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Stennis Head
Mountain/Rock

Stennis Head

 
Stennis Head

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Castlemartin - Range East, Wales, Europe

Lat/Lon: 51.59760°N / 4.94228°W

Object Title: Stennis Head

County: Pembrokeshire

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 131 ft / 40 m

 

Page By: Nanuls

Created/Edited: Jul 10, 2009 / Jan 9, 2012

Object ID: 528457

Hits: 2450 

Page Score: 90.13%  - 31 Votes 

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Overview


Of all the headlands in Pembroke, perhaps even in Britain, there are few that can match Stennis Head for its formidable array of outstanding climbs. This magnificent bastion of rock is one of the many gems in Pembroke’s jewel encrusted crown - the Castlemartin Range - and easily holds its own against its neighbours, those other two Pembroke paragons of climbing, Huntsman’s Leap and Stennis Ford. It boasts a combination of excellent single and multi-pitch routes, which populate every tier of its rock faces, and are almost without exception, accessible at all states of the tide. Easy access to its western flank is facilitated by a gradual rock ramp, while much of the eastern side can be reached either by abseil or, if the tide is right, a tricky downward scramble. The majority of the routes are in the mid to high grades, most of which are easily accessible and rise steeply from the non tidal platform on the headland’s western side. Here you will find such classics as Hercules (HVS 5a), Manzoku (E1 5b), and Cool for Cats (E1 5b), while around the corner, the Pleasure Dome Area ramps up the difficulty, giving the superb Pleasure Dome (E3 5c), Stennis the Menace (E6 6b) and Grey English Morning (E5 6a). Hidden below the western access ramp is another of Stennis’ not to be missed routes, the superbly positioned and extremely photogenic rising traverse of Riders on the Storm (HVS 5a). If you’re an able climber, this really is somewhere you must visit, and if the quality of the routes alone isn’t enough to persuade you to climb here, then perhaps the aspect will. Despite being a headland, the crags of Stennis Head are nicely sheltered by the surrounding coastline, and its western platform in particular forms an attractive sun trap making it an extremely comfortable venue, even in the depths of a cold Welsh winter.

Rock Climbing

The climbing at Stennis Head can be split between two main areas: the South West Face, which is split between an Upper and a Lower Tier, and the South Buttress. Only the Lower Tier of the South West Face is affected by the tide, and even then this only affects a few of the routes.
Riders on the Storm – HVS 5a (Photo by Nanuls)
Cool for Cats – E1 5b (Photo by Nanuls)

Crags and 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 Rockfax's Route Database, so for full descriptions, please refer to these sources. Where the sources differ in their grading I have opted to list the highest quoted grade only, as I don’t want to mislead anyone about the seriousness of any of the routes. Technical grades are generally only given to climbs graded adjectivally as Hard Severe (HS) or above.

Routes are rated using the British Adjectival Grading System. With the exception of Tenby South Beach Quarry, bolting is strictly prohibited everywhere in Pembrokeshire, so don’t even think about it here. A conversion table of international climbing grades by SP member Corax is available HERE!
On the route
Maelstorm Chimney - S 4a
(Photo by Nigel Lewis)
Stennis Head
Newton Head
(Photo by Nanuls)
Stennis Head
The South-Western Face
(Photo by Nanuls)

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.

South West Face


Approximately 100 metres west of the centre of the headland is an easy gully that leads down to the start of the prominent non-tidal slabs which gives access to the routes on the Upper Tier. The slab ends beneath the right-hand side of the face at a narrow chimney which drops into the sea. Immediately to the right of this feature the cliff forms a white overhanging wall which gives Pleasure Dome, which overlooks the small inlet between the South-West Face and the South Buttress.

Lower Tier/Riders on the Strom Area


The first thirteen routes are on the Lower Tier, which can be viewed by scrambling down to the west from the top of the easy gully. The first five routes (Bloody Knee to Cut-Throat) are approached by abseil down the left hand side of the face. Don't do it at mid tide!

The next eight routes (Riders on the Storm to The Anvil Chorus) start on the right-hand side of the wall and are approached by scrambling down an easy rib directly beneath the descent gully.

The Digit Counter Falls – VS (Photo by Nanuls)
Riders on the Storm – HVS 5a (Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
1. Bloody Knee 23m 1 VS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
2. Sinister Sister 24m 1 E2 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
3. Pugwash 24m 1 HVS 5a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
4. Mind the Dawes 30m 1 E1 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
5. Cut-Throat 43m 1 E2 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
6. Riders on the Storm 30m 1 HVS 5a 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
7. C++ 24m 1 HVS 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
8. Lucky Find 43m 2 HVS 5a, 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
9. Big C 40m 1 E1 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
10. Reincarnation 30m 1 E2 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
11. Middle C 43m 1 HVS/E1 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
12. Painted Head 34m 2 VS 4b, 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
13. The Anvil Chorus ? 1 HVS 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Upper Tier


The routes on the Upper Tier can be reached directly from the descent gully. The face can be split into two areas, the Manzoku Area which takes the form of the western wall, and the Pleasure Dome Area, which takes the form of the souther wall.

