Markfield Quarry Routes
The quarry is a crater in the top of the hill. There is an obvious extensive platform at the level of the hole in the fence above which is the upper tier. Below is the water-filled tier with routes starting at the waters edge. On the north side this platform has been quarried away and the routes run the full height from the water to the top. In the south-east corner of the upper tier there is a peninsular of rock running into the quarry (the Betty Peg) and this has a fine rocky south face.
The routes are described for the UPPER TIER first, starting from the north corner where the Upper Tier starts as a separate entity. This is across the water from the flight of concrete steps (to a disused pumphouse) and near a block which was once painted "I © TRACY". Tracy is obviously now unloved as the sign is part obliterated, but still visible.
On the left along a narrowing path there are several possible; lines. The most obvious is:
1 BigCrack 9m not done
Climb up to the obvious crack about 7m Ieft of the rockfall scar at the left end of the undercut slab. Make your way over the grass ledges to the top. Will be possible when the gorse bush occupying the crack is removed.
2 Concrete Banana 9m HVS Sb
Start 5m Ieft of the rockfall scar. Climb slightly rightwards over overhangs to the left hand end of an obvious ledge at half height and below the notch of Wa7l Climb. Now, step boldly up round to the left onto a hanging slab (crux) and finish direct.
C. Hunter, 7973.
3 Wall Cllmb 9m S 4a (Dead Bay Area)
Start just left of the rockfall scar. Follow a leftward trending crack line to a sandy and tricky finish through the obvious notch and on to a wall of blocks in the mud, - or climb back down!
4 Trend Rlght 9m not done
Follow Wall Climb to the obvious ledge at half height and the trend rightwards up the slab just above the rockfall scar.
The next 6m of rock have suffered a number of rock falls and are in a dangerous condition.
Just to the right of the rockfall is an excellent 6a boulder problem, trending leftwards up to the centre of a clean wall.
Just right again a sandy slanting groove provides the next route.
5 Looseflake Crack 7m VS 5a (Dead Bay Area)
2m left of the obvious corner of Dead Bay. Ascend the leftward trending fne to a tricky finish.
6 Speed Klng 8m E2 5b (Dead Bay Area)
An obvious challenge. A landmark you can't miss. Climb the S-shaped crack just left of Dead Bay. Strenuous, brutal and loose, - but protectable.
J. Moulding, F Stevenson and S. Boothroyd, 1979.
7 Dead Bay 8m VS 4b (Dead Bay Area)
Climb the steep right-angled corner by bridging and long reaches.
8 Dead Arete 6m S 4a
Climb the stepped arete to the right.
There is now an easy way down.
Just right is a small pedestal,
9 Cioch Wall 8m S 4a
Climb the face of The Cioch to a grassy ledge. There is a rusty old bolt in the wall. Trend leftwards up the wall to finish.
10 Cracked Wall 8m S
Start 2m right of the bottom of The Cioch. Climb the crack and the top wall above.
There is now a loose section but 7m to the right of Cracked Wall an obvious crack goes diagonally left.
11 Tltch and Kwacker 12m VS 4c (Grey Slab Area)
Climb up to the crack. Ascend it, and step over the large roof on the left to finish up the awkward corner.
Tony Crofts and Brian McGaw, October 1978.
& Hoot (variation finish) VS 4c
12 Left Arete 11 m VD (Grey Slab Area)
Up the cracked groove of the left arete of the slab.
13 Left Edge 11 m VD (Grey Slab Area)
About 2m right of Left Arete. Climb up over the bulge and finish more easily.
14 BIackSlab 11m VD (Grey Slab Area)
About 4m right from Left Arete. Climb up the middle of the black slab, moving a little leftwards past a dovetailed shot-hole (if you can find it).
15 Grey Slab 11 m S (Grey Slab Area)
Climb straight up the slab about 2m left of the hairline crack in the centre.
16 Gorse Slab 11 m VD (Grey Slab Area)
Climb the slab following the continuous hairline crack, a little right of centre. I
17 Just Right 11 m VD (Grey Slab Area)
Straight up 2m right of the hairline crack of Gorse Slab.
