Harris and Lewis

Jen and I are just back from a week on Harris and Lewis. The weather wasn’t always helpful, with cold north-easterly winds and showers most days, but we had a great time and still managed to fit in some good walking and climbing.

Jen on the pleasant gneiss slabs at Caitiosbhal.

Additionally, the ancient monuments, amazing beaches and great welcoming cafes made for a delightful trip.

Summit view from An Cleasam (Clisham).

Pentlands DofE

This week I’ve been delivering DofE training for The City of Edinburgh Council for a good group from Trinity School. This culminated in a practice expedition in the Pentlands. I was particularly impressed with the ambitious cooking options of the group, as some of the photos on The ClimbNow Facebook page show. Wet earlier in the week, but thankfully dry on Thursday and Friday for the practice expedition.

The group in the Pentlands.

Dalmeny

I spent four days last week delivering navigation and emergency procedure training to DofE groups for The City of Edinburgh Council. We used the Cramond and Dalmeny Estate area, which worked well in a week of sunshine and showers.

A group enjoying a sunny spell in Dalmeny.

Elephant Rock

Last week Euan, Ivor and I went to climb at Elephant Rock between Arbroath and Montrose. However, there were house martins nesting on large areas of the cliff and around all the routes we were after, so we headed off to another crag. I’ve been meaning to post about this just to say it’s probably worth avoiding the crag until after the nesting season. The photo is of Nettle on Elephant rock last year.

Nettle on “Tale of the Tape” last year.

Skye

The last four days I’ve been on Skye with John and a Falkirk Outdoors team of Donald, Euan, Fiona, Julie, Mel and Mike. On Sunday after travelling up we walked in from the Glen Brittle Youth Hostel to An Dorus and climbed Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh and Sgurr a’Mhadaidh in the cloud.

Euan and Donald on Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh.

On Monday we started form Sligachan and went up via Coire a’Bhasteir to ascend Sgurr nan Gillean via the West Ridge. We descended back to the bealach before heading out and back to Am Basteir and then nipping around and up Bruach na Frithe and descending via Fionn Choire.

The summit of Sgurr nan Gillean. Photo credit: Julie Stewart.

Tuesday looked like potentially the best weather day so we headed out to Sgurr nan Eag via Coire a’Ghrunnda before taking in Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn and Sgurr Dubh Mor. We then retraced our steps over Sgurr Dubh na Da Bheinn before heading around and up to Sgurr Alasdair via its South West Ridge. After that we descended to the top of the Great Stone Shoot,  before heading on over Sgurr Thearlaich and Sgurr MhicCoinnich via Hart’s/Collie’s Ledge and descending via Coire Lagan.

Mike, Euan and Donald descending Sgurr MhicCoinnich.

Yesterday the weather was worse than forecast, but thanks to a fine effort from the team we still managed to climb the Inaccessible Pinnacle in very wet conditions approaching and returning via Coire na Banachdaich and Sgurr Dearg.

The girls on a very wet Inaccessible Pinnacle.

A great few days climbing all but one of the Black Cuillin Munros. Thanks to all the team for making it a very enjoyable and successful trip.

Kirrie Hill

Ivor and I had a very pleasant morning sport climbing in the sun at Kirrie Hill, Kirriemuir today. It’s a very sheltered crag and a real sun trap.

Me leading Hard Labour. Photo credit: Ivor McCourt.

The nature of the crag meant we were able to climb a good number of routes in a relatively short visit.

Traprain Law

John and I were out at Traprain Law today with a Falkirk Outdoors climbing team of Amanda, Annie, Donald, Lynsey and Sarah. Amanda, Donald and I spent the day looking at leading on trad gear. It was a beautiful sunny day and the routes there are all currently dry.

Amanda belaying in the sun at Traprain Law.

The Cairngorms

Chris and I had planned a couple of days climbing classic rock climbs in the Cairngorms. However, the weather forecast precipitated a change in our plans. On Monday we climbed the good mountaineering line of The Stuic with snow underfoot and well frozen turf before taking in Carn a’Choire Bhoidheach and Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.

The Stuic

There were a few snow and graupel showers during the day. It was quite sunny later on and the snow line rose to the base of The Stuic.

Chris topping out on Anvil Gully.

With more snow in the northern Cairngorms, today we visited Creagan Cha-no and climbed Anvil Gully via it’s left hand start to avoid softer insulated turf in the bottom section and then the lower corners of Frozen Planet before traversing in to Recovery Gully as the upper rocky section was looking pretty black. There was snow down to the Ciste carpark this morning with the snow line rising to about 850m during the day. There were deep accumulations of fresh unconsolidated snow in sheltered locations. Snow and graupel showers fell throughout the day. The turf was frozen where exposed, but variable where insulated. Not what I was expecting to be doing in early May, but good fun.

Blackford Quarry Rescues

I had a really good day today with Ed, Ryan, Scott and Stephen looking at emergency scenarios and rescue techniques for rock climbers in Blackford Quarry. These are really useful skills for both sport and trad climbers to know on single or multi-pitch crags.

The team practicing escaping the system with anchors out of reach.

We were able to cover a good range of scenarios by concentrating on a few simple building blocks and then applying them in different situations. The guys seemed to learn a lot and were enthusiastic throughout the day, which made for a great course.

Scott doing an unassisted hoist of Stephen,

Glen Croe

Euan, Ivor and I visited Glen Croe in Arrochar today for some rock climbing. There’d been some rain last night and so some of the easier to protect lines such as Student’s Route and Lady Madonna were suffering from seepage. We also got a few unforecast hail and light rain showers, so not ideal for climbing on mica schist. However, we had a good day leading Good Day Sunshine; Dear Prudence (a good lead of this bold line by Euan in a hail shower); Student’s Route; me backing off a wet Lady Madonna and working Pockets of Excellence.

Euan setting off on Dear Prudence in a hail shower.

It doesn’t look like the crag is seeing large amounts of traffic, so lichen is an issue on some lines and cracks may require cleaning to place protection. Still good to be out climbing on rock.

Ivor topping out on Dear Prudence.