Paul James, MIC - - Winter and Rock Climbing Conditions

Friday, 16 March 2012

16-03-12, Ardmair, Old Man of Wick, Far North Scotland - Scottish Sea Stacks Rock Climbing

Sandwood Bay with Am Buachaille and some fine surf.
 I have been on another NW and far North rock trip in Scotland the last few days with Francis. Windy but dry and plenty of crags that must be climbed on! Tuesday we headed to Ardmair near Ullapool which was great. Butch, steep sandstone, savage cracks and generally well protected. We hoped to do some sea stack climbing, so with a slightly optimistic idea we walked the 3 miles to Sandwood bay and Am Buachaille. We should have brought our surf boards, the waves were clean and high! So obviously we were never going to be able to make the 10m swim across the channel to the base of the stack! The day was salvaged by climbing a great route on a crag called Creag an Fhithich, excellent gneiss, highly recommended, there seem to be crags everywhere up there. Thursday we drove over to Wick and climbed the Old Man of Wick. Very enjoyable and exciting. No swimming required, just a pendulum abseil to get to the base. The route was about HVS 5a,4b. Some looseness but in general a nice climb and obviously a great summit! Abseil back down the landward face to climb another steep juggy wall back to the path, again about HVS 5a. Some drizzle on the West today so no rock climbing, looks like there maybe a slight dusting of snow over the weekend with a return to 900m freezing level, so those handful of ice routes on the Ben may last a bit longer!

Cragging at Ardmair, Summer Island E1 5b.

Am Buachaille.

Old Man of Wick, abseil and pendulum to the base of the route.
The second pitch on Old Man of Wick, loose in the corner but great crimps on the wall. 
Francis enjoying the stack experience.

The top, abseil down and climb out on the other side.

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