Ratho Quarry and Falkirk DofE

A busy day today. Ivor and I spent a few hours climbing in Ratho Quarry. We warmed up on a newly bolted, but as yet unnamed, line on the back wall of the quarry at about 4+. Thanks go again to Neil Busby for putting in the effort to clean and bolt the line. We also climbed a left hand start to the newly bolted line, which joins it at about the third bolt. We left the bottom three bolts clipped to protect the moves as it’s effectively a boulder problem start at about 6b with a poor landing. I’ll try and clean up the landing if I get a chance.

Ivor leading the new line

Ivor leading the new line

This evening I was working with Craig and Neil for Falkirk Community Trust delivering First Aid/Emergency scenarios for an engaged Bronze DofE group.

Kirriehill

Iona & Bob from Falkirk Community Trust and I set off for Glen Clova today on the basis of a dry forecast for that area. However, by the time we reached Kirriemuir it was raining lightly and the view up The Glens showed more rain in that direction. We switched plan and headed to the bolted sandstone conglomerate crag of Kirriehill. The rock there was generally dry and stayed dry through a few light showers allowing us to climb all day.

Bob seconding El Captain

Bob seconding El Captain

We climbed a good selection of routes either leading or bottom roping. Iona and Bob both led their first outdoor sports routes and learnt how to re-thread at the top of a bolted climb, if required.

Iona leading Markerhorn

Iona leading Markerhorn

Blackford Quarry

After a week of recces and meetings it was good to get out with Paul at Blackford Quarry today. Paul’s working towards some big mountain routes, so we looked at movement skills in big boots and some of the technical skills he’s going to need. I forgot my camera, so no photos I’m afraid, but a good half day on dry rock learning some new skills and revising some old ones.

Knoydart

Jen and I are just back from a few days staying at Inverie on Knoydart. We travelled up by train to Mallaig and then boat to Inverie, which is an excellent way of visiting this beautiful and remote peninsula.

Jen on Luinne Bhein with Ladhar Bheinn & Skye behind

Jen on Luinne Bhein with Ladhar Bheinn & Skye behind

The weather was better than forecast and we had some excellent walks including Beinn Bhuidhe; Luinne Bheinn and Meall Bhuidhe; Sgurr Coire Choinnichean and Druim na Cluain-airighe. The last of which, although being the smallest, is very rugged and requires good navigation particularly in poor visibility. The views from these hills were superb with Eigg, Rum, Skye and a huge number of mainland hills all being visible.

Snow patches on Meall Buidhe

Snow patches on Meall Buidhe

The walking on the ridges was generally on short grass and pretty dry, however getting on and off the ridges often involved steep, tussocky ground and we were glad the bracken was still low on some of the lower slopes. Later in the summer it’s probably worth planning to gain and lose height on the excellent tracks and stalkers paths and avoid the bracken covered areas, as it looks like it may be a bad year for ticks.

Jen and me at the summit of Meall Buidhe

Jen and I at the summit of Meall Buidhe

The hills in this area are pretty much snow free now, with just some patches remaining in North and East facing coires. Views inland showed there’s still plenty of snow on some of the higher peaks away from the sea.

Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, Luinne Bhein, Meall Buidhe and Sguur na Ciche from the boat out.

Sgurr Coire Choinnichean, Luinne Bhein, Meall Buidhe and Sguur na Ciche from the boat out.

We had a really friendly welcome from every one on Knoydart and particularly at the quiet bunkhouse where we stayed. Also, we had excellent food at the Tea Shop in Inverie; The Old Forge, the remotest pub in mainland Britain, and at Doune an even more remote restaurant and accommodation spot.

Rosyth Quarry

Alec and Finlay from Falkirk Community Trust and I were out today looking at leading outside on trad gear.

Finlay looking at building belays.

Finlay looking at building belays.

