Climber Anna Taylor is about to start an attempt to be the first woman to complete a continuous round of every route that features in ‘Classic Rock’, the iconic guidebook. Carrying all her kit with her, Anna will cycle between each set of routes, covering 2,400 kilometres and climbing over 10,000 metres. The climbs are located around the UK, from the North West Highlands of Scotland, to the spine of Wales, and down to the tip of Cornwall. Anna gets started on 31st July but before she set off, we caught up to chat all things Classic Rock. Here’s what we learnt about what spurred on this epic challenge.
Berghaus: What’s sparked your interest in Classic Rock?
Anna: Classic Rock is a guidebook written by Ken Wilson, featuring 83 of the best rock climbs (up to the grade of VS) that the UK has to offer. In a similar fashion to Munro or Wainwright bagging, some climbers make a long-term project out of ticking off all the routes; travelling all over Britain from the granite sea cliffs of Cornwall, to the remotest reaches of the Cairngorms to get them done. I wanted to plan to complete a round, in a short timeframe, in a way that is as sustainable as possible and as human powered as possible.
Berghaus: Nice, why now?
Anna: Over the past year and a half, just about every plan I’ve had in terms of trying to put together an adventure style trip has been foiled thanks to COVID. It’s not the end of the world by any means, but I can’t deny that I’ve been itching to get out again now things are finally starting to ease. International travel still seems like a step too far in my eyes, so I thought it would be the perfect time to come up with something UK based. I’ve always wanted to try cycle touring, so after a bit of thought, linking together all of the Classic Rock routes by bike became my plan for the summer.
Berghaus: You’ll be the first female to go after this kind of attempt?
Anna: This has been done before (to my knowledge) on two separate occasions; the first time by Jamie Fisher (who took 52 days), and the second by Oli Warlow (who took 72). I was originally going to attempt it alone too, with multiple partners for different legs (as was done on both previous trips) but this all changed when professional adventure photographer Marc Langley decided to join me. Together we are heading down to Cornwall on the 30th July to begin our attempt, and after that it’s just a matter of covering the over 1,500 miles that separate us from the finish line.
Berghaus: What the route?
Anna: Our route starts down at Chair Ladder, where a day of linking together multiple Cornish crags will begin. After that we’ll head to Lundy island to climb the iconic Devil’s Slide via the Dewerstone, then make a quick trip to the Avon gorge before journeying up through Wales. The golden gritstone crags of the Roaches and Peak District are next on the list, before our route takes us up through Yorkshire towards our home of the Lake District (I have a feeling that life will start to get a lot more difficult here, as the walk-ins to crags and the climbs themselves suddenly start to get much bigger!). After the Lakes we head north and take a quick trip to the Isle of Arran, before journeying up the side of Loch Lomond towards the Cobbler, then continuing on to the stunningly imposing valley of Glen Coe, and the highest peak of the UK – Ben Nevis. Next we enter the vast expanse of the Cairngorms national park, before cutting back across the country towards Skye, via the infamous Bealach na Ba pass, and ending on the mighty Cuillin Ridge – a fitting finale for what is a pretty incredible route!
Berghaus: What have you packed and how much have you packed?
Anna: I need a fair amount of equipment, food, gear but because I’m carrying all my kit with with me it’s pretty important that I make as much as I need. Here’s a bit of a reccy of what’s in my pack – I haven’t weighed it, which *I think* is a good thing!
|Climbing Harness||Dinner Set||4x Berghaus Base Layers|
|40 Meters of 7.5mm Climbing Rope||Foldable Cups||1x Berghaus Hyper 100 Waterproof|
|Dyneema Climbing Slings (various sizes)||First Aid Kit||1x Cycling Shorts|
|DMM Walnuts||Stove||1x Buff|
|DMM Alloy Offsets||Cooking Pan||2x Berghaus Shorts|
|Dragon Cams||Gas Cylinders||1x Berghaus Leggings|
|Gri Gri||1x Quick Dry Towel|
|DMM Pivot Belay Plates||1x Berghaus Changtse Waterproof Jacket|
|Nut Key||1x Berghaus Down Jacket|
|Micro Traction’s||1x La Sportiva Muira Climbing Shoes|
|Petzl Connect Adjust||1x Tent Inner|
|Screw Gates||1x Sleeping Bag|
|DMM Phantom Quick Draws||1x Thermarest|
|1x Travel Pillow|
|1x Cycling Helmet|
|1x Climbing Rucksack|
Berghaus: Pre-tour nerves?
Anna: I have to say that I’m looking forward to this trip just as much as I ever have for exciting, overseas adventures. I think that the UK is almost criminally underrated sometimes. Yes it rains a lot, but there’s a whole lot of variety on this little island, and in my opinion there are places here that are just as beautiful as snowy European mountain ranges or magical South American jungles. To be doing a trip that’s almost entirely human powered is a good feeling too. It’s not perfect, as we are going to have to take ferries to and from the odd island (sadly I’m not that good of a swimmer!), but to be free from planes and cars is a start. All that’s left to do now is to get going!
Head to @BerghausOfficial on Instagram to follow Anna’s Classic Rock Tour.