Autumn Days Out

Over the past few weeks I have been enjoying climbing, scrambling and walking in Scotland and the Lake District.

I have visited Kirrie Hill with Gordon and Greg sports climbing. This crag is an excellent choice at this time of year as it is very sheltered and catches the sun.

With Colin, Chris and Paul I visited the Lake District. We had a good couple of days scrambling in Sourmilk Ghyll and bouldering at St.Bees. The great advantage of visiting the Lake District at this time of year is that it is very quiet. We were the only climbers at St.Bees.

Bouldering at St.Bees

Bouldering at St.Bees

St.Sunday Crag

Tam, Alec and Gayle on Pinnacle Ridge

Tam, Alec and Gayle on Pinnacle Ridge

The Falkirk High Tops Team and I visited the Lake District today. The original plan had been to visit Glencoe but with forecast torrential rain we opted to go south. This proved to be a good choice as we had dry weather all day.

We completed the classic scramble Pinnacle Ridge on St. Sunday Crag.  The rock was dry. The crux corner is currently very green and requires care.

People often have difficulty locating this route. The best way to locate the route is to look back down into Grisedale. Directly downhill from the route is a large sheep pen which appears to be part of a wall. Just underneath the ridge is a large fan of scree.

As the guidebooks suggest, this is one of the best scrambles in the Lake District.

Wilson, Bob and John enjoying Pinnacle Ridge.

Wilson, Bob and John enjoying Pinnacle Ridge.

 

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.

 

Rock climbing in the Lake District

Steve topping out on Middlefell Buttress.

Steve topping out on Middlefell Buttress.

 

Today, Duncan and I climbed at Shepherds Crag. We had intended on climbing in the South Lakes but low cloud and drizzle persisted longer than forecast. We climbed Brown Slabs Arete, Brown Slabs Direct and the super classic Little Chamonix to finish. All three routes were dry and the crag remained quite all day.

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Yesterday, Duncan, Steve and I were climbing in Langdale. We began the day by climbing Gimmer Chimney on Gimmer Crag. The route is given ‘Very Difficult’ in the guidebook but felt harder than this due to the low cloud making the rock damp. The chimney on pitch two is also currently wet and the rock is green.

After descending out of the cloud and down to the base of Middlefell Buttress, the lads then led this classic three pitch ‘Difficult’ rock climb. The rock was in perfect condition.

Lake District

Down to the Lake District today with John, Gayle, Jim, Morag & Sue from Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors. We had an excellent day climbing the classic Grade 3 Scramble/Moderate Rock Climb of Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag.

Jim and Morag just above the crux wall

The route was dry with just the odd damp hold and relatively quiet with just 3 other teams on the route during the day. The weather was cool and sunny, although at this time of year the crag is in shadow until late in the day. The autumn colours on the trees and hillsides coupled with the reflections in a very still Ullswater made for some magnificent views.

Sue and John on the final pinnacle