/ Central Belt crag clean ups
If you are interested in cleaning and clearing up any local venues then post a response on here and we can organise suitable days.
Ratho has been the big one recently and I have already done some clearance work there: Beanpud, Rebel without claws and Rock-a-boogie are all cleaned and cleared and the descents opened up, but what else needs doing and what is the priority?
Rosyth has also been mentioned as another one, would there be any objections to thinning out the trees on the right hand side to let the light in?
The gorse at North Berwick needs cutting right back, especially in the finishing jugs of jaws of the law!
so basically, post on here with anything that has been cleared/cleaned and anything that needs doing and lets see if we can get the local venues in good nick again.
Is there any milage in a crag fund? Bit like a bolt fund but pays for skips, stakes etc.
Time is areal issue for me but i would happily chip in a regular amount.
> Is there any milage in a crag fund? Bit like a bolt fund but pays for skips, stakes etc.
> Time is areal issue for me but i would happily chip in a regular amount.
I'm happy to help and can provide some stakes, I may be able to get more if needed. It'd be a good idea to bring the main clubs in too, as they have an email contact list that will get to more than visit this thread on UKC.
Good idea starting this thread Jamie!
I'd be happy to help at Cambusbarron. I'd say the 'closed' one, aka 'Thorntons', is the one needing more attention than the open one (duh!) in that the vegetation is pretty overgrown in places, but the rock and most of the routes I've seen, are in decent condition. I have a fairly strong recollection of Nial McNair saying on scottishclimbs a few years ago that he'd thinned out some of the trees near the base of the rock, but I think a bit more wouldn't go amiss. The top outs generally seemed pretty good when I was last there a few months ago, but there may be some, particularly on the higher E-graded routes, which might benefit from some pruning of the top-side rhododendrons.
I currently have a couple of projects there anyway so now have a double excuse to get back.
Depending on when it was I would be prepared to attend a clean up day at some of the central belt crags to lend a hand, if you use them it doesn't hurt to protect/improve the resource.
Very good idea. And what should have happened in the first place.
Hopefully someone will clean the random lumps of metal out of a route on the main wall at Ratho. In the meantime I'll keep my eye open for anything I can do to help out. Might be at Camby/Limekilns/Starry soon and if I see anything I can prune / excavate will give it a go.
I'd be keen to help with a crag cleanup at Cambusbarran. The bottom of the (inside) quarry is pretty rank and might benefit from a limited tree cull if the landowner was happy?
If Im around I would be happy to help. Many good experiences around the central belt, so fair and right to give back. Keep me in the loop
+1 for Cambu.
Also happy to help if I'm available once dates etc get sorted.
Should we maybe try and narrow down a date to sometime in October perhaps? I'm thinking a weekend would probably be best for people? Maybe kick things off at Ratho seeing as it's had a lot of attention lately (plus if it chucks it down we can leg it indoors!).
Could we maybe also get a consensus on belay stakes at Ratho, best places for them to be situated etc?
Pettifar's Wall now cleaned of extraneous metal-work.
Routes on the left need an awkward scramble through gorse, over the fence, and back in the fence (or a full gorse assault) to get out to the fire escape. The fence has been smeared with tar in places which is unhelpful. Some organisation with Ratho would be useful to arrange a better descent, or more chains and stakes.
The E2 5b left of Pete's Wall that I can't remember the name of needs some gorse pruning at the top, but I didn't have time today. The finish is fine otherwise.
The flake on Strongarm is horrifying, I abseiled down to check after backing off the route the last time, it doesn't move much but is completely detatched, resting on the tiniest shattered plinth. Removing it or bolting it on would be ideal.
Tree clearance around the Wally 1 / Gruel Brittania area would be very useful. The abseil descent there is okay.
Good idea, I would be happy to help.
Cambusbarron get my vote too. I would be keen to try to excavate some of the routes on the back wall at Auchinstarry too.
I would be very happy to help out and especially with the crags more local to Glasgow. An October weekend sounds like a sensible starting place.
I'd be up for a clean-up/slash and burn session at Starry, reckon there's a few good routes sitting under all that gorse at the back.
