Southern Sanstone

southern_sandstone_june13We headed to the south of the island yesterday in search of somewhere out of the easterly wind. We tossed up between Bressay and Vaakel Craigs over a lardy fryup at Co-op – Vaakel won the vote. Turns out the wind was whipping around the crag and it was in the shade so maybe not the best choice. Anyway, we were there now. Andy added a corker of a route though over the sea at the east end of the crag at HVS. I attempted a nice looking blocky route with a small roof at the top, but unfortunately was denied the direct finish due to poor gear and very furry (lichen-covered) slopers blocking the top and frustratingly had to escape left onto a previously climbed HVS.

Blo Geo

All the other routes here looked nails, so we bailed on this shady little crag, and with the wind now easing decided to head to Scatness on the west coast. The sea was hammering in, but the sun was on the crag and so we picked some easy-looking lines to start with. These turned out to be pumpy and 2 grades harder than they looked with snappy and sandy rock in places. That’s not to say they were bad routes, though. But it lowered our sights somewhat! I doubt any of these were unclimbed as the crag is used regularly for top roping with groups, but it might have been the first trad ascent for the harder lines? There’s plenty more to go at here, but they are certainly harder than they look and gear can be sparse and suspect. We’ll get the routes written up and added to the database shortly.

Upper Tier



  1. longa says:

    Just photoshop the Scatness sky to pink and it’ll look like a photo by the Mars Rover.

  2. longa says:

    Agree with the grade of the route I did at Vaakel. Scatness route is Diff – V.Diff, not severe. Worth checking with Pete Richardson to find out what’s been done.

    • Al says:

      Ah ok, thought I’d heard it was Severe. In which case I’ll lower mine to Severe – put it at HS to make the point it was harder than the other!

    • Andrew says:

      Doesn’t Pete just take groups top-roping at Scatness? Probably fairly likely the easier ones at least will have been climbed at some point, though!

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