Pembroke: rockfalls, bombs and 2018 briefings.

Posted by Elfyn Jones on 24/10/2017
Green Bridge with a huge section missing. © Paul Donnithorne
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Pembrokeshire, with great sea-cliffs and amazing climbing, standing out proudly into the Irish Sea on the western fringes of Wales has been given a bit of a bit of a battering by recent storms. The army have also left a few dodgy bombs on the coast that are best left well alone and for those seeking the delights of Range West, then read on for the dates the next round of the scintillating Range West briefing dates!

Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian have already caused damage to the cliffs of Tremadog but local Pembroke activist Paul Donnithorne has been in touch to tell us about some significant changes to some iconic Pembroke coastal landscape features and climbs. 

The famous "Green Bridge of Wales", at Stack Rocks on the Castlemartin Cliffs of South Pembrokeshire has been severely damaged by the October storms.  According to Paul, "Almost half of the supporting leg of the Green Bridge of Wales has been taken by the recent storms, along with 8 routes. The outstanding feature was first climbed in 1982 by Jon De Montjoye, Henry Folkard and Hillary Sharp via the eye-catching central groove in the West Face.  They named thier climb "Isambard's Kingdom". Further routes were later added by Paul Donnithorne and Gary Gibson while much harder recent additions were added by Ben Bransby and James McHaffie.  The photos above, taken by Paul Donnithorne and Don Sargeant, show the damage and it seems that it's now only a realatively short matter of time before the Green Bridge becomes a detached sea-stack or even collapses completely into the sea! 

Elsewhere on the Castlemartin cliffs, a huge new rock scar is reported at Mewsford Point, totally destroying the 3 routes based around the routes Prime Cut and Seafarers.  

While these rockfalls are the only ones reported so far, it would be surprising if there were not more following the battering this coast recieved from the cliff-topping (30metres!) waves of the last weekends.  

The MoD have also been in touch with the BMC's local access rep Steve Quinton, to warn of some unusal and dangerous unexploded ordnance left behind at Range West following a French army military excercise. The photos attached are 2 types of ordnance that climbers might find on the ground in Range West after the French training on the Range.  The High Explosive has a very sensitive fuse in the nose and the smoke grenade has a cap full of phosphorous.  Climbers are advised to not touch them and please report them to guard room, if possible mark with sticks or stone pile so they can be found. 

The MoD and Pembrokeshire National Park Authority have also just announced the briefing dates for Range West access for 2018. These briefings are compulsory for anyone wishing to climb in Range West in 2018 and have to be attended each year. Those who attended the briefings in 2017 will not be able to enter Range West after May 2018 unless they attend a new briefing in 2018. 

The dates for 2018 are :- 

Thursday 22/2/18   18:00

Friday 30/3/18   10:00 (Good Friday)

Thursday 26/4/18   18:00

Saturday 28/4/18   10:00

Thursday 24/5/18   18:00  

Saturday 26/5/18   10:00 (Whitsun Bank Holiday)

All the briefings are held at the Castlemartin Army Camp, post code  SA71 5EB. Park at the car park by the guardhouse, adjacent to the two large tanks! Climbers need to be at guardroom at the camp gate early to give time to get everyone into the hall. 

In addition, the MoD also state that there will be no firing during the following dates, and that there will be full access to the ranges for briefed climbers between these dates.  

Christmas 16/12/17 – 2/1/18

Easter  24/3/18 – 8/4/18

Summer 4/8/18 – 2/9/1

Climbers who only want to climb on Range East (St Govan's Head to Stack Rocks) do not need to attend a  briefing. 



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