Top 10 winter bouldering spots

Posted by Team BMC on 04/03/2024
Paul on Mr. Multiverse, Carrock Fell CREDIT Peter Wilkinson

How many of these will you, or have you already ticked off this winter?

When the mercury drops, the friction rises and you’ve the best chance of bouldering at your best. Don’t forget your biggest mitts and down jacket. Niall Grimes, the man to praise for the BMC’s guidebooks and the compendium, Boulder Britain, offers his top picks. Let us know if you complete all ten, or if we’ve missed out any fantastic ones. And send us a photo of you in action on any of these, and any of your other outdoor exploits in 2024 - the best will get featured in the BMC member’s only magazine Summit, email

Want to up your game or get inspired? Check out the bouldering films and tips from BMC TV.

Kyloe in the Woods, Northumberland

Kyloe in the Woods CREDIT Johndal

The most sheltered of the Northumbrian classics thanks to overhangs and forestry. And thanks to recent cut back of encroaching trees a new freshness will mean even better conditions. However, avoid all sandstone if at all damp.

RAD: Kyloe in the Woods, Northumberland

Back Bowden, Northumberland

Sheltered from the howliest of winds and so overhung that most of the rock has seen less water than Saudi Arabia has seen snow. Fierce and fingery, your sessions won’t last too long so you’ll be finished by the time it gets dark.

RAD: Back Bowden, Northumberland

RAC Boulders, North Wales

Despite being in the mountains, these boulders are relatively low and sheltered. A quick-drying nature and proximity to the car park mean you can take advantage when the sun shines on the front face.

RAD: RAC Boulders, North Wales

Elephantitus Cave, North Wales

A lakeside jewel with a few hard gems starting with the classic 7A and running into the 8s. In summer the sun can make it an unbearably hot cauldron, but its sheltered aspect makes it a great winter spot. The situation, right on the lake, is special. 

RAD: Elephantitus Cave, North Wales

Porth Ysgo, North Wales

Image: Jay on Johnny's Slab, Porth Ysgo CREDIT Peter Wilkinson

Rivalling Joshua Tree for the best place to boulder in December. The fingertips of the Lleyn Penninsula are famously tropical and the unique bouldering is as good as anything in the country. 

RAD: Porth Ysgo, North Wales

Almscliffe, NorthYorkshire

If it’s a cold, blowy day, it will be utterly bitter here. But that’s the point. Almscliffe will be dry if anywhere is and battling the cold to snatch a cool problem is a bouldering rite of passage.

RAD: Almscliffe, NorthYorkshire

Slipstones, NorthYorkshire

If there is any sun going, Slipstones gets it. Problems, highballs and solos of the highest quality on the best lines mean that a winter day spent here will warm the heart for some time to follow.

RAD: Slipstones, NorthYorkshire

Stanage, Peak District

Sophie Whyte bouldering at Stanage CREDIT Lucy Spain

Image: Sophie Whyte bouldering at Stanage CREDIT Lucy Spain

The obvious choice of Peak gritstone is this, the queen of gritstone. Walking back down the hill at the end of a crisp day, fingertips on fire, sun setting ahead, is one of the finest moments of climbing.

RAD: Stanage, Peak District

Carrock Fell, Lake District

Paul on Mr. Multiverse, Carrock Fell CREDIT Peter Wilkinson

Image: Paul on Mr. Multiverse, Carrock Fell CREDIT Peter Wilkinson

So many problems, so little time. When the air is still, this quick-drying hillside of gabbro boulders is everything you want from a winter bouldering venue. Problems across all the grades. 

RAD: Carrock Fell, Lake District

Bonehill Rocks, Dartmoor 

Image: Bonehill ROcks CREDIT Sirenz Lorraine

A scattering of blocks enjoying the yawning openness of Dartmoor. On a still day there is a whole session of classics across the grades, facing in whichever direction the sun is coming from. Easy access, easy fun.

RAD: Bonehill Rocks, Dartmoor 

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