Skip to main content

Spring bouldering Scotland 2015

Social media is good at one thing: telling us how good the weather is elsewhere. There's nothing like the itch aroused by hearing that pop-up alert sound and a cobalt blue sky behind a climber on Facebook/Vimeo/Flickr etc. But sometimes good weather does coincide with a day or two off and it all works out. Here are some examples of people timing some good conditions with a bit of fine bouldering weather in a Scottish springtime...

Dan Varian on his new direct on the States bloc at Garheugh - Big Mac 7c

Richie Betts on his 6c (???) at Reiff

As the forestry is gradually being cropped round Arrochar, dozens of new stones are appearing. Luckily, after decades in the pine-dark gloom, they are silvery and clean, and require little gardening. Topos for the new stones will appear in the new Bouldering in Scotland guide, hopefully with all the other new areas, though venues are being opened faster than I can map them!

The Creagh Dhu always said there was 'another Craigmore' at Carbeth, but I never found anything other than the scrappy outcrops further east. I've scoured the whole west flank of the West Highland Way, giving it up as a typical red herring, until I found this little red-striped wall east of the Queen's View car-park. It gives a superb and slopey vertical  test-piece we call Tiger Wall 7a from the sit and maybe 6c from the stand, if you get the conditions!

Dan Varian has been exploring Arrochar, and made short work, in a good spell of weather, of his project The Beast of Succoth, a new 8a at Glen Loin. The Arrochar Caves area has always attracted boulderers but there were never any obvious king lines, perhaps we were looking in the wrong place! The hillside above the parking, up towards A Chrois, hides some awesome blocs and good rock under all the old moss and lichen. 

Nearby at Ben Vane, Tom Charles-Edwards has been meandering higher and higher looking for the perfect boulder. He climbed the obvious south groove line on the Dinosaur Egg bloc (above), calling it The Dragon's Eye is Always Watching, at a reachy 7b (SS).

Girvan and Lendalfoot has benefitted from a fluke of nature as tidal gravel has filled in some awful rocky landings, so it's worth stopping off if you're on the Stranraer road, it's got a lot of potential but suffers a little from tidal damp, so choose a low tide with a drying westerly. Dave Redpath and Paul Savage and friends climbed here years ago and put up most of the obvious direct lines, so apologies if some of these are repetitive descriptions. The bouldering is powerful and technical, with precision footwork required on sea-washed toe-holds. John Watson repeated some of the old lines on the toffee-textured south wall of the big orange bloc near the Varyag memorial. The pick of the bunch is Paddy's Milestone, the left arete of the south bulge.The Scoop problem is also a classic line with a technical sequence.

 Paddy's Milestone, a 3 star 6th grade problem at Lendalfoot

Richie Betts on Worlds Collide at Torridon

I'll not talk too much of the north-west,as I've not been up to see all the recent explorations, but Gaz Marshall has put up a good post detailing some new explorative stuff >>> Inverness

Enjoy the spring weather...


Popular posts from this blog

Plato's Cave

In his famous 'allegory of the cave', the Greek philosopher Plato pondered the artificiality of reality in imagining how we could be fooled into thinking shadows on the wall (i.e. virtual reality) could be seen as 'real' life. I'm paraphrasing, of course. What has this got to do with climbing? Well, I was pondering this myself recently while sitting on an artificial concrete boulder at the new Cuningar Loop bouldering park in Glasgow. Does it really matter that a boulder is made of concrete, surrounded by plantation and skirted with kind gravel traps rather than tree roots and spikey boulders? Isn't the 'real' thing so much better: the isolated erratic bloc deposited by geology's long-term aesthetic artwork? Well, yes, that's entirely up to you, but sometimes the artificial saves the day ... I was scuppered by Glasgow's cross-town traffic and turned back to my local artifice that is Cuningar to climb the blue circuit I had imagined as

Timeline Walks of Scotland #Culbin Sands

The Moray Firth’s sand-bitten southern coast, between Findhorn and Nairn, is home to Scotland’s most cautionary tract of land. Now a wilderness of maritime forest, dunes, salt marsh and spits of sand, its human history has been dated to the Bronze Age, around 1300 BC, but it is a territory that since glacial times would have been mobile and mutable. The Laich of Moray is the fertile strip of plain squeezed between the foothills of the Cairngorms and the Moray Firth’s south coast. In Gaelic it is called Machair Mhoireibh (the machair of Moray), a perfect habitat for golf courses and rich arable farmland, threaded by the glacially-rivered straths of Nairn, Findhorn and Spey. Culbin is an old parish which is now buried under 28 square kilometres of duneland and recent forestry. Sweeping east of Narin and curving in to rise up to its greatest heights above the estuary of the River Findhorn, it is now managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, but it is notable that this is a humanl

Scottish Bouldering #New Glasgow climbing wall: The Prop Store

The Glasgow branch of The Climbing Academy (TCA) is just about to open its new bouldering and lead-climbing centre on Glasgow's north side. Its south-side twin ('The News Room')  is already a popular bouldering centre, but the new site will bring fresh inspiration to climbers on the north side of the Clyde. Situated in Maryhill, not far from the West End, this new centre is named after an old BBC prop warehouse, so it's been named ' The Prop Store '.  The centre feels roomy and spacious with a long profile. The holds and panels are super-grippy and there are some free-standing boulders to mantle out as well as an impressive offering of angles, roofs, slabs and subtly sweeping walls.  There is also a section of lead wall with auto-belays for top-roping practice, and a training centre upstairs. They should be open this December, but here are some preview shots.