Sergeant Crag Slabs

Nettle and I had a great day climbing in the sunshine on the excellent Sergeant Crag Slabs yesterday.

Nettle setting off on Revelation.

Abseiling from above the routes.
Passing the first overlap on Lakeland Cragsman.
The view from below the crag.

Dumfries and Galloway

Jen and I had a few days down in south-west Scotland last week based in Newton Stewart. A generally relaxing time, but we took the opportunity to walk up Cairnsmore of Fleet, Meikle Mulltaggart, Knee of Cairnsmore, Caerloch Dhu and Benbrack.

Jen on Meikle Mulltaggart with the Knee of Cairnsmore and Cairnsmore of Fleet behind.

Jen on Caerloch Dhu in the Range of the Awful Hand.

Benbrack with one of the Andy Goldsworthy Striding Arch sculptures.

Cairngorms, Stac Pollaidh and North-East Sea Cliffs

We’ve just had an excellent five days with Tina, Scott and Steve. It required some moving around to make the most of the weather. However, we had a great varied time cragging at Pinnacle Crag Duntelchaig; climbing Afterthought Arete and Final Selection in the Loch Avon Basin; traversing Stac Pollaidh from east to west; climbing Central Buttress on Lochnagar and sea cliff climbing at Greymare Slabs near Bullers of Buchan.

Scott and Tina on Ostrichism, Greymare Slabs.
Euan and Steve on Klacktovededstene.
The team on the summit of Lochnagar having climbed Central Buttress.
The west top of Stac Pollaidh with Suilven behind.
The difficult wall to access the west top of Stac Pollaidh.
Steve climbing Final Selection.
The pinnacle of Pinnacle Crag.


It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Since lockdown has eased the weather hasn’t always been great, but we’ve ben out making sure we’re climbing and hill fit and doing some enjoyable work.

Euan in sunshine on the Aberdeen seacliffs.

Good views on Larg Hill in Galloway.

A wet day on Sgurr nan Gillean.

Euan enjoying the far north-east seacliffs.

Mick on the dramatic summit of Glenleith Fell!

The Lakes

Good couple of days in The Lakes recently with Andy and Rob. We scrambled/climbed Seathwaite Upper Slabs, Gillercombe Crag North East Buttress and after walking over Brandreth to Green Gable, Gamma on Green Gable Crag. On the second day we scrambled Cam Crag Ridge in Langstrath.

Andy belaying Rob on Cam Crag Ridge.

Ratho Quarry, The Borders and Glen Artney

Good to be able to get out a little further in the last week. Careful choice meant for very quiet areas/times.

Euan cruising the bolts near Ouroborus Eliminate.

The hills near Glen Tress.

Stuc a’Chroin and Ben Vorlich from Beinn na Eun.


Given the circumstances I’m having to train in order to keep climbing specific fitness for when the current lockdown is eased. My motivation is normally more towards doing and less towards training, so it’s been really helpful that Euan has been sending Ivor and I a training programme six days a week. This has brought structure, accountability and a team element, which has definitely assisted me on the harder days.

Improvised weighted pull ups.

I don’t have the home gym equipment that Euan and Ivor have, so the exercises have been tailored to my improvised kit. It’s a pull up and dead hang heavy programme, so Euan is careful to include exercises for core and antagonist muscle groups.

Raised feet press ups.

For the cardio element I’ve been running. Although I live on the edge of a city I’ve found off tarmac paths pretty quiet provided I go early or late. A real bonus has been seeing things such as a sparrowhawk hunting, goosanders catching fish, curlew, skylarks and hare all within a few kilometres of home.

Cammo Tower on one of my running routes.

I’ll put some more photos on the ClimbNow Facebook page.

Glen Coe

This week I’ve been based in Glen Coe. I was delivering a Winter Mountaineering Foundation week for Joint Services at Ballachulish, this was curtailed early on Thursday for obvious reasons. Thanks to the group for a great few days, always good to be out with an enthusiastic team.

Summit photo on Stob Coire Raineach.

Over the three days we visited Meall a’Bhuiridh, Stob Coire Raineach and Aonach Mor. There was precipitation on all three days with snow at height and snow being moved around on strong westerly and south-westerly winds. It was frosty overnight in to Thursday and Friday with lots of sunshine softening the snow pack during the day. There are some huge cornices around, which require thought and care as well as some wind slab at height on mostly north-west to east facing slopes.

Solar radiation affecting the snow pack an lots of cornices.

Pentlands Navigation

I was out today in the Pentland Hills delivering a navigation course for The City of Edinburgh Council Adult Education.

The group planning a navigation leg in the shelter of a wood.

There were patches of residual snow in sheltered areas at height in the northern Pentlands. The ground is very wet at the moment and paths in the area are muddy. We stayed low to avoid a cold south-east to south-west wind. Wilf.

Meall nan Tarmachan, Cairngorms and Glen Shee

On Wednesday I was out with John and a Falkirk Outdoors Mountaineering team of Alan, John and Neil climbing McKay’s Gully and descending Easy Gully on Cam Chreag. Older snow on the crag was refreezing, but windslab was building throughout the day on a strong south-westerly. Unfortunately, due to a user error on my part with my camera I don’t have any photos from Cam Chreag.

Looking down the lower part of Anvil Gully to Jim.

I then headed to Aviemore and met up with the Ashbourne/Balfron/Stonehaven team. On Thursday Jim and I headed to Creagan Cha-no and climbed Anvil Gully and True Blood, whilst Chicken, Murray, Nick and Rob ski toured in the Lurcher’s Burn area. Strong winds and snow on Thursday morning was forming windslab on North and East facing slopes and cornices were building noticeably.

The team above The Tiger this afternoon at Glen Shee.

Today, having been joined by Andy, we had a very pleasant day ski-ing at Glen Shee mostly in sunshine with low winds and generally good snow on the pistes. Away from pisted areas there was an icy crust on scoured slopes and windslab in sheltered areas.