Great Sound

The Great Sound has several areas developed. Scaur Wall is, without doubt, the best venue and offers some excellent climbing. Boat or paddleboard access.

SCAUR WALL

This cliff is the obvious white wall on the east side of Somerset Island. This is one of Bermuda’s best DWS crags offering excellent climbing on very good limestone.
Beware the fire coral encrusted reef shelf underneath the routes which extends out for one to three feet under parts of this cliff. At low tide falling and landing on this will definitely cause injury. It is safe to jump off as it’s easy to clear the shelf. High tide recommended.

The routes are described left to right. Descent is by jumping off the top into deep water

Somerset Sea Cliff Topo

Fabian Gysi and Grant Farquhar on the first ascents of The Sound of Summer and Pontius Pirate. The green line marked as Pontius Pirate is actually the line of Biggus Dickus.
Photo topo Davie Crawford.

SCAUR TISSUE 5.10a 10m

Climb up to gain the obvious break in the wall left off the main cliff and traverse this right to left to finish on the arete. Josh Hill 26/7/15.

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Josh Hill on the first ascent of Scaur Tissue. Photo Grant Farquhar.


CLIMB OF THE CENTURY 5.10c 10m

Bermuda’s 100th recorded route scales the white wall on the left hand side of the face. Grant Farquhar 4 June 2009.


THE SOUND OF SUMMER 5.11a 10m

Climbs the left hand white streak on pockets, tricky at first but soon easing. Fabian Gysi, 13/10/08. Second ascent Grant Farquhar 4 June 2009.

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Josh Hill nails the crux of The Sound of Summer. Photo Grant Farquhar.


DEMENTED JESUS NUN 5.9 R 10m

Praise to Jesus! What line is it? Can’t remember. Where does it go? Hallelujah! Forgotten. Might be the dark grey streak between the two white streaks, praise be to the lord, amen. Grant Farquhar & Davie Crawford 4 June 2009.


PONTIUS PIRATE 5.10d R 10m

Gain the right hand white streak from the right. Climb the immaculate pocketed white streak and left arete of the headwall above. Grant Farquhar, 13/10/08.

The Great Sound - Bermuda Rock Climbing TopoLeeroy Beeby on Pontius Pirate. Photo Andrew Burr. Photo Grant Farquhar.


BIGGUS DICKUS 5.11c R 10m

The diwect finish to the above woute, Biggus Dickus wanks higher than any other in the gweat sound. Follow Pontius Piwate to where it steps left at the howizontal bweak. Climb the headwall diwectly above. Gwant Farquhar 30/7/09. Second ascent Jazmyne Watson 26/7/15.

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Jazmyne Watson on the second ascent of Biggus Dickus. Photo Grant Farquhar.

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Jazmyne Watson on Biggus Dickus. Photo Andrew Burr.


CRAIC HEADS 5.10b R 10m

This route tackles the right hand side of the immaculate white wall via the eye- catching hand crack at its top. Start just right of Pontius Pirate and climb the thin, technical wall (crux) to finish up the excellent layback crack above. Davie Crawford & Grant Farquhar 4 June 2009.

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Josh Hill on the crux of Craic Heads. Photo Eloise Pitts Crick.

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Leila Wadson on Craic Heads. Photo Andrew Burr.


MAGICAL WHALE 5.10b R 10m

Start up the wide cleft before breaking out left to climb the wall between this and Craic Heads. Crux at the top. Grant Farquhar 10 April, 2011.

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This is ‘the magical whale’. Photo Grant Farquhar.


SHOUDA’ BROUGHT A BIGGER BOAT 5.8 9m

Climb up the wide cleft, like Magical whale, yet continue up, before breaking right at the very top. Paddy Cunningham 10 April, 2011.


AFTER THE FLOOD 5.10d 9m

A girdle traverse of the wall. Start off dry boulders to the right of the face. Traverse initially at sea level then rising to join the crack of the above route at approximately half height. Follow the obvious break diagonally leftwards to the left edge of the face. Grant Farquhar 11/11/13

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Grant Farquhar and Seb Grieve demonstrating correct water entry technique.
Josh Hill in the background on The Sound of Summer. Photo Eloise Pitts Crick

ECHO BEACH

This cliff lies just south of the above cliff and just north of Somerset Bridge. The main part of the cliff is not above water and has been top-roped by Josh and Adrian. Right of the main cliff is a DWS area of good rock. The landings are variable and snorkelling to inspect the depth is mandatory.

