Driving conditions to suitable winter climbing venues meant a change of plan for the Falkirk Community Trust Outdoors Introduction to Winter Climbing Course today. Catrin, Liam, Paul and I headed to Newtyle Quarry near Dunkeld. Once there we climbed a number of dry tooling routes including Groovilicious and Bonzai. These gave a chance to look at footwork, tool placements and movement, which will all help when Scottish mixed climbing.

Paul belaying, Catrin on Groovilicious and Liam on Bonzai.

We also covered abseiling including stacked abs, gear placement and removal and some general mountaineering skills. Not a usual winter intro day, but actually covering lots of the skills required. It snowed on and off at Newtyle during the day on a westerly and there was more snow with temperatures falling as we drove back.


It has been very, very wet in Scotland today. Rather than going out into the mountains, we opted to go dry tooling at Birnam instead. Hopefully we will be back up high again tomorrow.

Griff pulling hard at Birnam on a day when it was impossible to keep the camera dry!

Griff pulling hard at Birnam on a day when it was impossible to keep the camera dry!

Back to Birnam

Yesterday I returned to Newtyle (Birnam) Quarry with Linda and Joanne from the Falkirk High Tops Team. We spent a useful day looking at movement skills on steep ground with crampons and advanced techniques for climbing with axes.


Newtyle Quarry

Paul and I had hoped to go winter climbing today. Unfortunately, the conditions have currently gone. Therefore we went to Newtyle (Birnam) Quarry for some training.

We had a good day on the dry tooling routes. The crag wasn’t busy with just two other climbers enjoying the routes.

Paul warming up at Newtyle.

Paul warming up at Newtyle.

Cairngorm Mixed

I’m just back from seven days away up North. The first three of which were on a Falkirk Community Trust Cairngorm Mixed Climbing Trip with John, Gregor, Joanne, Linda and Tony. The weather didn’t really play ball and on Monday we opted to stop off at Newtyle Quarry on the way to Aviemore and go dry tooling due to high temperatures and wind in the hills. This gave a chance to look at precise crampon and axe work and was a fun day. The crag was unusually busy as a good portion of the BMC International Winter Climbing Meet turned up having been similarly washed out of the hills.

Linda starting off on Happy Hooker, Newtyle Quarry.

Linda starting off on Happy Hooker, Newtyle Quarry.

On Tuesday the weather still wasn’t helpful and we headed for the Spire Roxx climbing wall at Elgin, where we spent a pleasant day climbing routes and looking at rope skills and rescues.

Wednesday finally allowed us to get up in to the Cairngorms for some mixed climbing and Gregor, Joanne and I climbed a sporting Haston Line, whilst John, Linda and Tony climbed Hidden Chimney Direct Start before following us up the Haston Line.

Joanne above the crux on The Haston Line

Joanne well above the crux on The Haston Line

I’ll add more photos to the Climbnow Facebook page tomorrow.