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bouldering

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									                                                                                                                                                     MCofS Fact File No.3
 Rory Howett in Glen Rosa, Arran        Where do I get more information?
                                        General books: Stone Play, the Art of Bouldering (2007) by John S Watson
                                        (Stone country Press)
                                        Guidebooks: SMC Guidebook Series (all definitive guides have some boulder-
                                        ing information and an SMC Bouldering in Scotland Guide is due in the future)
                                        Stone Country, Bouldering in Scotland (2005) by John Watson (Stone Country
                                        Press); Bouldering in Scotland (2008) by John Watson (Stone Country Press)
                                        Ullapool Bouldering (2007) by ian taylor (from Northwest outdoors shop tel:
                                        01854 613 383); Gabbrofest (2007) by James Sutton (Private); Glen Nevis
                                        Bouldering (2005) by tom Ballard (Private); Strathspey Bouldering by Mike
                                                                                                                                                                                                  www.mcofs.org.uk




                                                                                                                                       iN SCotlaNd
                                        Gale (available from outdoor shops in aviemore)
                                        Websites: See www.stonecountry.co.uk for download pdf guides of a whole range
                                        of bouldering areas in Scotland including many of the above venues and www.
                                        stonecountry.blogspot.com for news. also www.boulderscotland.co.uk.
                                        See www.Scottishclimbs.com for forums and topo guides. See www.ukbouldering.
                                        com for forums. See www.johngill.net for a historical written by american boulder-
                                        ing guru. a Visitor Guide to Rock Climbing is available on the
                                        MCofS website at www.mcofs.org.uk/visitor-guides.asp.
                                        Parents Guide: More detailed information about participa-
                                        tion and progression can be found at www.mcofs.org.
                                        uk/kids-info.asp.

Look After the Bouldering Environment
Conservation:
a boulder mat can help reduce
erosion at the base of problems. the MCofS Crag




                                                                                                                                    bouldering
Code gives advice about minimal impact: erosion,
cliff vegetation, nesting birds, sanitation, litter, group
use and transport. See www.mcofs.org.uk/crag-
code-leaflet.asp

Access:
You have the right to walk and climb
on most land in Scotland as long as
you do so responsibly. What does that
mean? – know and practice the Scottish outdoor
access Code. See more at www.mcofs.org.uk/
access-law-and-soac.asp.

Join Us                 Membership Benefits for Climbers
                        • Free Quarterly Scottish Mountaineer magazine (for regular bouldering, climbing & coaching articles) oR:
                         • Free digital Version of Scottish Mountaineer (direct to your Email)
                         • Reduced entry to Youth Climbing Competitions in Scotland
                         • access to Coaching Sessions (coaching in performance)
                         • access to REalrock Sessions (outdoor climbing)
                                                                                                                                                                            mountaineering council of scotland
                         • access to the Climbing Bursary (grants for competitions and climbing)
                          • Reduced subscription to ‘Climber’ magazine
                          Membership Categories: individual Youth (under 18yrs); individual adult; Family; Graduate
                           Scottish Kids Climbing Clubs (MCofS Members): these are clubs operated by parents dedicated
                           to encouraging their children’s climbing. Membership of the club entails both parent and child.
                           they will be expanding in number across Scotland. Contact the following:

The Quickdraw Climbing Club: Based at the EiCa:                                         See www.mcofs.org.uk/join-us.asp or
Ratho (visit www.quickdrawclimbingclub.com)                                            tel: 01738 493 942 pay by PayPal at
The Lead-On Club: Based at aviemore (contact MCofS)
Granite City Rock Stars: Based in aberdeen (visit www.granitecityrockstars.blogspot.com)
Photos by Dave Macleod, Kevin Howett, John Watson (Stone County Press), Tim Morozzo
Bouldering                                                                               John Watson on Fingerlicker
                                                                                                                          Where can I go bouldering?
                                                                                                                          Indoor Venues
                                                                                          on the sandstone sea caves      all the major climbing walls have dedicated areas for bouldering.
What is it?                                                                                          of Cummingston
once regarded by those with beards as                                                                                     these big walls are at inverness, aberdeen, aviemore, dundee,
merely training for bigger climbs, it has                                                                                 Edinburgh, EiCa: Ratho; Glasgow and Kinlochleven. Some of the                                                  the Bloodstone
always been a separate discipline to those                                                                                smaller walls have only bouldering facilities (e.g. alien Rock2,                              Reiff

