Tag Archives: Scotland climbing

The Summer that Keeps on Giving

“Winter is Coming” everyone keeps saying and I am definitely keen.  Its hard to complain though with so much great weather in Scotland just now.  Everywhere I’ve been in the last few years people have talked about changing weather patterns and Scotland is no exception.  Predictable seasons seem a thing of the past and looking at this November its hard to believe I’ve climbed winter routes at this time of year in the past.  This year seems unique to me in that there hasn’t really been a kayaking season (the Scottish monsoon season) but just a couple of days with epic rainfall and lots of scared kayakers (incidentally if anyone knows Glyn Richards your throwbag washed up in Caol at the weekend).  Instead, this year we have continued to have lots of good weather days with lots of fun to be had in the hills.  I have been dotting all over the place as ever but highlights from November would include James and Dots Wedding (photos on facebook), lots of days out cragging around Scotland including a visit to Arisaigs Sport Crag – a lot better than rumours would suggest, a couple of trips up to Skye, Sea Kayaking to dinner at the Onich hotel and some trips to Yorkshire including a few night solos at Crookrise crag.IMG_3701 The Fairy pools on Skye last week.  I stopped here after a day taking in Sgurr nan gillian, Am Bastier and Bruac na Frithe.  Even managed a swim!IMG_3683Having fun on the last summit of the day (Bruac Na Frithe).  It felt like April in the Cuillin
IMG_3681Looking North and East along the Cuillin.
IMG_3670 Am Bastier and the Bastier Tooth.  You can just make out Mike Lates (I think) and two clients.IMG_3635 Looking back into Coire Lagan as I descended into Glen Brittle after a day on the Inn Pinn and Sgurr McConnichIMG_3622 Glen Brittle bay and the Isle of Canna at SunsetIMG_3117 Eilien Donan Castle.  I’ve never actually stopped when driving past before but the tide was high and it was early in the morning.  IMG_3131First view of the Cuillin.  I’ve probably stopped for some version of this shot about 10 times over the years and recently saw it on a postcard too.  Great light on the Cuillin earlier in the month though the next day I headed for home early as gusts of 60mph rocked the van.
IMG_3152bw Miles leading DT’s crack at limekilns.  A great day with the ever banterfull Scott Brooks and Miles McConville.  I reckon it adds a grade when your belayers are alternating between making you laugh and insulting you.IMG_3172 Scott setting off up “Elgins Crack” – a limekilns classicIMG_3206Photo courtesy of Miles – me getting ready to lead.  I’ve done most of the routes I can reasonably expect to get up at Limekilns but have always wondered about “Grasp the nettle”  – given E3 5b by the current guidebook but luckily turned out to be a softish E2 5b.
IMG_3262 Adding a grade – Scott topping out of Grasp the Nettle.  Photo courtesy of MilesIMG_3089 Crookrise Crag at night.  I left Fort William a bit late but still managed 6 routes (in the dark) at Crookrise to break up the journey.  I love the three dimensionalness of some of the Gritstone cragsIMG_3078 Winter is coming – first frost on Rannoch MoorIMG_3076Rannoch Moor an hour or so after dawn.  I love the light at this time of year.
IMG_3063 Hannah and I were in Perthshire for the first weekend of the month for a surprise birthday for my dad.  The colours were amazing and we did a lot of wandering around looking at waterfalls.  Above – Bruar Falls in full Autumn coloursIMG_3034 Hannah and the smallest sister in the world in Glen LyonIMG_3026 The Falls under the bridge in Glen LyonIMG_3025 Picnic for Dads birthday in Glen Lyon.IMG_1271 Kayaking to the Onich hotel for pints and dinner this weekend with Oliver, Naomi and GeorgiaIMG_1265Above and Below – Amazing to be able launch a sea kayak from 100m outside the door.  Georgia and I launched and paddled over in flat calm to meet Oliver and Naomi.  Thanks KAG for the last minute lend of a boat!
IMG_1264 IMG_1251Alfie bouldering at Sunset just round the corner from Black Rock crag, Arisaig.  I spent two days at Black Rock a couple of weeks ago and was surprised how little its climbed on.  Routes ranging from low 6s to low 7s and an amazing outlook and its only 40 mins drive away!

