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Millstone Rigg


Millstone Rigg, Eggleston Common

Alan Dougherty August 2006 (Updated Simon Huthwaite  August 2016)


OS Explorer (1:25000) sheet OL 31 North Pennines

OS Map Reference: NY995269

Aspect: west to south-west

Altitude: 450m

Approach Time: 15 minutes

Carol Dougherty on the Right Hand Block


Carol and Alan Dougherty developed the problems recorded here during two visits in August and September 2005. Simon and Laura Huthwaite visited in August 2016 and made two additions and updated this topo.

Situation and Character
The bouldering is not actually at Millstone Rigg! This is, however, the nearest topographical feature named on the 1:25000 OS Map. The venue lies above and to the east of the B6278 Barnard Castle to Stanhope road, north of the village of Egglestone. It lies about 800m south, and a little lower, than Millstone Rigg, on an area of moorland managed for grouse shooting. The apparently quick drying rock is of good quality; there is very little lichen; pockets abound; the landings mostly good and the outlook excellent: A very pleasant place to spend an hour or two.

Access and Approaches
Millstone Rigg lies on moorland that is designated Access Land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Under that Act the land can be subject to temporary closures of up to twenty-eight days a year. These are likely to be applied for during the Grouse nesting season. Notification of closures should be posted at Access Points locally and, prior to a visit, can be checked on www.countrysideaccess.gov.uk or via the Access Helpline on 0845 100 3298. Under the CRoW Act, dogs are banned on this moorland.

Leave Eggleston northwards on the B6278 (sign-posted Stanhope). Soon after meeting the unfenced moorland a sheepfold should be seen on the right (east). Parking can be found in a lay-by, on the left, some 200m before the sheepfold. Walk towards the sheepfold and pick up a line of well constructed grouse butts running uphill. As the slope becomes less steep an obvious pinnacle becomes visible to the right. On reaching butt number seven strike south-east towards The Pinnacle, which is only about 150m distant.

General Layout
Although The Pinnacle is of limited interest, it provides a useful reference point and gearing-up spot. Problems are described firstly going right from The Pinnacle and then proceeding leftwards from the same location. Two blocks, separated by a gully, lie behind The Pinnacle and present clean west facing faces, above mostly good landings. All grades are Font, all problems are sit starts unless stated in the description and first ascents are as detailed in the history section with the exception of Buzzard and Wife Jobs both climbed by Simon Huthwaite on 16.07.16.

Rightwards from The Pinnacle

The Left-Hand Block

Problems are described from left to right:

1. 5+ - Climb the impeding wall (left of crack) through small overlap. Fingery SDS to awkward mantle-shelf.

2. 4+ - Crack-line to left of rib. SDS from two pinches – move left hand to lay-away on tiny edge and lunge for top.

3. 6a - Left arete, avoiding crack / flake to left. SDS is fingery and the slightly bulging rib makes the finishing mantle-shelf tricky.

4. 4+ - Line of scoop, with crack and slightly leaning wall above *

5. 5+ - Right-hand side of the vague arete. An awkward start for feet then utilises crimps and an interesting nubbin of rock at ¾ height.

6. 3+ - Wall just left of gully

7. Traverse 6a+ - Climb the left arete to gain the top then traverse rightwards. Sustained. (See photo above)

8. Without the Top 6b - As the name implies, with crux passing the left-hand arete.

Back Wall of Boulder

Problems described left to right:

1. 3+ - Pleasant left arete.

2. 3+ - Centre of slightly concave wall.

3. 3+ - Mossy overlap line just left of section of dry-stone wall.

The wall of the block behind can be climbed anywhere at about Font 3.

Right-Hand Block

Problems described left to right:

1. 5+ - Start from under scoop at left-hand end of block. Layaway and mono leads to awkward mantel.

2. Buzzard 4+ - Start on obvious shelf, right hand up to holds below the top then a cheeky heel enables the left hand to reach the top and a straight forward top out.

3. 5+ - Just left of undercut arête, pull with blocky undercut jug and make a big reach to good holds below the lip then hit top and mantel!

4. 6a - Left-hand undercut arête. An obvious start leads to a tough move to reach a good sidepull with the right and thence a tricksome mantel. Great problem! **

5. 5+ - Crack in the Middle The name is indicative!

6. 5+ - 1m right of Crack in the Middle. Start just left of the crack that ends at 1/3 height. Finishes with the crux awkward mantel onto the sloping top.

7. 4+ - Right-hand arête on good holds.

8. 6b - Left to right traverse not using the top or ledge at base. Sustained, with crux at end.

The right-hand wall of this block faces the Equinox Block across a gully. It gives a couple of problems at 3/3+.

Equinox Block

1. 4+ - The rear of the left wall of Equinox Block overhangs the gully. Not the best landing and not a sit start (yet).

2. 3+ - Climb the wall just right of the overhang and above a low foot pocket. Not a sit start (yet).

3. Wife Jobs 6b – A cramped but good and powerful starting move (RH on arête and LH on small pocket) LH to obvious good pocket leads to thoughtful foot work to get the RH up the arête and a straightforward top out *

4. Red Kite 6a - Fingery wall 2m right of arête to mantle-shelf finish. Not a proper sitter but well worthy of a star! *

30m right is a small clean block – the largest of the smaller blocks hereabout:

Small Clean Block

N.B.This block was not climbed on during the trip made by Simon and Laura Huthwaite so descriptions and grades remains as per the original topo.

2m 5a (APD)
Left-hand arête. SDS to gently outward sloping mantle-shelf.

2m 4c (CLD)
1m right – ascend to ubiquitous mantle-shelf.

2m 4a (CLD)
Centre of wall.

2.5m 4a (CLD)

Just left of the corner formed by two blocks. Ascend edges, avoiding bigger ledges to right.

Leftwards from The Pinnacle

40m left (north) of The Pinnacle is an obvious slab:

The Leaning Flake

1. 3 - The front gives a pleasant slab with a tricky start.

2. 4+ - The rear overhang gives a short gymnastic problem on good holds.

15m left of The Leaning Flake, and in line with the butts, is a long low block with a slabby front:

The Slabby Block

1. 3 - Ascend slab at its highest, near the right-hand end. Tricky start.

2. 4 - An entertaining left to right traverse not using either the top or the large ledge at base in the second quartile.
30m down-slope, and slightly north, of The Pinnacle is an isolated block which is prominent during the approach. It has a distinct ledge on its northern side:

The Isolated Block
N.B. This block was not climbed on during the trip made by Simon and Laura Huthwaite so descriptions and grades remains as per the original topo.

The upslope, slightly impeding face gives three SDS problems:

2m 5b (APD)
The left-hand arête, on small positive holds.

2m 5b (APD)
Middle of the wall, from a pinch-grip for each hand.

2m 5a (APD)
The right-hand arête, avoiding the large ledge low down.


Wife Jobs Font 6b © Simon Huthwaite