Castle Upon Alun

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Bridgend Area

Contents

BOLTING POLICY

Retro-bolting permissible with first ascensionist's permission. Replacement of worn fixed gear on a point for point basis with bolts is permissible. New sports routes allowed.

PREAMBLE

A large limestone quarry, off the beaten track. Well worth combining with a trip to Ogmore as the tidal window can be quite restrictive.

Two main areas are present within the quarry. The first is a steep north facing slab of good quality limestone with some lovely water-worn pockets, slots and crack features, making the climbs possible. Unfortunately the run off during the winter means the base of the climbs have a coating of moss which requires a peel at the start of the season.

The east facing side of the quarry contains a series of steeper walls with low to moderate grades, and some tougher stuff to come, which should provide a decent winter (get there early if you want the sun) or cool summer evening venue.

Recent re-gearing in 2016.

ACCESS

From Junction 35 of the M4 follow the A473 to Bridgend. Several stretches of dual carriageway and roundaboouts lead to a oddly shaped traffic controlled roundabout, just after the McDonalds (joy), with the left turn signposted to Ogmore By Sea. Two options now present themselves....

Option A. Take the left turn and follow to St Brides Major (4km), just after Pant Quarry. Immediately upon entering the village, 50 m past cattle grid, is a minor left hand turning (poorly) signposted 'Castle upon Alun'. The minor road takes a sharp switch back up a small hill. After 1 km, at an obvious dip in the road, is a cross roads. Turn left here and park at the layby on the left (500m), opposite a telegraph pole.

Option B. Take this left turn and continue (1km) until a left turn is signposted to (Ewenny) Corntown, immediately after a river bridge.

Follow this road (1km) to a shop on the right (Ewenny/Corntown Stores), where a narrow road forks off up the hill on the right. Take this road over the crest of a slight hill. The road goes straight down (1km), to a solitary stone wall ringed house on the right. Take the narrow, and hard to spot, road on the right immediately after the house, and follow this to a ford. (Park here for the forbidden 5 min approach).

Cross the ford (sometimes deep) and continue (700m), passing under a bridge to reach a small parking space next to the river (telegraph pole, flow meter box and Glamorgan Naturalist Trust Plaque).

Now, from the layby.......Take the uphill footpath through the trees (100m) keeping a wall on your left to metal gate. 30m after passing through the metal gate take a faint path on the right which soon passes under a small rock escarpement to reach the top of the quarry after about 5 minutes walk. Descend through the trees a few metres back from the top of the crag to reach the base of the first routes.

Naughty way in from the ford is not worth taking, however....The direct approach from the large parking area immediately beyond the ford, crosses the railway line via some steep steps visible from the locked gate. The quarry is about 100m to the left along the rail track, just past an obvious rock cutting. The best place to hop over the fence would be just after the large W sign.One could then follow a faint path off left through the undergrowth past the badger's set. Of course, this access route is strictly forbidden and a hefty fine could ensue!


OS GR: SS 909 753 / 290912 (E), 175394 (N)

Nearest Post Code: CF32 0TL
Lat : 51.466967
Long: -3.571838

DESCENTS

Most routes have lower offs, else abseil from trees.

THE ROUTES

The routes are described from left to right as approached.

THE MAIN SLAB

  1. Jump on The Gravy Train - Fr. 4c
    Short first route provide your own belay crabs.

  2. Off the Rails - Fr. 4+
    Short,second route, same LO as next route. 7m

  3. Nick's Sore Nuts - Severe, 4a
    Between the two sport routes is a thin crack with earthy recess.

  4. The Fat Controller - Fr. 5
    Short wall behind tree. 8m

  5. Supping on Dregs - HD
    The rib and earthy steps via several tree runners.

  6. Scrape the Bottom of the Barrel - Fr.5+
    The blocky corner moving right over the roof to a shared belay.

  7. Eugene Genie - Fr. 7a
    First line on main slab,thin to start, hard at overlap. 12m

  8. Cordoba Express - Fr. 6c+ *
    Start as for Eugene Genie to the first BR, step up, then move right to a good bucket. Finish directly with interest. 15m

  9. Matalanafesto - Fr. 6c
    Direct (2 bolt) start to Cordoba Express. 15m

    Castle Upon Alun
  10. Barry Freight - Fr. 6b+ *
    The next bolt line to the right. BB on the left. 15m

