Tag Archives: Black Head

The Weatherman

6th March 2015

Black Head

Archangel _ HVS 5a – Lead
Rebel Yell – E2 5b – TR

Any excuse to return to Balck Head is a good one, although I think Joe may have had his doubts this time.

Ian on Archangel

Ian on Archangel

My assurance that ‘Balck Head will be sheltered. Dont worry’ was misguided to say the least. The Wind is from the South West. I though you said North West I lied. I just got it wrong really.

Tom mid crux on Archangel

Tom mid crux on Archangel

But, and its a lucky but, when we got down to the water shoot gulley it wasnt too bad. While Joe set up a top rope, Tom and I did Archangel. It looks deceptively easy from the bottom, but has a tricky crux and a boldish top out becasue of the fragile rock up there. This was the second time I’d led it and it was just as much fun. It really is a tremendous crack/corner climb. Safe but hard enough to add spice.

The steep Rebel Yell

The steep Rebel Yell

Rebel yell was a lot more difficult. There appears to be more pro than the guide boook suggests and although strenuous, it is manageable. I will be back to lead this, hopefully this summer. It has small holds and vanishing foot placements which bizarrely are there for your hands and disappear for your feet. Very weird.

Looking for foot placements

Looking for foot placements


The tide eventually chased us off, starting to shoot up the gulley with alarmingly increasing force. So we returned the long route back to the car at Treleaver Farm  (because the fu!#ing farmer has shut the permissive footpath on the grounds of a bull – 6 months ago. Tosser) satisfied with a couple of good climbs. I’ll be back in the good weather for another climb and a swim.


A late lunch

12th April 2012

Black Head

Spriggans Chimney – VS 4c – Lead
Archangel – HVS 5a – Lead

I love climbing at Black Head. There’s something about the place that just makes you happy. It’s a hidden amphitheatre with turqoise sea and stunning vista’s across the bay. I never tire of the walk in and on this occasion we managed to get quite a bit closer thanks to a friendly local who told us where to park.

Traversing to the abseil point above Sprigans Chimney

Dave and I were looking to have a go at Archangel, a climb Dave had tagged last time we were there. But the tide was high for the morning so we took on pitch 2 of Spriggans Chimney. To be honest, pitch 2 is the best pitch starting with a steep crack and leading into a corner bypassing a large overhang. As usual it took me a little while to get going, the bottom crack being a little akward with footholds that dont inspire confidence. But the top moves are fun and the traverse across the top of the overhang is exposed and exciting.

Top of Sprigans Chimney

We decided to push straight on with Archangel. A solo down Black Dyke and we were at the belay. This route is superb. Great climbing up the striking corner crack gets you to a small roof. Traverse right here across the face in a great position to find the first belay. Not hard for the grade, but the crux requires good footwork and commitment.

Ian on Pitch 1 Archangel

The top half is fairly easy climbing, disjointed, but fun with strange rock and peculiar moves. By this time we had lost all track of time and we ended up having lunch at 6p.m.! This probably accounts for why I felt rubbish for the next couple of hours.

Belay at the trop of pitch 1 Archangel

Dave however was still raring to go and tackled Rebel Yell, the E2 which goes up the steep headwall. Small holds and balancy moves put him to the test, but he wasnt found wanting, and made it up with a big smile on his face.

Fortunately we didnt have the long walk out. My blood sugar levels were still grumbling so I probably would have struggled. And so ended a fantastic day out. Only Rebel Yell to return to now, which I fancy leading at some point.

Crows vs Owl. Who would win? Only one way to find out!

25th November 2011

Black Head
White Russians – VS 4C – Lead rpt

I always love going to Black Head. The walk in from Coverack is second to none, although it requires a bit of effort. The path twists along the coast rising and falling, passing a couple of headlands until it reaches the old coast guard hut above the crag.

Of course you never get surf at Coverack because its on the East side of the Lizard and completely sheltered from the Atlantic swells. So why was it 3ft and clean, almost good enough to pop a wetsuit on and get in; except that it was closing out. This of course made me look stupid in front of Dave and Tom to whom I had given assurances about the absence of waves.

The Damp Belay

The base of Black Head consists of a V gulley where it is possible to set up a belay for all the routes on the main face. This acts like a barrel for the waves as the tide pushes, funneling them straight at whoever remains at the belay. This of course was Tom and Dave. We had a while before the tide got too high so I quickly got started on White Russians, one of my favorite VS’s in Cornwall. The original intention was to tackle Archangel, the HVS but given the volatile conditions at the base of the crag I decided speed was of the essence.

White Russians - 1

White Russians - 2

White Russians - 3

White Russians - 4











WR starts with a traverse into Black Dyke and then sets off up the slab. Loads of positiv small holds and foot placements gets you to the rising ramp and the best part of the climb. Over all too quickly but with a fantasticaly atmospheric crux as you move around the corner – which gave me a birds eye view of Dave and Tom dodging waves which were getting closer and closer to them.

Dave playing with water

This was a change to the last two VS’s I had them on at Carn Barra. They were strenuous, this was balancey and just a pleasure to climb- if a bit loose in places. So both arrived with big smiles next to the Rooks nest.

Dave starting on the initial crack

Dave moving onto the ramp

With no chance of getting another route in, we set of for Chynhalls Point just before Coverack. The walk through the bronze wildlife created by Terence Coventry is odd. There is a field full of statues, left open for anyone to wander through. A bit sureal, but fun to see. Watch you dont tread on the real rabits.

Bronze Crows

It turned out there were some boulders here and we messed around on these for a while until it started to get dark. The rock is a bit snappy so care is needed, but the route up the front face is challenging. Traversing the bolder turned out to be the hardest with a tough move across into a vertical crack.

The boulder - Straight up the face

Chynhalls Point Bouldering







The three crows giving a Barn Owl a really hard time of it, (chasing it off down the point) reminded us that it was time to go. The walk back towards the lights of Coverack was a great finish to a day of spectacular views and climbing.

Jenga rock at Black Head


How far?

5th August 2010
Black Head

White Russians – VS 4c – Lead

It is noticeable that walking in to a crag always seems easier and quicker than walking out. Black Head is a good 30 – 40 mins from the car park and gives your legs something to think about by time you get there. Couple that with our zig zagging down the bouldery slope to get to the climb and we were well warmed up to say the least.


I found it quite tricky locating the main face, despite my previous visit and Pete and I found a less than direct route to the foot of the crag. This then leaves you with another awkward drop down to a belay stance below White Russians.


We left a short ab rope in situ which we also used to anchor Pete into as part of his belay. If the swell had been bigger the gulley he was in would not have been the place to be!


White Russians is a brilliant climb. Not hard technically, but committing with a sting in the tail. Its the sting that makes it really forcing you out and upwards in an exposed position. What I would say is watch out for loose rocks particularly on the left face of the top arete. There are some football sized lumps just begging to be released. The sea on this evening looked magnificent, turquoise in places studded with rocks and islets. While sat soaking in the spectacle from the belay ledge, Pete found an ankle strap from a racing pidgeon. Turns out it was on its way to Ireland but the fact it was on the ledge next to a pile of feathers suggests it met up with something significantly bigger and more hungry.


As I pointed out at the beginning, the walk back seemed to take forever, but the lights of Coverack were welcoming as we eventually staggered into the pub car park. Amazing evenings climbing, but I was knackered. I think age is gradually catching up.