Friday 29 July 2016


Its been a week of Assessments broken up by the trip with Keith up Curved Ridge. I ran an SPA Assessment last weekend for 3 Candidates. We visited Neilston Quarry, Glasgow Climbing Centre and Auchinstarry (which was busy with other groups- lots of youngsters throwing shapes on the rock). Despite the showers it was good to see all 3 Candidates put in a creditable performance and pass.
Yesterday I was at Three Wise Monkeys Climbing Wall in Fort William to assess 2 of the staff on their CWLA. This is a great Award with the opportunity to do some real coaching and requiring a good level of judgement of the students involved. We had a team of volunteers who were taught by Oli and Dan and again it was 2 for 2 passes.
Back to Three Wise Monkeys today for CWA Assessment for 3 of the staff. Nice to see some good sessions for groups at different levels and another 3 passes!
I provide all of these National Governing Body Awards through Mountain Training Scotland who moderate our provision to ensure a standard of training and assessment. This makes such Awards the most rigorous way to prove competence when it comes to walking/climbing/mountaineering Instruction and Leadership. An Award holder has been trained and assessed by an experienced peer/someone with a higher award under a system that is quality assured. They have demonstrated a minimum standard of personal ability/knowledge and experience in the activity and the system gives everyone reassurance as to the base line of their competence.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Curved Ridge-dodging the weather bullet

Today I was joined by Keith for a day's mountaineering. We had planned on the Aonach Eagach but with pretty steady rain and a cool breeze forecast I suggested we leave it for a more enjoyable day. So we went to Curved Ridge on Buachaille Etive Mor which gets a lot of shelter from westerly winds. 
Despite a little drizzle around the bulk of the mountain protected us well and we cruised up the Ridge and Crowberry Tower not even needing waterproofs trousers until we summited. The descent was much damper walking into the rain and breeze! There is a picture of a tiny spruce tree that continues to survive climbing to the northwest side of Crowberry Tower. It'll never thrive I fear as its only growing in a couple of inches deep patch of moss!

SPA Assessment

Congratulations tl my 3 candidates yesterday who all passed their SPA Assessment! Busy day at Auchinstarry Quarry too, nice to see so many young folk out climbing.

Friday 22 July 2016

Retirees Aonach Eagach Dry and Goats

I was expecting to get wetter this morning but after meeting Mike, Will and Patrick (who are all enjoying the benefits of an active retirement and gave great craic) and flogging up Am Bodach in the drizzle the cloud rolled back early and we were dry all the way along the Aonach Eagach today. On our descent I got my first view of the whole herd of feral goats in Glencoe for a few years... 17 of them. I was working for Steve Fallon today.

Thursday 21 July 2016

Reopening a climbing wall East Kilbride

I just spent the last 2 days doing some training and helping the team at Playsport in East Kilbride prepare to reopen the climbing wall there. The wall has been closed for a few months and underused before that. Initially it will be open to instructed groups and climbers to see what kind of demand there is for it. If you live in that neck of the woods and want another venue to climb at then get in touch from next week. If climbers express an interest then they are willing to invest in holds and route setting to meet the need. Use it or lose it and spread the word.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Catching up...

Just back from Canada and here is a quick catchup blog from the 2 days before I went. I was providing an AMI MIA Trainee workshop for Alex, Jess and Graeme. We did a day on problem avoidance and solving and a day's mountaineering on Buachaille Etive Mor's Lagangarbh Buttress which got very wet later on!
Big thanks to DMM for the Dragon Cams and Pivot belay devices in use today- Trainees all converted!
 Gold Ringed Dragonfly
 Raining and we don't care
 Heath Spotted Orchid
 Low on Lagangarbh Buttress
 Jess taking over the lead
Testing the limits of our waterproofs!