Ratho Quarry and Tinto

On Monday Cameron and I tried to get a few climbs done in Ratho Quarry before the rain arrived. However, we only managed one route before having to move inside to the climbing wall to avoid a proper soaking.

Cameron after having climbed Peashooter in the rain

Cameron after having climbed Peashooter in the rain

Today Nettle and I went for an early nip up Tinto Hill before having to head off to other things, but good to get out despite the drizzle and wind.

Nettle next to the new indicator on top of Tinto Hill

Nettle next to the new indicator on top of Tinto Hill

Costa Blanca

Graham, Damien, Derek, Euan, Ivor, Michael, Nic, Niv and I are just back from a few days in Spain climbing on the Costa Blanca and celebrating Graham’s upcoming wedding. On Tuesday we climbed at Sella, mostly in the Techo del Rino area.

Derek warming up on Pequnecos II at Sella

Derek warming up on Pequnecos II at Sella

On Wednesday Euan and Graham climbed Direct de UBSA and Derek, Ivor and I climbed Via Valencianos with the upper corner pitches of Polvos Magicos. Both these lines are on the impressive and atmospheric Penon d’Ifach near Calpe and give 8 to 10 pitches of climbing. The routes have some bolts and fixed gear, but a light rack and some cord for threads are definitely worth taking. The crux pitch of Via Valencianos is very polished and not a soft touch for the grade.

Euan on Direct de UBSA

Euan on Direct de UBSA

Meanwhile Damien, Michael, Nic and Niv headed to Toix, again near Calpe, for some routes and deep water soloing.

Derek on the upper corner of Polvos Magicos

Derek on the upper corner of Polvos Magicos

An very good, if short, trip in excellent company. Euan will put some photos on Facebook when he gets the opportunity.

Ivor on the summit ridge of Penon d'Ifach with Calpe a long way below

Ivor on the summit ridge of Penon d’Ifach with Calpe a long way below

Curved Ridge

John and I were out today with a Falkirk Community Trust Team of Gayle, Isobel, Lorn, Mary, Sarah and Wilson. We climbed Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor including taking in Crowberry Tower.

Sarah, Mary and Gayle on the lower part of Curved Ridge

Sarah, Mary and Gayle on the lower part of Curved Ridge

We descended via Stob Dearg and Coire na Tulaich. There was rain on and off all day and a fresh Southerly wind. The route was sheltered until Crowberry Tower, which made for a pleasant ascent even though the rock was wet.

The team descending Coire na Tulaich

The team descending Coire na Tulaich

Balmashanner and Kirremuir

Ivor and I visited Balmashanner and Kirremuir yesterday for some autumn sports climbing before the rain set in today. Balmashanner was dry and Kirremuir was in good condition.

Sports climbing at Balmashanner Quarry.

Sports climbing at Balmashanner Quarry.

Binnein Mor and Binnein Beag

I was out in the Mamores yesterday with a Falkirk High Tops Team of Cath, Marian, Sandra and Tom. I wasn’t sure about the situation with driving up to Mamore Lodge, so we walked up from Kinnlochleven. With a strongish Southerly wind forecast we headed up Sgor Eilde Beag first in order to have the wind at our backs on the higher ground. This worked well and gave an excellent high level ridge along to the summit of Binnein Mor.

Tom and Marian scrambling down the North-East Ridge of Binnein Mor

Tom and Marian scrambling down the North-East Ridge of Binnein Mor

We then scrambled down it’s North-East ridge, which is craggy in places and would require considerable care in descent if the quartzite was wet. We then headed up Binnein Beag, which stands on it’s own and hence gives superb views.

Tom, Cath, Marian and Sandra on the summit of Binnein Beag with Ben Nevis behind

Tom, Cath, Marian and Sandra on the summit of Binnein Beag with Ben Nevis behind

After returning to the bealach we used the very good stalkers path via Coire an Lochain to return to Kinlochleven. A long day on quiet hills, with some strong winds at times, but with excellent views and the sound of stags bellowing for company.

