Kirkton Gorge

Craig and I were in the Kirkton Gorge today with a group from the excellent Falkirk Community Trust Summer Programme for kids.

Craig entering the Kirkton gorge

Craig entering the Kirkton gorge

The group were great and dealt with what were the new challenges of gorge walking for most of them extremely well.

Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch

Yesterday (Sunday) Craig and I were out with a Falkirk High Tops Team of Alec, Emanuelle, Kostas, Sandra, Sue, Terry, Tom Tricia and Vic. We were headed for the very remote Munros of Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch. After parking at Linn of Dee we cycled past White Bridge; forded the Geldie Burn, which is ankle/calf deep at the moment and left the bikes and a recovering Craig at the Geldie Lodge ruin.

One of the smaller stream crossings

One of the smaller stream crossings

We used the good path from there to approach Carn an Fhidhleir and tackled that first before returning over An Sgarsoch.

The summit of Carn an Fhidleir

The summit of Carn an Fhidhleir

The cycle out was definitely easy than the cycle in, apart from some running repairs, and a happy team returned to the minibus after a long day on the hill.

An Sgarsoch summit

An Sgarsoch summit

Apart from a couple of very light showers we had excellent weather with increasing views and the ground was fairly dry under foot.

Glen Clova

On Wednesday Pamela and I were out with Iona, Graeme, Nick and Wilson from Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors. We headed to Glen Clova to avoid the rain further West and climbed a number of routes including Proud Corner, Parapet Route Direct Start, Parapet Route, Flake Route and Central Crack.

Wilson and Graeme on Flake Route

Wilson and Graeme on Flake Route

Just about all these routes get several stars and rightly so as they give excellent varied climbing on good rock. The weather stayed dry with just the odd light drop of rain. There was minor seepage on some of the routes at the crag more prone to this.

Iona about to abseil from the stance on Parepet Route Direct Start

Iona about to abseil from the stance on Parepet Route Direct Start

Inverness to Fort William

The last few days Jen, Ray and I have been aboard the yacht Mystic Sun with Bruce and Dave. On the way up from Edinburgh on Friday Jen and I stopped off and stretched our legs on Carn na h-Easgainn near Tomatin. This hill gives excellent views South and West and is a quick outing from the A9, particularly given the new tracks which go via the summit and allow for a pleasant circuit suitable for mountain bikes.

Jen on the summit of Carn na h-Easgainn

Jen on the summit of Carn na h-Easgainn

Jen, Ray and I then met up with Bruce and Dave, who are on an amazing trip which started in Loch Linnhe and has taken in lots of the West Coast, out to St Kilda, Cape Wrath, The Orkneys, Shetland and down the East Coast to Inverness. After seeing dolphins upstream of the Kessock bridge we took the boat in to the Caledonian Canal and on to sail in Loch Ness.

Mystic Sun in the Caledonian Canal near Inverness

Mystic Sun in the Caledonian Canal near Inverness

The next day whilst the rest of the team dealt with the locks at Fort Augustus I nipped off for a run up Carn a’Chuilinn descending via the Blackburn bothy to Bridge of Oich to rejoin the boat.

Me on Carn a'Chuilinn

Me on Carn a’Chuilinn

On Monday after going through Loch Oich and Loch Lochy we were delayed by up coming traffic at Neptune’s Staircase. This allowed me to sneak off again for a run up Stob a’Ghrianain (Druim Fada). This is a long ridge North of Loch Eil and gives great views to Ben Nevis.

The summit of Stob a'Ghrianain

The summit of Stob a’Ghrianain

This morning after exiting the Caledonian Canal at Corpach we headed up Loch Eil before Ray and I were dropped at Fort William to catch the bus back to Inverness.

Mystic and crew from the top of the mast where I'd been sent to do maintenance. Could it have been my jokes?

Mystic and crew from the top of the mast where I’d been sent to do maintenance. Could it have been my jokes?

Generally dry weather with only light showers over the last few days and the hills are relatively dry.

Polney Crag, Dunkeld

 

Paul ( of Moet Hennessey / Glenmorangie ) high off the ground at Polney Crag.

Paul ( of Moet Hennessey / Glenmorangie ) high off the ground at Polney Crag.

Paul and I have had a good day out today at Polney Crag near Dunkeld.  We climbed; Twisted Rib, Bollard Buttress, Cuticle Crack (in two pitches) and Kestrel Crack. The weather was once again excellent, the crag is very dry at the moment and there were only a few midges around. There were no other climbers at the crag.

Paul ( of Moet Hennessey / Glenmorangie ) on the first pitch of Cuticle Crack.

