Glen Coe

Today Ivor and I headed to Glen Coe to catch the good weather and climbed Fracture Route on the North-East Face of Crowberry Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor. We then continued on up Crowberry Ridge to the top of Crowberry Tower before heading to the summit of Stob Dearg and descending via Coire na Tulaich.

Ivor approaching the top of the first pitch of Fracture Route.

Ivor approaching the top of the first pitch of Fracture Route.

The rock was dry and we had sunshine for most of the day with clouds building a little later on. Teams were out on Agag’s Groove, January Jigsaw, Direct Route and lots of folk on Curved Ridge.

Blackford Quarry

On Saturday Ivor and I grabbed a quick afternoon at Blackford Quarry. I’ve not been there for personal climbing for a good while, but we had an excellent time leading five lines on the pinnacle and the Komik Kuts Buttress from Diff up to VS followed by bottom roping 6 lines on the main face, which is more friable and with less protection.

Ivor leading the crack on the East Face of the Quarry Pinnacle.

Ivor leading the crack on the East Face of the Quarry Pinnacle.

Grand Days Out on Skye

The Falkirk High Tops Team and I have just had three great days out on Skye. The first two were spent in the Black Cuillin and the last day in the red Cuillin.

On Thursday we climbed Window Buttress and the South Crack of the In-Pinn as well as the Voie Normale. The South Crack was brilliant and offers a fantastic alternative to the normal route.

The weather was again perfect on Friday so we traversed Sgurr Sgumain, Sgurr Alasdair, Sgurr Thearlaich, Sgurr Mhic Chonnich and An Stac.

Today we climbed Sgurr nan Each via the North Butttress. This is a good place to avoid the crowds.

There are many more photos on the facebook page.

The In-Pinn.

The In-Pinn.

Blackford, Glencoe and Glen Clova

Last week I was climbing in Blackford Quarry with groups from the Falkirk schools area. This is an excellent beginners venue in the lovely Blackford Glen.

Yesterday, Bob, Gregor and I were out on a Falkirk Community Trust climbing day. We visited Buachaille Etive Mor in Glencoe before climbing Agag’s Groove on the Rannoch wall. We visited the summit of the Crowberry Tower before visiting the summit of the mountain to give a classic mountain day.

Ivor and I visited Glen Clova today. The crags are in early summer condition with quite a lot of greenery around and slightly damp in places. The route of the day was ‘Wander’ which is highly recommended.

Ivor near the top of 'Wander'.

Ivor near the top of ‘Wander’.

Bob and Gregor climbing 'Agag's Groove'.

Bob and Gregor climbing ‘Agag’s Groove’.

Fannichs and Assynt

Jen and I are back from a few days up North. After staying with friends in Inverness on Thursday we headed to Achnasheen on Friday and walked up Fionn Bheinn, returning via the coire rims of Toll Mor and Toll Beag. There was steady rain for the early part of the day and cloud coming and going.

Old snow on the coire rim of Toll Mor, Fionn Bheinn.

Old snow on the coire rim of Toll Mor, Fionn Bheinn.

We then stayed in the excellent Kylesku Hotel before heading up Quinag on Saturday and taking in Spidean Coinich, Sail Gorm and Sail Gharbh. The weather was unfortunately worse than forecast, with cloud for most of the day. However, we had a good walk on an excellent hill with the occasional glimpse of the stunning views.

Jen enjoying a short scrambling section on Quinag.

Jen enjoying a short scrambling section on Quinag.

On Sunday we took in Cul Mor on the way back South. This time the weather was better than originally forecast with just the odd heavy rain and hail shower, but lots of sunshine. After taking in the summit we wandered around to Creag nan Calman, which gave great views, before descending it’s East ridge and across the coire to regain the outward route on Meallan Diomhain. Three great days in beautiful countryside with excellent hospitality.

Stac Pollaidh and Loch Scionascaig from Creag nan Calman.

Stac Pollaidh and Loch Sionascaig from Creag nan Calman.

Back at Sunny Kirrie

Today Ivor and I have been back climbing at Kirriemuir. We had hoped to go to Glen Clova or Rob’s Reed but with the forecast for black clouds all day we thought it would be the safer option as the crag is very sheltered. We spent the day mostly in bright sunshine enjoying nice dry sandstone routes. A few climbers appeared near the end of our session.

Ivor leading Boarding Party.

Ivor leading Boarding Party.

Lowland Leader Awards

For the past two weekends I have been running Lowland Leader Award assessments for Falkirk Community Trust. The teams and I have visited various areas around the Pentland Hills and also areas bordering the Forth.

Congratulations to all candidates on their efforts.

Threipmuir Reservoir and the Pentland Hills.

Threipmuir Reservoir and the Pentland Hills.

Pentlands Navigation

I was out in the Pentlands this evening with Alan, Lorn and Paul looking at hill navigation. We started from the Ranger Centre near the Flotterstone and headed around the Castle Law and Fala Knowe area with a fair bit of time off the paths looking at bearings and pacing.

Turnhouse Hill at dusk this evening.

Carnethy and Turnhouse Hills at dusk this evening.

It was a beautiful evening with a cool breeze. The Pentland Hills are pretty dry at the moment, but there are still some boggy spots off the paths.


Ivor and I had a pleasant day sport climbing at Dunira near Comrie today. It was a new crag to both of us, but well worth a visit. There aren’t a huge number of routes at the crag and it has a longish walk in for a sports climbing venue, but the routes are steep and good quality and the setting is idyllic. It’s probably worth going in spring, early summer or even on a warm winters day as the approach when the bracken is high wouldn’t be too pleasant.

Me topping out on Twenty Shilling Woodworm.

Me topping out on Twenty Shilling Woodworm. Photo Credit: Ivor McCourt.

Ivor dropped me at Nettle’s on the way back and he and I went for a training run around a few West Lothian hills before I caught the train back to Edinburgh. A great way to spend a very warm and sunny May day.

First day of the Rock Climbing Season

It was the first day of my rock climbing season today. Martin, Ivor and I visited Kirriemuir. It was dry, sunny and warm and all routes were dry.

Martin climbing at Kirriemuir.

Martin climbing at Kirriemuir.