Monthly Archives: October 2014

Over the sea to Skye

The rain is pouring down in Fort William so that may well be end of an amazing run of weather.  Not to worry I just bought a new kayak so I’ve been waiting to get some use out of it!  My last post from September is from a couple of days on Skye with Alfie and Oliver.  I have been to skye  a fair bit but always headed to the Cuillin to climb so this time we decided to get after some classics on the sea cliffs of Neist, Kilt Rock and Floddigarry.

IMG_2619I drove up from Glasgow after a couple of days working for Tayler Made Adventures.  The light was stunning as I drove through Ballachuillish and I stopped to get this shot looking out at one of my favourite mountains – Garbh Bheinn, Ardgour.  I love driving into Fort William from this direction.
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A Sign of things to come at Kilt Rock!

IMG_2628After being heavily disappointed that the Cal Mac Ferry didnt do bacon rolls and nor did anywhere on Skye (!) we headed to Neist.  Above – Oliver leading Midas Touch as the sun slowly comes around the crag.
IMG_2643Alfie “aspirant mountain guide” Tipler heading off up one of the 3star E1’s “Security Risk”.IMG_2641On “Security Risk” watched by Oliver.
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Photo courtesy of Oliver.  Last route of the day “Wall Street” me belaying Alfie – probably one of the best single pitch E2’s I’ve climbedIMG_2694Last light at Neist Lighthouse.  We went for a wander after climbing and I was shocked to see all the photographers lined up along the cliff edge.  While I think there is a lot of merit in “getting the shot” at the perfect time as you sit out there I was a bit thrown by the plethora of tripods, lenses, filters, partners giving minutes till sundown, wifes handing out sandwiches etc.  Why not be out there all day with a camera and a lens and watch the light change.   The above shot was taken from the top of the hill above Neist (where none of the photographers were) and below from the cliff edge with approximately 12 other photographers.  I was smiling inside when the light went flat at the last minute!IMG_2709IMG_1150Next day it was off to Kilt Rock first thing.  I actually took this as we were leaving – another party abseiling into the route that we had just climbed – the awesome “Grey Panther”IMG_1115Oliver and I on the belay of Grey PantherIMG_1143Oliver checking I am in fact belaying as well as taking photos.

Next up it was off to Flodigarry just up the coast.IMG_2721duoAlfie and Oliver at the base of “Spantastic” (the pillar that Alfie is leaning on).  The 1996 guidebook states “The pillar has a narrow base that may not support it much longer.  This is perhaps the only route in the country which attracts a weight limit – more reassuring to make an ascent at high tide when the sea can help cushion a fall”!IMG_2737We decided that it was Alfies lead – I dont think he’d read the bit about a weight limit!  This route is given HVS 5a.  I think it would be easier to call it 4b and say that the leader should have a complete lack of imagination as to the consequences of a fall!  Great fun.

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