Stennis Head is one of Pembroke’s most popular little crags, being home to a wide range of quality routes for beginner and expert alike. Most of the routes are on the headland’s western side, and consequently, it can become quite busy. Those looking for a quieter time may find what they want on its South Buttress, the trickier access putting most people off. At Severe, Stennis Chimney is an adventurous route at an amenable grade, commencing with a long traverse pitch, before propelling the climber up into the depths of the chimney itself.
The best climbing is on the second pitch, which although well protected and never overly challenging, is exposed enough to send a flutter of excitement through most climbers bodies. The initial step out onto the route is particularly memorable. The first pitch is more of an approach, but owing to the nature of the climbing is best done roped up. Those wishing to get to the meat of the climb sooner rather than later can simply abseil to the route’s second stance via the line of Stennis Arête. So if you are looking for somewhere a bit quieter to spend a few hours, this route, coupled with ascents of some of its neighbouring lines, such as Maelstrom Chimney (S 4a) and the aforementioned Stennis Arête (HS 4b), is more than enough to conjure up a highly entertaining day of climbing.
FA: C. Mortlock, May 31st 1969.
The route 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 2.5km after Saint Petrox (SR 971 975), take a left hand turn (SR 965 964) signposting Bosherston (SR 965 9470). Drive through Bosherston (or stop for a cup of tea at Mrs Weston's Olde Worlde Café) to the Saint Govan's Car Park (SR 966 930).
From the car park, walk south to a small guard house and turn right (west), cross the stile at the guard house, and walk along a gravel road to Stennis Ford (SR 963 930). Follow the right (western) side of the zawn south and descend gradually to the start of the traverse. If you want to abseil in, just walk to the end of the headland and build an anchor there. Take care when doing so as some of the rocks are a bit loose.
The route begins by scrambling down ledges to take a horizontal line just above the high tide line. Considering the route’s grade, a rope is advisable for this first pitch.
Pitch 1 (40m): Descend from the end of a rock platform to follow an easy traverse line just above the high tide line. Climb around the arête and belay from a series of small ledges below a short corner.
Pitch 2 (30m): Climb left of the belay, stepping out to move around the bulge at the base of the cliff. Pick your own line up from here, either moving left straight into the corner or, climb the wall to the right of the corner directly (this is arguably a more enjoyable option). Easy moves, with great positions all round.
The route is two pitches long and takes a variety of gear from small to large wires as well as a variety of cams. Double ropes are essential for avoiding rope drag. If you wish to abseil in, a static rope along with a set of prussiks (or equivalent) are also a good idea.
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