Sgurr Eide Mor and Sgurr Eilde Beag with Buachaille Etive Mor and The Blackmount behind

Sgurr Eilde Mor and Sgurr Eilde Beag with Buachaille Etive Mor and The Blackmount behind

EICA Ratho and Ratho Quarry

Euan, Ivor and I trained on the boulders at EICA Ratho on Wednesday and afterwards Ivor and I headed out to warm down on some of the easier routes out in the quarry to make the most of the dry and sunny conditions.

Ivor enjoying warm rock in Ratho Quarry

Ivor enjoying warm rock in Ratho Quarry

Ben Nevis

Last Saturday I was working on the Breast Cancer Care walk on Ben Nevis. This is a large event and always well organised by Jen and Patrick. The winds were lower than forecast, which helped, and as ever it was an inspiring day with lots of people pushing what they thought they were capable of and many doing it for very personal reasons.

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Galloway

Jen and I are recently back from a week staying in Newton Stewart in Galloway. This is a beautiful and varied area with good, though often rough walking, in the hills and lots of coastline to explore.

Jen on Kirriereoch Hill with Tarfessock and Shalloch on Minnoch behind

Jen on Kirriereoch Hill with Tarfessock and Shalloch on Minnoch behind

The highlights were probably a walk in the delightfully named Range of the Awful Hand and bouldering on the idyllic Labrax beach.

Bouldering at Labrax

Bouldering at Labrax

The walk started from the Bell Memorial car park and took in Shalloch on Minnoch, Tarfessock, Carmaddie Brae, and Kirriereoch Hill. This gave an excellent ridge walk. Access on and off the hills makes use of forest firebreaks and the walk is best saved for a dry period or a frosty day. If descending via the West Ridge of Kirriereoch Hill it’s worth heading up to the track on the North side of the Pillow Burn as soon as possible as the firebreak around the burn becomes very rough. We shortened the road walking by going via the buildings at Tarfessock and crossing the river west of here. However, the ford marked on the map doesn’t really exist and it’s probably only an option during a dry spell.

On the main beach pinnacle at Labrax

On the main beach pinnacle at Labrax

Labrax beach is on the West side of the Rhinns of Galloway North of Portpatrick. It’s reached by a long drive down a rough farm track. There are what look lie very good routes on the slabs there, but we bouldered on very solid sea washed greywacke boulders and pinnacles often with good sandy landings.

Free Lecture and 20% off in Tiso

For those who may be interested, there is a free lecture in the Ratho Tiso shop on the 7th October. The subject is climbing new routes in Greenland. On the night there will also be the chance to buy products at 20% off. Sounds like a good night out with the winter season fast approaching!

Cathy Alldred Lecture - Oct 7th

North Wales and the Isle of Skye

I have just had a great seven days on the mountains and rock faces of the North Wales and Scotland.

Following the Lowland Leader Award Course last Sunday I drove to North Wales to meet Andrew. We had a good three days climbing on Tremadog, in the Ogwen Valley and on Gogarth.

The majority of the time the weather was excellent allowing us to complete the following routes; Christmas Curry (Micah Eliminate), Yogi, Shadrach, Ordinary Route on Idwal Slabs, Cneifon Arete, single pitch routes on Holyhead Mountain and Lighthouse Arete.

After our final route I drove North to meet the Falkirk High Tops Team. We drove to the Isle of Skye before having three good days in the Cuillin.

Emmanuelle, Gayle, Andy, John and I completed; Pinnacle Ridge, Sgurr nan Gillean, Am Bastier, the Bhastier Tooth, Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, the Cioch and the traverse of Sgurr a’ Mhadaidh.

Nigel, Alec and Norrie completed; Blaven, Bruach na Frithe and Sgurr na Banachdich.

Once more Skye provided great adventures and great memories.

Andrew enjoying Lighthouse Arete.

Andrew enjoying Lighthouse Arete.

Great scrambling on Skye.

Great scrambling on Skye.