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Arisaig, Climbing, Elgins Crack, Kayaking, Scotland climbing, Scottish Kayaking, scottland Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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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Shelterstone

I usually manage a climbing trip to some far flung destination every year but this year looks a little different.  I have so many places I still want to get to in Scotland and with the vote on independence this month (yesterday!) I decided to stay at home.  First up was the Loch A’an basin in the Cairngorms.  If you have never seen this side of the cairngorms scroll down to the last couple of pictures and I’m sure it will entice.  For me I really wanted to get some routes done on the shelterstone and managed to convince Adam into walking in at night to go for “The Needle” the next day.  Before the needle (and before Adam got up) I nipped up Afterthought arete and we headed back to Stag rocks in the evening to climb “Monarch of the Glen”.  The day after we climbed “Prince of Darkness” on Hells Lum – Same grade as the Needle but a fair bit harder in my opinion!

IMG_1043Adam starting up the first pitch of the needle.  This route was first climbed by one of my all time heros Robin Smith – Hard to picture him leading this stuff in 1960!
IMG_1068Adam enjoying another exposed pitch with Hells Lum crag in the background.IMG_2536Midgies!  Enough to ruin any climbing day but thankfully only in our camp for a wee while at dawn and dusk.
IMG_2537My wee yellow tent below the Sheltersone crag.  Just like Yosemite really!
IMG_2542Looking down the wonderfull Loch A’an at dawn.
IMG_2544Carn Etchacan, Shelterstone and Hells Lum from the head of Loch A’an
IMG_2556The trouble with climbing (or maybe its the best thing about it!) is that once you do the route you want to do you see another couple that look just as good or better.  I could spend a fortnight camped in the same place and climb every day, especially if I get to wake up to this view every morning!

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Cairngorm Rock Climbing, Cairngorms, Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, Needle, scotland, Shelterstone, The Needle Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Good Weather and Bad

 

Summer has definitely hit Scotland in the last few weeks though as I write this I think that might have changed!  Have had some great adventures here and there – the trouble with living in Fort William is there is just so much good stuff around its hard to go further afield.  It does of course help that Lochaber has had some stunning weather recently.  First up this month I met Tim rather late in the day in Fort William and went for a quick blast up the Ben.
IMG_0687Tim on a rather misty “Observatory Ridge”
IMG_0693Tim on the Crux of Observatory Ridge – this was the first section I recognized from a winter ascent of the ridge a few months ago.
IMG_0713 A week or so later Hannah, Laura, Tim and myself headed to one of my favourite mountains, Garbh Bheinn (Ardgour).  Above – Tim leading the first pitch or “Golden Lance” and Hannah (to the right) leading the second pitch of “Butterknife”
IMG_0720Laura high above the clouds on the third pitch of “Butterknife”
IMG_0723On the summit!  Surprising that Tim and I are smiling after the route proving to be somewhat more difficult than the grade suggested.  I dont know if I’ve ever fallen off every pitch of a route!

The next day we headed to Ardnamurchan chasing the good weather.
IMG_0730Mark on “Star Wars”
IMG_0748Tim on the start of the slabby section of “Return of the Jedi”
IMG_0764Mark fiddling in some rubbish gear on Dome buttress
IMG_0774End of the day – Hannah finishing up “Krackatoa”
IMG_1593The fact that I have been working a lot is not really a bad thing!  An average night on the island enjoying the good weather.
IMG_1600 IMG_1603Tim, Laura and Hannah in the back of the van after a days climbing.
rfsunsetAnother great sunset from just outside my bedroom!

Posted in alastair rose, ali rose, Ardnamurchan, Ardnamurchan climbing, Climbing, mountains to the sea, mountainstothesea, scotland, Scotland climbing, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , |

Pre road trip

There seems to be some concern that I dont actually work.  I have been a little concerned about this myself recently and actually did a bit of work last week.  This was right before Hannah and I set off on a climbing road trip down to her mums wedding and back.  Today we are in pembroke waiting for the rain to stop so thought I would squeeze in a quick blog from the weeks leading up to our road trip.  Again, I should have taken photos of the bad stuff like laying concrete in the rain with Bob or paddling round a quarry with some 10years olds from Renfrewshire but I just forgot to get my camera out.  Lots of climbing photos from around the UK to follow but for now…..

