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St. Non's Bay
Mountain/Rock

St. Non's Bay

 
St. Non\'s Bay

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 51.87140°N / 5.26685°W

Object Title: St. Non's Bay

County: Pembrokeshire

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 82 ft / 25 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Jun 23, 2010 / Apr 15, 2011

Object ID: 631725

Hits: 2110 

Page Score: 88.19%  - 26 Votes 

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Overview


It was upon these cliffs, in the midst of a great storm, that an unfortunate young noblewoman gave birth to the boy who was to become Wales’ patron saint. Subsequently, she would herself be canonised and the bay named after her, which given the violence of the young David’s conception and birth, is frankly the least that could be have been done for her. A holy well was founded on the spot and a chapel built nearby, and when the chapel fell to rack and ruin, a second chapel was built nearby. Consequentially, the bay has been a place of pilgrimage for nearly 1,500 years.

These days another sort of pilgrim frequents the bay; they come laden with rope and rucksack, speak of the bay in unintelligible jargonistic expressions and wear shiny metal trinkets around their waists. They are of course climbers, and they come to the bay to tackle its short sandstone cliffs that it is now best known for. These cliffs yield a variety of routes of varied grade and quality, the best of which are generally found on the bay’s eastern side. The most popular lines are to be found on the wonderfully clean Initiation Slabs, which forms the western side of a shallow inlet just to the east of the chapel. The crag is a haven for the low to mid grade climber, with its best route Aires (VS 4c), being worth the trip alone. Square Bay also sports a handful of good mid grade routes, while those searching for something a bit tougher will find satisfaction on the bay’s most westerly crag, the Velvet Wall. There is much to be recommended here and once all feasible options have been exhausted, there is much to recommend nearby too; for St. Non’s is just a short walk from some of Pembroke’s other great crags. A quick stroll to the east will bring you first to Porth-y-Ffynnon and then to Porth-Clais, while a slightly longer walk to the east will bring you first to Craig Caerfai and then to Caerbwdi Bay. Each of these spots is home to its own classics and is worth a trip in its own right, making this little stretch of coast the perfect place to spend a few days of very pleasant climbing.

Capricorn - HS 4b (Photo by Nanuls)
Initiation Slabs (Photo by Nanuls)

Rock Climbing

The routes at St. Non's Bay are strung along the length of its broad and are largely confined to seven separate walls or sub-bays. These are namely Velvet Wall, Corduroy Slab, Lunar Bay, Pinnacle Bay, Initiation Slabs, Good Friday Slab and Square Bay. Of these, Initiation Slabs is by far the best, having a good number of routes in a good number of grades. There are also good routes on the Velvet Wall and Square Bay.

Routes 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.

Routes are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available: download it here. With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited everywhere in Pembroke, 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.

Velvet Wall


The Velvet Wall is on the far western side of the bay. Despite being located just under the coastal path, it is completely hidden from the surrounding area.

St. Non's
(Photo by Nanuls)



St. Non's
(Photo by Nanuls)
Velvet Wall (Photo by Nanuls)


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Shiraz 14m 1 E1 5b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
2. Chinon 14m 1 HVS 5a 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
3. Blabber 14m 1 S 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
4. Smoke 14m 1 HS 4c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
5. Graper Scraper 14m 1 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Corduroy Slab


Right (south-west) of the descent to Velvet Wall is a small square-cut bay. Another 30 metres or so to the right again is an east facing black striated slab, known for its deep cracks as Corduroy Slab. The base can be gained through easy scrambling at mid-tide.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
6. Back to the Water 15m 1 M NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
7. Grow Fins 18m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
8. Take Up with a Mermaid 18m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
9. Landlubbing Women 18m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Lunar Bay


This area can be found 200 metres east of the chapel and is beneath the highest point reached by the coastal path. It consists of three buttress, the most westerly of which is split by a fissure near its eastward tip and is known as Keyhole Buttress.

St. Non's Bay (Photo by Nanuls)


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
10. Mortice Corner 15m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
11. Padlock Arête 15m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
12. Peeping Tom 21m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
13. Keyhole Groove 18m 1 HS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Pinnacle Bay


This is the buttress to the right (east) of Keyhole Buttress and is accessed by abseiling down said buttress.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
14. St. Non's Pinnacle 50m 2 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
15. The Calling 50m 3 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
16. James Bond 15m 1 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Initiation Slabs


Initiation Slabs is located on the western side of a small zawn just to the west of the chapel. It's an idyllic little spot with some fantastic little routes. Access is gained by abseiling from one of two stakes. At high tide, hanging belays are a necessity.

