Ready to revive Lakes climbing? Make an ascent of one of the 50 classic routes that need reviving this August, and you’ll get a free Arc’teryx chalk bag or t-shirt – and probably have a great adventure too.
The sublime Lakeland world of pikes, tarns and looming pillars is where it all started for British climbing when Coleridge sent (or descended) Broad Stand on Scafell in 1802.
Hobnail-boot climbers through to lycra gymnasts have since developed rock from mountain top to roadside in the Lakes, leaving routes from every decade and predilection in their wake. The only problem is there are simply not enough climbers scooting up each Lakeland line to keep them in good nick.
Grabbing the promise of a surreally perfect British summer with a prehistoric bird-like grip, Arc’teryx, with the help of local climbers shops Needle Sports and The Climbers Shop, have put together a list of 50 classic routes that need reviving, and are offering willing climbers a chalk bag or T-shirt in return for a tick.
All you have to do is climb a route of any grade from VD to E4 from the Lakeland Revival list this August, get a picture to prove it, and drop it in with a route report to Needle Sports in Keswick or The Climbers Shop in Ambleside, picking up a present in return.
We spoke to Katy Whittaker, Arc’teryx marketing-coordinator and infamous British trad practitioner, about the initiative.
Why do we need a Lakeland Revival?
We’d been chatting to some of the shop staff in the Lakes who said that a lot of the routes just weren’t getting enough traffic on them, and had therefore been taken over by plant life and dirt. We just wanted to remind people the Lakes was still there and give them a small incentive to go and reclimb some of these routes.
What have you done in the Lakes?
I spent quite a bit of time up there with my family when I was a child and we did a lot of walking and easy climbing there, it is a very beautiful area. I haven’t had much chance yet to go and try some of the old school test pieces as my UK trad list is endless, but I am planning on heading up there during August.
Aiming for anything on the list in particular?
I just really want to get stuck in, bring on the dirt and plant life!
Now, we don’t want anyone packing their hacksaw, this is the Lake District not Jurassic Park. So a few guidelines on gardening protocol from BMC access and conservation officer Rob Dyer:
"This is a great initiative that will hopefully see some fantastic Lakes routes get the TLC they need to revitalise interest in forgotten gems and hopefully mountain cragging in general. For anyone getting stuck in and cleaning routes, it’s important to remember that cleaning should be confined to the actual line of the route. Although to a climber’s eye, a completely clean crag can look much more appealing than one with patches of plant life, sticking to removing vegetation that encroaches on the line of the route only rather than everything around it will avoid destruction of any rare species of plant that may be hidden away, off to the side of these routes."
Got the idea? Clearing clumps of grass fine, mowing a ledge not. You may even find a new appreciation for climbing through the green, as FRCC secretary Ron Kenyon points out:
"Are we getting less adept at climbing on crags with a bit of veg after visiting the sun-kissed crags of the Med? Climbing a route on a high Lakeland crag will often as not leave a lasting impression. This is a fantastic project as routes do go back to nature, and we need to ensure that classic lines such as Praying Mantis; Gethsemene; Post Mostem; Totalitarian will be enjoyed in the future. I was interested to see Ramblers Hangover at Upper Scout Crag on the list - I will having a look at this a it was the first route I did - in 1964!"
A final few incentives, whether your snap-happy or a pro-photographer, make sure you get a good Lakeland shot.
Instagram your route with hashtag #lakelandrevival to win an Atom LT Jacket from Arc’teryx, and send unfiltered pictures to Ron Kenyon at firstname.lastname@example.org to be in with a chance of making the new Lakes Selective Guide (anyone chosen will receive a free copy, so no bums or tops of heads says Ron!).
So, drumroll please, the Lakeland Revival list is as follows:
Raven Crag, Thirlmere
Communist Convert VS
Great End Crag, Borrowdale
Nagasaki Grooves E4
No Holds Barred E2
The Mound MVS
Eagle Crag, Borrowdale
The Great Stair MVS
The Sprogg HVS
The Squawk E2
Where Eagle's Dare E2
Falconer's Crack VS
Post Mortem E3
High Crag, Buttermere
High Crag Butress HVS
Nebuchanezzar's Dream E1
Eagle Crag, Buttermere
Shape of things to come E2
A wing and a prayer E3
Cunning Stunts E2
Caucus Race E3
Mother Courage E4
East Raven Crag
Brown Trousers HVS
Frankie goes to Kendal E1
Upper Scout Crag
Ramblers Hangover VD
The Grouter S
Sky Glow VS
Grondle Grooves HS
Close Shave E4
Tattered Banners E2
BB corner E1
Flat Crag Corner HVS
The Gnomon E1
Deer Bield Crag
Crustacean Traverse VD
Westmorlands Route S
A reminder of what you have to do:
Choose an unclimbed route from the Lakeland Revival list
Climb it and get proof of the ascent
Return to Needle Sports or The Climbers Shop with a short route report
Pick up your free T-shirt or chalk bag (whilst stocks last)
Feel pleased as punch
Check Lakeland Revival to see the projects progress and route reports and look out for the Lakeland Revival film coming soon to BMC TV
Instagram your route with hashtag #lakelandrevival to try to win an Atom LT Jacket from Arc’teryx
Send unfiltered pictures to Ron Kenyon at email@example.com to be in with a chance of making the new Lakes Selective Guide
Get the guidebooks
The BMC shop stocks a comprehensive selection Lakeland guides with all the information to get you to the route (if not up it!). You might well find you end up with a tick-list of over 50...
The Lakeland Revival project is supported by Needle Sports and The Climbers Shop, the BMC and Mountain Heritage Trust
WATCH: Leo Houlding climb Napes Needle on BMC TV