If it can be organised I'm quite happy to be contacted through here/drive peeps from Glasgow/extract violent revenge against the jaggy bastard hordes...
I would also be interested in Starry, but same as others there needs to be a balance between making routes accessable and allowing wildlife to stay happy. There seems to be animal/bird activity of some type in the gorse in the Terrace area from Lion round to the Trundle slab. At least I think wait until the weather changes a bit more and any birds get the chance to fly off.
I get a lot of time off from work and would be more than happy to lend a hand when I'm around.
Could I suggest maybe starting a group on FB or something like that?
> Tree clearance around the Wally 1 / Gruel Brittania area would be very useful. The abseil descent there is okay.
Just another bump really but the bottom of Wally 1 is now several feet higher than it was before the top of the quarry was cleared during the building work. You might find that a bit of digging would reveal some more climbing. Agree about the tree clearing in that area I did a lot of pruning about five years ago but it really needs properly but sensitively "weeded" and then some pruning done every spring to keep new vegetation at bay.
Some clearance and tidying up of the decent route in that corner of the quarry would be useful too. Willie told me there used to be badgers in that corner. I've never noticed any sets myself but wonder if they might have come back.
Could I suggest doing it here instead for those of us who don't believe in Facebook?
I'm happy to muck in when time and work schedule allows, although it'd be nice if some of my more local crags were included!
Rosyth isn't too bad, but needs a little work, I wouldn't touch Limekilns with a bargepole due to the ever present threat of access issues ut Craiglug is a jungle and needs napalming to get it back in nick.
FWIW I had a quick wander round 'Starry yesterday in a brief break from work and, while I don't know it's usual state, it didn't seem too bad to me!
Jonnie3430: a supply of stakes would certainly be useful. Any suggestions as to locations that would benefit from them? - Rosyth, Ratho, Corbies?
I'm going to suggest the weekend of the 5th October if that suits and for a starting venue I'd go for (preferably) Ratho and then Auchinstarry since they're most easily accessible via public transport.
Would a mailing list be a suitable way of keeping everyone informed? if so then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll set one up.
I had a quick look around Cambusbarron (Thorntons) this afternoon. As I suspected it's really not in a bad state at all. Unfortunately I've mislaid my Lowland Outcrops guide but all the routes on the back wall from Power Of Endurance to Both Ends Burning looked ok, though perhaps some could do with a brush. The vegetation at the bottom and top of this section is not a problem at all. Some of the top-outs are a bit dirty, but I doubt would actually need cleaning except to make them cosmetically more pleasant. The only worrying thing was the complete lack of chalk on all these routes suggesting not a lot of traffic this year, and if this is not reversed I suppose things could degenerate. Revisiting the quarry reminded me just how good the lines are and it would be a real shame if neglect set in. A little bit of TLC and traffic is all that is needed. I'm not sure there is much point in organising anything before the winter, but I would certainly be happy to get something together and leave some encouraging chalk on the routes in the spring.
I have climbed quite a bit in Thorntons this year (easier VS stuff on the left) and some of the trees in this area could definitely do with going. Down at Rosyth there is quite a bit of scope for a clean out on the far right. Personally I would also love to see Dollar cleaned out but that is never going to happen as I seam to be one of the only people who climbs there!! I would be happy to help if I can.
Do you mean removing completely or trimming? I could never justify the complete removal of trees for my own climbing benefit.
> Do you mean removing completely or trimming? I could never justify the complete removal of trees for my own climbing benefit.
Normally, I'd agree with that sentiment, but in the case of Thorntons, I'd gladly make an exception. It's a complete rubbish tip to start with and the self-seeding of trees hasn't helped. Could defo benefit from some judicious felling.
With the greatest of respect, I am not sure that acceptable to you will equal acceptable to others. Especially not clean living wall bred trad converts.
You are a climbers climber ... I bet you checked lines first, top out second and then a quick glance round at general ambiance.
Limekilns, Aberdour, Traprain and even the big quarry are more frequented as they are nice(ish) places to be.
