escapement - J.Bullock, L.Moran 09.07. 1986 and as a sport route John Bullock and Danny McCarroll 2018
- Bending Sickle - Danny McCarroll and John Bullock May 2011
- Trad Man - J Bullock and D McCarroll 2008 re-bolted, cleaned and straightened 2018.
- Sport Girl - D McCarroll and J. Bullock 18/11/2018.
- One step in the shade - Danny McCarroll 2018
- Bella Donna - Danny McCarroll 2019
- Shadow Master - Danny McCarroll 2018
- Umbra - John Bullock 2019
- Penumbra - John Bullock and Danny McCarroll 2019
The Tidal Gully
- Rasberry Ripple - Bethan McCarroll and Danny McCarroll 2018
- Note from Gwyn Evans 17/05/19 - Sport Wars has overtaken the line of Fob. This bolting was undertaken without the FA permission. Fob was climbed on sight, ground up in 1986. Ditto for Mainspring (a boulder problem start with some care needed higher up).