First Ascent on Rannoch Moor
Over the last while me and Jen have been exploring some boulders that are often overlooked on the way to more popular areas. Now there are often reasons that these areas are largely driven past… they are often home to only a few problems and aren’t always host to the most striking lines, but we’ve been having a lot of fun exploring.
The highlight has really been Rannoch Moor. The climbing in this area really only revolves around one boulder with a bit more room for expansion, but it is home to a few really good problems – a few tricky slabs and one or two harder lines. The highlight is the rock quality, it’s insane! A really compact granite, bone white and very hard, creating problems that revolve around friction and using the crazy wavy features that define the boulders. And you get to hang out in one of the coolest places in Scotland, somewhere that everyone drives through but never stops. Well now there is a good reason.
The main reason I’m flying the flag so passionately for this area is because I was lucky enough to add a line to this awesome boulder. It’s on the sloping front face and follows a line of least resistance up a Christmas tree feature. It’s made up of a few really hard compression moves with proper bad feet. I had a session on it about a month ago after cleaning it up and it felt really hard. I managed to piece everything together except transitioning from the sit to the stand – a complex move on poor holds had me stumped. The second session went better though, and with a break for a quick rain shower (gotta love exposed granite) I managed to pull the whole thing together and climb it. It’s a hard one to grade but sits firmly as one of the cooler climbs I’ve completed, and it’s a style that suits me and I enjoy. It’s very similar to a problem in Squamish called The Egg, that I climbed a couple of years ago (about one min into this video Slice of Squam) which is why I called it Scotch Egg.
It also seems to be somewhere between 7b+ and the same grade as the egg, but that should be taken with a pinch of salt as with all lines that are newly opened. Best bit is I got to spend a couple of hours in one of the nicest places around!