  11. A Freem Of White Horses - Fr. 6b+
    Next line to right.

  12. California Freeming - Fr. 6b
    Climb next line to right.

  13. Pubic Enema - Fr. 6b+
    To the right at the top of the crag is a square-cut groove. Gain this with some thin moves and climb it with care at the very top. 15m

  14. Freeming Of Jeannie - HVS, 5a
    A diagonal pocketed crack slants up and right to a slot at 15m. Make a committing stretch up to the BB of Branch Line to finish. 15m

  15. Branch Line - Fr. 6a
    The slab to the right to step left into the previous route just after the top BR. Follow it to a BB. 15m

    There are 3 unrealized projects to the right, then the earth slope rises steeply.

  16. Project
    Homemade hangers, rusty bolts.

  17. Closed project First alcove, works in progress, keep off.

  18. Closed project
    Through the 2nd alcove, the semi bolted line on the earth slope, awaiting the unlikely combination of suitable dryness, no midges and a willing belayer. Most but not all bolts installed, works in progress. 1st bolt taped.

  19. Anal Retention - Fr. 6c **
    The route of the crag. Up and right of the alcove at the base of the crag is a white section of rock. Climb this by technical moves. 14m

  20. Banal Pretension - Fr. 6c
    Up to the right is a slot at 3m. Gain this by a technical sequence and continue with difficulty. 12m

  21. The Trainspotter - Fr. 6b *
    At the top of the banking are two shorter lines. This was the left-hand one, with a tricky start. 11m

  22. Trolley Service Suspended - Fr. 6b *
    Start as for Trainspotter, tricky mantle then widely spaced holds lead to a high ring and chain belay.

  23. Weak Lemon Drink - Fr. 6b+
    The line to the right has a hard start followed by a dyno for the big triangular pocket. Finish direct. 10m

  24. Top Rail - Fr. 6b
    Start as for the Sidings then take a leisurely hand traverse left finishing at the chain belay in the short corner.

  25. In The Sidings - Fr. 6a
    The last line on the wall, at the top of the bank just L of the corner and the huge tree stump.

THE EASTERN WALLS

First Wall

A path through the trees leads to the rambling walls on the sunnier side of the quarry.

First Wall

The wall to the left of the vegetated spur.

  1. Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies - Fr. 4
    A series of ledges takes one to a high lower-off near the top of the cliff.

  2. Freeming At The Gusset - Fr. 6a
    The left side of the wall passing large orange scars with a tricky move to gain the blocky section of next route. Continue to the shared LO.

  3. Freempie - Fr. 5c
    Short wall to foot ledge then gain easy section avoiding the jigsaw blocks on the right. Final lay back with stretch to shared belay.

  4. Galena Puts Lead In Your Pencil - Fr. 5c **
    Rib and crack above to belay on R of high blocky roof.

  5. Plum Bob - Fr. 5b *
    Short groove above easy start behind ash tree stump.

  6. Burton Line - Fr. 5b *
    The groove to the right starting direct via a rail with roots of deceased ash tree.

  7. Dai's fully bolted project
    Hands off.

  8. Quadcam of Solice - Fr. 5b *
    Leftward trending crack.

  9. Crack Liquor - Fr. 6b+ *
    Gain and climb the crack in the front wall of the pillar.

  10. The Freem Team - Fr. 5b
    Gain and climb the right arete of the pillar.

Second Wall

To the right of the vegetated spur, a wall rises above a steep slope. The climbs are gained easily with the help of a rope handrail.

  1. Sticky Fingers - Fr. 4+
    Start as for the following then step left to the lay back.

  2. Fickle Finger of Fate - Fr. 4c
    Groove to tree. Belay on right.

  3. Knuckle Down - Fr. 4a
    Groove.

  4. Ring Finger - Fr. 4c
    Shattered groove to shared belay.

  5. Finger Flicking Good - Fr. 5c
    Gain and climb the layback.

  6. Fingertip Mistress - Fr. 6a *
    Gain and climb the crack.

  7. Knee Trembler - Fr. 6b *
    Start as for the following but move left over the roofs.

  8. Bush Trimmer's Corner - Fr. 5c *
    The open corner at the far right of the terrace.

Third Wall

Back to ground level. A cleaned section through the slab leads to a steep wall, immediately right of "Bush Trimmers Corner". This is the last wall in the quarry to fall into the shade, by 12:00 in Winter.

