Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Old Man and the Shepherd

On Saturday morning Dave and I left the Isle of Skye and headed North, in search of dry rock and adventure. We had no fixed plan, just a select guidebook, a tent and some climbing kit. Our first stop was at the small coastal village of Diabaig where immaculate rock allowed us to get warmed up on some multi pitch routes by the sea. We climbed a selection of routes from HVS to E1 in the sunshine with the highlight being The Black Streak (E1 5c, 5b), an amazing crack climb on superb rock - a must do route! 

We then headed further North to the small village of Stoer with a loose plan to climb The Old Man. This is probably one of the friendliest of Scotland's sea stacks and was made even friendlier by a rope that had been put in place on the tyrolean traverse by a couple of teams ahead of us. They were on Original Route which suited as as we climbed Diamond Face Route (E1, 5a, 5a, 5b) which gave well protected climbing on good quality rock and some lovely sunshine. 

Now in the mood for sea stack action we headed further North to Cape Wrath, we couldn't really drive any further North on the West coast. A pleasant walk across the moors saw us stood looking across at Am Buachaille (The Shepherd). The sea was pretty rough and the weather deteriorating so there were plenty of reasons to turn around - it also looked quite intimidating just getting to it! Nonetheless we quite literally took the plunge with a swim across and climbed the route via Pateys Original Route (HVS 4c, 4c, 4c). The rock was pretty poor, loose and sandy and the whole thing felt pretty exciting but that was what we had come for. I would definitely take a wetsuit though if I was planning it again! 

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