Even I found the wee cambu to be a bit too Heart of Darkness for comfort and I'm a trad sprauchler.
If we want to get some of the sport rockets out ticking Nandrolone then I reckon the whole quarry will need a (yuk! horrible phrase) makeover. Folks have come to expect a higher/easier standard in terms of access and general hang-out-ability.
I just cant see chicks n slackliners digging the primordial forest vibe.
Yes, it seems that ' crag clean up ' has ceased to refer to the removal of litter and shopping trolleys and now involves the removal of trees, grass and rock!
Neither of which would stop Thorntons being a greasy hole in the ground!
LOL. Good turn of phrase.
In reply to alan moore:
Errr that's what it always includes. Tree cover and loose rock are usually more of a problem to the actual climbing than shopping trolleys.
Im very keen to help out when time allows.Cambu closed would be a good place to start!! :-)
Also, is it worth starting a Facebook group to keep folk informed and current?
Tell the truth, you just want better stances to take decent photos from, dontcha?!
I'd second that - especially if any chain saw action is proposed. Unilateral tree chopping caused a lot of problems with local countryside wardens in Yorkshire some years ago - to the extent of threats of criminal action.
Find out what is involved from all concerned - not just climbers.
> You are a climbers climber ... I bet you checked lines first, top out second and then a quick glance round at general ambiance.
My main concern about Cambusbarron is that the excellent routes do not get neglected so that the retro-bolters don't have the (highly dubious) "it's filthy and hasn't ben climbed for years excuse". With a brush, some encouraging chalk, and perhaps some awareness through this thread these routes would deserve regular traffic; they are great lines and excellent by any outcrop standards.
If the bolters want to find new lines there, then, if there is a concensus that is fine by me, but I'm not going to clean the place up for them and make it an appealing place for their groupies to hang. That's up to them!
Excuse my ignorance again, but what's a sprauchler?
The quarry will always be a bit dank without a major felling operation, but needs not much attention to make the actual climbing very appealing - it already is; I felt quite psyched on Saturday looking at the damp E5's that spanked me in my youth.
I don't. I'd rather they stayed in the EICA but If they want to clean Nandrolone, they are free to do it themselves; the point is that it is there if they want to.
I understand that that was what started all the access problems at Limekilns years ago. Lord Elgin had some rare species of Ivy growing on one of the blocks. Some bright spark cleaned it and then told him, thinking he'd be pleased...
I think it's worth keeping in mind that many of these places are used by local people who are attached to them. I'm sure most folk whp've climbed at Cambusbarron have seen folk out walking their dogs etc. It's probably best if cleaning is done discreetly and sensitively, no slash and burn.
> Personally I would also love to see Dollar cleaned out but that is never going to happen as I seam to be one of the only people who climbs there!!
Bloody Hell! I have worked within five minutes walk of Dollar Quarry for the last fifteen years. I've visited it twice. Once to see if it was worth climbing there. It wasn't. A second time to see if it was worth dry-toolong there. It wasn't.
Aren't there a couple of awful low grade crags down your end of the Ochils which nobody ever climbs on ;-)
Maybe they would make good Bennie Beg type venues to keep the escapees from Ratho out of the way.
> Tell the truth, you just want better stances to take decent photos from, dontcha?!
errr, well there is that, yes :-) How you getting on with the project?
Yes, more Benny Begs are what we really need !
And Ratho; surely the ultimate crag clean up. A concrete floor, a roof and no trees.
> Yes, more Benny Begs are what we really need !
I'm serious. You go to them. IF no-one objected (a big and important IF), would they make reasonable low grade sport venues?
Except that you are not allowed to do the routes inside - Godzilla, Sahara and Doomed Oasis were perhaps the best route in the quarry!
I'm not suggesting that the removal of trolleys etc. is not on the cards, but that it is probably later down the line, especially since a shopping trolley is a convenient place to store all your cuttings ;)
Power Of Endurance, Big Country Dreams, Purrblind Doomster, Both Ends Burning, Anabolic Steroids - all climbed yesterday, cleaned and chalked. Thanks to Iain Small who did a lot of abseiling and brushing.
