Saturday 14 July 2012

Raasay recce

100 metres high, the grey stuff is good sandstone, and it goes on for miles along the coast. Running out of new rock in the UK? Aye...

For ages Michael and myself have been keen to go and look at the huge Triassic sandstone cliffs on the east coast of Raasay and scope out what potential there might be. After a hard day at Steall we decided now was a good time for a day trip and sped up there.

First up we checked out this huge slot of Sandstone. Beautiful rock formations and good stone. But maybe a little too sheltered to get dry enough very often. I could be wrong though. You’d get some lovely E8 and upwards 25 metre solos in here, or some great sport routes!
Then we headed along the lovely coast past Screapadal and the now long abandoned crofting communities that existed in this remote spot. As we expected, there was a TON of rock. Towering sandstone cliffs over 100 metres high with only a handful of the very easiest lines climbed, and the slope below covered in countless boulders.

Mega boulder, 20 metres high. Unfortunately made of cheese.

Both the cliff and boulders were a little dissapointing on closer inspection. The main face routes would make one of the best sport cliffs in Scotland, or some death defying barely protected trad which didn’t really inspire me too much (maybe it’s just not St John’s Head?!). We spent ages looking round the boulders finding countless problems in the V0-V3 range that looked great, but not much for ourselves. But finally we stumbled upon one line that changed our psyche - the biggest, baddest Font 7c/+ roof in Scotland!

It looked simply awesome. But we were now counting down to run for the ferry time. The landing was full of big holes so we moved rocks for an hour and built a mega landing. I got the holds clean and moves done rapidly and then looked at my phone; we should have left 20 minutes ago to catch the last ferry! There was time for one try.

It was 22 moves long, pretty techy and a little scary at the end. I unfortunately caught a hold wrong near the end and didn’t get it. I cursed, but there was nothing to do but scrabble to get trainers on and spend the next 30 minutes running at 180bpm to catch the ferry, which we did. So there is something to go back for. I’m glad in a way. It’s such a lovely piece of rock, and although I’m pretty sure I can do it in an attempt or two, It’ll be worth the day trip to enjoy it properly...and then try the left hand exit.

1 comment:

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