I left Ardachy house early one morning – had to stop as I drove out of the driveway to take this.  The always changing view to Jura
I headed off to meet Ruaridh and the one and only Sandy Norval for some routes on the South Wall of Garbh Bheinn in Ardgour.  Sandy had been back in the uk  from india for about 26hours at this point – seen here seconding “Scimitar” (VS 4c)

Sandy and Ruaridh then came back to mull to hang out at Ardachy house at the end of the epic house warming.  Scoor beach (the next beach over from Ardalanish)

A few days later Hannah and I drove to Glasgow and managed to get a quick route in on the amazing etive slabs, Hannah belaying here on “Vein Rouge” (HVS5a) – its been a while since i climbed on the slabs and had a bit of a “moment” 30feet above my gear on the last pitch!

The guidebooks stacking up in the van ready for the road trip

Hannah leading the middle pitch of “Vein rouge”

One of the last days at Ardachy, fetching bunkbeds across the ferry from Iona

The one and only Fingal Francis let loose on the beach at Scoor
Tony, Clare, Iona, Hannah and Finn on the beach at Scoor.

So far the road trip has been brilliant, getting sandbagged off routes in Northumberland, blown off crags in Yorkshire and visiting old haunts in the Lakes.  Then a wonderful couple of days with Clare and Daj watching them get married and climbing in Swanage with them and now on the road….  lots more fun and climbing to be had till we are both back at work in just less than 2 weeks.

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Warming the House

The house warming at Ardachy continues but I thought that I should get a quick post in before more people arrive and more exciting things happen.  There have been hoards of people at Ardachy enjoying Tony Francis’s hospitality on Mull and getting up to some amazing adventures.  People have come from all over and it has been amazing to be with friends old and new in such a spectacular place.

Just before the house warming Hannah and I went to see my family who were staying at Duntroon.  We went for a walk and got some unique views back across the sound of Luing (where we work in the summer) towards the Ross of Mull

The latest member of the Francis Clan – Fingal (Finn) attacking Hannah

First day of the house warming – Main Wall at Erraid, brilliant single pitch climbing on immaculate pink granite above the sea.  Climbers on “Oliver” (VS 4c) and “Walls without balls” (E1 5b)

It might be sunny but its still not too warm – Ruaridh happy in his down jacket.

Jo on “One Dead Puffin” (HVS 5a) at Erraid – the route on the front of Scottish Rock guidebook (probably had more ascents than the rest of Erraid put together because of this!)

The main evening of the house warming with music and whisky in full flow in the Yurt

View from the top of the Yurt

Charlie and Matt in full swing

The next morning was a bit hazy but Ruaridh and I went and climbed “White Shite ” (VS 4c), one of the only multipitches around.  Great fun and better (and harder) than the name (and grade) suggest.  – Climbing purists might be able to spot my quality gear hanging on the rope, this is not a route to get your gear wrong on!

Ruaridh on one of the cruxes of White Shite

Steven scaring us as he goes for it up the upper flake of “Troglodyte” (HVS 5a) at Scoor, Dune Wall (for the climbers – his last gear is underneath the overlap!)

The beautiful Dune wall in the late afternoon sun

Next up Robin, Clare, Bob and baby Anna showed up with a few sea kayaks….

Hannah, Tony and I headed around Iona for the day.  Above – the boats pulled up on the beach at our lunch break (you can just sea snow on Ben More)

Yesterday Bob, Robin and I paddled out to Staffa to check out Fingals cave.  Above – Bob and Robin in the mouth

of the cave

Bob “This is so good I never need to go sea kayaking again” Taylor looking happy – you can just sea robin coming through the small sea arch behind him

Its a long way home!

On the way home with Staffa behind

An HDR shot of my new sea kayak on the beach at Staffa

Today has been a bit more restful with some good food and playing on the beach – Hannah trying to control Bob and Clares Powerkite..Under control.  You can make out the paps of Jura above Hannah.

Now theres a few more people to show up to make sure the house is properly warm and then I should really do some work next week!

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