18 Babbles Bottom 1 1 m S ** (Grey Slab Area)
The smooth slab just right of Just Right. Best at the top.
About 40m to the right a prominent nose sticks out of the top of the blocks.
19 Nose Arete 6m S
Step up from the left over the big roof and climb the arete beneath the nose.
problems is the clean short OVERHANGING WALL.
6b The left wall, trending right.
6b The centre groove direct.
5c Start to the right of the centre groove and reach high and left for a square hold at the top of the groove. Pull up over into the grass.
5b A rising rightward traverse to a large right handhold by the grass. Get the top and pull over.
The face now deteriorates. There is a vegetated buttress beneath the trig. point (which may give a long route or two to those with a strong stomach), and a wooded bay topped by the rocky ridge connecting the Betty Peg to the trig point
The next climbs are on the right hand face of this bay on the north-east face of the BETTY PEG There is an obvious sloping weakness starting from the right of the buttress. It looks rubbish, but gives some good climbing.
20 Whlst 15m HS 4b
Fight your way along the bottom under the wall for 10m. Straight up, over the little roofs and exit left.
21 Contract Bridge 17m S 4a
Start below the leftward sloping little niche which is about half way up the face. Climb straight up, into the niche, and step up and left past a useful little gorse bush. Easily up left to finish.
J. Tomkins and S. Keogh, 19 Jan. 1974.
22 Weak Walk Dlrect 20m VS 4c
Start about 3m left of the right toe of the buttress. Straight up a little groove and the bulge above to the slab of Weak Walk. Left up this to the large block ledge below the top. Pull strenuously up the wall on the right on good holds to the top.
J. Tomkins and S. Keogh, 19 Jan. 1974.
23 Weak Walk 20m S 4a ***
The star route. Start at the right hand toe of the buttress by a short wall. Climb up and leftwards on to a leftwards-inclined undercut slab. Up leftwards to the large ledge beneath the top overhangs. Make an exposed swing up right on good holds to easy ground, and the top. Much better than it looks.
K.S. Vickers and G.W. Boulton, 1973.
There is now a steep, muddy, easy way down and a steep north-facing grass slope with a mossy slab at the bottom.
routes are round on the South Face of Betty Peg on BETTY'S SLAB.
They catch the full afternoon and evening sun and provide routes of all standards. Ofen, the hardest moves are at the bottom making soloing a reasonable option. Exceptionally for Markfield, there are belays at the top. Routes are described from left to right.
24 Elderberry Crack 5m D
Start at the left of the slab by a little triangular cave behind the elder tree. Bridge up over the cave and up the slab to finish.
25 Elderberry Corner 8m VD (Betty's Slab)
Start behind the tree beneath the corner. Up a little slab. Then pull boldly up the corner crack. Continue the line to finish.
Sam’s Arête 9m E1 5b **
26 Sugar Daddy 9m HVS 5a (Betty's Slab)
From Elderberry Corner reach up the arete for a jug and make a bold swing up right, round on to the slab. Continue more easily. It is possible to make two more moves up Elderberry Corner and step right on to the jug making the climb Severe.
27 Gollywogs Cake Walk 25m VD * (Betty's Slab)
Start at the bottom left of the slab by the elderberry tree and make a rising rightward traverse across the face using the obvious break for hands or feet as required. Finish just round the right edge of the face. Can be split into two pitches. A long route for hereabouts.
28 Crown 10m S * (Betty's Slab)
Start as for Gollywogs Cake Walk but continue straight up the slab on good holds.
29 Hard Shoulder 10m HS 4b *
Start 4m right of the tree at a broken weakness. Up over the bulge and then more easily to the top. R. Hazelwood, 1963.
30 Clearway 10m S ** (Betty's Slab)
There are a row of six holes at the bottom of the slab. Paleomagnetism studies by Leicester University? Start at the leftmost hole. Straight up to the ledge at half height. On up the top wall past a big jug in the fault line.
31 Go Home 12m D (Betty's Slab)
Start between the middle pair of holes. Straight up to the big ledge and on to the top by the easiest line.
32 Fast Home 15m M
Start at the bottom right hand corner of the slab and take the obvious weakness up to the left.