Quantum Grunt, Grace Under Pressure, Cybersex5, Nandralone, Anger Management, Trail Blazer - all have some residual chalk and no vegetation, but might be a bit greasy.
Other starred routes do need a good brush.
Still a fair amount of rubbish in the quarry but it doesn't get in the way of climbing. The main improvements would be:
Branch clearance off trees in front of Purrblind area.
More branch clearance or even tree clearance in front of Anger Management area.
Vegetation clearance from the walk-in between those two areas, greasy and unpleasant around STM bloc.
Clearing and flattening landings around the same area as getting onto the climbs is a bit mucky at the moment.
Open quarry is in usual good nick apart from beneath Public Spirited Individual which is a sticky burr apocalypse and I'm sure I'll be picking the fcking things out of my rucsac and clothes for the next week.
One current issue in Ratho:
Strongarm - the high side-runner flake in this photo: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=165252 is terrifying. I backed off this route the other week, and last week abseiled down to check the flake. It does not wobble but it booms like fck and is basically a completely detatched 3m high dagger of rock only held in place by the weight of it pressing on a breeze-block sized plinth at the bottom, half of which is completely shattered.
I don't know what should be done about it but I suspect it would be best either being crowbarred off, or having sika squirted behind and being bolted on. Seems extreme I know but it's a good-looking route and sometimes extreme measures are needed. As it stands it's only sensibly protectable by low RPs and a threaded bolt head, and a low left cam that blocks a useful foothold, so quite a bit harder.
Cambu closed: You naturally focussed on the harder, high-quality routes. The easier stuff on either wing also needs extensive brushing to remove dirt and lichen. The greatly increased leaf cover has created a much damper atmosphere in the quarry bowl. A bit of judicious tree pruning or thinning out would help.
It is an acquired taste for sure but some of the climbs there are enjoyable. The vegetation is not.
Trimming back would do the job quite nicely!!
The lower grade stuff on the left could really do with some more traffic and less foilage around.
Your right Jamie: I was just being a grump. It's sterling work people are doing. Heavy gardening is a thankless task! It'll be interesting to see if local folk will change habits and keep newly cleaned areas open...
Your right about that! i solod a few of the small climbs on the left(cambus in), at the top of some of them i was picking up brick sized blocks and throwing them from the crag, took a long time on 1 of the climbs to find something attached to hold onto!
If its that unstable, I would be tempted to lever it off before it causes a serious accident. Did the same for Ann Ledge a few years back and its a better route for it.
Of course its going to change the nature of the climb, but who knows, maybe there are some decent placements hiddent under there somewhere?
Will be back up north in a week or so, might have a look at it myself
Thanks for flagging it up!
Cheers Toph. It was me who nearly surfed the Ane Ledge ledge down.
I don't know if Strongarm has changed since the last normal leads, but it might have over the harsh winters. A second informed opinion would be useful.
The odd "double" belay stake is not safe and would be best removed.
i use it, but not as the only placement (using the left of the stakes). it is increadibly odd, cant see anyone but a climber putting it there.never seen anything like it anywere else.
Car Park area all in good condition apart from polish on Nijinski from the top-roping hordes. Routes on left now open up.
Railing around the back of the carpark prevents a sensible ascent of the E4 6a arete which was very dirty anyway.
Return Of The King quite grubby and could do with some more ascents. Brambles around this and the HVS just left are only just in check and really could do with a large scale removal.
Path to the top of Deep Throat Revived is quite horrible but that might be a good thing because it avoids the temptation to try Shiny Happy People which is a really nasty bit of work.
Anybody been to Clynder and/or Rosneath? The guidebook makes them sound "interesting".
I an reliably informed that it's in a terrible state.
Maybe it should get retro-bolted? *runs and hides*
and the troll of the year award goes to...
> and the troll of the year award goes to...
There's already 783 replies on the Ratho thread. If we could just keep the bolt trolling focussed it might easily get to 1,000, a possible record?
Are you refering to the access (ie vegetation) or the rock in general?
I am reliably informed it's in a fine state.
