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Slate is a metamorphic rock formed from an original shale or mudstone. It is often found near igneous rocks, which have 'baked' the shale and converted it to slate. Slate is a fine grained rock which has a distinct 'cleavage', along which it prone to shearing. Across this line of cleavage however it is hard and resistant to erosion. This is the quality that has made it so useful for roofing houses. Slate can come in many different colours depending on its exact chemical/mineral composition - the 'purple' slates in the Llanberis slate quarries of North Wales are a good example.


Most climbing takes place on quarried slate, which can lend a shattered appearance. Slate climbing has lots of small sharp edges and many areas which appear smooth and featureless. All kinds of climbing can be found on slate, but it is most famous for thin crimpy slabs, or (in Scotland at least) dry-tooling.

Where to Climb on Slate in Scotland

Where to Climb on Slate in the UK

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