And the winner of the Best Designed Crag 2010 Award is....
- Great steep mid-grade gneiss wall climbing - check
- Good holds and good gear and good routes - check
- South west facing so plenty of sun and fresh breeze - check
- Idyllic flat grassy base - check
- Gorgeous location complete with sea-view - check
- Enough of a walk to keep the drones away, but flat and non-tiring - check
I've been wanting to go to Inverpollaidh for years, god knows how many years. I think I saw it in a magazine article and I know I was inspired by it straight away. The epitome (well, one of them) of delightful Scottish cragging. Many years later, on a particularly fine October day, I finally got there and as usual my hunches and inspirations are spot on - it does exactly what it says - I got really quite giddy when we popped around the corner and saw just how nice the setting was. The routes aren't anything radical nor outstanding, but it's all good and a great mileage crag.
This particular gem was part of a very pleasant weekend away with Phil, Mumbi, and Inverpollaidh tour guide and local strong lass Tess Fryer (much needed as the walk-in is entirely blind - but I know the secrets now ;)). In fact the weekend started early with a long overdue visit from The World Famous Helen Rogers - famous for running more businesses than the city of London, and for an unhealthy penchant for crabwise traversing. I tried to cure her of this with a Friday morning session at Dumby, but disappointingly she got on with it quite well, there weren't any tears and she nimbly outwitted most of the more heinous highballs (although did get successfully fooled into The Blue Meanie). I dropped Lady R off at Glasgow Queen Street at 1:20, and got to the far side of Ullapool at exactly 5:20. Just enough time for a bit of beach bouldering at Ardmair...
Saturday was Inverpollaidh, Sunday Phil needed to check out some sandstone, and wisely chose the infinitely superior Ardmair over Reiff. This provided a good contrast and the usual seemingly unlimited supply of strong, steep and well-featured climbing. The classic Skeletons was dry for a change, so I did that. However the previous days started to take their toll (campussing Wed, 1km swim Thu, two bouldering sessions Fri, long trad day Sat...) and we decided to leave after a few routes to go bouldering. Thus finishing the weekend with a quick session at Rhue which is more like gritstone than gritstone is - brutal rounded pebbly nonsense that I moved 200 miles to avoid having to climb!! Still good fun tho. Fish and chips and back to Glasgow in 3:40 somehow. Long may the cragging weekends continue!
The view from Ardmair. Not bad for the Highlands in October...