Paul ( of Moet Hennessey / Glenmorangie ) on the first pitch of Cuticle Crack.

Lake District and Derbyshire

I’m just back in Edinburgh after a couple of days down in the Lakes and a few days in Derbyshire.

Andy starting the hand traverse on Donkey's Ears. Photo Credit: Adele Pennington

Andy starting the hand traverse on Donkey’s Ears. Photo Credit: Adele Pennington

On Saturday Andy, Rob and I visited Shepherd’s Crag in Borrowdale and used the Jackdaw Ridge and Donkey’s Ears area in ascent and descent to look at some skills for their upcoming Alps trip. After a late lunch at the excellent Shepherd’s Cafe we finished the day by climbing Chamonix. The midges were out in force, so take repellent or get out of the trees at the bottom quickly unless it’s a windy day. Thanks to Adele for the photo of Andy, as I was having camera difficulties.

Andy, Rob and myself (eyes closed). Happy on top of Corvus.

Andy, Rob and myself (eyes closed). Happy on top of Corvus.

On Sunday we headed for the classic Corvus on Raven’s Crag in Combe Ghyll. I’ve never climbed this route in the dry and thought this was going to be the day. However, as we geared up at the bottom the heavens opened and we climbed the first couple of pitches in a downpour. It dried up after that and we had a very pleasant time. A good weekend introduction to rock climbing for Rob and a chance to revise some old skills and visit some new crags for Andy.

David on El Sergio

David on El Sergio

On Monday night I managed to get out for a few hours at a limestone venue with David and climbed some good routes. The pick of the bunch being El Sergio. This has some loose rock lower down, but excellent climbing higher up and is long. Route descriptions wouldn’t indicate this, but I was only back to the ground on rope stretch on a 60m rope; definitely worth knowing. Nice to be on limestone for a change as there’s not a lot in Scotland and excellent to climb with David again.

Spar Cave and the Traverse of the Cuillin of Skye

 

Paul taking a photo of the unusual rock features of the Spar Cave.

Paul taking a photo of the unusual rock features of the Spar Cave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the past few days I have been on Skye with the lads from the Falkirk High Tops Team. We arrived on Thursday late afternoon and visited Elgol. As the tide was in, we abseiled into the inlet that leads to Spar Cave. The cave has some very unusual rock features that are worth having a look at. After climbing back out the cave we jumared out of the inlet before heading to our accommodation in Broadford.

The main focus of our trip was the traverse of The Cuillin from Gars-Bheinn to Sgurr nan Gillean. Therefore, as we intended on sleeping out on the ridge, on Friday we dropped off some kit near An Dorus in preparation for Saturday evening.

We began the ridge on Saturday morning climbing from Glen Brittle campsite to Gars-Bheinn and completing the ridge as far as our bivouac site. Conditions were not exactly perfect. The visibility for most of the day ranged from 10 metres to 40 metres which makes the difficult route finding on the ridge even more challenging.

Following a good sleep at the bivouac site we began the next section of the ridge early on Sunday morning. An exciting day of scrambling, abseiling and climbing led us to then end point of Sgurr nan Gillean in the early evening.

Congratulations to all the team on completing a challenging, physical adventure. More photos can be seen on the climbnow facebook page.

Iain and Wilson nearing the end of the adventure.

Iain and Wilson nearing the end of the adventure.

Kirriemuir

Ivor, Zac and I were up at Kirriehill today. We did a number of routes and worked one of the harder lines. The weather stayed dry until a light shower late in the afternoon.

Myself leading The Zoo. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Myself leading The Zoo. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt

Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

Paul Skipworth( of Moet Hennessey / Glenmorangie ) on Curved Ridge with the Rannoch Wall behind.

Paul Skipworth ( of Moet Hennessey/Glenmorangie ) on Curved Ridge with the Rannoch Wall behind.

Paul and I have been out today in Glencoe. We had a great time climbing Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor. The weather was excellent until we reached the summit of the mountain when heavy rain started. The Rannoch Wall was mostly dry and most routes were in a climbable condition before the rain started.

Paul high on Curved Ridge.

Paul high on Curved Ridge.

Pentlands

Euan, Craig and I were out in the Pentlands today with an excellent group of young people from Falkirk and their leaders. We were looking at the navigation the group will need for their Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition.

Diane with the very green Caerketton Hill behind

Diane with the very green Caerketton Hill behind

The weather us kind to us and we avoided the heavy showers that were around whilst we were out on the hill. The ground was pretty dry underfoot, given the recent downpours, with just the odd muddy section on paths and tracks.

Fittingly, great views to Edinburgh today

Fittingly, great views to Edinburgh today