The Mushroom Arran, SCOTLAND
Climbs 31 – Rocktype Sandstone (hard) – Altitude 10m a.s.l – Faces all
The main Mushroom is one massive extrusion of red sandstone 5m at is smallest and 8m at its highest with the smaller 'Fern Boulder' to one side and the 'Flower Power' and project faces to the other. The Mushroom is made up of a steep (30-40degree) overhanging face of banded jugs. Excellent for traversing and warming up. With the North wall boasting a slaby top half.
Other erratics are scattered deeper though the wood and some promising larger blocks 80m north up the road.
The tops of all boulders and most of the mushroom were very vegetated until June 2013 when a group of Edinburgh based climbers gardened and cleaned up several new lines. The gardening also allowed the original problems on the fern boulder to be topped out. Original lines are listed as are the new 'directs'.
On listed problems most loose stone is now setting and only the thinnest flakes (3-5mm and below) are likely to snap. Obviously its sandstone so more likely to snap after rain. Midge can be a real issue in the summer but a midge net and a fire in the evening will see them off! Camping below the main face would be possible but a much more pleasant pitch can be found 15m up on the hillside (follow the wooden walkway and steps.
There are still a number of line on the slab wall and 1 or 2 on the south face that are still to see First Assents. The hardest of which looks to be the line to the right of Invasive Species, 'Pocket Project' which was cleaned off but not sent. The Crack beside this also looks promising. (see descriptions)
Well worth a vist, I'll be back for sure.
Walk, hitch or take a taxi from Brodick 3 miles north on the A841. You will pass the brewery and then the castle entrance on your left hand side. Continue past an entrance sign posted 'Merkland Wood Walks' and a disused carpark on the left. Shortly after there will be a gravel lay by on the right. Get the taxi to drop you off here. Walk north on the road for only about 20m and the mushroom can just be seen though the trees on the left. Jump over the wall (You'll know your right if there are two very large sandbag/construction sacs on the floor over the wall) and head into the trees.
Rock pools and the sea are on the other side of the road and great for a dip/wash after a days climbing. If you head North up the road another 50m there is a small beach which is nicer if you prefer sand.
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Just back from another 2 days there! Love it. Two more new lines cleaned off and another two picked out. Pocket project still feels way beyond me, gota be at least 7b+/c. Also cleaned off most I the dead fallen trees from the top making the rigging even easier. Also cleared the tops and the face off Invasive Specices and the, soon to be, line next to it. I was on the slab face face of Invadive for about 5mins trying to work it out and brushing the holes as I went! Got it secound go nicely but then repeated it a bit sketchy. Exciting! My friend also did Shoom Doom and loved it!
Didn't need the midge net once all weekend! Great time had by all! As always I can't wait to get back!|
BenBrotherton - 28/Jul/13
Awesome boulder! So glad we went to check this out. One massive boulder (7-8m at max heights) and 2 smaller faces.
Huge continuous horizontal ledges run the whole length of the main boulder allowing easy and hard (eliminate) traverses and ascents. Also featuring comedy feet first climbing, bat hanging all the way! Pads and trusted spotters! There's even a crafted bench to rest on :D
Most of the boulder is about 20-40 degrees over hanging however the north face also boasts a promising cave and awesome slab top half. Top outs on the north slab face look like they would be amazing but would require dry conditions and a good clean/some gardening.
Top outs on the east face look straight forward but inspection from above soon reveals breaking branches and sloped grasses...mmm. The descents are straight forward ;)
When we visited it had been drizzly. It was pretty wet up top but the inside was quite dry.
The other two faces are smaller. We had a little play on the 'Fern boulder' (East face of the small boulder facing the cave). Nice problems. We did not climb on the face to the south, only lack of time!, but it looked promising.
Someone had cut down a great deal of the trees from the top of the main boulder. I don't know what it's like in the dry but if the trees were required it might be worth removing a little turf to allow for safer top outs.
There are some problems listed in 'Bouldering in Scotland' guide but I think this place could have a great amount more to offer with a little work...
BenBrotherton - 23/May/12