At the back of fhe bay holding Betty's Slab there is a rock step leading to the shorter second tier, UPPER BETTY'S SLAB. This contains some superb rock problems, often close to the ground. There are also some continuous longer routes but boldness is needed on the rock of the uppermost section. Protection is minimal.
33 Bramble Edge 7m VD
Start by the big blocks at the left. Up the polished groove stepping right at the top.
34 Thorn 7m S 4c * (Upper Betty's Slab)
Start in the obvious scoop near the ground 1 m right of the left arête. Up the scoop. Pull out on excellent fingerholds and then climb more easily to the top.
35 Fork 7m VS 5a
Up the slab 2m right of Thorn using an undercut flake.
36 Slow Home 7m S (Upper Betty's Slab)
Climb the obvious polished weakness 4m right of the left edge of the slab to just right of the birch tree at the top. This has a useful root for a finishing hold. Mind the tree doesn't come out.
37 Teaspoon 7m S 4a
Straight up the slab about 1.5m right of Slow Home. Carefully over the blocks at the top or step left.
38 Nick's Way 7m HS 4b * (Upper Betty's Slab)
Start 3m right of Slow Home and follow a rising leftward line to finish by the birch tree. If you're lucky the right hold appears at exactly the right time.
39 Kate 9m VS 4c ** (Upper Betty's Slab)
Named after the bush. Start 4m right of Slow Home at a huge foothold. Straight up the slab making a hard move (crux). Step right at the gorse bush (if she'll let you) and up to a ledge below the final slab. Move up in a fine position to get the jug. And so to the top.
About 3m right of Kate is an obvious crack line leading up to a mini slab below a roof.
40 Celeste 9m HVS 5a
Up the slab just left of the crack line and finish up Kate (with some cleaning of bushes separate finishes could be made).
Rain Coming HVS 5a+, F6a.
This climb has probably been done before but it does not seem to appear on the guide. It’s a good route and I think it should be mentioned, regardless of the first ascentionist. We did it on 9th May 1998 just before a cloudburst, and although protection is scant it is good.
41 Quariantics 13m HVS 5a (Upper Betty's Slab)
Up the crack, traverse 3m right across the mini slab below the overhang and finish boldly up the loose top wall. D.N. Draper and K.S. Vickers, June 1963.
42 Phobos 13m HVS 5a
No description, but you can guess where it goes.
43 Cake Walk 25m D (Upper Betty's Slab)
Start at the foot of Ouariantics and follow the rightward rising traverse line with an awkward move by the gorse bush on good holds. Finish up the slab to the left.
Just right of the Cake Walk is a desperate little slab which gives a couple of problems getting off the ground. Then there is:
44 No Overtaking 12m D
At the extreme right of the slab make your way pleasantly up the cliff.
45 The Ramp 25m VS 4b
Start at the bottom right hand corner of the slab and traverse upward and leftwards along the fault line. Pass under the overhang with difficulty but good holds. Finish up Kate (!) or traverse through the gorse bushes which need cutting off.
46 Glrdle Traverse 30m VD 5a
It is possible to traverse the whole length of Upper Betty's Slabjust a few feet off the ground. Better than a climbing wall.
Most of the Upper Tier on the way back to the entrance hole in the fence is grass and gorse. There is a small wall of worthwhile rock just off the track by the top of the concrete steps which gives some problems.
The LOWER TIER is partly filled with water which makes access a problem, but adds spice to the water-level traverses. The routes are described starting from the bay below the "I ♥ TRACY" block. The bay catches the evening sun and makes a good swimming spot. It can be reached by an easy scramble down. The bay is across from the concrete steps that lead down to the disused pump house. The bay is the starting point of Baptism, one of the best routes in the quarry.
A real hazard about soloing the traverse Iines above the water is the possibility of falling off, banging your head and belng unconscious in the water. It is best to have someone around who can pull you out.
47 Baptism 50m VS 5b at high level . ***
4c for the low-level variant. E3 for non-swimmers
From the bay walk around the grass bank. Up this and traverse the undercut slab to its left-hand end. Move down across a steep wall to a hard move into a dirty corner lapped by overhangs. There is an old peg here.
