What I remember from back then wasn't how good the climbing was, but what a jaw-droppingly gorgeous view there was. Now don't get me wrong, the climbing is great, with ultra grippy rock and most routes offer plentiful protection. But the climbing is still overshadowed by that view, it just is!
So 8 years later here we are back at Kettle crag and thankfully nothing has changed. I was climbing with a small group of friends and we were all enjoying it. The venue had been chosen based on a slightly unsettled weather forecast and strong winds. We hoped for some shelter and for the most part go it.
A couple of the friends there that day, were getting back into lead climbing. Whilst both climb fairly regularly, they don't lead climb quite as much as they may want to. This left me with some free time to take a few photos and generally bimble around and be a bit lazy.
Both led a really nice V'diff graded climb called 'Stonechat'. I climbed the route too and whilst I wasn't enthusiastic about it before setting off (it looked a bit mucky), the climbing was really good and all on clean and solid rock. Never judge a book and all that!
At the top of the climb was a spacious grassy ledge and here we discussed the merits of setting up an abseil as our descent method. It was decided we would climb the same route again (with a different leader), or climb a route very close by. This meant a descent by abseil would make a lot of sense at it avoided a walk down some very steep ground.
With so much excellent protection on offer for the abseil, we ended up using 4 anchors, which did feel like overkill. As the abseil rope needed to be retrievable as we would be needing it to climb the next route, we couldn't incorporate it into any of the anchors and slings were needed to equalise these. 4 slings to be precise! Luckily we had plenty. I've included a photo of the set up below.
We packed up and headed back to the cars at just the right time, there was light rain falling as we reached the roadside. The weather forecasters had got it spot on today, we are thankful for that.
Kettle crag is a fantastic single pitch climbing venue and has a mountain feel to it. It was, to the best of my knowledge, the first of the Pike O'Blisco crags to be discovered and climbed on. However, because it is out of sight from roads and many paths, it does seem to get forgotten, and that is a shame. It isn't an ideal place for complete beginners to climbing, but those who have climbed a little before and don't mind a slightly longer and more adventurous approach walk (only 35 mins) this place should be added to the list. So if you're planning to come out climbing with us this summer and have already spent some time on rock, this venue would make a good choice for a full day of climbing.
We've got a bit more rain today, but looks set to be sunny again later :-)
Thanks for reading