  1. Licence to Drill - Fr. 6c++ **
    Climb easily up the slabs, just right of the corner, passing a mesmerising geode enroute. A tricky sequence on the headwall accesses the cliff top and a pleasant exit. Shared belay to the right.

  2. For Your Arms Only - Fr. 7b ***
    A technical and powerful route, starting at a shothole just right of Licence to Drill. Escalating difficulties culminate in a dynamic snatch for the crystalline pocket.

  3. Dyno Another Day - Fr. 7a **
    Pass the second shothole, trending rightwards to good pockets in the leaning headwall. Glory dyno to finish. Pull out to a shared belay on the left. 20m

  4. Out of Pocket - Fr. 6c **
    Amazingly good pockets guide one up the surprisingly steep calcite sheet. Finish up the flakes on the right (2 bolts) or direct (1 bolt), which is slightly harder.

    Castle Upon Alun
  5. Cold Finger - Fr. 6b+ *
    Move up the cracks briefly to join the ramp line. Shared L.O. to right.

  6. Another of Dai's projects.
    Get on with it!

  7. The Hilti-brand Rarity - Fr. 6c+ *
    A right to left rising line for those looking for more of a pump. Starts up the crack of Cold Finger and straight into Out of Pocket. At the first break move left and follow a thin crack, Dyno Another Day, to the higher break. Traverse left to meet Bush Trimmers Corner and finish at its lower off.

Rubble Wall

Right of the overhanging wall is a recessed bay. The rock is very shattered here. Consequently, it is not a place where the cunning linger.

  1. Snake in The Grass - Fr. 4c
    Left-hand line to rubble roof.

  2. Nest of Vipers - Fr. 5a •
    Shattered groove to shared belay. Hangers removed.

FIRST ASCENTS

  1. R.Thomas 00.08.2016
  2. R Thomas 2005
  3. R.Thomas 2016
  4. R. Thomas 2005
  5. R.Thomas 30.07.2016
  6. R. Thomas Eugene28.07.2016
  7. Eugene Travers Jones 1995
  8. R. Thomas 1995
  9. G.AShmore
  10. R. Thomas 1995
  11. Andy Freem pre 1991
  12. Andy Freem pre 1991
  13. R.Thomas 1995
  14. Andy Freem pre 1991
  15. R.Thomas 1995
  16. closed project
  17. CLOSED
  18. CLOSED
  19. R.Thomas 1995
  20. R.Thomas 1995
  21. R.Thomas 1995
  22. R.Thomas Matt Hirst 13.08.2016
  23. R.THOMAS 1995
  24. R.Thomas Eugene Jones 00.08.2016
  25. R.Thomas Giles Davies 26.07.2016

First wall sunnyside

  1. D. Emanuel 24.09.2016
  2. R.Thomas Sept 2016
  3. R.Thomas Ed Chapman 15.09.2016
  4. R.Thomas Goi 31.08.2016
  5. R.Thomas Goi 31.08.2016
  6. R.Thomas Ed Chapman Jon Woolacot 01.09.2016
  7. D.Emanuel 17.09.2016
  8. R.Thomas R Phillips Gavin 23.09.2016
  9. R.Thomas R.Phillips Gavin Leyshan 23.09.2016

Second Wall

  1. R.Thomas nick Richie 09.09.2016
  2. R.Thomas nick 07.10.2016
  3. R.Thomas nick 04.10.2016
  4. R.Thomas nick 04.10.2016
  5. R.Thomas rich 04.10.2016
  6. R.Thomas rich 04.10.2016
  7. R.Thomas Eugene 25.09.2016
  8. R.Thomas, Rich, Gavin 23.09.2016

Third Wall

  1. A.Rosier, R.Phillips 13.11.2016
  2. A.Rosier 13.11.2016
  3. A.Rosier, R.McAllister 21.10.2016
  4. R.Thomas R.Phillips 10.11.2016
  5. R.McAllister, A.Rosier 30.11.2016
  6. CLOSED
  7. A.Rosier, R.Thomas, R.Phillips 22.12.2016

Rubble Wall

  1. R.Thomas, R. Phillips 11.10.2016
  2. R.Thomas, R. Phillips 11.10.2016