Traverse down across a wall to the left and continue the traverse at water level enjoying the transformation from sound rock to loose vegetated choss.
D.T. Holyoak and P.J. Howard, Oct 1970.
4c low-level variant: if the water is low (and you have long legs) it is possible to make a giant stride and pull across underneath the initial overhang and continue to complete the first section.
On the second section swing down the borehole on the right and traverse left centimeters above the water. Rejoin the main traverse. Impossible at high water.
48 Font 24m VS 5a
Follow Baptism for 7m and then up the overhanging V chimney. Up the groove above with a step up and right to join the top of Hedgehog. Follow this unpleasantly to finish.
D.T. and D.M. Holyoak, Sept i970.
49 Holey Water 40m VS A1
Start as for Baptism. Follow Baptism for 16m past the hard move down to peg belays beneath overhangs left of the chimney taken by Font. This point can also be reached by swimming, by reversing pitch 2 of Baptism at VS, or by abseiling through a break in the overhangs to the left and swinging in to the rock near water level.
11 m. Climb the shallow bulging chimney slightly left of the stance, then an easier angled crack tending right to small stance and peg belays. Four pegs used (removed) for direct aid; two might be enough if they were already in place.
12m. Move up to right from stance to join Hedgehog and follow this leftwards to finish through steep gorse.
D.T. Holyoak and P. Moate, 14 Mar. 1974.
50 Hedgehog 20m S
Start at the same point as Baptism. Walk across the grass bank. Go up the slab to the right to gain the corner above. Follow this for 5m then traverse left and up the gorse covered slab towards a small hawthorn tree. Not worth the pain.
The bay immediately below the "I ♥ TRACY" block has an overhanging wall from the left of which grows a tree. The next two routes lie on either side of this wall.
51 Prickly Pair 6m VD
Start just to the left of the tree and climb the green crack onto the obvious block. Finish direct.
52 Prefabricated Pomegranite 7m S
Climb the obvious leaning corner to the right of the overhanging wall. The un-named arête to the right is also of interest. C. Hunter and T. Brice, 25 Feb. 1973.
The next few routes can be reached either by abseil or by traversing above the water from the bay below the "I ♥ TRACY" block, towards the pumphouse steps.
53 Crab Crawl 15m S **
Traverse right (facing in) from the boulder beach for about 15m until a downwards sloping ramp is reached. There is an obvious crack line running up to the right. Follow the crack line and finish up a steep little corner behind a hawthorn bush.
54 Tap Dance 20m VD
Start about 3m right of Crab Crawl (just left of Without Friction) below an obvious slanting ramp and traverse up it in a fine position. Either finish up Crab Crawl or make a step left round a band of poor rock to gain an easy rock ridge. Follow it pleasantly to the top. There is an easy way down just left of this finish.
55 The Draln 15m VD *
Start just right of Tap Dance at the foot of the corner that is the drain of the little pool. Followthe corner until the delightful slab on the right provides cleaner climbing. Better than it looks.
56 Wlthout Friction 15m VD
Start at the foot of The Drain. Traverse right up on to the slab, then follow the line of weakness past a tiny earth ledge, keeping left at the top. Loads of friction.
57 Bic 10m VS 4c/5a
Traverse the short obvious leaning wall midway between Without Friction and Chequered Slab. It's obvious from the pumphouse steps. Alan Little, 27 July 1981.
58 Chequered Siab 12m VS 4c ** (Chequered Slab)
Opposite the wall of Baptism an obvious quartz-marked slab rises straight out of the water. Unfortunately approach is by abseil and there is no stance at the bottom. Other routes possible here.
Groove D'Arête VS 4b
Belay at the waterline in a niche 3m right of the start of Chequered Slab (good belay). Climb the wide groove on the left (flakes) until it is possible to move athletically right onto the arête. Follow the arête to the top. Pleasant though slightly artificial.
Colin Knowles, Ian Carey. 14/5/95
There are a couple of mossy slabs to the right of Chequered Slab and to the left of the pumphouse steps. There are some equally unattractive lines up to the right of the steps. The next routes are 50m to the right (facing rock), just below the way in and the hole in the fence. Immediately below the road is obvious blank wall with a crumbling red brick wall above. POOL WALL once rose out of the water, but refuse tipped from the road and the recent drop in water level have removed the need for abseil approaches. All routes are now approached via a steep ramp to the left of the wall (facing in).