who recognised its true importance. it is the                                                                             Edinburgh; Carnegie leisure Centre, dunfermline; lochaber leisure
                                                                                                                                                                                                         ardmair Beach          ✖                         Cummingston
essence of climbing: pure dance on rock,                                                                                  Centre, Fort William; Kelvin Hall, Glasgow; atlantis Sports Centre,                                          tom Riach
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Kishorn Ship                     ✖
without the incumbent ‘gear and fear’.                                                                                    oban). See the Climbing Walls directory on the MCofS website at          Carn liath              Boulder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Brin Rocks
   the interest lies in trying to do the hardest                                                                          www.mcofs.org.uk/find-climbing-wall.asp.                                    Coire
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              link Boulder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Portlethem
                                                                                                                                                                                                      laggan         Bonnet Stane
moves possible over short vertical heights                                                                                Outdoor Venues                                                                                                  Glen                  ✖
(usually no more than 5m high) or long                                                                                    almost exclusively located at lower altitudes, but there are a few up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Glen Nevis               lednock
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             luath Stones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chasm
sustained traverses, where the risk of hurting                                                                            in the mountains for rare sunny summers. Bouldering in Scotland is                loch    Kennedy                                Glen Clova

yourself when falling is very small.                                                                                      in the middle of an explosion of interest, with new problems and
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Buie                               Glen ogle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Clach damh
   it has its roots in (and is epitomised by) the                                                                         new areas being discovered (and some rediscovered) across the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Glen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Croe                      Ben ledi
                                                                                                                                                                                                            loch Sloy
ascent of free-standing boulders. Nowhere is                                                                              country too fast for up-to-date records in guidebooks, so the internet                    Nanairn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ✖    Ravenscraig

this better illustrated than on the hundreds of                                                                           is the font of all such knowledge. Here are some places to look for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      loch Katrine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ✼                   Salisbury Crag
sandstone boulders in the forest of Fontainebleau near Paris (one of the world’s best venues) where it was all start-     (indicating ‘best for’ grades):                                                       Glen Rosa
ed in the 1870’s by the ‘Bleausards’. Not long after (in 1898), bouldering was being recorded by British climbers                                                                                                                      Clochdrick
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Stone
oscar Eckenstein, o G Jones and aleister Crowley (and others) in the lakes and North Wales, and in Scotland by            Of National Importance:     ✼                                                                Cat Stone

