A young climber has completed what is thought to be an iconic first. Taking inspiration from a book called “Classic Rock”, which lists 83 of the "best climbing routes in the UK", Anna Taylor, 23, set out to do them all.
But it wasn’t enough for the athlete from England’s Lake District to simply climb the routes. She decided to cycle between the geographically spread climbs and therefore before the first known female to finish a self-powered Classic Rock Round.
It took Anna 62 days and 1500 miles of cycling from south west England, to Wales, the Peak District and Lake District, and to the Scottish Highlands. She climbed more than 32,800ft (10,000m) of rock.
She said: “I am both delighted and relieved to complete my Classic Rock journey. I’ve learnt so much over the last couple of months and the experience has certainly been memorable – it’s been good, bad and at times downright ugly.”
History of the Classic Rock Round
First published in 1978, the book Classic Rock by Ken Wilson features 83 rock climbs (up to the grade of VS) in England, Scotland and Wales.
Similar to Munro or Wainwright bagging, some climbers make a long-term project of ticking off all of the routes.
A self-powered Classic Rock Round was conceived by the late Jamie Fisher. A couple of years before his death in a storm in the French Alps in 1999, Jamie completed all routes except for one where there was a nesting bird.
Another climber, Oliver Warlow did similar in 2018 and again missed a route due to nesting birds.
Climber Anna’s Classic Rock Round
Anna successfully climbed the 83 routes and also completed the vast majority solo. She cycled between all the routes, or took a ferry to an island where required, and carried all of her own kit.
Anna revealed some tough times. She said: “Soloing a wet, vegetation-covered chimney is not much fun and my legs were definitely not ready for cycling hundreds of miles while carrying all of my gear.
“Add in a bout of sickness and some typically lively UK weather and the journey was far from straightforward, but the compensations more than made up for all of that.”
She described some highlights, such as soloing long pitches on beautiful faces high in the mountains with minimal equipment.
She added: “The round took me to some new and wonderful places – physically and mentally – and I have gained an even greater appreciation of the climbing that’s available on these shores.
“As for the 83 routes that Ken Wilson collected in Classic Rock, I think I can understand why he chose almost all of them.”
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors (opens in new tab).
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