Manzoku Area

Topo of climbs on the Manzoku Area. For a clean version of the photo click HERE (Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
14. The Digit Counter Falls 15m 1 VS NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
15. North Corner 15m 1 VD NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
16. Highland Fling 18m 1 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
17. Quickstep 18m 1 VS 4b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
18. Limbo 23m 1 VS 4c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
19. Dire Straits 18m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
20. World War III Blues 20m 1 E1 5b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
21. Headucation 27m 1 E3 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
22. Plank Walk 30m 1 E5 6b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
23. Hercules 34m 1 HVS 5a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
24. Flash 34m 1 E4 6a 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
25. The Second Coming of the Messiah 34m 1 E5 6b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
26. Stennis Elbow 37m 1 E2 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
27. Manzoku 37m 1 E1 5b 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
28. Man Alive ? 1 E2 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
29. Cool for Cats 37m 1 E1 5b 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Pleasure Dome Area

Topo of climbs on the Pleasure Dome Area. For a clean version of the photo click (Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
30. Sten Gun 37m 1 E3 6a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
31. Anyone for Stennis 38m 1 E2 5b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
32. Loco Dementia 18m 1 E3 6a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
33. Tigger's Traverse ? 2 HVS 4c, 4c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
34. Stennis Pillar 40m 2 HVS 4c, 4a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
35. Gold Fever 34m 1 E2 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
36. Diagnosis 34m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
37. Mean Streak 34m 1 E5 6a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
38. The Great Elmyra 30m 1 E5 6c 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
39. Pleasure Dome 46m 1 E3 5c 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
40. Stennis the Menace 40m 1 E6 6b 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
41. Grey English Morning 30m 1 E5 6a 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
42. Grey English Morning Direct 46m 1 E5 6a 3 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
43. Walk on the Wild Side 24m 1 E3 5c 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
44. Superbrat 70m 4 E2 5b, 5c,
5a, 5b
1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE


Hercules – HVS 5a (Photo by Nanuls)
Cool for Cats – E1 5a (Photo by Nanuls)

South Buttress


The buttress lies only a few metres to the right if the Pleasure Dome Area, but access from this side is prevented by the small inlet which separates the two cliffs. Instead all routes can be access by descending the obvious grassy rake on the west side of Stennis Ford, which leads to a broken rock terrace well above sea level, or by abseil.

Maelstrom Chimney
Maelstorm Chimney
– S 4a
(Photo by Nigel Lewis)
Stennis Head
The Southern Buttress
(Photo by Nanuls)
Stennis Head
Manzoku
- E1 5b
(Photo by Nanuls)
Stennis Ford
Stennis Ford
- to the east
(Photo by Nanuls)

No. Name Length Pitches Adjectival
Grade
Technical
Grade
Quality Restrictions
45. Stennis Chimney 73m 2 S 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
46. Maelstrom Chimney 61m 2 S 4a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
47. Stennis Arête 70m 2 HS 4b, 4b 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
48. Fetish 38m 1 E4 6a 1 STAR RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
49. Merchant of Stennis 30m 1 E3 5c 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
50. Man o' War 30m 1 E3 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
51. Bludgeon 34m 1 HVS 5a 2 STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
52. Mistaken Identity ? 1 E1 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
53. Big Wave 30m 1 E2 5c NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
54. White Snake 37m 1 HVS 5a/5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
55. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway 34m 1 HVS 5b NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE
56. J.K. Mouth of the South 24m 1 E1 5a NO STARS RESTRICTIONS – ARMY FIRING RANGE

Weather Conditions and Tides

Weather Forecast


This section displays the weather forecast for Bosherston, which is located just to the east of Stennis Head. This gives a pretty good indication of what the weather will be like on the crag, as both Bosherston and Stennis Head 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 Stennis Head:

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.
Riders on the Storm – HVS 5a (Photo by Nanuls)
Hercules – HVS 5a (Photo by Nanuls)

Getting There

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). If you want to access the eastern side of the crag, follow the right (western) side of zawn to the end of the headland and abseil off a metal stake. If you are heading for the more popular western side of the headland, carry on walking along the path to Huntsman's Leap (SR 961 930) and follow its left (eastern) side to a rocky ramp that descends onto a non-tidal platform at the base of the headland (SR 963 928).

Red Tape and Access

 
Castlemartin Range Warning Sign
Good advice (Photo by Nanuls)

Stennis Head 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.

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 4 Range East - Saddle Head to St Govan’s Climbers Guides to Wales: Pembroke Volume 4 Range East - Saddle Head to St Govan’s 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.
Maelstorm Chimney – S 4a
(Photo by Nigel Lewis)
Riders on the Storm – HVS 5a
(Photo by Nanuls)
Quickstep – VS 4b
(Photo by Nanuls)
The South-Western Face
(Photo by Nanuls)

External Links

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