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Flimston Bay
Mountain/Rock

Flimston Bay

 
Flimston Bay

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Range East, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 51.61261°N / 4.98947°W

Object Title: Flimston Bay

County: Pembrokeshire

Activities: Trad Climbing, Toprope

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 164 ft / 50 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Mar 31, 2010 / Jan 9, 2012

Object ID: 609486

Hits: 2635 

Page Score: 89.77%  - 30 Votes 

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Overview


The quiet backwaters of Flimston Bay occupy an attractive little corner of the Castlemartin Range and one that is perhaps less visited than it should to be. While the bay itself is undeniably pretty and is home to a handful of minor crags (which are of moderate interest to the climber), the bay’s real gems lie on the cliffs on either side, for here are hidden some of the best routes in all Pembroke, and dare I say it, the country. To its west are the steep crags of Flimston Ridge, which offer the extreme climber much to get their teeth into, while just to its east is Flimston Slab, home to some of the best low grade climbs in Pembroke. Further east again is Bow-Shaped Slab, a mid grade climbers paradise, which hosts some of the best Hard Severe’s anywhere. The route Bow-Shaped Slab (HS 4a) is worth the trip alone.

It’s probably fair to say that the crag has one of the most spectacular approaches the area has to offer, taking the climber past the lithological icons of the Green Bridge of Wales, Elegug Stacks and The Cauldron before introducing you to the softer landscape of the bay. If you’re climbing here during the spring, this approach also offers an amazing opportunity to spot the areas bird life, which includes the highly protected chough (Pyrrocorax pyrrocorax). The presence of choughs does mean however, that between the 1st March and 15th August, climbing is banned on certain crags in the area. At the moment restrictions only affect the West Face of Flimstone Ridge and one route on Crocksydam Point. However, Pembroke’s restrictions are complex and vary annually, see the Red Tape and Access Section for more details.

Rock Climbing

The climbing at Flimston Bay can be split into nine areas: Flimston Ridge, Flimston Stack, Barrel Slab, Bifters Buttress, Flimston Slab, Oribit Wall Area, Trio Wall Area, Bow-Shaped Slab and Crocksydam Point. All crags described are in some way affected by the tide, the degree of which depending of the time of year and weather.

Climbs are listed from left to right, and are graded and rated with the aid of the Climbers’ Club Guide to Pembroke, the Pembroke Supplement and the new Rockfax Pembroke guide, so for full descriptions, please refer to these books. In addition to these sources, Rockfax’s website has descriptions for the routes included in their book, which can be viewed on their online route Database.

Bow-Shaped Slab
Bow-Shaped Slab - HS 4a
(Photo by Nanuls)
Flimston Bay
The view back towards the Bay
(Photo by Nanuls)
Flimston Bay
Flimston Bay
(Photo by Nanuls)

Routes are graded using the British Adjectival Grading System. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Severe (S) or above. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE! With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited anywhere in Pembrokeshire, so don’t even think about it here.

Route Symbols:
NO STARS A so-so route, neither good nor bad. Not unpleasant unless otherwise stated.
1 STAR A good route which is definitely worth a climb.
2 STARS A very good route, one of the best on the crag and well worthy of attention.
3 STARS An excellent route, one of the best in the area, and probably in Britain too.
NO RESTRICTIONS No Restrictions

Used to indicate that there are currently no restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route.
RESTRICTIONS Restrictions

Used to indicate that there are restrictions, either seasonal, temporary or permanent, affecting a route. See the Red Tape and Access Section for more details.


Please note that good anchors (or any anchors at all for that matter) can be hard to find on many of the cliff tops. A quick recce before committing is advised.

Crags of Flimston Bay (Photo by Nanuls).


Flimston Ridge


The West Face of Flimston Ridge is home to a good number of quality high end routes of both the single and multi-pitch variety. Access can easily be gained by descending the crest of the ridge from sea level and then traversing in on an obvious break around 10 metres height. The right-hand part of the face has provided some easy and short climbs for beginners but the meat of the ridge, described below, can be found further left. There is a nesting restriction between the 1st March and 15th August.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Stone Bridge 70m 3 E5 6b, 5c, 5b/c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
2. Free Masonry 64m 3 E6 6a, 6b, 6a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
3. Hanging by the Bridge 43m 2 E5 6a, 6a 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
4. In Suspension 40m 1 E6 6b 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
5. Sieg Heil! 34m 1 E5 6a 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
6. The Great Escape 40m 1 E5 6a/b 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
7. Jawohl Mein Fuhrer 34m 1 E5 6a/b 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
8. Gestapo Grooves 40m 1 E5 6a 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS
9. Nostradamus 46m 1 E4 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS


