Thursday, 24 May 2018

Classic Rock Pilgrimage

I'm a bit behind with the blog so this may be a quick entry! Jack and I both had a free day and decided to head to Binnein Shuas to climb the classic Ardverikie Wall. The plan seemed simple, get up early and head South. I think we opted to meet at work (carpark) at 7am assuming that this was early enough to get to the crag.

Jack on his steed

Not many gears on the old bike
Firstly I was surprised that when we arrived at the parking (just South of Craig Meagaidh) at maybe 8.30am the lay-by was nearly full and there were lots of climbers milling around (drat)! Secondly I was surprised when Jack pulled out a very old 'city' bike complete with dynamo lights for the 1 hour bike to the crag - I'd not payed attention when he stuffed it into the van!

Bikes stop here!
The bike in was great on good estate tracks. Surprise number 3, there were approx 8-10 bike stashed at the loch were you ditch the bike and continue the walk (30 mins) to the crag - whats going on, this is meant to be a semi remote mt crag!

A little stroll to the crag...
Maybe it shouldn't have been, but surprise number 4.... as we approached Ardverikie Wall we noticed teams strung along its whole length (people on each belay/pitch) and we were politely informed by a odd person at the base 'you are number 4 in line, we are number 2!'. Idiot....

Wow lots of rock!
We hung around for a short time weighing up options, but there were a few parties of 3 waiting and quite frankly they exuded incompetence and inexperience. We both agreed that we didn't want to join this 'show' so looked at other options..

And boy were we glad that we did! We did 3 x amazing routes, Kubla Khan, Cube Wall and Blaeberry Grooves, 250m of climbing combined in this magnificent setting. Occasionally we looked if Ardverikie Wall was free, but people kept arriving all day long (until 3pm!).

The top pitch of Kubla Khan
The rest of the prime rock was free of people and sublime. When we left around 4pm there were still people queuing on the whole route. So I was very surprised by the number of people here, but I was also blown away by the quality of climbs here, so I will be back for the HVS and E1's, and maybe Ardverikie Wall, but I'm now not that worried.

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