‘the Boulder Society’ of t Fraser and S Campbell on Clach Mor and the Bruce’s Stone on the isle of arran.                 dumbarton (the best and the hardest! VB-V14)                                                                            thirlstane
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ✖
                                                                                                                          Good for Everyone:
What kit do I need?                                                               Kirsty McBride
                                                                                                                          Salisbury Crag (Edinburgh City Central: south quarry); Loch Katrine
Not a lot!                                                                        being spotted
                                                                                  well on Danny’s                         (by the steamer: 50+ problems, V0-V9); Loch Sloy (scattered under a dam: 20+ problems, V4-V8); Craigmaddie (Gritstone
• Rock shoes                                                                                                              in Scotland: 20+ problems, V0-V9); Glen Lednock (road-side, dam-side: 100+ problems, VB-V9); Weem (deep in the woods:
• Chalk bag and chalk                                                             Wall, Loch Buie,
                                                                                  Mull                                    20+ problems, V2-V5); Luath Stones (on a low hill: 70+ problems, V0-V5); Brin Rocks (in a tolkien forest: 70+ problems,
• Soft brush (for cleaning holds)                                                                                         V0-V9); Reiff in the Woods (below Stac Pollaidh: 30+ problems, V1-V7); Loch Buie, isle of Mull (gabbro by the seaside:
• Crash Mat                                                                                                               50+ problems, V0-V6)
• Rag & finger tape
                                                                                                                          By The Sea: ✖
                                                                                                                          Portlethen (aberdeen coast pigs: 100+ problems, V0-V11); Cummingston (sculpted sea caves: 100+ problems, V2-V5);
How is it Done?
                                                                                                                          Ravenscraig (Kircaldy soft sandstone: 20 problems, V1-V4); Ardmair Beach (Ullapool all-weather: 20+ problems, V2-V5);
No ropes, no protection devices, just you and the rock: the route you climb
                                                                                                                          The Thirlstane (Sea Cave eliminates, 15+ problems, V7-V11); Reiff (seaside sandstone: almost unlimited)
being a ‘boulder problem’. Falling off is a normal part of bouldering. You
may even be able to jump back down after completing the problem, de-                                                      Glens Full of Boulders:
pending on the height and landing. But when a boulder is high (5m+) and                                                   Glen Nevis (Polldubh & Steall: 700+ problems on immaculate rock, V1-V13); Glen Clova (Schist below the Red Craigs &
the landing is rocky, fear rears its ugly head and such problems are denoted                                              remote Granite: 50+ problems, VB-V5); Glen Croe (Schist on the Cobbler and the Brack: 100+ problems, V0-V10); Glen
as ‘Highball’ and become soloing of ‘routes’. there are ways of making it                                                 Ogle (scattered and variable Schist across the dark-side: 30+ problems, V0-V7)
safer – good ‘spotting’ (see below) and the use of crash mats to cover bad
                                                                                                                          Up A Mountain:
landings. Many problems start from standing, but if the boulder is small and
                                                                                                                          Ben Ledi (high on a hillside: 75+ immaculate problems V1-V6); Coire Laggan (gabbro in a Skye mountain corrie: <100
the holds allow, starting from sitting increases the challenge (a ‘sit start’).                                                                                              problems, V1-V7); Carn Liath (Skye’s more weird side: 50+ problems,
                                                                                                                             Font Grade       V Grade      British Technical V1-V6); Glen Rosa (apline meadow under Cir Mhor: 20+ problems VB-V4);
Spotting & Falling: two vital techniques that can mean the difference                               Tim Rankin on a sit
                                                                                                                                                                 Grade
                                                                                                                                                                             Kishorn Boulders (best applecross sandstone: 20+ problems, VB-V5)
between failure and success. learn to fall off with confidence and stop your                          start problem and
                                                                                                                                >3                VB               >4c
                                                                                                                                4               V0-           4c, 5a
partners landing out of control but don’t get flattened by them!                                 using boulder mats to                                        5a, 5b
                                                                                                                                                                          BIG STONES (solitary monoliths):           Rhiconnich Arete on the
                                                                                                                                4+              V0
                                                                                                          cover the bad         5               V0+           5a, 5b
                                                                                                                                                                          The Bonnet Stane (duntelchaig) aka         Bloodstone Boulder
Route Descriptions, Grades & Style                                                                  landing, Kayla 8a,          5+              V1            5b, 5c      The Ruthven Boulder; Link Boulder (
the grading system used is specific to bouldering. Whilst many areas in                         Porthlethan, Aberdeen         6a, 6a+           V2            5c, 6a      Cairngorm Ski Road); Cuca Boulder
                                                                                                                              6a+, 6b           V3            6a, 6b      (aviemore town Boulder); Tom Riach
Europe have adopted that used for Fontainebleau (‘Font’) others have ad-
                                                                                                                               6b+              V4             6b         (Conglomerate Culloden Battlefield);
opted that created by John Sherman for Hueco tanks in america (‘Vermin’                                                       6c, 6c+           V5            6b, 6c      Clochdrick Stone (in a field near irvine);
or ‘V’). Font grades cover the usual vertical problems (‘bloc’) but also many                                                   7a              V6            6b, 6c
                                                                                                                                                                          Narnain Stones (a courting couple on the
linked problems (‘circuits’) which are graded for the whole circuit and they                                                   7a+              V7              6c
                                                                                                                                                                          Cobbler!); Kennedy Boulder (a Glen Croe
don’t seem to compare! in Scotland (indeed the UK) we are split between                                                       7b, 7b+           V8            6c, 7a
                                                                                                                                                                          masterpiece); The Chasm Boulder (under
                                                                                                                                7c              V9             7a
the two and often include a ‘British technical grade’! For complex problems                                                                                               the Chasm!); The Ship Boulder (torridon
                                                                                                                               7c+              V10            7a
where individual holds are excluded or included, detailed descriptions are                                                      8a              V11           7a, 7b      perfection); The Bloodstone Boulder
followed, otherwise photo-topos or topo-maps show the general line, all                                                        8a+              V12            7b         (Rhiconich and roadside); The Cat Stone
holds within grasp being used. obviously an ‘on-sight’ style (completed first                                                 8b, 8b+           V13            7b         (arran road kill); Clach Damh (looking
go with no knowledge) is best.                                                                                                8b+, 8c           V14            7b         onto loch lubnaig)

								
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