Blackford Quarry, The Hawkcraig and Rosyth Quarry

Grace and Travis are new to Edinburgh, so today we went on a tour of crags they could reach relatively easily on public transport. The first stop was Blackford Quarry, which is a short bus journey on the South side of the city. It’s probably best as a bottom roping venue as the harder lines are bold and the rock a little friable, but it dries quickly and lots of variations are available.

Grace on Pain Pillar

Grace on Pain Pillar

Next up was The Hawkcraig at Aberdour just as low tide was arriving. This tidal cliff can be reached by train from Edinburgh and has lots of good routes in a pleasant setting. We did a number of starred routes here with the pick of the bunch being Pain Pillar.

Travis focusing at the Hawkcraig

 Travis focusing at the Hawkcraig

Finally on the way back to Edinburgh we called in at Rosyth Quarry, which can be reached by bus from Edinburgh. We climbed a few lines here with Travis and Grace doing a great job of climbing The Waullie, just as the rain arrived.

With twelve routes climbed at three venues the day felt like a good introduction to cragging in the area. All of the crags we visited dry quickly after rain and were only suffering from very minor seepage even after the wet weather of Friday.

Perthshire, East Lothian and The Pentlands

After a couple of weeks away due to family reasons it was good to be back out in Scotland over the last three days. On Friday I was out near Perth with Jen from Lattitude events on a recce for a charity walk next year.

Nettle on top of Bell's Hill

Nettle on top of Bell’s Hill

Saturday was a very pleasant walk in East Lothian with friends along a section of the river Tyne and Sunday was a run in the Pentlands with Nettle taking in Black Hill and Bell’s hill. Nothing too exciting, but all good to help blow the cobwebs away. There’ve been some periods of heavy rain and sections of path are fairly wet. Some of the grassier paths in the Pentlands are currently pretty slippy with the surface layer holding a lot of water.

The Gran Paradiso and the Haute Maurienne

Two new itinerary’s have been added to the ClimbNow website. The first (The Gran Paradiso 4061m) is a summer alpine course based between Chamonix and the Aosta Valley. It is four days long and therefore perfect for those who have less time available but would still like to climb some excellent alpine summits. The level of difficulty can be adjusted to suit many different levels of experience.

The Refuge Vittorio Emanuele II. Our base for the Gran Paradiso.
The Refuge Vittorio Emanuele II. Our base for the Gran Paradiso.

 

Teams descending from the summit ridge of the Gran Paradiso.

Teams descending from the summit ridge of the Gran Paradiso.

 

The 'Madonna' summit of the Gran Paradiso.

The ‘Madonna’ summit of the Gran Paradiso.

The second hew itinerary is a ski touring course based in the Haute Maurienne. The Haute Maurienne is located in France and borders the Vanoise National Park. The course provides some physical days on summits where crampons are often needed on the final ridges. For those with a longer period of time on their hands, this tour can be linked with the Val d’Isere to Aosta Valley traverse to give 10 days of brilliant ski mountaineering!

Summit bound in the Haute Maurienne

Summit bound in the Haute Maurienne

 

Paul Chiddle ascending L'Albaron.

Paul Chiddle ascending L’Albaron.

Further photos and details of these courses can be found on the ClimbNow website.

Costa Duarada

Rosie and I have just been out in the Costa Duarada in Spain. This excellent region has a number of great crags such as Margalef, Siurana and Montsant. There is now a very easy to use guidebook for the area; Tarragona Climbs.

Good deals can be found to resorts in the area such as Salou making it a very affordable climbing trip.

Rosie leading at Vilanova de Prades.

Rosie leading at Vilanova de Prades.

The Cuillin of Skye

After spending Monday and Tuesday last week rock climbing in the Lake District, I then spent Wednesday and Thursday delivering coaching courses on behalf of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS). These courses are aimed at Instructors who wish to improve their coaching skills. For more details visit the MCofS website.

On Friday I travelled to Skye with the Falkirk High Tops Team for our annual September Cuillin trip.

The Cuillin of Skye from Elgol.

The Cuillin of Skye from Elgol.

We began the trip on Saturday by traversing the ridge from Sgurr na Banachdich to Sgurr a’Mhaidiadh taking in Sgurr a’Ghreadaidh on the way. This is an excellent section of the ridge involving grade 3 scrambling that is best when dry.

On Sunday we took a boat trip for Elgol to the Coruisk Hut from where we climbed the ultra classic Dubh Ridge. This route is thought to be the best rock climb of its grade in the United Kingdom and did not disappoint. We continued over Sgurr Dubh Mor and the Sgumain Stone Shoot to Glen Brittle campsite where we had previously left vehicles.

Gayle abseiling on the Dubh Ridge.

Gayle abseiling on the Dubh Ridge.

The excellent weather of the previous two days continued on Monday. To finish our trip we made an ascent of The Cioch. This brilliant summit has many routes of all grades catering for all abilities of climber and provided an excellent finale to our trip.

Wilson and Mercy on the Dubh Ridge with Sgurr Dubh Mor behind.

Wilson and Mercy on the Dubh Ridge with Sgurr Dubh Mor behind.