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Echo Beach. Photo Grant Farquhar.

CLAPTRAP 5.10d 30m traverse

Start off the beach below the main cliff and left of the DWS area. Traverse rightwards behind the tufa fringe and where this peters out move up to jugs. Continue rightwards on the higher line on massive holds in steep ground to eventually join Happy Clappers on the arete. Reverse Richochet rightwards to easy ledges. Walk along these to finish up Ward’s Tufa Cave Route. Grant Farquhar 11/11/13


CAUGHT BETWEEN A HARD ROCK AND A HARD C*CK 5.11d 5m

Crank the first move of Happy Clappers then slap left to a crimp on the lip of the roof. Heel hook and slap for glory up the white streak to the top. Jazmyne Watson and Leeroy Beeby 27/7/15

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Jazmyne Watson caught between a hard rock and a hard cock. Photo Andrew Burr.


HAPPY CLAPPERS 5.10d 5m

The overhanging arete/nose of rock towards the LHS of the DWS sector gives an excellent climb on big jugs above deep water. Grant Farquhar & Pitts Crick Massive 10/10/09.

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The first ascent of Happy Clappers. Photo Jonathan Charles.


RICOCHET 5.10d 5m

Climb out of the water in the centre of the crag onto ledges. Traverse leftwards towards the arete of Happy Clappers to join this route at the point in the photo above. Continue up this to finish. Seb Grieve and Grant Farquhar 11 August 2010.


ECHOPRAXIA 5.7 5m

Climb out of the water in the centre of the crag onto ledges. Move up and left to climb the obvious central orange streak past ledges to the top. Jump off. Eloise Pitts Crick 11 August 2010.

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Seb Grieve and Echo Wu on the first ascent of Ricochet. Photo Grant Farquhar.


WARD’S TUFA CAVE ROUTE 5.10b 5m

Climb the tufa and cave system on the RHS of the crag.

Ward Byrum 2006. Second ascent Grant Farquhar 11 August 2010

LONG ISLAND

Long Island is in the Great Sound and you get a good view of the cliffs on the North side from the Hamilton to Dockyard ferry. The cliffs are fairly small and, disappointingly, the cliff has shallow water underneath. The R rating indicates a risk of serious injury from uncontrolled falls. High tide only.

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The Tin Man Cave. Photo Grant Farquhar.

THE TIN MAN 5.9 R

Climb the left arete of the deepest and highest cave.

Grant Farquhar 29/7/16.


ROCK FIRE 5.8 R

Climb the groove to the right of the cave.

Adrian Kawaley-Lathan 29/7/16.


AAARRRRR! 5.8 R

Climb the wall right of the groove.

Adrian Kawaley-Lathan and Chris Burville 29/7/16.


PHOTO FINISH 5.6

Climb the left arete of the cave left of Inebriation Across De Nation.

Chris Burville 29/7/16.

Topo Long Island

INEBRIATION ACROSS DE NATION 5.7 R 6m

The open groove left of the cave.

Davie Crawford 13/10/08.


RAT TAIL 5.9 R 6m

Takes the white arete right of the prominent deep square cut cave. The water underneath is only 6 feet deep which means an “armchair” landing position needs to be used on entry to the water- otherwise you will hit the bottom.

Fabian Gysi 13/10/08.

2nd Ascent of Rat Tail
Grant Farquhar on the Second ascent of Rat Tail (Fabian Gysi on top). Photo Davie Crawford.

Agar’s Island

Agar’s Island is the small craggy island on the North side of Two Rock Passage in the Great Sound. It has a distinctive overhung cove with generally poor rock under a shallow, rocky landing.

The ‘R’ rating indicates Rectum here.

The routes are described left to right.

AGAR THE HORRIBLE 5.7 R 6m

The left hand crack line offers razor blade sharp unpleasant climbing. The name says it all.

Davie Crawford 17/7/09.


