Sunday, 20 February 2011


Given the season - the cold-weather-short-days-winter-sun-crisp-friction-bouldering-strength-season when its at it's rare best - I find myself fancying techy gritstone-esque routes. Short, technical, thought-provoking, bold, bouldery. The sort of routes where you boulder around for an hour, emerge steaming from your duvet jacket cocoon, place two bits of gear, stand around getting a bit nervous, and execute some delicate funky moves just before your hands go numb. The sort of routes that gritstone does perfectly, but are rarities in Scotland. Rarities, but not entirely absent. It just takes some cunning and planning to find them. This is a current list (with good mid-grade options) I'm pondering on:

Lowland Outcrops (E.g. most places of little consequence) - The standard easily-jaded Local Climbing blah but with some interesting places scattered around.

Trossachs/Arrochar (E.g. Glen Croe, Loch Sloy, Glen Ogle, Glen Lednock) - Often a bit on the steep side but some good slabs and shorter routes that are suitable.

Glen Nevis (E.g. Roadside, Blacks, Wave etc) - Living in the shadow of errr Ben Nevis this is very weather specific, but some of the more accessible crags have the right style of climbing.

Mull (E.g. Scoor, Erraid) - Still not been alas, but the photos of short granite and schist outcrops definitely look right.

Gairloch (E.g. Mungrisdale, Gruinard Crags, Stone Valley, Loch Tollaidh, Diabeg) - Some of the best crags are a bit northerly facing, but there's a wide choice that fit the bill.

Reiff (E.g. Ardmair, Stone Pig, Pinnacle, Seal Song) - Despite the rock quality Reiff is not THAT good as it's so well featured that most harder routes tend to be thugfests rather than techfests.

Aberdeen North (E.g. Ballater, Red Wall, Round Tower etc) - Pretty good as can be pretty technically intense and good in cooler weather.

Aberdeen South (E.g. Long Slough, Harbour Wall, Floors Craig etc) - Generally a bit too steep and strenuous (i.e. very), but some potential.

Northumberland (E.g. Everywhere) - what more needs to be said? Gritstone with more holds and less hordes.

P.S. It's still wet and shit out there, BTW.

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