Wow, it’s been awhile

Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve put anything up on here, I just haven’t really felt like put anything up. But I’ve had a big change of late and thought I’d write about it.

The change is I’ve now moved out of Edinburgh and left Alien Rock. I’ve moved to Fort William and am now working in the new climbing wall Three Wise Monkeys.

I had been in Edinburgh for almost 10 years moving over for uni and then working at Alien for just over 8 years. I needed a change, a job popped up at the new wall in Fort William and I thought I’d apply to see what happened. I’d wanted to move north or south to get closer to the hills, get climbing, walking, skiing more often and get back into some paddle sports.

View of the Ben near my new home

View of the Ben near my new home

After a long wait there was an epic interview involving a train to Fort William and an early start back to Glasgow with the group interviews starting on the 7 o’clock train to Glasgow, a group climbing session in TCA, and then back through to Edinburgh.

A week later I got a job! I was so happy and I moved up at the end March to help get the wall ready with routes, tidying up, painting and staff training. It was a very full-on month before the opening day on the 4th May.

New rope wall

New rope wall

I’ve been up here for just over 2 months now and am really enjoying it. I’m missing people in Edinburgh, but I’ve been getting back into canoeing, getting climbing lots and soloed Tower Ridge and summited onto the Ben for the first time, super psyched for more 🙂

Hopefully  you’ll all come back to visit my site

Hard routes and big cams….

I haven’t written much the last few months, mainly because I’ve been having too much fun climbing this year to sit in front of my computer and write, but I thought I’d write a little update on one of my trips to one of the local crags to Edinburgh.

Me and a friend/work colleague Dave went to a local quarry at Rosyth (or Rosyth quarry as it is in the Lowland Outcrops guide book – page 334). I had my eye on a route I had seconded a couple of times over the years call Broken Pillar HVS 5a* so when Dave picked me up to go climbing, I was like lets go to Rosyth and he was up for that.

Rosyth Quarry

Rosyth Quarry

We arrived, got geared up and Dave warmed up on an easy route called ‘Sickle VDiff *’ which he quoted as ‘probably the fastest I done the route’. I was feeling good so jumped on ‘Heathy Very Severe 4c **’ as I had backed off it a few months before with Dougie. I had a little trouble at the start getting on the block at the bottom, which as a short person isn’t the easiest start, but other than a that and bit of down climbing just to work out the couple of moves before the crux the climb went really well.

We both grabbed something to eat and Dave wanted to climbing similar to the grade I climbed called ‘The Waullie HVS 5b**’ which he climbed really well, and then when I seconded Dave up the route I fell off at the bottom, but then managed it. I was feeling a bit pumped afterwards so was a bit worried that it might affect my climbing when I went for Broken Pillar.

Now Broken Pillar isn’t a route I’d call a first ascent for me but it’d be my hardest route this year as I’ve succeeded on this route twice before, once with a friend James, and Dougie so I knew what was coming and what gear I needed for the route.

Broken Pillar is an easy climb up a corner, I found it easy and well-protected to a ledge just below an off-width crack which is described in the guide book as a ‘awkward off-width crack’. So I have on my rack 2 big cams, a DMM Dragon size 6 and Wild Country Friend size 5 which is bigger than the Size 6. Both cams placed in the off-width makes it well protected.

The beast on the right wild country size 5 and DMM dragon size six on the left.

The beast on the right wild country size 5 and DMM dragon size six on the left.

There are 2 ways I’ve seen people climb Broken Pillar, one by moving up the face left of the crack which is a bear-hugging move, or by lay-backing up the right hand edge and your feet on the inside edge. On both attempts when I had seconded it before I lay-backed the route so I decided I would do it in this method. Placing my big Dragon cam in at the bottom of the off-width and then reaching as High as I could I placed the Wild Country friend in as high as I could then went in for the lay-back, getting my hands on the right hand edge and bringing one foot up and putting my weight on my feet and arms. My left foot slipped a bit and Dave thought I was off, but I held it. I was annoyed at myself for that but I powered through it moving up the crack, remembering some advice from a friend that it’s better to try sliding your hand up the crack rather than going hand over hand which I found made a big difference. The bit I was most worried about was rocking out of the crack onto my feet again, but once I got my foot into the right place I went really easy and I climbed to the top letting out a big ooops!!!!!

Dave topped out saying the lay-backing is a lot easier than the bear hugging method with big grin on his face.

This was my hardest route of the year as I felt comfortable and convinced I could climb it, as I’ve spent this year having fun with my climbing concentrating on how I was climbing rather than pushing my grade, but felt this was a great route to push myself on and the cams that people said I’d never use got used 🙂

Dave videoed me on his helmet cam climbing both Heathy and Broken Pillar which I’ve edited into a short video.

I’d like to thank Dave for giving me a lift, belaying and videoing me on the routes. You can find his blog at

I’m working on finishing a post about my trip to The Roaches and about my general climbing this year with the mind-set I’ve been going into climbing with, so please check back and see if I’ve managed to get anything up.