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  • Writer's pictureGrant Edwards

Sillery Sands the venue that would not be..

With the times being as they are, we can't go climbing; So here it is the perfect venue for the times, one you can't get to anyway!

If you look eastwards from Lynmouth, the point, you can see in the distance is Foreland Point. The beaches leading up to Foreland are known as 'Sillery Sands' each section given a number Sillery 1, 2 and 3. This place ticked a lot of boxes for me, a remote place where it is very rare to see other humans, stunningly beautiful and a large selection of bouldering on some very good quality metamorphosed sandstone. Very rarely we would come across a naked human or two as it is a known naturist beach.

It is possible to access it from Lynmouth, you'll need a good low-tide (neaps are no good) to get past 'Point Perilous' (for reference this is where wee Mike Adam's mega gymnastic traverse The Odyssey 7b resides, just beyond the zawn that contains Chimpanzee Acne 7a). Point Perilous is very likely to be the place you won't be able to pass if you miss time your return trip. The site of many an impromptu wade/ swim. Herein lies the problem, it's quite a big boulder hop to get across to Sillery proper and you really don't have that much time to hang around climbing before you need to make the return journey.

Mike Adams on his epic traverse Xanthos 7b at Sillery Sands.

The bouldering at Sillery was developed using the old zig-zig path down from near the top of Countisbury Hill. Perfect access straight onto Sillery 1, with a very good freestanding block right at the bottom of the steps used to get onto the beach. The bouldering stretches eastwards to Foreland Point and westwards back towards Lynmouth from here. There was loads to go at. The walk back up was a 'bit of a leg burner' but it kept us all super fit.

When the winter storms hit the North Devon Coast, they hit it hard and when they come with big spring tides they hit it even harder. The steps have fallen victim to the storms before and have then been rebuilt. The last time they fell victim to the storms, a large landslide destroyed the steps and the bottom of the path. The latest news is that there are some very sketchy ladders and ropes in place that make access possible for the very brave. Although the reports are that negotiating them with a crash pad would be a foolish enterprise. As it is not in regular use the path is now massively overgrown and it becomes a savage tick fest as soon as weather gets warmer in spring.

The most famous problem here is, no doubt, Tom Newberry's Pipeline 8a+ the hardest problem on the coast.

It is hoped that the steps get rebuilt and that access becomes more reasonable in the future but for now we won't share any more problem details or topos because of the sketchy access.

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