Ratho Quarry

The sheltered Ratho Quarry has provided us with some good climbing recently with the rock feeling quite warm in the sunshine despite the air temperature.

Euan casting shadows on Slow Strain.

Local Bouldering

The recent drier weather has allowed us to get out to some local bouldering venues to try and get finger strength and movement going. Some of the venues are well known, others are a bit more obscure.

Euan at Agassiz Rock.
Mick indulging in some urban bouldering.
Pamela at Hound Point.

Pentlands Post Thaw

Continuing the catch up. I was out in the Pentlands a couple of times after the thaw in mid February. There we significant drifts and snow patches around initially.

Ivor on an old drift on Hare Hill.

These had reduced a lot by the 23rd when I was out on a Hare Hill and Black Hill on a very windy day with Pamela.

Pamela and rainbow in the wind.

Green Craig Challenge

Another catch up post. It’s a time for mini local challenges for interest and to keep up skills. Cliff came up with the idea of climbing the winter routes we’d climbed on Green Craig as summer routes in the same calendar month. We headed back up on the 26th February and climbed Reindeer Cave Gully, the right arete of Reindeer Cave Gully, Edinburgh Lights (with a right hand variation) and East Gully.

Cliff in East Gully.

It provided a good adventure, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the rock is very friable and protection is mostly dubious. Both the gullies were very traditional and the pick of the bunch was Reindeer Cave Gully, which is a good atmospheric feature. If you do head up take care as their are some sizable loose blocks around.

Me about to second the very traditional Reindeer Cave Gully.

Local Winter Climbing

Another catch-up post. The cold spell in February allowed some winter climbing local to Edinburgh. On the 11th and 12th of February the low level snow and cold conditions allowed Cliff and I to climb on rarely in condition Green Craig in the Pentlands. We climbed East Gully, Reindeer Cave Gully, Edinburgh Lights and had a look at another line. Harder routes on this crag are fairly bold and the rock is very friable, so take care if heading up to climb. 

Cliff investigating East Gully.
Cliff leading on Green Craig.
Sunset from Allermuir Hill after climbing on Green Craig.

On the 13th February I persuaded Jen to head out in the dark to belay me on an even more rarely in condition short ice route above the River Almond in Cramond. Current Covid-19 restrictions mean some unusual route choices.

Daytime photo showing the River Almond ice route. A diagonal line was taking allowing trees and stumps to be slung for protection.

Local Ski Touring

A few catch up posts. Back in February it was cold and snowy enough for some local ski touring in the Edinburgh area. On the 9th of February I managed a morning tour with Pamela in Dalmeny including the novelty of skiing to the beach for a paddle.

Pamela skiing on to the beach near Hound Point.

On the 14th of February Euan and I had good long tour in the Pentlands just as the thaw was arriving.

Euan happy to be getting some skiing in this odd year.
Me descending from Carnethy Hill.

Avalanche Sites and Snowy Runs in the Pentlands

Last week as well as training at home to keep climbing & hill fitness I also managed to get out with Ivor to visit a significant avalanche site in the Pentlands and with Nettle for a snowy hill run. The avalanche site was from the previous week and a good reminder that avalanches can occur in local relatively low hills.

Me at the avalanche site on the east side of Caerketton Hill. Photo credit: I. McCourt.
Ivor and me at the summit of Allermuir.
Heading across the Torduff reservoir. Photo credit: J. Foden.
Nettle on Harbour Hill.
Traversing around Harbour Hill. Photo credit: J. Foden.

Pentlands Running and Snow Wading

Nettle and I were out for a “run” in the snow in the Pentlands today. We were breaking trail for most of the way and post holing for long sections. Skis or snowshoes would have been very useful. The weather was kind with sunshine most of the time we were out and strong winds only on exposed ridges. There’s been a lot of wind movement of the snow. An avalanche was reported on Turnhouse Hill yesterday and it was easy to see why today with significant drifting, wind slab and some areas of underlying old neve in high sheltered locations. Think about route choice if you are out and about in the Pentlands in these conditions.

On the way in. Photo credit: J. Foden.
There’s a path under here somewhere.
Plenty of evidence of wind movement of snow.
Summit shot.
Happy to be out. Photo credit: J. Foden.
Nettle running from the summit.

Winter Walking and Ski Touring

This week I’ve been lucky enough to get out in the Pentlands again in winter conditions. On Tuesday Ivor and I were out for a walk in glorious sunny weather with a dusting of fresh snow. On Friday Pamela and I managed an opportunistic ski tour. The snow cover was good on paths and tracks where it had a base and had drifted in on top overnight. Away from these there was no real base except in small sheltered locations and care was required. A great fun day, which helped to keep our winter skills ticking over as best we can currently.

Looking to Caerketton Hill on Tuesday.
Pamela near the ski centre on Friday morning.
Quick break and about to remove skins near the summit of Allermuir Hill.
Obligatory selfie.
Looking back to Allermuir. Thin cover away from tracks.
Quite “Scottish” ski touring traversing around the north side of Allermuir Hill.

Winter Walking and Climbing in the Pentlands

Last week saw some good wintery conditions in the Pentland Hills. This meant I was able to get out locally for some winter walking and climbing. The climbing was only in the Grade I to III range and not classics. However, it was great to get out and practice skills I’ll hopefully need later in the season.

Me and Ivor enjoying an easy gully in the Pentlands.
Looking down Right Cleuch (Right Fork) to Ivor belaying from the pinnacle.
Stunning views from Caerketton Hill.
Jen at the summit of Allermuir Hill on a day with less visibility.