/ Reiff and NW recommendations
I'm heading up to the North West area in a few weeks, and expect to be visiting Reiff a fair bit, as I imagine it gets the best weather.
What's not to be missed in the E1-4 grades? E4 would be pushing the boat out, but if it's my style (i.e. more pulling on holds than graunching up a crack) it might be worth a go.
Also, what about crack horrors around the same sort of grades? One of the party is well into them - I think she'll be unable to resist a tussle with Burning Desire. Only thing is, I'll end up having to second her on these things.
Also, I'm obviously concerned about the midges. Surely there are venues where they can be escaped - i.e. by the sea? Or are we just f^cked wherever we go?
I definitely want to do a day at Sheigra - probably the crag I most want to visit on the UK mainland, and route choice there looks obvious: get up early and do as many classics as you can.
And any other tips re. venue choice/conditions that'll help make a good trip would be ever so welcome. We're staying near Ullapool so there's loads both up and down the coast...can't wait!
midges shouldn't be a problem at all at any of the sea cliffs -- it's the sheltered inland crags (Ardmair!) and campsite that you'll find them (or they'll find you).
Crack of Desire was good, but The Screamer is one of my all time favourite climbs, both at Reiff. Golden Walls @ Reiff are not to be missed.
I can recommend the crags around Gruinard and Poolewe as being particularly good. They might be a little further south than you'd like though.
Loads of stuff there at your grade, the Pillar is REALLY good.
Bit early for Midges. Wonderful place with immaculate climbing in perfect scenery. Nice wild schist further north, Stac Pollidh mountain sandstone just south then you have Foinaven, Ardmair,......
If your trip is within the next few weeks (before mid May ish) then I would be surprised if you encounter any of the biting beasts and if you do they will not be numerous. But then they do like southern blood.
Jack the Ripper and Expecting to Fly would make a trip up Stac Pollaidh worthwhile if the sun comes out. Ardmair - Town without pity is brilliant. If you fancy a tussle Unleash the beast. Take a trip down to Loch Maree neck of the woods for Gudgeon, The Bug and Decadent Days - all brilliant. Mactalla on the way back if you still have something left in the tank. Reiff - Spaced out rockers has got to be on the list. The Screamer, Wall of Silence etc. I quite enjoyed Headlong. Just make the effort to walk out to the more northerly crags anyway. Sheigra - haven't been but would be on my itinerary if I was there for a week.
Went to Daibaig a couple of years ago, agree it's amazing, I can't enthuse enough for anyone who hasn't been. The Pillar and Black Streak are climbs of unparalleled brilliance. Best rock, best routes, best setting. Cragging does not get any better.
We're a bit further north this time, so exploring more up the coast.
I've been at that time of year and never been troubled by midges by the coast - but even half a mile inland it can be a different matter!
Ardmair is far better than anything at Reiff.
The furthest bits of Reiff i.e. Leaning Block are the good bits.
Gairloch / Gruinard area is brilliant.
The whole area is the best cragging in the country with the worst weather in the country. But if it's dry you won't go wrong with any choices.
Yeah, can't wait. Next year I might plan a longer trip, maybe 3 weeks or something, 'cause there's a stupid amount of amazing crags to visit. Those routes on Beinn Eighe (Angel Face, Groovin' High etc) are a major ambition, and I'd need to lengthen the odds to ever get on them.
Anb I find just being amongst the scenery there really kind of enriching or therapeutic - it's as if you absorb something from the surroundings that stays with you.
IME the weather's been a lot better up there than round Glens Coe and Nevis where I just don't bother going, so I do have some optimism - at least for cragging at quick-drying venues.
The grades are well soft.
> The grades are well soft.
Excellent. Hopefully I'll come back an E4 climber.
Some are, some are not. The easiest E1s Ive ever done are all in NW scotland but there is no way I'd attempt an Ardmair E1 at present.
"Bit early for Midges"
I think you mean a bit early for BAD midgies, they are still very often a bit annoying early and late in the day in early may. I suspect this year they will be worse than normal due to the unusally early spring.
"Also, I'm obviously concerned about the midges. Surely there are venues where they can be escaped - i.e. by the sea? Or are we just f^cked wherever we go?"
I camped on ardmair campsite which actually protrudes in to the sea a few years ago - late may and the midgies were well limbered up and biting. As above post early may is normally OK (but will it be this year?) but they will likely still be a bit annoying at times if the wind is bellow 5 mph. I suggest you get a midge net and some repellent especially if you plan to camp.
Might the brief return of winter that followed help matters? Or is that a myth?
Oh no. No way am I camping up there. I react pretty badly to midges, both physically and psychologically.
I remember from "The Plum". ;)
> Might the brief return of winter that followed help matters? Or is that a myth?
imo midgies are well adapted to Scotland the one thing I noticed they really don't like is dry summers.
Buy a midge net if you react that badly and take clothing that seals all aside from your face and hands when climbing. I used to laugh a bit at my friends that used midge nets but I tried it last year for the first time. I really don't enjoy climbing when its midgy but with good venue selection summer climbing in scotland is usually fine until the wind drops or the light level drops below a certain level when they all come out at once. If that happens on a climb for the belayer the midge net and gloves makes the difference between 15 minutes of torture and mild annoyance before you pack up and go. Reiff does get midges but much less so than other crags. Soloing also helps.
I've got a midge-burqa. Exactly as you say, emergency use only - if it's midgy, I pack up and leave.
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