Flimston Stack


This is the larger landward of the two stacks on the western side of the bay. Flakaway takes its right side while Thieves can be found on the shattered wall behind it.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
10. Flakaway 15m 1 HS 4a/4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
11. Thieves 49m 2 E1 5b, 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Flimstone Ridge and Flimstone Bay. Flimstone Stack is the most inland of the two small pillars in the centre of the bay (Photo by Nanuls).


Barrel Slab


Above the beach to the east of Flimston Ridge is a convex buttress with an overhanging base and a large grassy slab above. Access all routes in this area either by abseil or by scrambling down Flimston Ridge.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
12. Kisses for Mayakovsky 30m 1 E2 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
13. Judith's Slab 49m 2 HS 4b, 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
14. The Laughing Biscuit 40m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
15. Pinned to the Sun 24m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Further east is a huge rotten looking slab that is set back from the main cliffs and is cut off by high tide.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
16. Excerpts 46m 1 E1 4a/4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
17. Metropolis 46m 1 E1 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


A little further east again is a small overhanging wall.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
18. Teddy Bears Picnic 21m 1 VS 4c 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
19. Haven 17 23m 1 E3 5c 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
20. Thread City 20m 1 HVS 5b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
21. Analgestic 20m 1 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
22. Hedgehog 10m 1 HVS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Flimston Bay – The crags of the Barrel Slab area are on the left, Flimston Stack is the most inland of the two small pillars in the centre of the bay and Crocksydam Point is the farthest promontory (Photo by Nanuls).


Bifters Buttress


The slab left of Flimston Slab has a huge overhang running across it and four chimneys on its left side at around sea-level. Approach by abseil.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
23. Take it to the Bridge 27m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
24. Laughing and Forgetting 30m 1 E3 6a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
25. Frome the Sausage Tolls 40m 1 S 4a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Flimston Slab


A superb little slab with some fantastic low-grade climbs. Flimston Crack is just sublime. Range Rocks Keep Falling on My Head is on a buttress 10 metres to the east of Flimston Slab. Routes are best reached by abseil.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
26. Mississippi Mud Pie ? 1 XS 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
28. Brassin Pocket 40m 1 HS 4a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
29. Flimston Slab 40m 1 VD 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
30. Flimston Crack 40m 1 VD 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
31. Meet the Flimstones 30m 1 S 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
30. Tideracer 27m 1 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
31. Range Rocks Keep Falling
on My Head
12m 1 HS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Oribit Wall Area


This area is directly west of the Trio Wall Area and has an obvious rock island at its top. Best approach is by abseil.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
32. Armadillo Armadillo 30m 1 D NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
33. Splashdown 24m 1 VD NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Trio Wall Area


Around 100 metres east of Flimston Slab is a wall below below a grass slope which is flanked by zawns below and broken ridges above. Access the routes by abseil.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
34. Left Trio 34m 1 D NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
35. Central Trio 32m 1 VD NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
36. Right Trio 34m 1 S NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
37. Arch Buttress 75m 3 S NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
38. Watergate 21m 2 HVS 5a, 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
39. Broken Ankle 24m 1 VS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
40. Cold Comfort 24m 1 VS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
41. The Scorpion 64m 2 HVS 4a, 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Bow-Shaped Slab


The awesome Bow-Shaped Slab lies in the eastern corner of the Flimston Bay area. It has a distinctive concave profile and is easily recognisable on the approach. Abseil in or down climb the broken slab left of Bomb Corner at about Moderate.

