Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

Park Nab’s Holly Tree Wall

This is Park Nab in Kildale — a sandstone crag that is one of the prime venues for climbing in North Yorkshire.

Now, I’d never go so far as to call myself a “climber,” yet I’ve dabbled in the sport, to an extent. Amongst my successes is a route aptly named: “Twin Cracks,” finishing its ascent past that holly bush right of centre, its tenacious roots digging deep into the cramped left-hand crack. This whole rock face also has a name of equal fitting — none other than the “Holly Tree Wall.” Time, however, has taken its toll on this slab; a rockfall, in the 1990s, if I recall correctly, lost many of the old routes, but opened the opportunity for several new ones.

My 1985 edition of the local climbing guide refers to “Holly Tree Wall,” but I suspect the name was dreamt up by the pioneering climbers of the 1930s. And thus, I muse, this holly tree might well be close to its centenary. On the other hand, holly trees can live for three centuries, so, by arboreal standards, our tree is still a teenybopper1Horton, Helena. 2022. ‘“Living Legends”: Woodland Trust Reveals Tree of the Year Shortlist’, The Guardian (The Guardian) <https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/09/woodland-trust-reveals-tree-of-the-year-shortlist-2022-oak-narnia?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other#:~:text=Holly%20trees%20can%20live%20for%20300%20years> [accessed 16 August 2023].



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4 responses to “Park Nab’s Holly Tree Wall”

  1. Robert MacNamara avatar
    Robert MacNamara

    Perhaps one of those climbers in the 1930’s was Aleister Crowley . He was an avid climber .

    1. Fhithich avatar

      Are you referring to the Satanist? That’s the only Aleister Crowley I’ve heard of. I’d be interested to learn more if there’s a connection to Yorkshire.

      1. Robert MacNamara avatar
        Robert MacNamara

        Yes, that’s the guy . Crowley climbed many mountains in Great Britain , Europe, and Nepal . He did not have a good reputation , however , as he abandoned some climbers on one expedition and left them to die .
        I read his biography many years ago . He was a selfish and misguided person . He did not regard himself as a Satanist , but was obsessed with the occult .
        Was he evil ? I will leave that judgement to someone else .
        I would not like to have known him if I was living at the time . He had far too many problems . Crowley was very intelligent and an expert chess player .

        1. Fhithich avatar

          Do you know of any connection to the area?

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