Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Learning to Lead

David at the top of Fishhead arete
I've been working with David and Sandra over the past 2 days, and have been learning to lead. Yeasterday we started at the wall, looking at building belays and organising stances etc. Before moving outside to Rosyth Quarry. There we spent time placing runners, before they both took to the sharp end and led a couple of wet routes each.
Today the weather was much better. We went to the Hawkcraig to build on the skills learnt yesyerday and get a few more leads under their belt. They both did excellent. David led his first Severe and Sandra her first VDiff. A good couple of days despite the weather on the first day.

Monday, 26 October 2009


Today I returned from a very wet overnight exped with the Moray House crew. We had a very wet and windy experience on A' Chailleach in the Monadh Liath, and an even wetter and windier night's camp. Today we walked back to Kingussie in dry and sunny conditions which was a pleasent change from the previous day. A good exped despite the weather.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

River Crossing

After looking at the weather forecast we opted for a low level day. In the morning the group split into pairs and made a short nav circuit around the low hills behind Kingussie. They then swapped circuits and went to find the points in a set time limit, putting the skills leant over the 5 previous days. In the afternoon we had a look at river crossing. This is still an important skill and judgement process to learn if you take to the hills in Scotland. After a short video we headed down to the Calder in Newtonmore to put some of the skills to the test. Folks did really well, managing themselves across some strong shoots of water. A good producive day.

Friday, 23 October 2009


I have been walking along side Simon Beams from Moray House Uni. on there summer hillwalking course. Yesterday we had an early start from Edinburgh and walked up Meall a Bhuachaille. The course has a strong environmental theme, so this has also played an important role over the last few days. Time has been spent identifying and discussing various plants etc. as well as human impact. This was looked at in detail today as we headed up Cairngorm from the Ciste carpark. So far we have been lucky with the weather, but things are due to get worse.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

CWA Training

Over the weekend I have been working with Nic on a Climbing Wall Award Training. We had a large group of 12, which threw up a lot of interesting disscusions. As well as the EICA, we also risited the wall at Meadow Bank for a bit of retro action. Over all the weekend was excellent, with the candidates commenting that they had loads to take away.

Friday, 9 October 2009

DIY is Rubbish

After spending part of yesterday putting the first coat of paint on the kitchen walls I was hoping the weather forecast was wrong. I am still trying to shake the cold I last week, but a super psyched for trad at the moment. Simon bailed this morning so I thought I'd finish the kitchen, but the weather was staying dry. I decided to go a try out my new bouldering mat at Rosyth Quarry. I did my usual circuit, soloing all the routes up to E1 along with a few laps of Philistine. I had never done If pigs could fly or The Stinking Swordsman before, so had a look. I got to the top of If Pigs and realised that the top out was a little over grown and the mat was in the wrong place. A bit gripped and with both hands on the top a reversed thrusters and down climbed the route which was a bit pumpy. The Swordsman was nails. This has to be one of those classic scottish headpointed routes that has a grade that does not feel right. I think I have been going well over the last few weeks, but can safely say I was shut down today. I'll try again, but at the grade can't justify top roping it and leading it might be even harder. I just need to man up I think and learn how to pull harder.

All in a good couple of hours, 30 routes and back to more painting.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Chilled Trad

Me finishing the crux of Chisel

Me high on Chisel

Andy starting Slot Shot

I went to the Cambusbarron out quarry today with Greg and Andy to have chilled out day. We did a few of the E1's to warm up, then Greg fancied trying Chisel. This E4 finger crack has a short crux off the deck, but it packs a punch. This is style of climbing that Greg is trying to improve in, so he was not too disappointed after falling with 1 hard move left. I fancied an eliminate that I had not done before called Kansas City Shuffle. The climbing was quiet good, but that was because it was mostly on routes that have stars already. This route only had 4 independant moves, but was alright. Andrew then climbed Chime in good style, a stiff little E2. The first runner was still in Chisel so I climbed that as I had not done it for a while. This spurred Greg on to get back on it. He made short work of it this time. Andrrew then led his first E3, Slot Shot, which was a good finish to the day.

Andy finishing Slot Shot

Greg on Chisel

Greg half way

Monday, 5 October 2009

Rat Race

Me on RatRace

Today I went to Upper Cave with Greg, Mhairi and Andy. I wanted to try Silk Purse, but soon realised as I put in the clips that I was not over my touch of man flu. I opted to do a little trad instead so I might feel a bit better later in the week. Rat Race is a classic of the crag, so seemed like a good option today. I had failed a few years ago, but it felt a whole lot easier today. I even found a cheaky no hands rest. Marjory Razorblade brought me back down to earth as I fell off the last hard move. Note to self, lazy jams don't work as well.

Just After the crux