Category Archives: Hebrides Climbing

Scottish Spring

Its no secret that Spring is the best time of year in Scotland.  Whether you’re into Climbing, Skiing, Whitewater kayaking, Sea Kayaking, Mountain Biking or Hill walking its merely a case of having the right clothes for the job and being able to read the weather forecast.  As ever I have tried to hold onto some time for personal adventures in the spring and this year have managed some adventures I’ve been planning for many years.IMG_5221

Rum Cuillin traverse with Al and Matt.  For years I’ve wanted to do a traverse of the Rum Cuillin peaks between ferries.  This is only possible on a saturday as its the only day with a morning ferry and an evening ferry – the only thing that has stopped me in the past is that I dont really do much running and 31km with 1900m of height gain always seemed a long way!   IMG_5202

Amazing scrambling on the ridges.
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Al and Matt running off the last main summit.  We carried onto two subsidiary tops from here.

IMG_5158Al making things hard for himself on the way up Askival

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Mark with An Sgurr of Eigg behind him.  Another thing I have been planning for years is to climb on the Sgurr of Eigg.  As one of the most prominent landmarks in the Western Isles and one of the most photographed and painted places in Scotland its just crying out to be climbed.  A good forecast had Mark and I on Eigg for two days of amazing climbing with even a bit of mountain biking (purely to access the crags) thrown in. 931A5795

Kilometers of rock and only a few recorded ascents.931A5809Mark on the steep start to Oceans Wall

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Hannah and I also chased the sun out to Lewis for 5 days of exploring.  Anyone who hasnt been climbing on Lewis is going to get very bored of me describing how good it is.  Above – Hannah soloing an easy slab on our last day before getting the ferry home.931A5752

Sunset from the van on our third evening on LewisIMG_4954

Pools walls, Ard Uig.  An amazing crag above a tidal pool with an array of brilliant routes.  UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e5Theres still winter somewhere.  Malcolm Airey and clients on Tower ridge at the end of March. I managed two brilliant days of ice climbing on Ben Nevis before packing up my ice tools for the season.

 

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Another trip I have been planning for years is to ski over to the Hutchinson Memorial hut in the Cairngorms.  While planning a couple of days scrambling with Jago and Sarah we suddenly realised that lots of snow had fallen in the East and it was a blue sky forecast.  We had an amazing ski from the summit of Ben Macdui to within 100m of the bothy door.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e8

Classic Scottish spring skiing.  I was introduced to a new word – to “sprackle” appears to mean skinning across grass, heather and rocks!

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Relaxing in the sun outside the Hutchie hut.

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It doesnt always go to plan.  Scot and I had planned to ski the Grey corries traverse in Lochaber but a broken binding after the first summit saw us drinking coffee in the cafe instead

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I’ve had some great days climbing as usual.  Luca, Matt, Mike, Al and I headed to Neist point to escape the wind for a weekend.  Al Docherty cruising one of the many classic cracks at Neist point.  Its been pretty cold for climbing so far this spring but if you find the crags that arent in the wind its not so bad.

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Matt Rowbottom on another classic crack in the sun.

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I have managed to do a wee bit of work this month.  For some reason I dont have any photos of the lovely sunny days out sea kayaking – just a cold but beautiful traverse of the Skye Cuillin with Chris and Sam.

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Getting ready for bed

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Chris making one of the exposed steps across the eroded dykes of the Cuillin

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First day in the Cuillins this year for me and the first ever for Chris and Sam – the Cuillins never dissapoint!

It continues to be a fairly cold spring in Scotland so I think I’m going to continue to pack two jackets and wave my hands around a lot.

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, An Sgurr Climbing, Ben Nevis, Ben Nevis ice climbing, bothy, Cairngorms, Climbing, Comb Gully, Cuillin, gabbro, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Neist Lighthouse, Rhum Cuillin, Rum Cuillin Traverse, scotland, Scotland climbing, skiing, Skye, Tower Ridge, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Pabbay

36 hours after getting back from Tanzania I was off on my own adventure with eight friends to the Barra Isles.  In this time I managed to unpack, do three loads of washing, go to the climbing wall (twice), clean the house and repack my camping gear plus an excess of ropes hoping that I hadnt forgotten anything.  Its never ideal to start a climbing trip having not climbed for the month previously so I hoped that my two indoor sessions made up for the month in Tanzania where I mainly drank lots of coffee and ate too much.  The isles of Pabbay and Mingulay  are one of the UK’s trad climbing paradises and somewhere I have wanted to visit for a very long time.  While they were inhabited for a long time by a surprisingly large amount of people neither island has had permanent inhabitants since 1911.  What is left is some beautiful Lewisian Gneiss cliffs on the west coasts constantly battered by the atlantic swells while the east coasts have sheltered bays of perfect sand.  A climbing trip to these islands involves a bit of organisation (cheers Malcy!) as getting a group of climbers to agree to dates and then actually turn up in Oban for a five hour ferry journey followed by another hour on a fishing boat is no easy feat.  Added to this the mixed weather the islands receive for much of the year make this a tough choice when a trip to spain costs almost the same.931A4785

Skipper Francis and the “Boy James” taking us straight to Pabbay in the evening sun.
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Some of the locals coming to stay hello931A4811

Getting dropped off with our mountain of kit.931A4819

Camp on the first evening.  As soon as the tents were up it was off to the other side of the island to squeeze a quick route in before dark.931A4882

Second day – Rich and Brian on the Poop Deck one of the brilliant single pitch crags tucked into the West coast.931A4899

The Main event.  You can just see Duncan in green on the pillar to the left of the great arch on the classic 4 pitch route “The Priest”931A4908

Tim fiddling in some gear on the initial moves of “As sound as Mr JA” at Hoofers Geo931A4978

While “only” a single pitch crag, “Hoofers Geo” certainly packs a punch.  Brian on the ultra classic route “Sugar Cane Country”
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Theres always a risk with a late summer trip to the Hebrides!  Tims lightweight alpine tent not standing up the challege of some force 7 gusts while Als cheap car camping tent sits proud.  We were offered an early pickup by Francis but ended up staying (long story) to weather the storm.931A5029

Drying out after the storm.  The psych wasnt too high the morning after as none of us had had much sleep and a few of the tents had taken a bit of a hammering.IMG_9005

Tim on yet another  steep classic.  I think this might be “Endolpin Rush”.  Im still not sure why we did a wet E3 as a warm up to a bunch of E2’s but it definitely made sense at the time.IMG_8976

Looking down the initial slab of “The Priest” to Tim far below.  Tim and I were keen to get as many of the three and four star classics done as possible.  This involved some pretty exciting days with quite a few pitches of quite damp rock!931A5035

Another storm cloud rolling in from the South West.  The island on the left is Mingulay931A5060

Pippa cutting loose on Hyper Ballad on the last day.  Climbing can be quite a lonely sport at times but the sociable scene with multiple teams was a real highlight of the trip for me.931A5114

Getting picked up a day late.  Due to the storm we ended up being picked up a day late which was a bit stressful as we had no phone reception.  931A5117

Speeding back to Barra on the Saturday.  I was really struck on this trip by how many places in Scotland I still have to explore.  I’ll definitely be back in the Barra isles for another climbing trip soon but hopefully Mingulay next year!931A5119

Only a day late for our pub dinner but boy it tasted good.  931A5121

Castlebay Church lit up at night with an eerie moon.

 

 

Also posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Barra Isles, Basking Shark, Climbing, Pabbay, Pabbay climbing, Sugar Cane Country, The Priest, Uncategorized Tagged , , , , , |