Alpine Start in the Cullin, grippy wet stuff and first Neist hit of the season.

The last five days have been action packed again with sport climbing in wester ross on Goat Crag, exploring Duncraig crag, exciting work again for SkyeGuides.co.uk with a 4 am start for the corrie Lagan Round and the Dubh Slabs in the wet.  Climbing at Neist Point and a sunny day yesterday shunting -again, at Elgol’s School house buttress yesterday where I met the owner of the cottage on the beach there, on who’s property part of the crag is, and it turns out his son Alex Matheson climbed the first ascent of “Afterburn” and “Overdrive” with Andy Tibbs.

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Richard and Greg swarming up An Stac after our 0415 start on the Lagan Round to avoid the rain due in a couple of hours time

 

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Richard & Greg arriving at the summit of An Stac!

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Greg, abseiling down the Inn Pin, still dry and it stayed dry till coming down from Banadich.

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Selfie on the boat from Elgol, about to get wet underpants on the ride over…

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Wetness on the Dubhs but not many types of rock you could do this on…

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Sgurr nan Eag, and made it back to Glenbrittle for half five, right on schedule for our pickup

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Ian R Craigie on three star pumpy Wish you were here

ImageMe finishing off with the awesome Piggy Bank

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My self on Have a nice day, we did.

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Ian  on Hurracane Hideaway

The last ten days, a mixed bag of weather…

Last week on Skye started with some horrendous weather, anyone who ventured out even briefly to the shops last sunday got drenched. The weather from then on was difficult to predict even with three forecasts, scuppering most peoples ambitions in the hills.  But of course we still needed to get out, I was working for Skyeguides.co.uk, a good but challenging week.  Clach Glas Blaven on super wet sunday  with Pete, & Rachael and a make the most of the weather traverse course with Graham, finishing with a successful traverse with Ulrich from Bavaria.

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Graham and me on Sgurr na Stri, some say the best view in the Cullin, we did it’s brilliant south ridge

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Ulrich early on day 2, somewhere on Mheadaidh mid way through our successful traverse, Loch Coruisk behind

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Graham’s dramatic pic of me on Naismiths Route, on the Bhastier Tooth

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Friends Oliver & Jo from Cumbria with us on Sgurr na Stri!!

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Blaven with Graham and myself

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Acres of Gabro on the south ridge of Sgurr na Stri

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Someone’s holiday art at the beach by Carmasunerie

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More Elgol evenings : – )

 

 

Success! Traverse with the Dubh Ridge for Skyeguides.co.uk

Had a great three days with two brothers from down south this week, our first day on the Cioch with an ascent of Eastern Gully.  Then the next day a boat in from Elgol for day 1 of our traverse via the Dubh ridge to start.  A long hot day 1 got us to our bivi on Ghreadaidh and a thankfully cooler, misty but dry day 2 brought us to Gillian and back to the Sligachan Hotel for beers.

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Piers on the Dubhs

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Sgurr du Beag after the “doing the Dubhs”

 

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Arrival at our Bivi

 

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Mheadaidh on the morning of day 2

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Lotta Corrie Route on Am Bhastier

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Happy People on Gillian!

 

Skye one week in, sun sun sun! almost…

I will have been here on Skye for a week this evening, really enjoying the lifestyle, working for Mike Lates of Skyeguides.co.uk has been great as per normal with three adventurous days on the hill so far. Around this two full days personal climbing and two shorter sessions.  Great weather up here and looking to continue, touch wood.  Looking forward to a Skyeguides traverse course starting tomorrow…

Below; A short video of a coasteering reccie this morning at the bottom of a friends garden!

Pictures from the past week…

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Garry, final climb up to Gillian on Pinnacle Ridge

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Garry on the Inn Pinn, a quick spring squall arrives just on time

 

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Elgol evenings :-)

 

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Mike on Ogmorian at Suidhe Biorach Elgol

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Me on the short hard crux of Veritas Splendour

Below… I got finally pointed towards the amazing and humungous holds of Mothers Pride by Mike

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Late evening “but definitely worth it” shunting session at School House Buttress Elgol

Below… Martin on the super sustained jamming crack of Road to Ruin at Kilt Rock, an Ed Grindley route graded E25b put up in 1983 during the new routing frenzy on the Skye sea cliffs whilst Ed was doing lots of E4 first ascents, we thought it was pretty tough for the grade, lots of fist pulls and for much of the route thats all there was! Martin also led Frisky for Whisky and I led the friendlier Internationale and the brilliant ultra sustained Fi Fo Fum a little further north at the Tempest area. Shaping up to be v good season!

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Six days in the Costa del North Wales…

More holiday times,… I had a gap before heading north to Skye (this easter weekend) and with a good forecast,  friends in a similar -after winter, pre summer rush period, I hoped I could scrape together a great week in North Wales.  I did!  And am now getting ready for my next vacation due to last until early June on the Isle of Skye!

There was Llanberis slate, Tremadog, Lleyn Peninsular Adventure, Road biking, Gogarth and Rhoscolyn DWS finished off with managing Ivy League without a rest this time once back in Kendal.  Good times.

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Konrad in Australia on “A Grand day out”

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Luke about to do battle with the Chiselling in Dali’s Hole

 

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The Trefor Granite Quarry on the Lleyn Peninsular, though largely closed by the 1950′s it supplied the granite for the Curling stones in the 2002 Winter Olympics, was opened originally in the mid 19th century and exported granite via boat from the coast.

