Mynydd Dinas (Fort or City Mountain) is something of a geological oddity, even in an area where the underlying strata is as diverse as it is in Pembrokeshire. While most of the area’s climbing takes place on igneous intrusions, carboniferous limestone and old red sandstone, the rocky outcrops of Mynydd Dinas have a distinctly gritty texture and are more akin to those of England’s Peak District than anything in Wales. The grain of the rock is said to be comparable to that of Ashover grit (Black Rocks and the southeast Peak), which is probably smoother than some of the Peak’s more popular areas such as Stanage and Ramshaw, and probably with less friction, but the approximation is close enough. Such is the class of the rock, that the problems it yields are second to none in the area, and exceed even those of Treffgarne in quality.
The tors straddle the hill’s crest and on a clear day are silhouetted against the skyline of northern Pembrokeshire. The rocks range in size from a couple of isolated boulders to whole crags, which house arêtes, corners, slabs and pinnacles. The activity is split between four outcrops: Carn Enoch, which is the first tor reached when approaching from the parking area; Garn Fawr, which is the largest and most prominent piece of rock on the hill; Carnsefyll which is located just to the north; and the Elephant’s Arse Boulders, a couple of isolated rocks located just to the south.
Owing to the openness of the area, bouldering is probably best avoided when the weather is really foul, however, if it’s just windy then the multi-faceted nature of the outcrops means that you should be able to find at least one sheltered little corner to climb on. On a clear day, there are fewer places better, with panoramic views stretching across much of Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Cardigan Bay.
Attempts have been made to grade the bouldering problems using the Hueco V System, however, many grades are still given using the British Technical Grading System which is usually used for rating the crux of trad climbs. The system is great for easy problems (less than 5a), however, above that they start to become too vague and in the higher grades they are hopeless, with 6c covering everything from V6 to V10. A grading comparison table is available of Rockfax’s website. To maintain a level of consistency, wherever possible, both V and Technical Grades have been listed.
Trad climbs 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!
Carn Enoch (Enoch’s Rock) is the large jumble of boulders that can be seen from the parking area, and has several green paths that lead directly to it. Most problems, and also those of the highest quality, are found on its east face, but there are many more dotted around the pile. Facing east, two cracks divide the slabs; the left hand one is undercut, splits the face from top to bottom, and is gives a real classic problem: Freddie’s Nightmare, one of those gems that'll take the skin off your shins. The prow immediately left, and the slabs to the right, are depressingly desperate. Problems are generally described from left to right, but there are some oddities, so it’s best to check the crag diagrams for confirmation. For legibilities sake the problem descriptions have been split between Carn Enoch's East Face and the rest, which are listed under the heading Odds and Sods.
Odds and Sods
Garn Gawr (Big Rock) is the largest of Mynydd Dinas’ outcrops, and subsequently has the highest concentration of problems, plus the only trad routes on the hill. Much of the bouldering is around the main cliff, but there are a few gems to be found lower down. All the trad routes are on the main crag, none of which exceed 10 metres in length, and some of which are of a surprisingly high quality. There is a wall and solid fence that runs across its south side, don’t damage it!
Problems are generally described from left to right, but there are some oddities, so it’s best to check the crag diagrams for confirmation.
On Garn Fawr’s northern face are a number routes of medium to hard difficulty. Although onlyeight routes have been recorded at the site, there is great potential for more, and a number of projects have already been identified. Routes are described from left to right, or for those with a purely geographical mind, from east to west.
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Elephant’s Arse Boulders
These intriguingly named boulders are located a just to the south of Carn Enoch, and should come into view after a short walk from any direction, although if visibility is poor, they may be difficult to locate precisely. The boulders are easy to recognise: one has the appearance of a large tooth, while to its west is a spherical boulder resting on a flat slab; both are only about 3 metres in height. The North East Arête of the tooth has a good problem at V0+ (5c); while the spherical boulder has some excellent hanging start problems on slopers, and the top is the eponymous Elephant’s Arse problem, which at V2 (6a) is particularly good if the one poor hold is ignored.
This section displays the weather forecast for Fishguard Bay, which is located just to the west and is one of the nearest towns to Mynydd Dinas. Remember that Fishguard Bay is around sea level whereas Mynydd Dinas reaches 305m. This means that when looking at temperature the adiabatic lapse rate must be taken into account, which in Wales is a drop in temperature of between 0.5 and 1°C per 100m in altitude. Exposure and wind speed can also significantly lower temperatures.<.p>
Pembrokeshire's climate is generally pretty good whatever the season, so climbing is possible throughout the year. One advantage of Mynydd Dinas’ inland location is that if the weather’s a bit rough it may be a good alternative to climbing on the area's sea cliffs, where you will inevitably receive a good soaking... or possibly something worse.
Although not essential, a bouldering mat is recommended to soften those landings, and of course, you'll also need a chalk bag and a pair of rock shoes.
For the trad routes, a pair of 50 metre half ropes and a set of nuts, cams and quickdraws, plus a few slings and screwgates should be enough to protect most routes.
From Fishguard (SM 957 370) take the A487 east into Dinas Cross (SN 005 384). Fifty metres after the filling station, take the tiny lane on the right, signed Cwm Gwaun & Viewpoint, (SN 011 388) it’s easy to miss so keep an eye out. Follow this twisting lane all the way up onto the moor. After a while you will pass a white painted stone on the left, bearing the title Crug Las (SN 015 373); 200 metres further on, on the right hand side of the road is a large clearing for parking (SN 016 370).
From the parking spot, Carn Enoch (SN 012 370) can be seen directly up on the hill (7 minutes walk), and Carnsefyll (SN 011 373) down to the right. Garn Fawr (SN 007 368) can be seen from Carn Enoch, and is about five minutes further on in the same direction. Carnsefyll is directly down the hill from Carn Enoch, at about the same distance. The Elephant’s Arse Boulders (SN 012 367) is a little harder to find; if you are approaching from the car park head to the left of the brow of the hill and they should come into view within a few minutes.
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:
For everything else and more see Visit Pembrokeshire’s website.
No red tape or access issues here!
For climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) runs a Regional Access Database, which holds mountain/crag specific information on matters of conservation and access, including issues such as nesting restrictions, nature designations and preferred parking:
If you are in any doubt about any particular access arrangement, or need to report an incident, you should contact your local BMC Access Representative or the BMC Access Officers for Wales: Elfyn Jones.
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