Despite a profusion of flared cracks, good anchors are possible (Photo by Nanuls)
The classic route of the Bay, Bow-Shaped Slab - HS 4a (Photo by Nanuls)
Crocksydam Point, or Moody Nose as it is on the OS map (Photo by Nanuls)


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
42. Bomb Corner 41m 1 D NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
43. Inset Slab 40m 1 HS 4b 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
44. Bow-Shaped Slab 42m 1 HS 4a 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
45. Bow-Shaped Corner 44m 1 HS 4b 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
46. Atlas 43m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
47. Eye of Battle 30m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Directly opposite but at right angles to Bow-Shaped Slab is a small compact cliff.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
48. Whiz Bang 24m 1 S NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
49. Sweetness and Light 30m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Forming the west side of Crocksydam Point is an area of huge overhangs and rotten rock. Just right of this is a slanting slabby groove with predominate pink patch up its right hand side. The following routes are on the seaward arête of this slab.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
50. Otherwise Engaged 24m 2 E1 5b, 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
51. Big Pink 37m 1 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
52. Alibi 34m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Crocksydam Point


This is the impressive headland separating Flimstone Bay in the west and Crystal Slabs and Bullslaughter Bay in the east. It is easily identifiable by a large rock arch which sits on a landward slanting slab. The face on the south east tip of the point is small, compact and gives some good climbing. The East Face is subject to a bird restriction wich runs from the 1st March to the 31st July. This only effects one route, Ring of Bright Water.

This photo of Bullslaughter Bay shows the position of Crocksydam Point when approaching from the east (Photo by Nanuls).


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
53. Fach 21m 1 S NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
54. The Feather 27m 1 HS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
55. Stone Flower 27m 1 VS 4c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
56. Crocksydam Groove 21m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
57. Sharp Taste 27m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
58. The Way the Cookie Crumbles 30m 1 E2 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
59. Yellow Brick Road 30m 2 VS 4a, 4b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
60. Straw Man 21m 1 VS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
61. Lost in Space 24m 1 VS 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
62. Ring of Bright Water 76m S NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE & NESTING BIRDS

Weather Conditions and Tides

Weather Forecast


This section displays the weather forecast for Bosherston, which is located just to the east of Flimston Bay. This gives a pretty good indication of what the weather will be like on the crag, as both Bosherston and the Flimston Bay area sit at around sea level.



Tide Times


Tide times can have a significant impact on where and when one climbs. It is therefore extremely important to check the timetables before embarking on trip to the area. UK tides information for all standard and secondary ports is provided by the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), and displayed on the BBC's website. The link below provides a link to the nearest port to Flimston Bay:

Stackpole Quay Stackpole Quay (SR 992 957)

When to Climb and Essential Gear

The most reliable conditions are in the summer, but the low altitude of the crag may make it a viable option in winter. The gear needed depends entirely on the routes you plan to do. Easier routes will only require a moderate rack, while harder routes will require a something more comprehensive; a good compliment of friends or other camming devices will certainly help. A singe 50 metre rope should serve well on most easy routes, however, twin or double ropes would be a wise choice for the harder stuff. In addition to your usual gear, you might want to bring along an abseil rope to speed up access to the base of the crag.

Getting There

Flimston Bay is located in the Range East portion of the Castlemartin Range.When approaching from Carmarthen (SN 405 196) take the A40 Truck Road signposted for Saint Clears (SN 274 160). At the Saint Clears roundabout, take the A477 Trunk Road towards Pembroke Dock (SM 969 036). Before reaching Pembroke Dock, turn left onto the A4075 (SN 019 027) to Pembroke (SM 989 012). In Pembroke, drive straight over the first small roundabout you reach and drive along the A4139 a few hundred metres and turn left and take the B4319 south towards Castlemartin ( SR 915 983). Around 500m after the Merrion Camp (SR 939 968), take a left hand turn at a crossroads (SR 931 970) and drive down an unclassified road to the Stack Rocks Car Park (SR 925 946).

The Green Bridge of Wales
The Green Bridge
(Photo by Nanuls)
The Cauldron
The Cauldron
(Photo by Nanuls)
Elegug Stacks
Elegug Stacks
(Photo by Nanuls)

Park at the Stack Rocks Car Park and walk west along the coastal path, past Elegug Stacks and The Cauldron. Flimstone Bay (SR 931 946) is the first large sandy bay after The Cauldron, it can be identified by the presence of two small sea stacks near its centre. The crags of this area stretch from Flimston Ridge (SR 930 944), which is on the western side of the bay to Crocksydam Point (SR 935 942), which is marked on the Ordnance Survey map as Moody Nose. The headland is easily identifiable by a large rock arch which sits on a landward slanting slab. All crags as best accessed via abseil.