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But waiting to be converted into a Villain’s lair…

 

 

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The imposing buttress along the coast with adventure route Avernus HVS 4c *** Trwyn y Gorlech

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The view halfway up, 4b lichen covered wall, then its a 4c corner pitch round to the left

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Shags /Cormorants?

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Sun, grass and sea!

 

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Lovely sunset lit walk back o’er the top

 

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Liam at Gogarth, Main Cliff Upper tier, Winking Crack pitch 1

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Me just about to start the off width at the top of winking crack, happily equipped with a size 6 WC friend

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Liam jammed in the winking crack! Waited for years to do this route!

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Liam on the final crux pitch of “Gogarth” on the Main Cliff at Gogarth

 

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The next morning, high tide at Rhoscolyn, Finally did the amazing deep water solo, Electric Blue :)) This is the view from the top.

Another round of the passes on my bike, a good day!

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-And! finally managed Ivy League at Scout Scar “clean” on my shunt on the morning of my return to Cumbria.

 

Scout scar shunting and final touches to my camper

After returning from some New Forest DofE work I’ve been filling some time finishing my camper -still loads I could do… but its good enough for the mo and I’ve visited Scour Scar above Kendal a couple of times trying out shunting -which is great fun, just like Dave Birkett said, bouldering on a rope .

 

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Sh**e everywhere…

 

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Finished complete with folding out table!

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Ivy League at Scout Scar

 

Just back from a gd weekend in the Peak District

After spending ten days non stop renovating my new van into something habitable for April / May on Skye and beyond I headed down to the Peak for some fun. Saturday at High Tor where we climbed Robert Brown E3,5c,5b Nightmare of Brown Donkey’s E3,5c,5c and Sam led Flaky Wall E4 6a. A Brilliant Day, such a good crag.

Sunday was a morning session at Rubicon Wall where Sam nearly got his first in a session 7c and Zeitgeist 7b (a bit dirty) and I nearly got the classic Rubicon 7a cleanly done but not quite. After Lunch I headed out on my road bike for a circuit from Cressbrook towards Buxton, Bradwell and back, lot’s of folk out on their bikes or out for a walk. V summery. I then thought it would be wrong to head home without making the most of the last couple of hours of daylight so headed to Stanage for a couple of Solo’s at the popular end of Stanage. V Satisfied I drove back to Cumbria. I’m back to work this week finally working on a DofE Silver training in the New Forest for Sam Sykes Ltd. My season on Skye is just around the corner.

No pics from me this time as I forgot my camera this weekend, properly on holiday -as per normal but properly!… so heres a topo pic of part of the main Face at High Tor from the new Peak Limestone Rock Fax guide -showing a selection of routes, many more on the ground, Nightmare of the Brown Donkey’s starts as for No.2 and then trends up left towards the impressive looking overhang beneath the abseil tree.

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Skye Ridge Winter Traverse! 12th / 13th March

Wed,thurs this week Jake Phillips and I had plans to make the most of the high pressure system that has just come and ….gone:( we weighed up our options and with high daytime temps. And loads of snow about – including hanging above lots of things we’d want to climb made us think walking along a long ridge as long as possible would be the way to go, so…. Obviously the Skye Ridge! We’d also got some good beta from Mike Lates of Skye Guides, thanks for this Mike. -and we had a great track from these guys who made an entertaining vid thats gone onto UKC… http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=68780

And here’s my short video with some running narration! Got some great pics, how good was day 1!

Long weekend in Oslo, Xc skiing 7-9th March

Back yesterday morning from three great days in Norway visiting an old friend and making new ones. Around 80km of Nordic Skiing classic style, it’s been so mild there recently that it was a bit icey/slushy in the afternoons but still lot’s of fun. Only a small amount of face planting which is never as bad as you think it might be moments before impact, luckily no trees involved.  A beautiful city Oslo too, and beautiful people in lot’s of ways.  Will be great to return…

Open this link in a new tab for a soundtrack to go with the video below…

https://soundcloud.com/donna-mccarthy/sets/kristen-norway

Central Gully, Great End again! but different… 3rd March

Yesterday I met up with Steve for another day in the Lakes, this time on the ‘uber classic’ Central Gully on Great End.  Steve had last climbed it in the 70′s on his first ever winter outing! -with as he described, an ice axe that resembled a long toothpick with a plastic ice scraper on it’s end! V glad times have moved on, Steve still envied my new DMM Apex axes in comparison to his old Petzl Astars, and he should definitely invest in some leash-less knuckle friendly tools!

What an awesome day! Video and Pics below…

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/88141384″>Great End 3rd March 2014</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/francisbluntmountains”>Francis Blunt</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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North Face of Great End

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Local Herdwick Ewe at Seathwaite farm

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View towards Keswick

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Top end of the Derwent

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Great Conditions!

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Steve topping out the grade 3 section of LH Central

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Our Corniced exit awaits…

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Steve in the narrows, from our final belay

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Steve topping out, rather pleased!

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Scafell Pike looking great

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Old vs new…

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My great DMM Apex hammer with Sprinkling behind… note ground off spiky bit on it’s top for comfort whilst plunging and flattened hammer surface for easy hammering.

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Left or Right?