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Showing posts from June, 2007

Arran - the Complete Bouldering Guide

No, not quite yet, but nearly. As a complement to the next edition of Stone Country, which will feature the top problems in over 80 venues in Scotland, we'll be producing more complete bouldering guides to certain areas that really deserve it...one such being the island of Arran. 'Scotland in Miniature' has a host of bouldering, from Kildonan gabbro in the south, sandstone towers in forests, conglomerate walls, caves, but best of all are the fields of granite boulders in the likes of Glen Rosa and Fhionn Coire.


This is a call for anyone out there who may have done some good bouldering to get in touch and let me know what they've uncovered. The high boulders of the corries have some tremendous bouldering, mostly in the V0-V3 range, so it is great for movement. There are also some choice harder lines, between remote granite holds, very like alpine bouldering: powerful, using a minimum of holds and maxiumum power. The skin-wrecking projects of Fhionn Coire still remain...


How a Classic is Born

Looks like The Mission is the most popular stopper in the NW now, with a repeat this time by Lawrence Hughes, whose lanky frame makes this problem look ridiculously easy (though it patently isn't!)... thanks to Lawrence for videoing this...there's no lack of beta for this problem now, no excuses for the rest of us! I can still hear that damned cuckoo...

A Gallery of Rogues

I'll be putting more galleries and essays up on the blog and on the main Stone Country site to try and illustrate the direction I'd like to see Stone Country take in the long run as a publisher. This will be a mix of landscape, global places, climbing and, just as importantly, people's stories...

We often miss the point when we go climbing and sometimes we can be tempted to see our seconds or companions as just someone to hold the ropes or spot that bad landing, but this would be wrong-thinking and you'd find yourself very much alone if this was your approach... this is not the source of all the stories we tell. Climbing itself is often an incidental template to what you end up remembering and talking about in the pub. The climbing will always look after itself, and to be fair we never remember very much detail after the thrilling moments of actual climbing - far richer are the obscure twists of fate and character that combine to make our days in the mountains worthy of…

New Bouldering Summer 07

Lee Robinson on 'Soap', Trossachs


Despite the bracken, the heat and the midges, boulderers continue to find new stuff around the country... Richie Betts is busy developing Duntelchaig with Dave Wheeler, Lee Robinson and Craig Henderson did a couple of new lines on the Fight Club boulder at the Trossachs: the best being the 'Soap' dyno at about V3 which is a direct line through the start of Fight Club (Lee named this after the bar of soap they make out of human fat in the film, yecchhh) and BBT V4, the wall right of Fight Club from a hard move off the flatty (Craig named this after Meat Loaf's character in the film!).

Ross Henighen repeated the full hard version of In Bloom at Dumby (7c), a good effort in the warm season as the rock gets impossible to handle this time of year!

Richie Betts has topos developed for the next Stone Country Companion to Bouldering in Scotland - check out my main site local map for some easter egg draft topos to Kessock boulders Inverness …

Northern Highlands South SMC - review

It is interesting to see the SMC's philosophy of recording new Scottish routes swelling their guidebooks and splintering them into smaller territories as the relentless quest for new routes expands through winter corries, new crags and bouldering venues.

The Northern Highlands has now been split into three guides: North, Central and South. The new 'south' guide popped through my letterbox in the new glossy tall format which is good for turning sideways and viewing the excellent panorama photo-topos.

The colour photo-topos and maps are all excellent, though it must be noted the photo-topos don't help much on the complex crags such as Beinn Eighe when you are under the crags and about to start the route...here is where route-finding still relies on accurate descriptions (we had a time trying to distinguish where Pigott's, Hamilton's and the Central Buttress VS actually went, but that is probably more to do with the indistinct nature of the cliff).

There is the welco…

Beinn Eighe

Those of you who maybe read these wee ramblings on stones might think I'm a boulderer through and through, but really the bulk of my climbing has been done on the Scottish mountains and crags - despite continually hunting new bouldering in remote areas, I do put on the harness and get some trad action done. I also feel it is important to understand the histories in our landscapes and sometimes this leads to humbling discoveries...

We had pulled together a posse that was supposed to gather in Skye to look at the new route possibilities around Sgurr a Ghreadaidh (highlighted recently by Dave Birkett's new E7/8 on an immaculate 100m wall of gabbro). The weather put paid to that: Es, Guy and Tim upped sticks to sunny Wales and left Ade and I to risk the NW... which turned out to reward us with some fine climbing.

Beinn Eighe is one of Scotland's most awesome ranges, with its gob-smacking series of north-facing corries and tiered cliffs of sandstone and quartzite. The first sign…