How to Get Stuck on Grassy Binsey!

14 08 2021

I often nip up Binsey as it’s my nearest hill, has great parking and also I pass it on my way to work and back.  This particular visit, I decided to liven it up a bit.  It livened up so much that I had to go back again yesterday after work to take photos of my gross rashness!

All photos:
my point-and-shoot digi-camera

It was late one lovely sunny afternoon last week as I parked my old Sunny up in the big layby and set off up the hill. I noticed there was a single paraglider in the sky above Binsey who looked in no hurry to come back down. By the time I was most of the way up the hill he was still there hanging around up above…

One of my favourite routes is to stick to the front of the fell for the best views and a better breeze – the normal track goes around the back and up a groove. While going up here, I was looking at the small shoulder of Binsey called West Crag. I noticed that it did actually have a crag – probably around 30 feet high.

Just at the foot of the crag, there is a sheepfold – it seemed to be pointing the way to an easy-looking climb. You can see the wall below the crag heading straight for my climb. Having looked at this photo since and seeing the crag from this angle during the descent with my camera, I’ve no idea what possessed me really!

the ONLY crag on Binsey!

Basically, on the photo above, my climb went up to the top of the inverted triangle at the foot of the crag to the left of the heather. I then went up to just by the large boulder…

Right in the centre of the photo below, you’ll see a dark hollow to the right of the large boulder (the boulder is around 6 feet tall) – this section was slightly overhanging to get out of the hollow. Here I stuck… for quite a while! Note the two wedged blocks on the top right corner of the boulder – these come into play later on…

I looked around for my paraglider pilot – he’d now gone. There was absolutely no-one else in sight – I seemed to be quite alone. I umm-ed and ahh-ed for ages trying to find a foothold high on the right or the left. Left on the big boulder was my preferred direction but the only hold I found was too small and smooth for my approach shoes. There didn’t look to be anything much on the rock to the right either…

I looked back down as I planned to give up and go back down, however, I’d done a bit of a rising traverse to the foot of the boulder and I didn’t feel I could safely reverse it. Oh dear…

I’d been stuck in the hollow for quite a few minutes by now thinking and came to the decision that I really couldn’t get rescued on Binsey – it would be too embarrassing! As I didn’t feel it safe to go back down, that just left me one direction – UP!

I eventually saw a slight possible hold up above my waist on the block on the right of the hollow. I’d fished around for handholds, as you do, and found that the two jammed blocks mentioned earlier were excellent handholds. I just had to hope they were sufficiently jammed. They seemed to be…

Getting a good hold on each jammed block, I put my foot up above my waist onto the slight hold and my foot stayed put. I’m afraid I had to heave on the blocks a bit as my leg was too high and too far out to the right. With a good effort, I was up above the hollow at last where I set off at speed up the rest of the easy scrambling to the top.

The rocks went on much longer than I thought but were easy enough. I didn’t stop for anything until I reached grass. Just as I emerged onto the top, I saw there had actually been a man walking along the top of West Crag – most people just ignore it and continue up the main paths. So I could have shouted after all. Wouldn’t I have looked stupid though?!

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15 responses

5 09 2021
tessapark1969

That sounded a bit hairy. I didn’t think Binsey had any crags!

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5 09 2021
mountaincoward

No-one does think Binsey has any crags… anyway, it just has the one – and what fun it is!

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22 08 2021
underswansea

When I looked at the title, I thought, ‘I hope you didn’t lose your nerve’. Good to read you didn’t. Great post as usual!

Liked by 1 person

23 08 2021
mountaincoward

Well, in that I looked at reversing the route and going back down, I did lose it for a while. But then I decided it was easier and safer to go up. Once my decision had been made, it was just a rock-climbing problem… Good job those jammed blocks stayed put though!

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15 08 2021
Alli Templeton

These things always seem like such a good idea at the time, don’t they? Still, what an adventure to have on your doorstep! I’d love to have a landscape as exciting and wild as this to drop into on the way back from work… just be careful next time – the most familiar places don’t make them the safest. An adrenaline-fuelled and fascinating read, but I’m so glad you coped in the end. Well done! 😀

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15 08 2021
mountaincoward

I had to get up it really – there was no other option. At least now that I climb, I have the skills. I don’t usually climb alone and without a rope though! It really did look an easy climb from the bottom.

Liked by 1 person

16 08 2021
Alli Templeton

It’s often the way, things look easier than they really are. I think you did amazingly well.

Liked by 2 people

15 08 2021
Bitchy After 60

Risky business!

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15 08 2021
mountaincoward

There was probably no danger of death but there was definitely danger of injury so it was a bit risky. It did seem like a good idea initially and look like an easy climb from below though!

Liked by 1 person

15 08 2021
John Bainbridge

Have they finished the road works on the lanes then?

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15 08 2021
mountaincoward

Which road works on which lanes? There are lots of ongoing bits most days during my drive to work and back, e.g. pothole mending and bits of resurfacing. I don’t think they’ll ever get it all done though…

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16 08 2021
John Bainbridge

Well, we hadn’t done Binsey and went out last week to do it from the Overwater/Binsey Lodge side. Every road in was completely closed. Do you do it from the other side? Do you please have a grid ref for the layby you use to park? Ta!

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16 08 2021
mountaincoward

I always walk it from the west from the A591 Bothel Road. GR: 206 355 The layby is actually at Keswick Reach Holiday Park which you’ll see signs for. You need the south end of the layby and there is a track to Binsey more or less opposite by a bus stop. The layby is around 1/3 mile long and very wide so lots of parking.

The very excellent Bothel Craggs tea room is just north up the road – a mile further north and a mile short of Bothel. The food there is superb. They’re open every day except Mondays but only do Sunday dinners on Sunday. The prices are good and the puds are divine and all home-made. The lemon meringue portions are the largest I’ve ever seen, the trifle is great and they do lovely little home-made strawberry tarts most days. They also do take-away baking, eggs, potatoes etc.

You can get a superb breakfast (until around 1500 I believe) for about £6 – Richard often has that.

The only thing to note about Craggs is that they’re now cash-only as their card machine was always playing up and cost too much anyway.

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14 08 2021
bob

I must admit I keep thinking your posts are going to end abruptly at some point Carol…… reading and watching your increasing scrambling ambitions 🙂 I managed to fall over on a smooth grass slope recently and clambering over barbed wire fences I used to jump with ease take on a comical intensity and glacial pace so hats off to you for your continuing enthusiasm, speed, and energy.

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15 08 2021
mountaincoward

Now I have to admit I’ve never, ever jumped a barbed wire fence – nor would I! I’ve always clambered those. In fact, normally, I try to clamber over the stockwire and go underneath the barbed wire – my clothes are a testament to when that doesn’t quite go right!

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