Bannaminn Early Doors

Sunny, warm, dry, no wind, calm sea, February? Surely not. But yes, this weekend felt like summer, and we were poised to make the most of it. Even with these conditions, few crags will be dry in Shetland so early in the year, but Bannaminn’s always a good choice, drying quickly, facing west and a real sun trap. We started late to give the rock time to warm a bit, and to digest our fry-ups.

When we arrived, the sun hadn’t come onto the main crag just yet and it was damp so we headed south to a slabby wall that I thought hadn’t been climbed before. Apparently it has, but no doubt some of the routes were new. We romped up 5 routes all excellent and well worth a look, especially as all 5 can be reached from the same abseil. We started some of them a bit higher up but in summer you’d get a few more metres of worthwhile climbing in.

By mid afternoon we’d climbed out the slab so it was back to the main wall. Unfortunately the excellent routes around the front of the crag were out of bounds as the approach was lethally slippy and getting sprayed by the sea every now and then. Still, there’s plenty on the other lower slabs and we even added another route (although again, I think it may have been climbed before, and just not written up properly!)

All 9 of us had an excellent day – a great start to 2013. Here’s some snaps…

Note to self. Go to Bannaminn on a nice day this summer and get some PROPER topo photos and get the writeups sorted!!

New Routes

View The Routes

As possible previous ascents are not recorded, we’ll list the FA’s as this weekend. A few routes are awaiting names, add a comment below if it was your route…

View South Slab Topo

South Slab

1. Gruyere Groove Sev 25m

Climb the corner at the left end of the slab. Severe if the bulge is taken direct, easier if bypassed on the right. Traverse right under the roof at the top.

Andy Long, Diane Connor. 23/02/2013


2. Tired and Awake Sev 4c 25m

Above the scoop ledge is a hard move around the bulge with dubious gear but the climbing then eases.

Al Whitworth, Aurore Mercier. 23/02/2013


Route 3 ?? 25m

From the left end of the sloping ledge, climb direct over the block and above.

Stuart Barton, Robina Barton. 23/02/2013


Route 4 VD 25m *

The obvious crack with lovely layback moves on the 2nd half.

Pete Sawford, Julie Maguire. 23/02/2013


5. Echo  Sev 15m

Climbs the thin crack right of the last route.

Andy Long, Diane Connor. 23/02/2013



Main Crag

Cat Eye E1 5c 12m **

The second very vague crack in from the left (right of Tiptoe). Thin on holds, thin on gear.

Al Whitworth, Andrew Hunter, Aurore Mercier. 23/02/2013


  1. Les Hewitt says:

    I really enjoy reading your about your climbing up there. I live in the N Pennines in England. Hope to come up for a visit and climb one day. Have friends in Shetland and you look to have a great time and a great place to live.
    Keep it coming folks. Great Blog.

    • Al says:

      Thanks Les, its great to see so many people enjoying the site. Maybe see you on the crag someday.

    • longa says:

      Whereabouts in the N. Pennines? I’m originally from Middlesbrough and spent my early climbing years as part of the N. Yorks – Lake District axis. The only place I’ve actually climbed in the N. Pennines is Holwick Scar in Teesdale – now out of bounds I believe.

      • Les Hewitt says:

        I live in Stanhope in Weardale.Holwick Scar is now open for climbing since Right to Roam became law. I have to say its not that good but useful for locals. Am onlt 1 hour from Penrith so lakes are handy. Also quite a lot of new crags in Eden Valley been developed in the last few years.

  2. Diane Connor says:

    Fantastic day out for so early in year. First time at Bannaminn, some great slabby climbs, great crack. Look forward to another visit. Thanks!

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