59 Dropsy 13m VS 4c (Pool Wall)
A poor route taking the crack system on the left hand side of the wall. Star1 directly below the crack. Up the wall to the crack. Follow this to a loose earthy finish.
60 Plain Sailing 14m E2 5c ** (Pool Wall)
Has been called Chariots of Fire (J. Codling and S. Allen), and takes the centre of the wall past an obvious protection bolt. (The bolt replaces a poor peg placed lower and to the right). Start at the left-hand end of the obvious rising traverse line. Follow the break until directly below the bolt Move up leftwards, clip the bolt (if you feel the need) then make difficult moves up right and past it. Continue delicately but more easily to the top
P Stidever (solo), Apr. 1983.
61 Arrows of Desire 18m E3 6a * (Pool Wall)
Traverse the break until about 2m from its end. Thin moves lead straight up to a handy ledge and the top.
S. Allen and J. Codling.
62 Puppy Love 16m VS 4c (Pool Wall)
Also known as Burning Bow but unfortunately Puppy Love came first, Called Gas Oven Traverse when using 2 pegs by M. Holfe and A. Cuddy on 24 May 1972. Follow the obvious rising traverse line to its end where loose rock and grass provide a tricky finish.
Steve Davies and Mick Nadal, March 1980.
63 Scratchins 13m HVS 5b (Pool Wall)
Start 4m left of the obvious corner of Trundlers Reward. The climb has a serious feel as the rock is poor. The climbing however is good and sustained. Ascend the crack and overhang (crux). Continue, trending slightly rightwards to finish as for Puppy Love.
Trevor Gunner and Colin Fowler, Sept 1978.
64 Crocodile Sandwich 13m no grade available
The blank wall between Scratchins and Trundlers Reward. Awaits a first ascent?
65 Trundlers Reward 13m HS 4b (Pool Wall)
Climbs the prominent corner crack to the right of the wall. A difficult start enables the crack to be reached and followed to another loose earthy finish.
D.T. and D.M. Holyoak, Sept 1970.
66 Bigwlgs Bundle 13m E1 5a
The unprotected arête to the right of Trundlers Reward is climbed direct. A jungle bash is avoided by traversing into the corner at the top.
Continuing rightwards there is no climbing worthy of record until the clean WHITE SLAB rises from the water to the full height of the quarry. The right side (facing in) of the slab can be reached by a path running down from the top. The slabs face south and gorse is beginning to take over The gorse, however, is more solid than some of the blocks at the top.
67 The Worm 25m VS 4b (machete for aid)
Traverse left across the slab towards a small hawthorn tree. Move up and then continue left below overhangs on vegetated ground to a possible belay. Continue directly above to reach the large hawthorn by the least vegetated route. Very unworthwhile.
68 Pink Slab 25m VS 4b
Straight up the bulge in the centre of the White Slab moving slightly right to an obvious scoop leading through the overlap. Move left and up to the top. Now make your way up an unpleasant earth slope to the safety of the gorse bushes.
69 White Slab 40m S 4a
Traverse the White Slab from its bottom left corner via the obvious line near its top edge to a vague and vegetated rib. Move up to a vegetated ledge and get to the top. Makes a good finish to Baptism.
D.T. Holyaok and Miss D.M. Sager, Sept 1969.
70 Soft Route 25m VS 4b
Start 15m right of the White Slab and at the end of the descent path where a prow of rock juts out above a clean slab. Climb the slab and continue awkwardly up the obvious corner to the right of the prow onto a large vegetated ledge. Move up left and finish via a vegetated slab.
71 Decrepitation 25m HVS 4c
Start at the groove line 8m further right. Climb this on frighteningly loose blocks to awkwardly and boldly exit left to finish as for Soft Route.
72 Trepidatlon 23m VS 4c
Start up the leaning rib on the right of the buttress leading up to the overhang. Surmount this awkwardly to a slab and traverse left to finish as for Soft Route.