Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A Quick Trip to Yorkshire

Last weekend I took a short trip to Yorkshire with Anne Peale, Liam Ingram and Alex McMillan.
On the way down from Edinburgh on Friday night we stopped at a crag in Northumberland which none of us had been to before, called Widehope. This crag is just a bit further down the valley from Redheugh, which I was at the day before, and is also composed of the same cross bedded Carboniferous Fell Sandstone.
Redheugh turned out to be quite soft and snappy in places with lots of sand on some holds, however we did climb some nice problems such as Horned Arete, Widehope Arete and Chicken.
Widehope Arete (Photo Credit: Alex McMillan)
Horned Arete (Photo Credit: Alex McMillan)
Saturday was going to be quite a warm day, so after consulting Oli Read on what might be a good crag to go to we decided upon Simons Seat, close to Skipton. Simons Seat is a grit stone outcrop sitting on top of a hill. Simon Seat is composed of Carboniferous age Millstone Grit, like that found in the Peak District. More accurately it is of late Mississippian age. It was quite interesting to notice the difference in the rock from one side of Simons Seat to the other, with a well sorted sandstone on the South which contained lots of concretions, and a more poorly sorted pebble rich sandstone on the North, which also appeared to show less concretions. Further north again at Lords seat the pebbles seem to disappear again. I spent too much time climbing to really gather enough information to indicate what the cause of this difference was.
Simons Seat (Photo Credit: Alex McMillan)
I did most of my climbing on the Southern side of Simons Seat. Here I climbed the classic E3 Ill Bet She Does, which takes a line of chicken heads up a steep wall, and a font 7A called Galaxy, which takes a line of good chipped holds up to a horn. Below Galaxy I found a block which showed signs of some sort of trace fossils.
Trace fossils in a block 
On the north side I soloed the classic line, and apparently the best E2 in Yorkshire, A Question of Balance. This route takes the right arete of a steep slab after an initial steep jamming crack. We ended the day on Lords Seat, however a lack of skin stopped play a bit here.

Oli on Ill Bet She Does
Liam on Dog Lead
A Question of Balance
Chilling at Kilnsey (Photo Credit: Alex McMillan)
That evening we ate at the Nelson Inn, near Harrogate, and then headed over to bivi underneath the overhangs at Kilnsey. Kilnsey is composed of the Garsdale Limestone Formation, of middle Mississippian age. Anne, Liam and Alex had all just come back from Kalymnos so were feeling pretty psyched for sport, which Kilnsey is quite well known for. Liam kept on claiming that he is in danger of becoming a sport climber, so naturally Anne and himself started the day on a classic E2 called The Diedre. Alex and I attempted to climb some of the shorter single pitch routes. Having spent most of my time recently climbing on sandstone I found reading the limestone quite hard. I had a good attempt at a 7b called Witches Brew, however in the end Alex and I only managed to get up The Diedre clean.
Alex on The Diedre
This trip was really a trip around the Mississippian, a sub-period of the Carboniferous, sedimentary succession of northern Britain, with the deltaic Fell Sandstone of northumberland being oldest, followed by the limestones at Kilnsey and then the younger Grit of Simons Seat. By the Carboniferous Scotland had already joined to England following the Caldeonian orogney, Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh was an active volcano and the North Sea had not yet rifted. The British Isles sat much further south than they do today. To the North of the region existed highlands providing the sediment for the sandstones. The rocks we climbed on all represent different depths of water, with the limestone being deepest, grit shallowest and the fell sandstone somewhere in the middle.

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