Highlights of the trip were climbing Steeple, Juggernaut- thanks to Tony for the chalk(quite reachy/dynamic so chuffed to os it) and Dalriada on the last day, as well as staying at the great Hutchison Hut beneath Etchachan. The
lowpoint was walking out from the Hutchison hut and a farcical retreat off Wild Country as the last route of the trip. Although we got rained off Titans Wall/Agrippa area of the Ben the routes themselves look absolutely stunning and
I can’t wait for a return visit.
cafes, particularly the Bothy. The lines at Shelterstone look to be some of the best slabs in Britain and deserve some attention. It unfortunately crapped out before I could try Run of the Arrow but I'm looking forward to going back and seeing how impressive Dinwoodies first foray on it was to the last gear as well as Whillances ascent.
Scotland holds more Extreme Rock routes I’ve not climbed yet than anywhere else and I was keen to reduce the list somewhat. I’ve now got about 55 left to do in Britain. Most are between E1 and E3 but with a few outstanding E5/6s and of course Revelations in the Peak. I’m hoping to get it done in the next 2/3 years as almost all the routes I’ve done from the list have been great and they are found in some of the best places (apart from Avon). Calums just lent me his copy to make a plan of which ones to go for next.
The final day of the holiday we met up with Dan Varian, Kevin Avery and Mickey Stainthorpe. Driving from Roy Bridge we met them near Arrochar where it was raining and grim. Varians enthusiasm led us to walk up where the crag was wet and in the cloud. We minced at the base feeling cold before racking up to do Club Crack (which felt hard when damp). Getting back to base the cloud had cleared and the crag became dryish very quick. Me and Mickey set off up Dalriada which was exactly how it looks, absolutely stunning. It’s pretty easy to fluff the crux and when the top headwall is unchalked it’d be easy to cock up so I thought the E7 grade seemed fair enough as some of the pegs will disappear soon no doubt. Dan and Kevin both made light work of it making for a great afternoon.
pulling rock 2 and pulling outward on it whilst saying the classic words ‘take’ to Sophie on the ground I watched to see if the rock 6 was going to hold. A few frantic moments later I plugged in a good cam 1 above. As well as being really knackered and quite scared I had Jack Geldards smug voice saying ‘you can’t win them all’ reverberating through my head.
Admittedly I was tired and the route not in great nick but the crack is tricky to get gear you’d want to lob onto and you are on a countdown. Good onsight/flashes from Macleod and McNair and a great effort for 1979 as I think
it could be knocking on for both E6 and 6b. It’ll have to wait for fresh arms and a return visit now. I was impressed with the quality and difficulty of many of the Cubby routes we did on the trip.
Some of the best routes were:
Steeple- a contender for the best E2 in Britain
Freakout- The main line of Aanoch Dubh
Spacewalk- Great crux right at the end
A Sweet Disregard for the Truth- On a great wall, good gear, steep and brilliant.
Juggernaut- Brilliant reachy/dynamic climbing. Crux for me was leaving the jug, I got a heel on the jug and flagged. Probably the best short E7 I’ve done, tough for 6b, good gear but need to climb quite fast. A Macleod classic.
The Handren Effect- Great wall climb with pretty good small wires/in-situ stuff and involving lovely pinches on the 2 upper hard bits.
Dalriada- Climbs as well as it looks, a must do.
Just a Little Tease- Extreme Rock cover & fun dyno at start.
Cosmopolitan- Great gear, easy to make it 6c if you weren’t careful!
Plague of Blazes- Great rock with good abseil point.
I’ve got a week or so booked off for the start of October and it looks like it’ll be back to Scotland with Calum, I’ve told him he’s no chance on any of these routes that are harder than E4!!!