SKOL 5.9 R 6m

Whilst completely drunk, pull out of the water on the right hand side of the cove and traverse leftwards up a wall to a white arete and follow it to the top. Vallhala awaits the conqueror!

Steven McGill 17/7/09.

Diving Board Island

Two routes have been climbed although the rock is poor.

PALIMPSEST 5.7 5m

Traverse in from the left at sea-level to climb the white groove.

Grant Farquhar 10/April/11.


Deadman’s Wonderland 5.9 12m

Make a traverses from the left at one third height to make a tricky step down on to a ledge at sea-level. Continue rightwards to finish up the obvious diagonal line to the top.

Josh Hill 10/April/11.

Beta Island

The island situated at the SW edge of paradise lakes. One down from diving board island. There is safe water off the top and around where the climbs are. However further to the right of Tugboat Surfin’ it becomes shallower.

Beta island Topo

Beta Island South Face.

Tugboat Surfin’ 5.10a 6m

On the south side of the island it’s the obvious arete in the middle of the light grey rock. Start on somewhat crimpy ledges, moving up to the crack that slopes diagonally right. Follow to the top. Extra points if you almost sink your boat on the way in or get thrown into the ocean at 38 miles an hour (both factors present day of F.A.). Devin Page 21/4/2011.


Beercan Torpedo 5.7 5m

An easy route that climbs the line straight up the centre of the face, just to the left of the Arete to finish up a small groove. Paddy Cunningham 10/April/11.

1st ascent of Tugboat Surfin'
First ascent of Tugboat Surfin’ Photo: Paddy Cunningham.


Left is Best 5.8 5m

The rib and roof in the left side of the wall. Climb the left side of the roof with the rib to your right. Devin Page 10 April 2011.


Josh’s Route#1 5.8 5m

The rib and roof in the left side of the wall.

Josh Hill 10 April 2011.


Josh’s Route#2 5.8 5m

Start up Beercan Torpedo then traverse the lip of the roof leftwards.

Josh Hill 10 April 2011.


Big Wave 5.10a 10m

Make a sea-level traverse from the left side of the wall to the base of Tugboat Surfing and finish up this. Devin Page 10 April 2011.

NELLY ISLAND

One route has been climbed on the small cliff on the western side

GIN & JUICE 5.7 5m

Climb the central buttress between the rock scar and the deep cave.

Eloise Pitts Crick 24/5/10.

BLUE HOLE

This is a small venue on the south side of Hamilton harbour near the junction of Valley Road and Harbour Road

Pigeon Pump 5.11

Traverse the roof right to left.

Josh Hill 10 April, 2011.

Daniel’s Island

Daniel’s Island lies off the Western tip of Daniel’s Head on Somerset Island.
The crag on this small, tree covered island faces directly across to the partly exposed wreck of the Vixen- a Royal Navy gun boat scuttled in 1896 to block enemy torpedo boats using a narrow undersea channel to access Dockyard.

We have included this crag on the Great Sound page as it will most likely be accessed on boat trips starting from the Sound area.

The rock quality is esoteric and the landings are shallow (as indicated by the R rating).

Highland Fling crag

DASHING WHITE SERGEANT 5.8 (R) 7m

Spy from the crows nest a faint groove line on the left of the crag, thar she blows. Follow it directly up. There’s a good six foot more or less of water to cavort about in under this route so there’s no need to keek your slacks too badly. Be prepared for lots of nasty wee brittle finger loping holds and you won’t be disappointed. The top out is sloping and similarly festooned with melt in your hand not in your mouth holds. There are fish a plenty here so stunning your dinner on the leap back isnae impossible. Steven McGill 30/7/09.


STRIP THE WILLOW 5.9 (R) 7m

Don’t forget your sporran whilst birling up the central white streak leading to the tree above. Grant Farquhar 30/7/09.


GAY GORDONS 5.6 (R) 7m

There is a bushy wee tree in the middle of the crag, well this route goes up a bit of a corner about ten feet to the right of it. Nothing interesting enough about it to cut a memory through my inebriated state. So its more or less suck it and see I’m afraid. It might have had jaggy bits but I couldnae swear to it.

Steven McGill 30/7/09.

Highland Fling topo
Highland Fling Crag topo. Photo Grant Farquhar.