We headed to Rosyth Quarry, which was sunny and sheltered most of the day and had a good time looking at gear placement and building belays, whilst climbing number of routes. We finished with Finlay and Alec leading Sickle and Chemical Warfare with me jugging alongside.

Ratho Quarry

With a forecast for showers Euan, Ivor and I decided to head to Ratho Quarry this morning as it’s quick drying and gave us the option of heading in to the climbing wall if the rock became wet.

Ivor leading John McCain

Ivor leading John McCain

The rock was dry and warm when we arrived and after a warm up Ivor led John McCain after one quick top rope. Euan onsighted Kamikaze, which I then worked on a top rope. This route has excellent technical climbing on slightly off vertical ground. A light shower then forced us inside. Thanks again to Buzz for bolting these routes.

Euan near the start of Kamikaze. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Euan near the start of Kamikaze. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Euan around the crux of Kamikaze. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Euan around the crux of Kamikaze. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

More Balgone Heughs Photos

Ivor’s kindly sent through some better photos of today at Balgone Heughs, so there are a couple below to give a feel of the crag.

Me above the overhang of Pheasant Corner: Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Me above the overhang of Pheasant Corner: Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Euan at the overhang of Pheasant Corner

Euan at the overhang of Pheasant Corner

Balgone Heughs

On a recommendation Euan, Ivor and I went to try out a recently bolted crag near North Berwick Law this morning. There are currently about twelve lines in the 5+ to 7b grades. I had to leave at noon, by which time we’d climbed between us Pheasant Corner, The Wasp, The Wanderer and Heuthanasia. All of these gave good, well bolted and technical climbing. There is some friable rock and it’s worth thinking about where you belay from and/or wearing a helmet. I’d guess this will clean up with traffic although the grades may take a while to settle down.

Euan leading Heuthanasia

Euan leading Heuthanasia

The crag faces North-West and is probably better as a summer evening venue or when North Berwick Law get’s too hot, it does happen. Despite some overnight rain and being in the trees the rock was surprisingly dry with only the lines of Ivy Wall, The Curling Pond and Mr Fox suffering from seepage; these were drying quickly whilst we were there.

Euan becoming The Wanderer

Euan becoming The Wanderer

There’s information about the crag and routes on UKClimbing. The information asks climbers to park at The Law car park to keep the good will of the land owner, additionally some of the lines are closed projects and both of these things should be respected. It’s a twenty minute walk from the car park and the walk was a little muddy after the rain. Thanks to the folk who’ve put in the time and effort to bolt these lines, it’s a good addition to the area.

expeditionkithire.co.uk

The climbnow team are pleased to announce that all clients now receive a 10% discount at www.expeditionkithire.co.uk. A vast range of equipment can be hired from sleeping bags to ski clothing. Euan will be using equipment supplied by expeditionkithire.co.uk on his upcoming trip to Greenland.

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Meall na Meoig, Sgor Gaibhre, Sgor Choinnich and Carn Dearg

An unexpected free day today, so I decided to go for a run in Rannoch Forest. Starting from where The Road to the Isles leaves the B846 I went along the track to the Allt Eigheach bridge before heading up via pt. 807m and pt. 838m to Meall na Meoig, these seem to be collectively known as Beinn Pharlagain. I then continued North to Sgor Gaibhre and Sgor Choinnich before returning via Mam Ban, Carn Dearg and it’s long South Ridge.

Not a great photo I'm afraid, but views were few and far between today.

Not a great photo I’m afraid, but views were few and far between today.

This provided an excellent circuit on good tracks lower down and short grass along most of the ridges. In cloud from around 600m all day and more or less constant drizzle on a South-West wind. The route was generally snow free, but there are some sizable patches remaining particularly on North and East facing slopes above 800m and crampons and axe will still be required on some routes, particularly after a frost. The delightful sounds of Snipe “drumming” and Skylark singing on the lower slopes plus, very unexpectedly, seeing what I think was a pair of Black Throated Divers made up for the lack of views from the hills today, which must be amazing in clear conditions given their location.