/ NEW ARTICLE: Ultimate UK Trad: Pabbay & Mingulay

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UKC Articles - on 11 Mar 2014
Bridging wide on pitch 2 of Spit in Paradise, Pabbay, 4 kbPabbay & Mingulay are uninhabited islands in the Outer Hebrides containing some of the best adventurous trad climbing in Britain.

The sea cliffs are solid, steep, juggy and well protected, what more could you ask for?

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=6162

johncoxmysteriously - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Is it me, or does George Ullrich have very orange legs?

jcm
Michael Gordon - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article. I don't quite understand the gritstone reference though - the two rocks could hardly be more different!
andrewgraham on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to Michael Gordon:

Or how it's possible to have long walks in/out? Very small islands?
TonyM - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to andrewgraham:

> Or how it's possible to have long walks in/out? Very small islands?

Can only speak for Mingulay on a visit a long, long time ago. But the campsite is at sea level on one side of the island and the crags are on the other side. Rough tussocky under foot (no paths back then at least) and you've got 100m ab rope plus all gear and clothing for the day, so that daily approach is not exactly a 10min bimbly skip.
Good advice about the weather. Prepare for the all eventualities. Storms saw most tents in our party blow down, but our mountain tent stood up.
Robert Durran - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

No! No! No! Too much information......to which I might add that it always rains (being Scotland) and once there it's impossible to run away from the weather, so you'll almost certainly have a completely wasted trip. Anyway Spain is quicker, cheaper and easier to get to from the home counties (and much sunnier).
phleppy on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Wonder what the midges are like at that campsite!
Robert Durran - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to phleppy:

> Wonder what the midges are like at that campsite!

Intolerable.
Steve Crowe - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:



> The sea cliffs are solid, steep, juggy and well protected, what more could you ask for?


Good weather.

submariner - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

He's right you know, plus the climbing is completely overrated.
philhilo - on 11 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

....and I am still looking forward to our trip there in May/June, bring it on! Super psyched to train harder - wo ho! Will be packing snorkelling kit to as the water looks awesome too - a cooling relaxing paddle after a beasting on the crags, maybe spot a basking shark or two, you never know.

Gary Latter - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No! No! No! Too much information......to which I might add that it always rains (being Scotland) and once there it's impossible to run away from the weather, so you'll almost certainly have a completely wasted trip. Anyway Spain is quicker, cheaper and easier to get to from the home counties (and much sunnier).


Robert, this comment made me laugh! I do recall the last trip I had out there (organised by you!) that you and numerous others (including my supposed climbing partner!) bottled out due to a poor long range forecast and went to Pembroke instead.... That's the trouble with folk sitting at computers all day, checking weather forecasts! It did rain a bit on the first day (though we did climb fair number of routes), then we hadamazing weather rest of trip, almost too hot at times. Some of the new routes we did include Sunshine's Better, Hot enough for ya?, Little Miss Sunshine and It Aint Half Hot Mum....Oh how we laughed. And one of the party got mild sunstroke!

And no, I'm not making this up. ;D

Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Gary Latter:

> And no, I'm not making this up. ;D

It's all lies! And it was lovely in Pembroke....

Anyway, what about that trip to Lewis when you insisted the forecast could be safely ignored? I think we climbed one route (or maybe two) before bailing out. You win some, you lose some.....
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to philhilo:

> Will be packing snorkelling kit.

The only kit likely to be of any use. And that's just for getting out of your tent for a piss.
Dave Tibbits on 12 Mar 2014
Out of interest is there enough there for an average vs/hvs punter to have a go at? Lots of big grades being mentioned In the article...
AlanLittle - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to TonyM:

> you've got 100m ab rope plus all gear and clothing for the day

Does this need to be every day? Couldn't you cache at least the ab rope somewhere near the climbing? Clothing, ok, less so.

Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to AlanLittle:

> Does this need to be every day? Couldn't you cache at least the ab rope somewhere near the climbing?

No. The Bonxies will peck it through. The whole rope carrying business makes a trip almost unendurably arduous.
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Dave Tibbits:

> Out of interest is there enough there for an average vs/hvs punter to have a go at?

No. Waste of time unless you're climbing at least E4.
Andy Moles - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
> No! No! No! Too much information...

Inclined to agree. I think the islands are publicised enough to ensure they get as much traffic in-season as their camping grounds sustainably permit. I don't think they need a UKC feature to promote them any further.

I'm aware this is probably a bit selfish and hypocritical coming from someone who's been a couple of times.
Post edited at 10:01
Kyle Warlow - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Dave Tibbits:

Judging by this, I think you'd be ok...

http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=3512
Steve Crowe - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

... You win some, you lose some.....

Our last trip to Sandray was so windy the the sea spray was falling like rain on the other side of the island!



Clint86 - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy Moles:

Inclined to agree. I sometimes wonder why people give so much publicity to themselves and the crags/mountains. I guess ego wears off as one gets older.
Chad123 - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to UKC Articles:

Random question to those who have been, are there any beaches or sea access points on the west coast for surfing, was hoping to get a group together in August and wondering if taking a board would be worth it? Cheers.
Bob on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Chad123:

The beaches are east facing. I've been to Pabbay and there's not really anywhere other than the beach and the landing point that the RIB uses that I'd like to use.
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy Moles:

> Inclined to agree. I think the islands are publicised enough to ensure they get as much traffic in-season as their camping grounds sustainably permit.

