Alderley Cliff

A weekend in the Peaks for family purposes, and to our great surprise just around the corner was a rather nice cliff. It is very tucked away and rather takes you by surprise. Here’s the google maps link. If you scroll out a bit you’ll see “Wheeldon Trees Farm holiday cottages” where we stayed, and which has a convenient footpath running down from the right to the cliff (and if you scroll out a bit further you’ll see the giant limestone quarry which shows up far better from above; on the ground you hardly see it). Just south – Longnor – is the Dove valley – beware: the pubs don’t open until 12.

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So here is the cliff, or rather the central portion of it. Dots are the route, arrows are the belays, but I didn’t need to tell you that. “Miranda’s delight” is an HVD arete, that ends with a little duck L into the corner because the very top of the arete is compact and gearless; probably around VS to top out on the straight line. I suppose the rock must be limestone (it is an old quarry, now owned by the BMC, though curiously the BMC website doesn’t mention that), reasonably weathered and faded, not much polished. It seems to be a quiet venue; many of the lines could do with a bit of gardening. Out of shot to the far right there were more weeds and brambles, and a warning sign noting that it was an old quarry and that bit wasn’t necessarily considered safe. But out bit was much cleaner. When we were there it was very dry; after some rain it might get muddy. I know that route is HVD because someone showed us their guidebook, but I didn’t remember the real route name. w-by-dan-Aldery The children happily seconded the arete; with a rope above you it really isn’t hard. The pic to the right is by Dan Lane, who does climbing photopgrahy (see danlanephotography.com/) and does quite a good job of making me look heroic as I contemplate the steep arete.

Miriam’s downfall (S, 4a) is the obvious crack. From where I’ve taken the photo it is clear that the angle is fairly easy, but what you can’t see is that the other side of the corner forces you somewhat out of balance at about half height and above. Both routes have good solid trees to belay on. It is a nice route, just a little bit dirty and a little bit polished at some of the more obvious holds, but a pleasant severe and a good start to the “season” (I put season in brackets because I know I’ll be lucky to climb again this year :-().

What isn’t so obvious from these pix is that there is a good deal of rock elsewhere. Lets have a wider look:

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The previous pic showed the rock roughly under the high point of the clifftop; from this pic you can see that the face on the L of the top pic goes up much higher. The lower part of that face is compact and looks Hard; but the upper tier (which you might reach up the HVD) looked more crack-y, but possibly less easy angled.

Anyway, a very nice little find I think, we’ll try to go back. We may have exhausted the easy climbs on the cliff – from there it looks to be VS and up, unless you top-rope.