Red Tape and Access

 
Castlemartin Range Warning Sign
Good advice (Photo by Nanuls)

Flimston Bay is located in the Range East portion of the Castlemartin Range. This area is an Army firing range, although they do not use exploding ammunition. Access is permitted whenever firing is not taking place, which is normally on Weekends, Bank Holidays, and in the evenings (after 4.30). The night firing normally occurs on alternate Mon/Wed and Tues/Thurs nights. The Range is sometimes open during the week, but it is best to check before travelling. Phone the 24 hour help line on (01646) 662367.

Because the Flimston Bay area forms part of a Special Protection Area and is an extremely important site for breeding and nesting choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax), parts of it are affected by seasonal bird restrictions. Between 1st March and 15th August climbing is completely banned on the west face of Flimston Ridge and the eastern side Crocksydam Point. It should be noted that Pembroke nesting restrictions are complex and vary annually. Please check the notice boards in Stack Rocks or St. Govan’s car parks for more information. The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority also produce an excellent annual information leaflet illustrating the restricted areas on a clear map - download it from this LINK.

It is also available from the BMC, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Mrs Weston’s Café in Bosherston.

Camping and Accommodation

There’s an almost unlimited supply of accommodation within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park so it would be inappropriate to list it all here. For budget accommodation it’s worth checking out some of the following sites:

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire

For everything else and more see Visit Pembrokeshire’s website.

Maps

Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

OS 1:25k Explorer Series OL 36 South Pembrokeshire/De Sir Benfro

OS 1:50k Landranger Series 158 Tenby & Pembroke / Dinbych-y-pysgod & Penfro

Road Maps

OS Road Map 6 Wales/Cymru & West Midlands

Guidebooks

Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide Pembrokeshire Coast: The Official National Park Guide by Alf Alderson, John Cleare and Ian Mercer.

A handy book full of useful information and interesting facts about the National Park.
Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 3 Range East - Stack Rocks to Hollow Caves Bay Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 3 Range East - Stack Rocks to Hollow Caves Bay by Gary Gibson

A beautiful, colourful and superbly presented ‘next-generation’ guidebook to this particular part of Range East.
Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Climbers Club Guides to Wales: Pembroke by John Harwood, Dave Viggers et al.

An extremely comprehensive two volume guidebook to the area which describes most of the routes on the crag.
Climbers Club Pembroke Supplement Climbers Club Pembroke Supplement by Dave Viggers

A little book containing updates to the Climbers Club Guide and costs around a fiver.
Rock Fax Guide: Pembroke Rock Fax Guide: Pembroke by Alan James and Mike Robertson

Not quite as comprehensive as the Climbers Club guides, but lavishly illustrated with tons of large photo diagrams and topos.

External Links

 
Moody Nose
Crocksydam Point (Photo by Nanuls)

 
Flimston Bay
Flimston Bay (Photo by Nanuls)
Government Bodies and Other Organisations

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority
Council for National Parks
Association of National Park Authorities
Pembrokeshire County Council
Carmarthenshire County Council
Ceredigion County Council
Countryside Council for Wales
Forestry Commission Wales
Environment Agency
CADW
Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments in Wales
Dyfed Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Outdoor Organisations and Companies

British Mountaineering Council
Pembrokeshire Climbing Club
Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group
South Wales Mountaineering Club
The Climbers Club
UKClimbing

Weather

Weather from the Met Office
BBC Weather
Weather Channel UK

Tide Tables

BBC Tide Tables
UK Hydrographic Office

Tourist Information

Visit Wales
Visit Pembrokeshire
South West Wales Tourism Partnership
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Pages
Local Information from Pembrokeshire Online

Travel Information

Welsh Public Transport Information
Uk Train Timetable

Accommodation

Youth Hostel Association in Wales
Independent Hostel Guide
Campsites in Pembrokeshire
Caerfai Organic Farm
Caerfai Bay Caravan and Tent Park

Maps and Guidebooks

Ordnance Survey
Cicerone Guidebooks
Climbers Club Guidebooks
Rockfax Guidebooks
Mid Wales Climbing
Cordee Travel and Adventure Sports Bookshop

Wildlife and Conservation

Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre
South West Wales Wildlife Trust
Sea Trust
Pembrokeshire Bird Group

Welsh Language

Welsh Language Board
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg Welsh language pressure group
Cymuned Welsh language pressure group
Yr Urdd (Welsh Youth Association)
Welsh-English / English-Welsh online translator
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Dictionary
Welsh-English / English-Welsh Online Lexicon

Images