Northern Scotland cragging is simply brilliant. Great rock, great choice, great scenery, great weath....oh no wait the weather is fucking shite most of the time. Thankfully I managed to make some use of the week's respite from the monsoon aeon, and got to explore both North East and North West.
Latheronwheel was yet another lovely Caithness crag, combining the typical qualities of funky rock, delightful cragging, easy access, and tranquil scenery. Perhaps the highlight was sitting belaying in a wave-worn cave basking in the warm sun just above the sparkling sea - it seemed almost a pity to spoil it by moving to climb. Although getting moving was pretty important....challenging redpointing being no preparation at all for Easy Trad!
Sarclet is rapidly becoming one of my favourite Scottish crags. The rock is fascinating, the architecture dramatic, and the climbing intrisically thrilling. As with a previous trip, my tickedlist grew but my ticklist outgrew it. I will be back - and also to Mid-Clyth where storm winds prevented access to the ace climbing there.
Reiff is very popular and pretty cool, rather than pretty popular and very cool. Well, the Leaning Block area is very cool but also a very long way from the car! Ah well, needs must, it was worth the Tardis-esque stomp. Although not a patch on inland sandstone like Ardmair and Torridon, the fine choice of climbing and diverse aspects will keep me revisiting - especially as a winter suntrap.
Loch Tollaidh IS perhaps my favourite crag in Scotland. Maybe. Probably. All I know is I always enjoy climbing there and each time see more and more routes that look good. The amount of choice a mere 10 mins from the road is entirely enticing, as is the obligatory nice gneiss, and also on this trip the westerly aspect which provided essential shelter from easterly gales - "90 mph gusts on high ground will make walking almost impossible"....but a light breeze curling around the domes will make climbing just fine :)
Okay so now I'm warmed back into trad, I want to get on with it some more....if someone can just turn the shower off...