It's become a regular and very enjoyable fixture in my diary - road tripping round Scotland climbing stunning and classic lines with Rob & Jude. After last years soggy experience it was great to find some dry rock and get some serious mileage in. This years ticklist included Agags Groove & Grooved Arete on the imposing Rannoch Wall, Archer Ridge & Quiver Rib in Glencoe, Savage Slit in the Cairngorms, the Classic Rock trio of Cicoh Direct, Arrow Route & Integrity on Skye, Tower Ridge on the Ben and a wet adventure up the iconic Clachaig Gully - 9 Classic Rock routes and 27 stars :)
A final few days at the end of my Scottish winter season gave a mixed bag of conditions, weather and routes. After a year off the Irish crew arrived for a quick hit coming away with ascents of the Douglas Boulder SW Ridge (IV 5) and a very snowy swim up Western Rib (III) on the west face of Aonach Mor. With the turbo thaw back in action my final day on Curved Ridge was almost alpine with a leisurely picnic on Crowberry Tower and a cloud inversion on top.
As part of Rab’s commitment to making the best clothing and equipment for the mountains, our product development programme is expanding to include a test team selected from members of Rab’s brand partner the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI).
Mountaineering Instructors based in various locations throughout the UK will put a selection of Rab gear through rigorous and extended use designed to test it to it’s limits. They will use their expertise and experience of the products to provide detailed feedback on Rab's clothing, equipment and technology.
The AMI is the representative body for professionally qualified mountaineering instructors in the UK and Ireland. Their members have undergone an intense assessment process to gain their qualifications and continue to maintain their professional development throughout their careers. Many of their members hold multiple qualifications and work in a variety of areas ranging from posts on local councils to leadership roles in global expeditions with ambitious objectives.
It's been over two years in the making but finally one of ITVs Countrywise's most ambitious shoots is hitting our screens. We worked with Shiver Productions / ITV to provide location consultancy and recces, risk assessments, camera location recce, mountain safety, equipment porterage, technical rigging, talent safety and on camera guiding to get presenter Ben Fogle and a film crew to the top of Pillar Rock in the remore Ennerdale. We climbed the historical Old West Route by which the inaccesable summit of High Man was first ascended.
Countrywise Wild - ITV 9pm 17th August 2016
Last weeks adventure was Rob & Judes annual pilgrimage north of the border to sample some of Scotlands most iconic routes. The long range forecast wasn't looking promising but we perservered and initially headed for the Isle Of Arran and the amazing granite climbing on Cir Mhor. The worst of the weather appeared to be confined to the Saturday so we went for an extremely soggy scramble round Glen Sannox and over the summit of Goatfell. by Sunday it had all changed again and the next pulse of rain had arrived. Our search for dry rock eventually led us back to the Lake District and a sunny evening's climbing on the reliable Shepherds Crag. Shepherds Chimney (VS) and Monolith Crack (HVS) both provided good entertainment.
An early start on Monday saw us enjoying Irony (HVS) and Mandrake (HVS) on Quayfoot Buttress before yet more rain drove us back to Shepherds Cafe and an afternoon of rescue training, coffee drinking and cake eating. A break in the weather saw us take a punt on the quick drying properties of Esk Buttress. There were still a number of seepage lines but we were able to climb the 3 star Bridge's Route (HS) in the sunshine.
Weary legs on Wednesday steered us towards the roadside crag of Brantrake in the Eskdale valley for a day of leading practice, a few rescue scenarios and top roiping of some harder lines. Suitably refreshed we commited to the climb up to Buttermere's Birkness Combe under threatning skys. The clouds parted in front of us and we enjoyed the classic link up of Harrow Buttress (D), Slabs West Route (HS) and Oxford & Cambridge Direct Route (HS) to the summit of High Stile.
Just back from a short trip to the west coast of Scotland. We had ambitious plans but a real mixed bag of weather didn't quiet play ball. The first couple of days were focused on the Glencoe Skyline route looking at race lines and strategies. Curved Ridge and the Aonach Eagach were both bone dry and gave us a couple of brilliant days out in the sunshine. Monday morning saw us heading across the water to Ardumuchan looking for more scrambling on Garbh Beinn's Pinnacle Ridge. Super grippy rock and amazing rock architecture more than made up for a slightly disjointed line.
Heading north to the Isle of Skye the weather turned and we aborted our attempt on the Cuillin and Dubh Ridges entertaining oursleves with a run along the unworldly Trotternish Ridge. With perfect timing the cloud lifted to reveal a glorious sunset as we dropped down towards the Old Man of Stoer.