Clyder and Rosneath must have been a giant Simon "O"'Connor style troll. I know someone who went there and couldn't even get to the quarry due to carnivorous vegetation.
I have not visited Queensferry 2 very recently (ie this year) Last year it was in a deadful state: it was possible to squirm and bushwhack to the base of Scharnhorst, but nothing else was accessible.The quarry was very overgrown,and in a very unsavoury condition; not only in need of substantial tidying up; but also haunt of local youths up to no good.
(PS I know you think Dollar and Rosyth are "quite good". It was on a different scale of awfulness altogether!)
> I am reliably informed it's in a fine state.
I may be confused or unreliably informed after all then.
Is North Queensferry the sane as Queensferry 2?
I lived five mins away from N Queensferry quarry for years. It is a jungle.
Sharnhorst is still climbable I believe ... Adam Hughes rated it as one of the best E1s on local dolerite.
There actually is scope for bolted routes I think.
Is North Queensferry the sane as Queensferry 2?
Long, long ago the flooded quarry at Deep Sea World was North Queensferry Quarry 1, the hole in the ground presently under discussion NQQ 2.
I was climbing with someone on Sat who had climbed there in the last year or so, enjoyed Scharnhorst and didn't have any complaints about it. That's all I know.
Thanks Ian!! I take you don't think much of Rosyth then?
No. However, it has been kept largely in a climbable state. This is possibly due to its popularity as an SPA crag used by groups. The awfulness of North Queensferry is a warning to all who value(d) the central belt quarries.
I also recently visited north queensferry quarry - absolute jungle. 6 foot high nettles and brambles. Napalm would be my preferred cleaning method. However Sharnhorst, Dive and the boat DO look good!
- cleared out 3 binbags of rubbish from Nandralone, Spanking, and Purrblind areas. Didn't get all the broken glass as I was loosing the will to live after some of the stuff I picked up (including a can of what can only have been regurgitated slugs), but it's mostly out of the way.
- sawed off the overhanging branches on the walk-in to Nandralone area.
- sawed off a couple of branches on the tree near Purrblind.
- cleared a lot of ferns from the walk around between those two areas, and wirebrushed a lot of moss off the slippery boulders to make it easier to walk.
- cleared some plants and landings around Purrblind.
- patioed the landing beneath Anger Management's boulder problem start (but didn't get time to climb it)
- climbed Economy Drive E4 6a ** after Geek cleaned it. Not E3 and one of the harder E4s in the quarry with technical and precarious climbing all the way from the very start, and thankfully good protection. Very good climb, people need to get on it, just place a rope down the corner to lower off rather than the grim top-out.
- cleaned off Spanking The Monkey, now in fine nick, confirmed by Geek as "the best 7A in Scotland".
Hopefully that might help avoid any temptation to retrobolt another "neglected" quarry ;)
What is the current state of Auchenstarry around the Trundle Slab area? I was planning to go there this year but didn't manage it.
Definitely well done!! I love climbing at Thorntons but no where near E numbers yet so will stick to the easier stuff on the left.
Trundle Slab is in great condition as always.
Didn't have a look at the easier stuff on the left of Camby but I think the main requirement there would be more extensive tree clearance??
The routes on the left are no too bad lower down but the top outs are a bit sandy and dusty. Removing some of the foilage to leave the light in would be very beneficial.
A while back we had a wee discussion on UKC about starting to get some of the central belt crags cleaned up. It seems that the time is upon us. The plan is to head out to Ratho quarry on Saturday 5th October and see about clearing the place up in force. There will be plenty of time for climbing and socialising, so it won’t just be a marathon scrubbing session!
When to go:
anytime during the day, A few of us will catch the bus from Edinburgh early morning, feel free to drop in earlier, later and for
as little and as long as you like.
What to bring:
scruffy clothes are a good bet, as are any of the following that you can get your hands on: gardening gloves, secateurs, pruning saws, trowels, stiff yard brushes, static ropes and abseil gear.
To put something back into the local cragging scene, to discuss with a variety of climbers about the possibility of forming a Local Area Group similar to BMC meetings.
