A Slow Start

I can’t believe I am only writing the first new routing update in June this year! It’s certainly a contrast to last year. Summer is painfully slow to arrive this year and we’re only getting the odd day here and there to get out. I gather it’s the same story around the country but here we’ve only this last few weeks managed daily temperatures consistently in double figures! It’ll come though!

Since the start of the month there have been some good days and there have been a a good few new routes added. Many of the new routes were courtesy of┬áRoss and Mike, who came up a few weeks ago for an attempt on Foula’s soaring cliffs. They bailed on that option after seeing the forecast of westerly winds, swell and showers, but their resulting week of touring the islands was still the best weather of the summer so far and they managed to make the most of it:

Blovid

This is turning into quite a venue. Ross found this small sea cliff last year on a kayak trip. After adding a handful of lines around low E-grades, it seemed most of the best stuff had been done. But since returning several times they’ve found many more excellent walls and lines and the crag now has nearly 20 routes.

Unst – Crickies Chair

Another crag first climbed last year and an excellent little spot. If this crag wasn’t so far away for most of us, it would get far more attention. We had a great club trip to the crags nearby but the wall at Crickies Chair was wet. Ross and Mike managed to get it dry and added more superb lines to the rough granite wall.

Muckle Roe

The consensus is that most of the best climbing on Muckle Roe has now been found but Ross returned to unfinished business and it sounded like the result was well worth the effort, unearthing an E3 which he reports as probably the best route at that grade he’s climbed in Shetland. Our club trip to explore more of the crags there this weekend has been moved due to the weather unfortunately – more northerly gales!

Grind of the Navir

It’s always a great surprise to add an excellent quality VS on a crag which most people think is “climbed out”. I’ve learned over the years that’s not the case – you just need to look harder! Andrew spotted this one next to The Scientist, giving the lonely route a bit of company. We also played around on some shorter orange walls to the north of the main crag, and slightly inland. These are fun but there aren’t many lines worth climbing, and it’s only 8m high.

Fidlar Geo

Our club trip “plan B” turned into a great day. The main aim was to get budding leaders on the sharp end, and there are few crags better than Fidlar Geo’s west wall. In amongst a busy day with virtually every route on the crag seeing multiple ascents, Andy, Andrew and I also found time to scour out the blankest-looking parts of the wall to add 2 tricky VS’s, which were also a touch bolder.

2 Comments

  1. Chris Webb says:

    Just wish the weather would be dry enough to climb here in Orkney. Always look forward to the updates well done guy’s.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah, as Al said it’s been a frustrating year so far! Think I could almost count on one hand the number of times we’ve got out.
      Thanks!

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