Monday, 5 June 2006

Undiscovered Scotland


Ok this one is for the climbers and the non-climbers. As one of the keenest rock climbers and new routers you will come across, you'd expect me to be surprised that more people don't take up climbing. But it really does! Now that summer is here and a LOT of tourists join me and lots of other year-round visitors to the highlands, I'm always wondering what all these people do to keep themselves occupied. Sure you could level the accusation that a 'pro' climber would struggle to understand the concept of just chilling out and letting the time pass in tranquil surroundings. I suppose that what holidays are for. Dont get me wrong, I know you only have to take a peek on Visit Scotland or suchlike to see that there is plenty going on in the glens these days, but I find (on the rare occasions I take a rest day and go into tourist mode myself) that most of these require money and sometimes defeat the actual point of driving northwards for hours; to escape crowds. Climbing is a 'basic' activity that doesn't need much in the way of special equipment or knowledge (for bouldering, scrambling, and sport climbing at least), but is high on interest and excitement. It has the crucial component of taking you into some adventurous and quiet places (to find the cliffs) that you wouldn't otherwise think of going to, with more unique experiences than you could fit in a lifetime. Walking and following flora and fauna of the outdoors are really the only other activities that can match climbing in this respect. But I'm sure anyone can understand why walking and wildlife trails might not be for everyone. You can experience all that they can offer on a climbing venture, but also the excitement of climbing something of any shape or size that suits your abilities and disposition. You can have long and scary, short and safe, hard and athletic, remote and wild - whatever. Look at the picture above. It's a nice view. But through a climber's eyes it's a thousand corries full of big cliffs, little cliffs, classic routes, unclimbed routes boulders and above all interest. So why don't more people do it? I guess we aren't shouting about it, we are too busy doing it most of the time.

PS if you dont climb but want to see how easy it is to seek out and climbs a lot of nice climbs in the wildplaces around you, have a look through Stone Country

3 comments:

  1. Dave

    Was just reading this post of yours, made me thinks, Ive seen bagging lots of the Munro's as a good way of getting about Scotland. Since moving here last year, Ive had the mission to see as much of the country as I can.

    I have just had this idea, maybe not original, but maybe someone could write a list of the majot climbing spots in the country. Ones that people really should experience, include the good routes at a variety of grades for each. It could form a 'munro' table like list/guide. People could use this as a template to aid exploration, something to inspire?

    Maybe its better to just explore, follow the wind, see where you go. Altho it would be good to know that somewhere good and worthwhile hasnt been missed out of my travelling.

    One thing that has struck me, is the vast amount of climbing here and moreso the variety of stuff to do. Theres a lot for any style and grade of climber.

    One question, whats the easiest route youve done in the last 12 months? lets say trad, by grade.

    J

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  2. I guess I had folk who are not into walking miles and miles in mind in the post. Boulders and sport crags are amazing for this. For instance in the last two years I've done masses of climbing in Cowal not somewhere I would've ended up unless Tweedley had takenme there and shown me his amazing finds. I guess every corner of the country has amzaing little spots, you just need a wee hook to draw you there.

    People love lists, but a list of all the spots in the country that are worth going to would be way too long. Best to follow the weather and wind (to escape the midges that is!) and you will find something good wherever.

    Why do you ask about easy trad routes? I did a diff this morning.

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  3. Thanks for the reply, as regards easiest route, was just curious about the span of grades, not for grades sake, just curious as to what other stuff you get up to when not New Routing/pushing limits etc.

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