Sunday, 9 October 2011

Gairloch - 2nd and 3rd July 2011... more mid summer madness (and midges)!

Yet another fabulous weekend in this very special area. By now, no adventure at Stone Valley would be complete without some new routing...this time we put up 4 of what we think are new routes! And of course enjoyed the crag classics once more!

Saturday evening culminated in a spectacular drive along the coast past the beautiful wooded coastal havens around Badracho then onto the more exposed, wild and windswept West coast. The road ends spectacularly at Red Point, with beautiful reddish golden dunes, resulting from the surrounding red sandstone. Having forfeited dinner in the pub at Badachro for the opportunity to spend the evening outdoors we dined from our camp stove at the viewpoint at Redpoint, feeling as though having just completed one day, climbing, we were now being treated to a second bite of the apple: sightseeing. Thanks to it being close to the longest day, the evening seemed to go on forever in a glorious golden haze radiating out from the setting sun. And what a situation, with the north of Skye out west; the Cuillins to the south west and further south and east the Torridon mountains.
Walking down the last section of road from the viewpoint we passed an old house being renovated. Despite no occupants to be seen, there was a sign selling eggs and an honesty box...overseen by a peacock and a curious horse! A bit further on was another curiosity: a postbox, here in the middle of nowhere, set into a large boulder by the roadside. Charming!

A little further on and we had the beach to ourselves without a footprint to be seen, other than those created by birds. We enjoyed photographng the lovely effects of sunset over sea and sand ripples, while trying to avoid treading on literally millions of tiny sand hoppers, little gleaming golden nuggets leaping about in the magical light. Further on we found various large starfish, and their scattered dismembered limbs. Finally, as the sun was setting and the light fading, above the high tide line we came upon two oystercatcher eggs sitting in a slight hollow in the sand; amazingly exposed, but again with no human footprints anywhere to be seen.

 Stuart on Round the Block ... this gave us a good view of the delectable but thin looking slab to the left

Jeanie went on to on-sight this apparently new route - now submitted as: 
FarNorth Slab 15m VS 5a. J. Northover, S. Macfarlane. 2nd July 2011.
Just to the left of 'Round the Block' there is a slab with a corner on it's left. Climb the slab, which widens with height. Climb using the slab only and do not use the holds of the corner on the left or the higher holds of 'Round the Block' on the right. Corner used for gear lower down.

Another new route crying out to be climbed! Jeanie on-sighting, submitted as:

Game of 2 Halves 15m Hard Severe 4c. J. Northover, S. Macfarlane. 2nd July 2011.
To the left of the route above and to the left of the corner climb a steep rib to a platform. The start of the route involves a tricky bouldering move. From the platform avoid finishing left and climb the face to the right and up using bridging moves

Evening sun at Red Point

The little specks aren't all sand - sand hoppers were frenziedly leaping around

A very exposed nest for these Oystercatcher's eggs

Sun setting over the Uists

Back to the campsite after dusk had descended; very late at this time of year, but who cares, after a day and evening like that!

Stuart on his own new route, which just had to be called Cheesewire, sitting as it does to the left of an established route called Cheesegrater! Details:
Cheeseslice 10m Very Difficult. S. Macfarlane, J. Northover. 3rd July 2011.
To the left of 'Cheesegrater Slab' is a prominent crack. Climb the crack.

 While seconding Stuart on Touch and Go, Jeanie decided there was potential for a new route taking in some old favourites higher up: 
Albatross 25m VS 4c. J. Northover, S. Macfarlane. 3rd July 2011.
A wandering and anti-social route. Climb the crack on the right edge of the slab of 'Touch and Go' and veer left up steps at the top of the crack to finish at a niche with the main slab. Traverse scross the main slab of 'Open Secret' to the finishing corner of 'Inside Information'. Climb this awkward corner (crux).

Cheesewire to the left and Albatross on the right

A Game of Two Halves on the left; FarNorth Slab to the right

Midsummer at Reiff - 24th to 26th June 2011