Pembroke - Rockfax
Printed a few years ago this is nevertheless a worthwhile addition to the Rockfax arsenal. It’s effectively an update on the previous guide (which came out in 1995!), bringing it into line with other newer Rockfax guides, with colour topos, decent photographs, and a host of new routes to boot. It seems curious to see Alan James’s name on the cover. Despite starting the company up many moons ago with his own guides, Alan generally appears to take a more behind-the-scenes role these days. Nice to see that he still gets involved in the nitty gritty though. He’s teamed up with regular Rockfax author Mike Robertson, a self-confessed lover of sea cliffs.
Mike starts off the intro to the book by saying that the cliffs of Pembroke are the finest sea cliffs in the world. Granted I haven’t climbed on the vast majority, but Mike has given it a good shot, so coming from him, this is quite an accolade. If you’ve not been to Pembroke then you really, really ought to. And this guide will help you find your way around. The equivalent Climbers Club guides need three hefty volumes to cover the entire area. Rockfax have done what they do well and distilled the thousands of routes into a manageable number and presented them in an efficient and inspiring manner. For the statisticians amongst you there are 658 routes listed.
There are two notable omissions from this book. Firstly there is no obvious mention of Deep Water Soloing. Pembroke has long been a decent venue for the sport, and is covered in depth in Mike Robertson’s tour de force DWS, so reference to the best areas would not have gone amiss here. Secondly there is no section on Range West. Range West is owned by the military and as such has some fairly heavy restrictions on it. Access has been negotiated for some time on a limited basis, which has lead to a massive number of new routes and an entire Climbers Club guidebook to describe them. I can understand why it is not covered in this selective guide which is really aimed more at casual visitors rather than die-hards, but it does seem like a major area to not mention.
There’s a graded list, a useful section on logistics, notes on tides (Pembroke has some high ones!), and decent coverage of all the best crags. All in all, a very welcome addition to the area. Retails at £20.95.
You can buy it here.
Perfect for casual visitor
Great if you like tick-lists
Very easy to use
Lack of DWS info
No mention of Range West (which admittedly is not really a suitable area for casual visitors)