Kingussie Crag with College

It was the second Rock Climbing session with the West Highland College today. Ross was assigned as my partner and he did a good job of getting into the swing of things.
It was safe to say I was on good form. I turned up to the crag and left my harness in the car and my camera at home, brilliant! However this didn't spoil the day because we had plenty of dry rock to work. Ross and I completed a nice handful of climbs including; The Slab (diff**), Caped Corner (Mild Severe*), Mango Rib (V.Diff) and Left Hand Crack (E1 5b**)


Very High Lower Roy

Just got back from doing the Lower Roy, which was at the highest level I've ever seen it. It was really brilliant fun.
Care must be taken because there is a tree blocking the bottom rapid. The river was high enough that this could be completely avoided by taking the chicken run, river left. Still no camera waterproof camera.
Death Strainer on the last Rapid of the Lower Roy


Beinn a' Chochuill and Beinn Eunaich

I went for a walk today to practice some more navigation techniques. The weather was stunning which meant the views were brilliant.

Looking North from Beinn Eunaich

Beinn a' Chochuill with Ben Cruachan in the Background



Last night I lost the psyche for climbing however I had already made plans and couldn't go back on them. Therefore Mike and I went into Glencoe to find the Buachaille car park overflowing. We headed round to the North Face of Crowberry Ridge and climbed Engineers Crack (E1 5b**). The climb wasn't too difficult but the entire wall was in the shade. I had to back off from the crux the first time because I couldn't feel my fingers and at each rest point it took a long time for me to warm my fingers up. 
Mike Seconding Engineer's Crack
After after that me and Mike wanted some sun so we headed round to Rannoch Wall, which was had loads of people on it due to both Glasgow and Edinburgh University clubs being in the same area.
Since Mike had never been on the Buachaille we decided to go to the top via Agag's Grooves.  
Mike Soloing Agag's Grooves
 On arrival at the summit we came across an unusual sight when three ladies were at the top wearing dresses and high heels. I think it might have been the MCofS calender shoot for 2011.


3 Days, 3 Munro's and Lots of Rain

On Tuesday I left with the first year students and Bill Strachan on a three day expedition. I had a great time picking up a few hints and tips on navigation and learning a bit more on flora and fauna. By the last day everyone was ready to get home and into a nice warm pub.


Stob a'Choire Odhair and Stob Ghabhar

After Thursday's failed attempt for some hill walking. I managed to get out with Graham Stuchbury for a long slog up two Munro's. The weather was overcast for most of the day with a few showers but this didn't stop the weekend crowds.
Graham Stuchbury on the Summit of Stob a'Choire Odhair

Although the weather wasn't ideal for us, the hordes of kayakers in Fort William attending the Wet West Paddle Fest would have appreciated the miserable weather.
I have another day in the rain tomorrow but this time I will be working.


Poll Dubh and the Arkaig

The plan today was for Craig and I to go up a hill. After dragging myself out of bed and forcing myself to get ready for a long walk in the rain. Just as we were leaving I received a phone call from Richard asking if I was coming into College for the rock climbing sessions. I was gutted to miss my walk in the rain but it would have to wait for another day.
I was assisting in the introduction to rock climbing for the first year students. We were joined by Richard Parker and Alan Halewood. We went over top rope systems, placing protection, building belays and a few other things.
Loachaber College First Year Students
After the college Bridget asked if I was up for the Garry (I never read her text properly but she actually meant Arkaig). It was a case of running home and inhaling dinner then heading out again. The river was the biggest I've ever seen it, I've never run it successfully in low water so I wasn't expecting to be up right during the descent. Much to my surprise I made it down successfully and giggled like a school girl after my victory.


Back to College

College started on Monday, which means I don't have as much time to play. As the River Garry runs all day on Thursday, I managed to squeeze in some play time.
It has been months since I have been on this River and I had forgotten how much fun it is. Luckily it's also running on Sunday and I am already excited.

It's Good

Still Good

All good things have to come to an end.

On Friday I will be helping out with the Highland Council Kayak sessions which I am looking forward too. It is a good excuse to go and have more fun.



The plan this morning was to have a look at Unicorn up on Stob Coire Nan Lochan. When Mike and I arrived in Glencoe we weren't able to see the Coire. We consulted the guidebook and decided to head for Trapeze (E1 5b**) on the west face of Aonagh Dubh.

Mike Scott on the third pitch
To get to the route is a bit of a slog but it is well worth it once you have topped out on the first pitch. Then the climbing only gets better apart from the slog back down the hill.
Back to College tomorrow and the weather is to get bad, it usually goes the other way around.


Minus One Direct

You know things are getting desperate when you’re looking in the yellow pages for a climbing partner. During this desperate search, I was unaware that Guy was in the Fort for a few days and luckily for me I received a phone call from him. This meant I had a climbing partner and a plan. So it was back up the Ben to collect another four stars. This time we were heading for North East Buttress to do Minus One Direct (E1 5b****)

Guy's white helmet can just be picked out

Guy leading on minus one
Seconding on the second 5b pitch
The route offers some nice climbing which I felt was low in the grade. It still has some good exposed situations.
Also the Ben Nevis Race was on today but the field marshal's must have been doing a good job because we didn't see any of the runners.



So the forecast was much better for today so I set my sights on Centurion again. So after leaving early doors (as to get back for an evening's kayaking) Craig and I met up with Bridget and headed up the Ben track.
On the approach to Carn Dearg Buttress it seemed to get steeper and steeper as our eyes got wider and wider. Once directly underneath the buttress I could see the line quite clearly as my friends consulted the guidebook for other options.

Craig on the first pitch

The first pitch is a nice fifteen metre crack at 4c, the hard moves are short lived. This sets you up nicely in the sun for the second pitch, which goes at 5a. Once you have left the big sun lounger ledge. You find yourself in the cold shade again with thirty five metres of climbing ahead. The protection is plentiful all the way up the route. However I had to remind myself not to place too much, so I would have enough protection to last the whole pitch. This makes the climbing very exciting. Once the belay was set up Craig and Bridget started climbing and I had a chance to relax until I felt the rope go tight and caught a glimpse of Bridget swinging through the air. Once Craig arrived at the belay he began to get very intimate with a rock on the belay, caressing and holding it ever so gently. By the time Bridget arrived Craig was now rolling a cigarette with one hand as the other was still caressing the rock.

Craig fighting his way up the crux pitch

The next two pitches are graded 4b and are really pleasant. The climbing then gets exciting again with the final 5a pitch. This has some awesome moves that head out through overhangs which lean out over the entire rock face. Craig came prepared to the belay stance with pre-rolled cigarettes, one behind each ear and smoking one on the way up.

Craig after climbing the second 5a pitch

Me on the last pitch

Trying to find the route

The route took a bit longer than expected but it did mean that we were able to enjoy the sunset on the way down to the car. A big thanks to Bridget for taking and getting all these photographs to me.


Plan B

Craig looking out to Ardnamurchan and Ardgour
Craig on Stob Coire Nam Beith

Yesterday Craig and I had our sights set on climbing Centurion, on the Ben. However waking up this morning to find the ground soaked after a shower through the night wasn't what we had planned.
We came up with a quick bad weather plan and headed into Glencoe to do Number 3 Buttress on Stob Coire Nam Beith. This offers exposed hard scrambling, not nice when some of the rock was wet.