Climbing in the United Kingdom offers a large variety of climbing, on a number of rock types in remote mountainous regions as well as many urban venues. The climbing is split into regions, with the main areas being England, Scotland and Wales. Each individual country is then separated into distinct climbing areas.
In addition to the climbs themselves climbers who are new to the area will be confronted with two, sometimes distressing things, the unique grading system, and the fickle British weather. The weather at many areas can change numerous times in a day, and rarely stays the same (good or bad) for long. When the weather is bad, you could visit one of the climbing walls dotted around, however, you will have a much better time visiting one of the many excellent pubs which are sure to be close at hand.
The grading system can be confusing to new comers, but when understood the combination of the technical grade (4a, 4b, 4c, 5a, 5b, 5c, etc.) and the adjective grade (Severe, Very Severe, Hard Very Severe, Extremely Severe which is subdivided into E1, E2, E3, E4, etc.)gives you a good understanding from the outset on the technical difficulty of the climb, its sustained nature, as well as the seriousness. In summary an E1 6a tell you that the route has probably only one 6a move, which is either close to the bottom of the climb or very well protected, while an E5 6a, tells you the route is sustained and could well be a serious lead.
The easiest way is to fly into one of the major airports. Probably the most common will be London Heathrow. From there hire a car and tour around. Alternatively you can travel around using public transport (trains and buses), but you’ll find that only works for certain areas, close to urban settlements.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for United Kingdom:
A long and classic expedition, both in summer and winter, up the obvious and imposing ridge rising practically from the CIC hut to the summit plateau. The ridge is about 1000m long, with 500m of wonderfully exposed climbing, mostly easy and soloed by competent parties, or tackled roped up alpine style. Several short sections however are often pitched out.Directly above the CIC hut and at the very toe of the ridge is the Douglas boulder: a bit of a misnomer as it stands 200m high and is very much...[more]Browse More Classics in International
As an ex-pat I was delighted with the Description sections. "Perfick. Just perfick". But the list of outstanding routes.... Well, of course anyone who has the temerity to put forward a short list is putting his/her head above the parapet. No harm in that; indeed, much welcomed. But no mention of something(s) on "Cloggy", or on the sea cliffs? There must be sound reasoning for this list, but I am unsure of the reasoning. (Great "One pitch Wonders", perhaps?) What would Jim Perrin, say, list as his recommended Top Ten? If he strongly supported this list then I am pretty sure I would fall off my armchair laughing at myself! This is NOT a criticism, but a big curiosity. Thanks for the page. Climb on!
By Euan Cameron Administrator From: Redlands and Mammoth Lakes May 23, 2010
The "Classics" list is an automatically generated list that is added to parent area pages on MP. The list is created by selectively including routes that have been given classic (4 stars) status by the original poster. If you post up routes that you have done and give them 4 stars because you think they are a classic the route may well get included. Also note that this list changes day to day.
Fantastic idea, one question; Portland and Swanage are completely missed out... Sites of international importance for rock climbing (with more climbs that the list you've got for the whole of England already), will they be included in the near future? As an idea this app will only work if it's complete and updated regularly. Thanks. Tom.
In responce to my previous question I now know why Portland hasn't been added... A) can not rate routes as they are sport routes which are rated mostly in Frrnch rating and B) it would take forever to get all these routes online! I added areas for Portland then sub areas for cheyne wears then further broke it down to the area/crag... Just to get one area on took ages... Tried to list a route and found that it doesn't have an option to change the rating system used. Don't think this problem is easily solvable but good luck guys. Tom.
@Devilesslover: the reason they haven't (hadn't) been added is that people haven't got round to doing them yet. As you discovered, anybody can add a route, so all it takes is for a few people who climb regularly in the area to start logging on here after a day's climbing and adding the routes they did that day. As for the grades, I have raised the question on the forums, but for now just go with a conversion table. These are pretty good for going between French sport and YDS, but do break down a bit when it comes to British trad. To give a reliable YDS grade for a trad route, I suppose you have to be familiar with the grading system, and climb the route with that in mind.