Coasteering

Fun day today coasteering near Elie in Fife with Mike, Craig and David from Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors and an enthusiastic school group. Lots of jumps, swims and generally messing around in the swell. A good activity on a rainy day.

Taking the plunge.

Coasteerring, Climbing and Bonfires on the Beach

This week I have been out with my nephews coasteering at Elie, climbing at Blackford and toasting marshmallows on the edge of the Forth. It was great to get the boys outdoors and enjoying some activities.

Bonfire on the beach.

Bonfire on the beach.

Coasteering and Navigation

Yesterday I was working with Mike for Falkirk Community Trust during the day coasteering at Elie in Fife with an excellent group from Grangemouth High School. In the evening I then met up with Alan at the Braeval car park near Aberfoyle and headed up in to the Menteith Hills for a bit of micro-nav practice. It was a very wet evening there and the low cloud made for very poor visibility, which was great for what we needed.

Coasteering, Gorge Walking and Rock Climbing

I spent last week working for Falkirk Community Trust on their excellent Summer Programme for kids.

Nigel on a typical Kirkton Burn gorge walk.

Nigel on a typical Kirkton Burn gorge walk.

During the week I was out with groups on The Chain Walk and Coasteering at Elie; gorge walking near Balquhidder and at Muiravonside and rock climbing at Traprain Law.

Typical Traprain Law climbing.

Typical Traprain Law climbing.

Arbroath Coasteering

On Thursday I was out with a Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors staff team at the Arbroath Sea Cliffs doing some staff training in coasteering and checking out the cliffs as a potential venue.

John in mid air on one of the bigger jumps. Photo credit: Mike Hunt.

John in mid air on one of the bigger jumps. Photo credit: Mike Hunt.

The conditions were pretty much perfect with only a small swell, a light breeze and sunshine for much of the day. In good conditions the venue works really well with excellent caves, zawns, tunnels, small islands and lots of potential jumps.

Old Man of Stoer, Sheigra, Reiff and Assynt, Sutherland and Coigach Hills

I’m just back from an excellent three day trip to North West Scotland with Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors, where we were based in the Inchnadamph Lodge Hostel. There was a climbing team of myself, John, Clare, Gayle, Jim and Linda and a walking team with Craig of Lorne, Mary, Morag, Sarah and Tom.

The Tyrolean to the South-East Arete

The Tyrolean to the South-East Arete

On Monday the walkers headed for a windy ascent of Conival and Ben More Assynt and the climbing team made for the iconic sea stack of the Old Man of Stoer. After carefully descending the cliff, where we used a rope to protect the worst section, John did the swim and we rigged a Tyrolean Traverse to the South-East arete of the stack. Rigging to this corner gives a higher Tyrolean and avoids the initial traverse pitch of the Original Route. As it was high spring tides and there was a significant swell the higher Tyrolean was much appreciated.

The team on the first belay

On the first belay

Despite the intimidating conditions of a fairly stiff wind and one shower the team topped out on the Old Man of Stoer. I’ve previously done this stack with the Tyrolean to the North-East arete and this gives a pretty clean abseil straight back to the Tyrolean. The downside of the higher Tyrolean we used on Monday was that the abseil to your starting point is much less clean and with the wind twisting the ropes we had difficulty pulling them. After some re-ascending to redirect the ropes and eventually with a pull from the top of the cliff we retrieved them, but it did make for a late finish. If abseiling the South-East arete, particularly on a windy day, it’s probably worth doing it in multiple abseils to limit potential problems with pulling the ropes.

Jim near the bottom of the abseil

Jim near the bottom of the abseil

On Tuesday the walking team did the long South to North traverse of Foinaven, which they completed in admirably quick time. There was fairly heavy rain early in the day, so the climbing team opted for some coasteering/sea level traversing either side of the beautiful beach of Sheigra in the morning. This allowed the crags to dry up a little and in the afternoon we climbed a couple of routes, Dimples and Mum’s the Word, on the tidal island of Na Stacain before making a speedy retreat up the damp but excellent Diff chimney/rib of Squeeze to Please.

Gayle and Clare in a boulder passage

Gayle and Clare in a boulder passage

Linda and Clare traversing low above the sea

Linda and Clare traversing low above the sea

On Wednesday Craig and the walkers headed for Sgurr an Fhidhleir and Ben More Coigach, where they got superb views. There were showers again in the morning, but these cleared and the climbers had a few hours at the Pinnacle Area of Reiff. Reiff has a huge number of superb short routes on good rock with stunning views and the team enjoyed the more relaxed nature of the venue after the previous two days. The venue meant John and I could rig/climb lots of routes including Midreiff, Fly by Wire, Westering Home, Pop-out, Puckered Wall, Xyles and Channering Worm.

Clare on Channering Worm

Clare on Channering Worm

We finished the trip with a mass ascent of Moon Jelly to the top of the Pinnacle; an appropiate way to end a very good three days.

The team on the Pinnacle

The team on the Pinnacle

End of a great trip

End of a great trip

Coasteering East Lothian

A Falkirk Community Trust team of John, Eilidh, James, Nigel and I went to recce/risk assess some potential Coasteering sites in East Lothian today. We also took the opportunity to look at group management, jump techniques, swim lines, traversing etc. in a coasteering environment.

James surfacing from a jump

James surfacing from a jump

There was a very light easterly and the coast held a sea fog until the afternoon, otherwise a glorious summer day.

James, me and John crossing between skerries

James, me and John crossing between skerries

Additionally we paid a quick visit to the crag at North Berwick Law, which was new to some of the team.