Shaftoe Bouldering

Headed up to Shaftoe in Northumberland on Tuesday evening trying to make the most out of the decent weather and light evenings as the nights start to draw in.

Pete on Soft Centre, Shaftoe
Pete on Soft Centre
Me on Sloper masterclass, Shaftoe
Me on Sloper Masterclass

The rock at Shafoe climbs quite differently to other venues in Northumberland in that its much more rough than the sandstone found at places like Bowden Doors and Kyloe (in and out). Its still a sandstone but with a definite feel of grit about it, similar to the rock at places like The Slipstones down in Yorkshire.The rock on the problems generally has brilliant friction and is of good quality, quite different from the much finer, softer sandstone found at nearby Corby’s

The coarse fluvial Sandstone at Shaftoe
The coarse fluvial Sandstone at Shaftoe

In terms of the geology of this rougher sandstone is believed to be a fluvial deposit. This means that it is a sedimentary rock produced by a river, and is slightly younger than the Fell Sandstone which makes up Bowden and Kyloe.

Pete on Hound Dog, Shaftoe
Pete on Hound Dog
Me on Soft Centre, Shaftoe
Me on Soft Centre

The Great Whin Sill

One of the most prominent features of the Northumberland scenery is known as the Whin Sill. This is an igneous intrusion, meaning that motlen rock was injected into rock which already existed, mostly following the preexisting weaknesses in the older rock.

The Whin Sill exposed as a headland on the Northumberland Coast
The Whin Sill exposed as a headland on the Northumberland Coast

In the case of the photo above the headland is made of the harder Whin Sill (dolerite), compared to the sedimentary  rocks around it. This contrast in resistance to the elements has resulted in the sediments being eroded much quicker, and the formation of the bay that we observe today!

The Whin Sill outcrops across large areas of Northumberland, forming the popular climbing areas of  Peel Crag and Crag Lough, located just below Hadrian’s wall.

Peel Crag, Northumberland, UK
Peel Crag, Northumberland, UK

UKC Logbook pages: Peel Crag and Crag Lough