Initiation Slabs during a spring low tide (Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
17. Tide Watch 23m 3 VS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
18. Tide Watch Variation 18m 2 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
19. Spock 24m 1 HVS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
20. Cormorant Front 12m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
21. The Gerbil 13m 1 HVS 5a 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
22. Borg 15m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
23. Star Trek 15m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
24. Aquarian 15m 1 VD 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
25. Capricorn 17m 1 HS 4b 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
26. Gemini 17m 1 VD 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
27. Versary 17m 1 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
28. Tatty Crack 17m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
29. Aries 19m 1 VS 4c 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
30. Vanishing Crack 18m 1 S 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
31. Kaygeeforsee 19m 1 HS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
32. Non-sense 25m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
33. Rose Arête 13m 1 D NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
34. Red Admiral 28m 2 HS 4a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Good Friday Slab


South of the zawn containing Red Admiral is a wide 15 metre high slab on the north side of a shallow, V-shaped zawn. Its base is accessible for two hours either side low tide.

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
35. Zimm 14m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
36. Wiggy 14m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
37. End Game 28m 1 HS NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Square Bay


This is the obvious rocky bay some 50 metres east of Initiation Slabs. Approach by scrambling down rocks on its western side, or better, by abseil.

Square Bay
(Photo by Nanuls)

Rosary - HS 4b
(Photo by Nanuls)
Square Bay (Photo by Nanuls)


No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
38. Novitiate 13m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
39. One 14m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
40. Two 14m 1 VS 4c NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
41. Three 14m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
42. Mayday 17m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
43. Nonsense Wall 18m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
44. Nonsense Crack 18m 1 VS 4b NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
45. Weird Wall 21m 1 S NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
46. Loose Arête 21m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
47. Penitent's Corner 30m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
48. Rosary 28m 1 HS 4b 2 STARS NO RESTRICTIONS
49. Foot and Mouth 26m 1 VS 4c 1 STAR NO RESTRICTIONS
50. Galtieri Groove 30m 1 VD NO STARS NO RESTRICTIONS

Weather Conditions and Tides

Weather Forecast


This section displays the weather forecast for Solva, which is located to the south of St. Non's Bay. It isn't the closest settlement to the crag, that honour goes to the eponymous city of St. David's, unfortunately the tool for St. David's doesn't seem to work. Either way, this still gives a pretty good indication of what the weather will be like on the crag, as both Solva and St. Non's 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 monitoring station to St. Non's Bay:

04 Ramsey Sound Ramsey Sound (SM 714 244)


Initiation Slabs Stake
Initiation Slabs Stake
(Photo by Nanuls)
Initiation Slabs
Capricorn - HS 4b
(Photo by Nanuls)
Square Bay
Square Bay
(Photo by Nanuls)

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

Although there are a variety of ways to get to St. Non's Bay, which is located just the south of St. David’s, most will probably be coming from the west. If so, when approaching from Carmarthen (SN 405 196) take the A40 Truck Road signposted for Saint Clears (SN 274 160). At the Saint Clears roundabout, continue along the A40 towards Haverfordwest (SM 962 158). Here you will need to leave the A40, take a short detour through the town, and take the smaller A487 which will signpost St. David’s (SM 753 253).

St. Non's Bay (Photo by Nanuls)


Enter the city and continue to the 'roundabout' with a Celtic cross at its centre (SM 753 253). Take the first exit left, which is signposted to 'Porth-Clais 1.5 miles'. Follow this for around 200m and take the first left, which is signposted 'St. Non's Cahapel ¼ mile. Follow this and park at the free car park at St. Non's Retreat (SM 751 244). Walk down the path past the chapel and the well to the coastal path and take your pick of crags.

Red Tape and Access

No red tape here!

Although unlikely it's worth checking the countryside access map provided by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) regarding whether or not any restrictions on movement in the area are in place.

Countryside Access Map

St. Non s Bay
St. Non's
(Photo by Nanuls)
St. Non s Bay
St. Non's
(Photo by Nanuls)
St. Non s Bay
St. Non's
(Photo by Nanuls)

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. The city of St. David’s and its hinterland is particularly well provided for. 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.

St. Non s Bay
St. Non’s
(Photo by Nanuls)
Initiation Slabs
Initiation Slabs
(Photo by Nanuls)
Initiation Slabs
Capricorn - HS 4b
(Photo by Nanuls)
St. Non s Bay
St. Non’s
(Photo by Nanuls)

Maps

Open Space Web-Map builder Code
Navigation Maps

OS 1:25k Explorer Series OL 35 North Pembrokeshire/Gogledd Sir Benfro

OS 1:50k Landranger Series 157 St David’s & Haverfordwest/Tyddewi a Hwlffordd

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 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 at St. Non's Bay.
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

 
St. Non s Bay
St. Non's
 
St. Non s Bay
St. Non's

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

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