At the end of the road where it joins the A82 a stream gully come off the Aonach Eagach. A ten minute walk up and there is a crag with a crack line full of pegs and an overhang which was used for aid practise by Glencoe Climbing school in the 60's/70's. I free climbed it at about E2/5c and there is a stiff pull over the overhang. It's a bit of fun although short. I wouldn't trust the pegs.!
|The Drey Crag|
|Mike Hall and I playing on "The Red Walls" above the Drey sometime early 1980's. Some good easy bouldering up there|
Up the gorge leading to Allt na Ruigh cottage coming down from the A82 is "The Bendy" with routes from the E1 5b Jim l' Fix It by me on the lower left, to E4's by Murray Hamilton and Gary Latter. I did "Simmering Psycho" which had a peg runner at the top as the cracks were blind and micro wires wouldn't fit. E3/5c and good natural pro to that point, then finishing up a groove rather more natural than the blanker walls of the harder routes and their exploding crimpy holds and RP pro. These crags were cleaner and well climbed at one time, so its shame folk don't re-clean and climb them now. I often wondered if this would be a safer and better sport venue. I doubt the FA would mind. I wouldn't.
Some advice on when to climb these routes, if you want to try them. The Bendy is a morning crag as it gets the sun early. The leaning wall at the bottom of the dry gorge is a spring crag or early evening summer as it catches the late afternoon sun and as its got a really nice outlook and grassy bottom so its a lovely spot with a cracking pool for a swim on the way back.
It would be nice to see folk enjoying these routes and although the main loose rock work was done years ago, they will require a brush up to clean them.
Like everything slate in this slate quarry, the rock is questionable and not without some risk. However, there are some slabs of firm hard rock with nice quartzy pockets. Its all now mossed up as no one uses it anymore but at one time a few folk played in here on occasion, or when desperate.
There are quite a few other routes, even a severe by Mike Hall up a slab on the big back wall 2nd terrace. It's esoteric and some areas high risk of rockfall on approach. Plenty of scope if someone wanted to make sport routes on some big slabs of harder rock that is pocketed.
Just inside the quarry. Stakes at the top and a large block. Was popular with an outdoor centre and some military groups.
A The left Rib. Climbed by many over the years at least since the 1970’s Hard Severe’ ish
B The wrinkled quartz slab with pockets. DG 1978 5a/b
C The wrinkled quartz slab further right. DG 1978 5a/b
D The polished central line. A top rope favorite used by local outdoor centers from 1976. Severe’ ish
E Further right still the slightly harder polished line used by outdoor centers Severe’ ish
F A boulder heave on questionable rock. DG 1978 5a/b
Above here hidden now behind some trees is the orange wall. This has two routes. One on the left side (5) by Paul Farrel and one up the middle (6) by DG. Both about 5b. Bear in mind these were done 35+ years ago so the grades a bit out but this was from memory quite a good bit of rock.
The Boozers Bay:
Further into the quarry is a bay now overgrown and fenced off, although still possible to easily squeeze past into it.
The lower of the prominent crack lines (1) is about 5a/b and the one above (2) harder and a bit sketchy and was done on a top rope. The two lines straight up (3) crossing these are good fun on small quartz holds and good footwork helps, both soloed at about 5a/b. (4) is the best and was good fun. A route was done in the corner of the slab by a visiting Welsh climber and had a peg in place and was about E3 6a. It has never been repeated as far as I know. Can't think why!
The main crag routes are all in the outcrops guide and a bit like grit routes being quite pumpy. Shuttlecock is a great route worth *** on the east (far left). Up the obvious corner is a cracker with good pro, and the original finish (pitch 2) went up a leaning block and had a step across and then up. Great situation and views from that first belay above the trees. The top block of pitch 2 was pretty hollow but if its still there since 1983 could be ok but the top out needs a clean. Shuttlecock would get 3 or 4 ascents a week for years until this crag fell out of favor. Probably because the Ferry bar wasn't as good a pub anymore! An alternative is to belay at the top of the corner and then move right and up to where the central corner exits where there was some fixed gear now rotten that I left 35 years ago. There is also a direct start to Shuttlecock by me leading into the lower corner from the left which is about 5b/c. We tended to ab off the top which was a free abseil and part of the fun. Have an auto block as back up!
|George Reid gets off the ground on Shuttlecock 1982|
|Davy Gunn finishing Shuttlecock 2nd ascent about to step left from the block pitch 2 original finish. pic Fiona Gunn|
Further down towards Oban and above Kentallen bay is a Limestone crag. Best reached from an easy walk across the hill from Duror hall or a straight bushwhack up the sheep tracks from the parking at the old pier or cycle track. All the routes have steep boulder starts and then nice slabs and grooves with gear to finish. Belays were a bit scarce at the top but maybe the birch trees have grown and will be stronger. "Prawn" and its neighbours was a nice VS all cleaned and led by me. Ed Grindly did "up periscope" 6a. I think Gary Latter did a route and rumor had it Dave MacLeod did a route here. On the left edge there is a rock recess and there were was good route by Bob Hamilton up the corner at HVS and I did two HVS's on the right of this and an E4/6a on the left which was never topped out due to water but had a lower off peg. The evening views from this crag are stunning and due to sea breeze its usually midge free. The West (right) edge also had some boulder problems.