April Update

Well since I last posted in March there have been significant changes in legislation and guidance around Covid-19 restrictions. The month started with still staying local, keeping skills and fitness up to date and limited outdoor work opportunities. We’re finishing the month with the ability to travel further and increased work opportunities. The photos and comments below should give a feel for how the month progressed.

Local hill running in the Pentlands was a good way to keep fitness up. Evening/night runs were a good way to avoid busier times.
Local crags and one to one sessions allowed some limited outdoor work.
Climbing at local crags to keep skills up even when the weather wasn’t perfect, Pamela and I climbed between the snow showers at Craigpark Quarry.
Taking an opportunity for some impromptu bouldering in a lesser visited part of the Pentlands, whilst out on a walk. Photo credit: Pamela Millar.
The ability to travel a little further. Staff training in Arrochar. Photo credit: Craig McClaren.
Paul getting back on rock in North Wales.
Opportunistic new routing with Nettle in Dumfries and Galloway.
Exploring the unusual feature of “The Brain”. Photo credit: Jonathan Foden.
Euan leading on a cool, but sunny day at Traprain Law.
Great to stretch our wings and be back out for a wintery adventure with Sharon and Mac in the Cairngorms.
Brilliant to be able to travel further and explore a crag that was new to us. Euan leading “Perfect Weather to Fly” at Coudy Crag in Appleby.

Make a Plan

Make a plan to go climbing or scrambling in Wales this summer. Full refund if lockdown stops it from happening. Euan and Martin will join Paul in North Wales on 19th and 20th June for a weekend of climbing and craic. Come and join us, we can offer a guided climbing experience or learn how to climb, maybe even prepare for a training course or assessment. Between us we have experience of working on many mountain related training courses including ML MCI and BMG. The cost is £250 per instructor/guide per day. A ratio of 1:2 works well for most routes. Get in touch with us at mail@climbnow.co.uk for more information.

Varied Start to the Week

It’s been a varied start to the week with climbing at Ratho Quarry on Monday morning; a night run by headtorch in the Pentlands on Monday evening with Euan, Andrew and David; bouldering at Agassiz Rock with Pamela on Tuesday and at Treverlen Park on Wednesday. All good for keeping skills and fitness going.

Euan leading The Plums of Ratho on Monday.
Pamela bouldering in Treverlen Park.

Small Goals

During the lockdowns I’ve found it really useful to set myself some goals. Having a target, even a small one, definitely makes me more likely to get out and invariably I feel better for doing so.

Over the last few weeks I set myself the goal of visiting/revisiting all the trig points within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary that you are legally able to.

Cliff at the summit of Allermuir Hill after winter climbing on the day the seeds of the challenge were sown.

To stick to the spirit of the restrictions I tried to do this by not making special journeys, but by visiting them after a bouldering/climbing session, as part of a walk with a friend or as a run from home.

On a windy run to an obscure trig point.

If you decide to do something similar many trig points will be on farm land or golf courses. Please do make sure you access land responsibly and don’t disturb livestock, damage crops or interfere with games in progress. Access legislation is different in England and Wales to Scotland and this should also be considered.

The summit of Dalmahoy Hill with Ivor.

Restrictions are hopefully easing up. In Scotland we’re now able to travel from our council area for outdoor work and things should ease further on the 26th April. If you have any climbing or mountaineering goals ClimbNow could help with do get in touch.

Mick on the summit of Arthur’s Seat as I completed the challenge in sunshine on Tuesday.

Local Climbing, Bouldering, Running and Walking

We’ve been out as much as possible over the last few weeks making sure we keep fit and our skills are up to speed for when we’re able to get out in the wider environment with clients. Hopefully, that’s not too far away.

Euan leading The Grapes of Ratho.

As well as training at home we’ve been out climbing and bouldering locally at venues such as Ratho Quarry, Blackford Quarry, Agassiz Rock and Hound Point.

Bouldering at Agassiz Rock.

We’ve also been running and walking up some of the more obscure local hills to keep hill fitness up.

First time to a very obscure hill/trig point in the Edinburgh area during a good run.

We can now travel within Scotland for work and it currently looks like travel will ease further on the 26th April. Fingers firmly crossed!

Ratho Quarry

The sheltered Ratho Quarry has provided us with some good climbing recently with the rock feeling quite warm in the sunshine despite the air temperature.

Euan casting shadows on Slow Strain.

Local Bouldering

The recent drier weather has allowed us to get out to some local bouldering venues to try and get finger strength and movement going. Some of the venues are well known, others are a bit more obscure.

Euan at Agassiz Rock.
Mick indulging in some urban bouldering.
Pamela at Hound Point.

Pentlands Post Thaw

Continuing the catch up. I was out in the Pentlands a couple of times after the thaw in mid February. There we significant drifts and snow patches around initially.

Ivor on an old drift on Hare Hill.

These had reduced a lot by the 23rd when I was out on a Hare Hill and Black Hill on a very windy day with Pamela.

Pamela and rainbow in the wind.

Green Craig Challenge

Another catch up post. It’s a time for mini local challenges for interest and to keep up skills. Cliff came up with the idea of climbing the winter routes we’d climbed on Green Craig as summer routes in the same calendar month. We headed back up on the 26th February and climbed Reindeer Cave Gully, the right arete of Reindeer Cave Gully, Edinburgh Lights (with a right hand variation) and East Gully.

Cliff in East Gully.

It provided a good adventure, but I wouldn’t recommend it as the rock is very friable and protection is mostly dubious. Both the gullies were very traditional and the pick of the bunch was Reindeer Cave Gully, which is a good atmospheric feature. If you do head up take care as their are some sizable loose blocks around.

Me about to second the very traditional Reindeer Cave Gully.

Local Winter Climbing

Another catch-up post. The cold spell in February allowed some winter climbing local to Edinburgh. On the 11th and 12th of February the low level snow and cold conditions allowed Cliff and I to climb on rarely in condition Green Craig in the Pentlands. We climbed East Gully, Reindeer Cave Gully, Edinburgh Lights and had a look at another line. Harder routes on this crag are fairly bold and the rock is very friable, so take care if heading up to climb. 

Cliff investigating East Gully.
Cliff leading on Green Craig.
Sunset from Allermuir Hill after climbing on Green Craig.

On the 13th February I persuaded Jen to head out in the dark to belay me on an even more rarely in condition short ice route above the River Almond in Cramond. Current Covid-19 restrictions mean some unusual route choices.

Daytime photo showing the River Almond ice route. A diagonal line was taking allowing trees and stumps to be slung for protection.