You can get in touch with me on 07594 591 472 or at email@example.com
Cheers and I hope to see you soon,
I'll not be able to make it on Saturday but make sure you take a few piccies and post them on here.
The plan is to head out to Ratho quarry on Saturday 5th October and see about clearing the place up in force.
I'll come along at some point.
I looked at the East Bay the other day. The routes there are excellent but their appeal is diminished by the two trees shrouding them. I wonder whether we could actually fell the trees to open the place up and get more light in there. It would need an appropriate saw and probably best consult with EICA first.
I can't make it either, but post if there is anything left to do.
Spoke to Buzby and he thinks there would be no problem removing the trees. Could anyone bring along an appropriate saw? The trees are not big - maybe 15cm or so in diameter.
Apologies if this is repetitive (haven't time to read whole thread), has the Quarry with the bunker in it at Corstorphine Wood in Edinburgh been mentioned? There are some routes recorded on the main back wall but it is largely unused due to building works going on underground. I had the occasion to speak to Martyn, the Site Manager, who said that if called in advance and a waiver signed he is happy to let people in to climb when it doesn't interfere with works (which as I said are largely underground). There seems to be some good rock there and interesting lines, some parts are already quite clean and others once cleaned could possibly reveal some decent routes. I'm quite keen to use the place as I live so near by but I'm not sure about its long term viability once it becomes a tourist attraction in 2 years time. If anyone else is interested I could find out from the Company due to operate it what the possibilities might be and refer back to this thread.
Cheers for that.
I climbed in there a few years ago when it was deserted but after an encounter with about 15 neds/rent boys who seemed to be using the place as an al fresco brothel it lost it's attraction. I had noticed the work going on there recently and had assumed that climbing would now be forbidden but it seems that's not right.
The climbing isn't as great as you might think it to be but it is worth visiting, especially if you climb severe/vs or boulder at a higher standard. I'd be interested to know if climbing would be allowed in the short term. I don't think it would need much cleaning.
Thorntons is in pretty good nick on all the major routes, Thursday's rain aside - there's not that much tree clearance that would need to be done in front of those. Some of the other routes would benefit, for sure, though.
Really good effort getting this sorted Jamie!
A good path cleared right round the top of the quarry.
Top-outs cleared and cleaned around Ourobouros area.
Trees felled in east bay to reveal the routes in all their glory.
Death flake (it was....) trundled from Strongarm (gear crack in sounder rock revealed).
Various other pruning of bushes.
Routes ear-marked for gardening in the spring!
I'm sorry I wasn't able to make it. Sounds like good work: many thanks to all involved!
Well done Jamie and team.
To follow on from what Rob's said, as well as top outs being cleared paths have been cut, hacked, slashed and excavated back to decent anchors at East Bay and above Sheer Fear.
Was nice meeting all those involved, though it would've been nicer if some of those who had been so vocal and opinionated in the various related threads had put their money where their mouth is and mucked in as well. Considering there was only 6 of us I reckon we got a hell of a lot done, hopefully there'll be a bigger turn out for the next one, if it's at starry then we'll need all the hands we can get.
Cheers again for organising Jamie, and well done to yourself Bob, that flake was bloody terrifying.
> A good path cleared right round the top of the quarry.
> Top-outs cleared and cleaned around Ourobouros area.
> Trees felled in east bay to reveal the routes in all their glory.
> Death flake (it was....) trundled from Strongarm (gear crack in sounder rock revealed).
> Various other pruning of bushes.
> Routes ear-marked for gardening in the spring!
All excellent. Sorry I wasn' there, was booked up. Glad the Strongarm flake is sorted and wasn't just my imagination!
Think you forgot a link bud.
Apologies for the no show; in my defense I was bedridden with a full-on man flu.
In reply to JamieSparkes:
Nice blog post. It looks like you all did some great work, thank you.
Good stuff people.
It was a bit far to travel from Kenya for the day, but if I'm around for the next project I'll definitely muck in.
It was last weekend - you were here :P
Checked out the photos on your blog.
Good effort. You should put a few up on here to show folks how clean the East Bay looks now.
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