Blovid Developments

Thanks to Ross for contributing this post.

When the local antiquarian Gilbert Goudie made a detailed study of the ruined broch at Blovid in 1887 he probably didn’t give the nearby sandstone crags a single thought as he went about his investigation. I have to admit that I’ve not paused long by the substantial remains of the Blovid broch as I’ve passed by with various friends on a number or visits to explore the cliffs here. Blovid is also well known by sea kayakers for its small striking rectangular arch and the deep cleft that cuts into the local cliff forming Helm’s Geo. It was on an evening paddle in May 2014 that I first saw the short steep 10m main wall and thought it well worth a visit. I didn’t expect to find the variety of routes and lines that have come to light over successive visits.

Ross solo first ascent of Passing Comment

Ross solo first ascent of Passing Comment

In June last year Matt and I left a rather wet Lerwick and hedged our bets by heading south in the hope of finding some dry rock to climb before Matt caught his ferry south. We dispatched four good routes including the first steep route up the Main Wall suitably named The Ferryman Waits For No One, before heading back to Lerwick.

A week later I returned with Mark, on his first day in Shetland, and we dispatched a few more great lines on the Main Wall. The routes were quite similar to the first line the week before with steep and slightly bold climbing on small crimps and ledges.

Mike on Tale of Two Shags

Mike on Tale of Two Shags

Andy and I returned in April this year and for some reason still didn’t spot the potential of the walls either side of the arch, nor explore the easier lines on the Northern Slab and those at the Point. These walls were finally climbed on two visits by Mike and I in June this year, with the easier lines soloed. The two lines to the left of the south side of the arch are far harder and steeper than initial inspection suggests. Mike’s first line here, Slap, Jam and Burn, is aptly named and takes a cunning line up the arete to the side of the arch and the wall to the left. Similarly the two lines on the south facing wall 5m to the right of the arch are harder than they look. With a strong north-westerly blowing in and cloud at Eshaness we were rewarded with our trip south to these protected walls and the route names reflect this with Mike’s lead up the crack called Sunshine at Last and my route Sunny Disposition.

Matt on the first ascent of Another Day at the Office

Matt on the first ascent of Another Day at the Office

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