I've just returned from a 9 day road trip across Scotland chasing some Classic Rock ticks with Rob and Jude. All told we totalled 6 Classic Rock routes from 9 climbs with 22 stars and 1175m of climbing plus a few scrambles, Munros and Corbetts thrown in for good measure.
We kicked off on a stunning day on the Cobbler climbing 3 routes. Recess Route (S) and Ardgarten Arete (VS) were pleasant climbs but nothing to shout about. However Punster's Crack (S), our final route of the day, more than made up for it offering 3 very different pitches including the infamous bulge.
Day 2 dawned cold and wet in Glencoe so we headed up to have a look at Crypt Route (VD). However this winters extensive snow cover meant that without crampons and ice axes we were unable to even to get to the foot of the route. The day wasn't wasted as we made an ascent of Bidean nam Bian ( 1150m) between the showers.
We went 'abroad' for day 3 taking the Corran Ferry over to Ardgour and Garbh Bheinn's Great Ridge via it's direct start (S). Despite some incredible downpours we made good progress before escaping off across the south face and up to the summit.
Staying in Glencoe with the promise of good weather we opted for The North Face Route (S) on the Buachaille which gave some great exposed rock climbing. A heavy afternoon shower put paid to our plan to continue up Agag's Groove. Heading north we made the trek into the classic Ardverikie Wall (HS). I walked past this famous route back in 2001 and it's been on my to do list ever since. It didn't disappoint giving amazing and in places bold slab climbing with every pitch memorable.
Day 6 found us across on the Applecross Peninsula gearing up for the obvious line of the Cioch Nose (VD) which we followed in it's entirety. Still heading north we then went for an less demanding day playing in the sunshine on the pinnacles of Stac Pollaidh which gave some amazing views across Assynt to Suilven and beyond.
The Old Man of Stoer (VS) was one of our main aims for the trip and an early start saw me braving the water to rig the Tyrolean. From pitch 2 we were able to look down on a huge dog otter hunting in the narrow channel which separates the stack from the mainland. We summited in blazing sunshine before the awe inspiring abseil back to the first stance. Other teams had arrived and we were able to use their traverse line to retrieve ours saving me the pleasure of a second swim.
With our legs feeling the pace and wet weather arriving our final day was spent on the Forcan Ridge which gives a great wee route to the summit of the Saddle (1010m) in Glen Shiel.