Gogarth North

Review by Dave Pickford
Monday 20th April 2009




Gogarth North (edited by Simon Panton, published by Ground Up Productions LTD)

In the realm of British exceptionalism, the adventurous sea cliff climbs of Gogarth on Anglesey must rank alongside our island's more daring accomplishments. Together with Agincourt, Francis Drake's defeat of the Spanish Armada, and Churchill's defiant, cognac-fueled wartime speeches, Gogarth's biggest and baddest lines represent uncommon triumphs of the will. The absence of an up-to-date guidebook to these remarkable climbs has been a source of frustration for many ardent UK sea cliff climbers over recent years. Simon Panton, along with a knowledgable and idiosyncratic team of local guidebook writers (most of whom are Gogarth activists themselves), has done an outstanding job with Gogarth North, the first edition of the all-new Ground Up guidebook. 

The excellent route-descriptions coupled with a clear, uncluttered layout and beautifully designed photo-topos to all the cliffs will be of considerable practical assistance to both first-timers and seasoned Gogarth voyagers alike. And the lavishly-illustrated 23 pages of history (of this most historical of British crags) should be enough to keep even seasoned climbing history buffs amused and entertained. I was delighted to see Leo Dickinson's masterful shot of the first ascent of A Dream Of White Horses included, along with many other significant photographs from recent years. Panton has made a wise decision in choosing a small but legible font, which has kept the book's weight and length down to a reasonable level (Gogarth North runs to 327 pages), meaning this guide can be easily carried in a chest-pocket on one of Gogarth's many multipitch climbs.

The overall presentation and quality of this edition is enough to make even the occasional climber's fingers sweat at the thought of racking up at the base of Main Cliff or North Stack Wall, whilst regular visitors to Gogarth will eagerly anticipate the impending arrival of Gogarth South, and future guides by this innovative, climbing-focused publisher. 





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