Brilliant sea cliffs and amazing routes: this what climbing at Pembroke is all about but to get the most out of these stunning sea-cliffs and to climb on the remoter and stunning crags of Range West, some prior planning is essential to avoid nesting birds, tank firing and live bomb training. Read on for the details.
Range West is that part of the Pembrokeshire sea-cliffs that's slighly remote and where access to the cliffs needs a bit more thought and preperation than most places. However any conversations with local climbers or regular Pembroke afficiandos will elicit tales of great adventures, acres of unpolished rock, unexploded bombs, stunning cliff scenery and contrary to many people's expectations, hundreds of some of the best low grade sea-cliff climbing to be found anywhere in Wales.
To many climbers, Range West is synonymous with heroic onsight first ascents of hard routes, poor belays, loose rock and complicated access arrangements. But the reality is that there are hundreds of brilliant and easily accessible low to mid-grade routes to tempt people away from the polished slickness of Saddle Head and St Govan's. Cliffs such as Western Walls, the aptly named Funlands and Juggy Point have dozens of quality routes at amenable grades.
Range West is however still a live military firing range and all all climbers wanting to climb here must attend a mandatory safety briefing each year. Access for up to 30 briefed climbers per day is normally allowed during most weekends and bank holidays. The Range West safety briefings for 2017 are being held on the following dates :
18.00, Thursday 23 February
10.00, Saturday 25 February
18.00, Thursday 23 March
10.00, Saturday 25 March
10.00, Friday 14 April (Good Friday)
18.00, Thursday 27 April
18.00, Thursday 25 May
10.00, Saturday 27 (May Bank Holiday weekend)
The evening briefings are all held on mid-week Thursday evenings, while the 10.00am ones are on Saturday mornings (except for the Easter one which is on Good Friday).
As in the past, all the briefings are held at the Castlemartin Army Camp and last for about 40 mins – attendees are requested to arrive a few minutes early to allow time to get past the security gates.
The full address for the Army Camp is :
Castlemartin Army Camp, Merrion, Castlemartin, Pembroke SA71 5EB (Park in the parking bays just beyond the two large Chieftain tanks!).
There are also some extended non-firing dates for 2017, when briefed climbers can visit Range West during weekdays (these are in addition to the normal non-firing weekends and bank holidays):
Monday 10 April to Friday 21 April (Easter holidays)
Sunday 9 July to Monday 28 August (Summer holidays)
But do check the 24-hour answer phone message (01646 662367) just in case there are any late changes to the firing programme.
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