Yes. Call it selfishness if you want, but I really do hope the effort, expense and commitment of time needed to climb on the islands means that they never become too popular. It really would be a shame if, in particular, the camping areas became at all insanitary or in the slightest way spoiled. I hope that all climbers will continue to arrange appropriate toilet facilities (ie a pit) and protect the fragile water supplies. It would be a great shame if access restrictions ever became necessary. And, quite frankly, the island experience wouldn't be the same if you had to share one with another party.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
If I have my finger on a button for testing of a bomb on the Islands I presume it's okay to press, since the islands are so horrible anyway? ;)
Post edited at 19:03
John2 - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Obviously Robert, the best tactic is to sail there in your own yacht.
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> If I have my finger on a button for testing of a bomb on the Islands I presume it's okay to press, sice the islands are so horrible anyway? ;)

I've already been testing my biological and chemical weapons on both these god-forsaken islands (where better?). They won't be safe to visit for at least 100 years.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Touché! ;)
Misha - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

I've organised a CC (plus hangers on) trip there for the end of May, two boat loads. Turns out there will be another two groups of climbers there. Anyone else thinking of going there the last week of May, please heed Robert's advice!
Misha - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No. Waste of time unless you're climbing at least E4.

I assume that's a bit tongue in cheek! Plenty of great routes at E1 and E2 from what I gather and some at HVS, plus the whole island experience. It wouldn't be top of my list as a VS/HVS leader (Lundy would be a far better bet) but there would be some stuff to do. Still, most of the quality stuff if E1+. Gary's guidebook a very good for giving an idea of what' out there.
submariner - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I hope that all climbers will continue to arrange appropriate toilet facilities (ie a pit)

Shitting in the sea is the most sustainable toilet solution, breaks down and disperses very quickly.
Misha - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy Moles:

> Inclined to agree. I think the islands are publicised enough to ensure they get as much traffic in-season as their camping grounds sustainably permit. I don't think they need a UKC feature to promote them any further.

Don't we all need some inspiration?

Realistically, not that many people will ever go there due to the difficulty of getting there (the main one being to find enough like minded people who have time off at the same time!), the grades and the committing nature of most of the climbing.
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:

> I assume that's a bit tongue in cheek! Plenty of great routes at E1 and E2 from what I gather and some at HVS, plus the whole island experience.

You could certainly have a good time climbing easier, but to properly get on what the islands are all about (compared to other UK venues), I would say E2 and above is where it's really at. Think Prophecy of Drowning and Sula.

By the way, I've had 42 days on the islands in 6 trips with only two days climbing completely lost to the weather and another three of four showery days. However, I have probably been really lucky; I know people who have had grim total wash outs. Anyway, now that the islands are smothered in my anthrax spores, it's all academic anyway. Go to Lundy.
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to submariner:

> Shitting in the sea is the most sustainable toilet solution, breaks down and disperses very quickly.

If I go on Mr Jones' trip with you this summer, I hope I'm not going to be sharing my morning dip with your morning dump.
Robert Durran - on 12 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:

> Realistically, not that many people will ever go there.

But see your previous post....... sounds horrendous.
Andy Moles - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:
> Realistically, not that many people will ever go there due to the difficulty of getting there

I think with four boat loads on Pabbay you'll soon see what I mean!

Not that you won't have a great trip, but even with two boat-loads the second time I went it felt busy, and it could be a bit competitive for getting on the super-classics as well.

Andy Moles - on 13 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:

On another note, Donald must be raking it in now!
Misha - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:
Although I hear there are great E1s as well.
Misha - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Andy Moles:
I wouldn't want four boat loads, not least because it would overcrowd the camping area. There will be two boats going to each island. One CC and one other party. So at most 24 people per island, assuming no one else joins the party!

It's nice to have the island to yourself (although I'd want at least six people for safety reasons and that is also the minimum for Donald to sail) but it is what it is. I don't fancy queuing for classics but I gather there are loads of routes that are only marginally less brilliant.
Grigor on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:

Misha's actually just going with his climbing partner and a couple of other friends. He's just a touch more subtle than Mr Durran... ;-)
Misha - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Grigor:

Rumbled!

But no, it's all true.
Robert Durran - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:

> Although I hear there are great E1s as well.

Yes, but there aren't Prophecies or Sulas anywhere else!
Robert Durran - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Misha:

> It's nice to have the island to yourself (although I'd want at least six people for safety reasons)

I was once on Pabbay for several days with just one other person and absolutely no means of communication. It was really wonderful.
James Edwards - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Do people sea kayak over from South Uist and climb / camp? Has anyone any experience of doing this?
James
Bob on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

South Uist? You mean Barra surely?

It's a popular area with sea kayakers, most are just island hopping but a couple of mates did a route or two getting there by kayak. Taking enough food *and* climbing kit for a week might be interesting.
Robert Durran - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Bob:

> It's a popular area with sea kayakers, most are just island hopping but a couple of mates did a route or two getting there by kayak. Taking enough food *and* climbing kit for a week might be interesting.

I believe it is a fairly serious and committing kayak out to Mingulay!

Bob on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

My mates just went as far as Pabbay I believe. On the map it looks a similar distance between Pabbay and Mingulay as it is between Sandray and Pabbay. no idea what the currents are like.
Andy Moles - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

Couple of guys kayaked from Castlebay on my first trip there - we carried a fair bit of kit for them though. They were both very experienced kayakers, and said it was pretty serious but amazing.
James Edwards - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Bob:

Sorry, yes I meant Barra. I have seen trip reports from kayakers but haven't heard of anyone combining it with a climb.
James
Robert Durran - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to James Edwards:

> Sorry, yes I meant Barra. I have seen trip reports from kayakers but haven't heard of anyone combining it with a climb.

It would certainly be possible. I've comfortably packed full rack and gear and food for several days into sea kayaks. A week might be pushing it though. As would a 100m abseil rope!

r0x0r.wolfo - on 14 Mar 2014
In reply to Robert Durran:

Kayaking there sounds cool as f*ck.

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