Due to the lack of local climbers you will almost certainly have the cliffs to yourself, so be aware of the dangers of climbing on sea cliffs, especially as the chances of any passers-by being able to help are slim. Here are a few safety tips:-
There is a 35ft (10m) tidal range on spring tides. The tide rises/falls fastest during the middle hours, and you can use the ‘Rule of Twelfths’ to find out how much:-
Divide the total rise into twelfths. ( for 10m this means 1/12th = 83.3cm (~33inches))
|Hour Number (out of 6hr Period)||Tidal Change (Up or Down)|
|High Water / Low Water|
|1st||One Twelfth (83.3cm)|
|2nd||Two Twelfths (166cm)|
|3rd and 4th||Three Twelfths EACH HOUR! (279cm (up to 4cm per minute!!!))|
|5th||Two Twelfths (166cm)|
|6th||One Twelfth (83.3cm)|
|Low Water / High Water|
The swell also tends to increase as the tide rises. Plan to arrive at tidal crags with 2 hours before low water. And don’t forget to add an hour for BST in the summer!
- There is mobile phone reception from most places on the cliff path, but coverage at crag level is patchy. Also, you are likely to get a signal from Jersey, so remember to say that you’re in Guernsey! If the signal isn’t good enough for speech then a text message may work.
- There is a local cliff rescue team run by the St. Johns Ambulance brigade. They often have to rescue kids stuck on choss at Petit Bot bay and on rocks off the beaches, but have never rescued a rock climber. They do have a copy of the guidebook and volunteer members from the GMC who know where the crags are. Call 112 or 999 and ask for ‘cliff rescue’.
- Always climb in pairs, and I’d strongly recommend at least 4’s within shouting distance.
- Always tell someone where you’re going and what time you expect to return
- Make sure you know the basics of First Aid
- Wear a helmet, you never know what will be thrown off the top of the cliff by a group of kids.
- Know how to do self-rescue and prussiking techniques
- Make sure you have suitable clothing including a wind/waterproof top.
- Make sure you have the correct equipment in good condition and the knowledge to use it.
- Don’t forget a snack and drink
- Use suncream in summer, the cliffs are suntraps
- A whistle may be useful
- Watch out for loose rock etc. on descent paths/scrambles. Rope up if necessary
- If in doubt get in touch with a local who knows the area, there will always be someone to advise and possibly guide you