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Showing posts from July, 2020

The Climber's Complete Guide to Dumbarton Rock

At last, the new comprehensive guide to Dumbarton Rock is here!
This guide is a product of years of endeavour and a testimony to a lot of time spent under some hard rock by generational communities of climbers.
It comes in at 160 pages. For one crag, that might seem excessive? But as John Hutchinson explains in his contextual introduction, the heritage of climbing at Dumby runs back six decades now (and it has a much longer social history). Brian Shields produced a handwritten guide in a Winfield notebook in the 1960s, complete with elegant topos and a list of the bouldering as well as the routes. 



Some of this material found its way into the SMC general guides to the Lowland Outcrops over various editions, but with the explosion of sport climbing, bouldering, and a resurgence in trad (due in no short measure to Dave MacLeod's ascent of the incredible E11 route of Rhapsody) the Rock has become a mecca for any climber wanting to understand what Scottish climbing is all about and a dee…

Beinn Dòrain

Once you cross the bealach under Beinn Odhar north of Tyndrum, the shapely peak of Beinn Dòrain is a visual fanfare to the Highlands. The mountain and its environs are richly detailed in the poet Duncan Ban MacIntyre’s poem Moladh Beinn Dòbhrain (‘In Praise of Beinn Dòrain’).[i] Its symmetrical convexity, deeply gullied flanks like pencil sketch-marks, and stern domed summit, make this a moment to instinctively reach for the camera. It is a steep but invigorating mountain to walk, which is more leisurely explored from its eastern corries, though the traditional ascent from Bridge of Orchy, up to the toothed ‘Am Fiachlach’ ridge quickly brings fine views from the heart of the Central Highlands, encompassing Cruachan in the west to Lawers in the east and the Mamores to the north.
If you were set the task to name the features and character of this mountain, before a Gaelic toponymy, you may have come up with a similar vocabulary. Like the poem, the mountain is a multi-sensual experience: …