Tuesday 28 April 2009

Tour de Polldubh

Second day of our Lochaber College SVQ in Activity Leadership climbing course. Today I was 1:1 with kyle and our goal was mileage to let him experience lots of rock, lots of gear placements and lots of belay building.
It was a slightly grey start in glen Nevis but the day improved until we were shedding layers in the sun in the afternoon. We climbed Pinnacle Ridge (sev), Three Pines (VDiff - hard), Reptons Right Hand Route (V Diff), Spike Wall (Severe) and Secretaries Direct (the best Severe in the Glen). We climbed 14 pitches of rock by climbing a few routes with our packs on and at 4pm we retreated to the bus to join Chuck and Guy who had each been out with their own pairs of students.

Monday 27 April 2009

Lochaber College Rocks

Out with the SVQ students from lochaber College today on an introduction to rock climbing course working for The Ice Factor. It was a damp start in the west so we headed over to Kingussie Crag to look at some basic climbing skills; removing gear, belaying leaders and constructing belays.

Sunday 26 April 2009

SPA Training day 2

Second day of our training course had a greater emphasis on working with novices at crags. We went to Polldubh which was damp but never very wet. We spent our time looking at pros and cons of and rigging for bottom ropes, top ropes and abseils as well as problem avoidance and solving.

Saturday 25 April 2009

SPA Training at Kingussie Crag

Day 1 of an SPA Training for Dean, Stuzz, John and Lorenzo. We went east to Kingussie and were rewarded with a fine, dry day. We spent the day looking at personal climbing, placing runners, building belays, equipment and retrieving stuck gear.

Thursday 23 April 2009

The Aonach Eagach with Mike

Today Mike and I went to the Aonach Eagach (the 'notched ridge') on the north side of Glencoe. This long, sustained mountaineering route can rightly claim to be one of the best mainland ridge scrambles in the UK. The forecast wasn't promising but as we climbed Am Bodach, in the rain at first, we began to see a few gaps in the clouds and then it cleared off completely for us. The rest of our traverse was completed in cool but sunny weather with a breeze which even dried the rock eventually. Mike did great for his first time on ground like this and we were down in good time for him to enjoy the weather and make plans for a walk tomorrow. He's been out camping and walking in Glen Affric for a week and still has appetite for more- not bad at 70!!

Wednesday 22 April 2009

Good sport

Jamie, Jamie, Rich, Andy and Chuck and I went bolt clipping out on the Mallaig road today. The waterside crag has a range of routes from 6a and upwards on mostly good rock - we only had 3 falls when holds snapped! Cool and breezy with the sun I've also removed 24 ticks from today. A damp day out in Glencoe for me tomorrow.

Monday 20 April 2009

CWA Assessment

Another CWA Assessment at Glasgow Climbing Centre. All 4 candidates put in a creditable performance although one has still to complete a first aid course before he will receive a 'pass' certificate like the other 3.

Sunday 19 April 2009


Day 2 of our SPA training course and we went to Craigmore. This crag was once very popular amongst glasgow climbers but now only sees a limited number of boulderers and many of the once 'classic' routes there are now moss covered. It was quite heartening when half way through the day a group of instructors from Dounans camp, a nearby outdoor centre turned up and started to lead a few routes.
We were focussed on the group work part of the syllabus looking at group management issues, ropework for different parties and problem avoidance and solving.
This evening I was on Countryfile with Julia Bradbury, if you fancy a laugh at my expense go to bbc iplayer and it will be on for the next week or so. The link is here and I'm on at about minute 45: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00jzjnh/Countryfile_19_04_2009/

Saturday 18 April 2009


Cool start to the day as we went to the Quadrocks above Largs. The sun soon came out burning off the cloud and sending the temperature shooting up for the guys first full day of their SPA training. Most of the day was taken up with looking at personal lead climbing, good practise and dealing with simple problems. Nice to be on the rock and in the sun!