7A at 70!!

Ivor, Martin and I were out climbing at Robs Reed. This is an excellent, well bolted venue near Forfar which is quick drying. The highlight of the day was Ivor redpointing F7A. This is an excellent effort which is even better given that Ivor turned 70 in February.

There are more photos and a video clip on the climbnow facebook page.

Ivor climbing at Robs Reed.

Ivor climbing at Robs Reed.

St Abbs Sea Kayaking

Jen and I were out with George from Dun Eideann Sea Kayaking today. We started from St Abbs and followed the cliffs North around to Pettico Wick where we had lunch. We then continued further East to around Mawcar Stells before returning. There’s lots of excellent channels, arches and caves to play around in along this stretch of coast. The cliffs were either dry or drying fast after the morning showers, but it’s worth noting the nesting birds are returning if you’re thinking of heading to the Fastcastle area for climbing. The photo below isn’t from today as I was having camera trouble again, but shows some terrain typical of the area.

Sea Kayaking on the East Lothian Coast

Sea Kayaking on the East Lothian Coast

 

St Andrews Blo-Karting

I was working with Nigel and Martin today on the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Easter Kid’s Easter Programme. We were up at St Andrews Blo-Karting with an excellent group. Sunny all day and with a good South-Westerly breeze.

Blo-Karting on St Andrews beach

Blo-Karting on St Andrews beach

Kirrie Hill

I was out again today rock climbing with Ivor. After working quite hard at Rob’s Reed yesterday we headed to Kirrie Hill today for some mileage on easier routes. The weather was beautiful and after a request stop at Visocchi’s in Kirriemuir we had a very pleasant time at the crag climbing circa 10 routes.

Me climbing at Kirrie Hill. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt.

Me climbing at Kirrie Hill. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt.

It’s another bolted sandstone conglomerate crag and some care is required with the rock in places, so it’s worth considering a helmet for the belayer. However, there are lots of good routes in a sheltered South facing location and well worth a visit. I forgot my camera today, so the photo is actually from last year, but gives an idea of the type of climbing.

 

Rob’s Reed

Euan, Ivor and I headed to Ron’s Reed near Forfar today for some sunny rock climbing. This is a south facing bolted sandstone conglomerate crag and has some excellent routes starting from about 6a. The nature of the rock means it’s not the easiest place to onsight, as finding the key holds can take a moment or two. However. it’s well worth a visit and proved a good place for the first proper rock climbing day of the year.

Euan setting off on the very good Autobahn with Ivor belaying

Euan setting off on the very good Autobahn with Ivor belaying

Lammermuirs

Unusually, I’ve had a relaxing bank holiday weekend with Jen and we’ve ventured out for a couple of quick walks on some obscure Lammermuir outliers. On Saturday afternoon we headed up Cocklaw Hill near Dunbar. An easy walk, but with great views to North Berwick Law, Bass Rock, the Lomonds and up to the snowy Angus Glens.

Jen at the trig point on Cocklaw Hill

Jen at the trig point on Cocklaw Hill

Today we were out on Hartside Hill and Clints Hill; again excellent views, but with a bit more haze preventing us seeing as far as the snowier hills. Plenty of signs of spring in this area with larks singing, butterflies out and about and pools full of mating frogs. It’s lambing time in this area, so if you are out and about take care to minimise any disturbance to the ewes.

Springtime for the toads

Springtime for the toads

Lowland Leader Award Assessment

For the past two days I have been working on o a Lowland Leader Award Assessment. The course was being provided by East Lothian Outdoor Learning Service. It is a new award administered by the MLTUK and is a great addition to the Mountain Leader scheme.

Looking out to the Bass Rock.

Looking out to the Bass Rock.

Lowland Leader Award Training

On Friday evening, yesterday and today I’ve been delivering a Lowland Leader Award Training Course with John from Falkirk Community Trust. The candidates (Alan, John, Kevin, Michelle, Ricky and Tam) were all enthusiastic and keen to learn, which made for a great course.

Kevin, Ricky and Michelle on top of Mons Hill today

Kevin, Ricky and Michelle on top of Mons Hill today

As well as classroom sessions we used the areas around Muiravonside Country Park on Saturday and Dalmeny Estate today, which give good varied terrain for the course. Showers both days and muddy underfoot in places, but enough dry weather and shelter to make for two pleasant days out.

Snowhole Expedition

When thoroughly planned, snowholing expeditions can be brilliant fun. I am just back from another successful overnight stay on Geal-charn in the Drummochter Pass. As can be seen from the photo, one of the great benefits of sleeping out in the mounatins is sunrises like we saw this morning!

There is still large quantities of snow in the Drummochter Pass giving plenty of opportunites for winter sports.

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Aonach Mor, Stob Coire nam Beith and An t Sron

Yesterday the team and I headed to Aonach Mor to practice avalanche rescue techniques and micro navigation. The plateau area of Aonach Mor is still completely white and some good ski options still exist.

Large cornices still exist on easterly aspects.

Today we were in Glencoe where we climbed to the summit of Stob Coire nam Beith and then traversed An t Sron. There is still plenty of snow in Glencoe and lots of options still exist for gully and buttress climbing.

The snow is very firm at the moment and good crampon technique is required.

Descending from the summit of Stob Coire nam Beith.

Descending from the summit of Stob Coire nam Beith.