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Stopping off crag on way to Skye?

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Later in the month I’ll be heading up to Skye, driving from London. Aim is to leave Friday and put as many miles on the clock as possible then find a quiet spot to kip overnight. Would like to make Saturday more than just a driving day so looking for suggestions for a quick-hit crag en route to Skye. Sport or trad is fine, grades up to E2/3 or 7a+ ideal. The shorter the walk in the better (which I realise is not always the way north of the wall!)

cheers!

2
 DaveHK 07 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Roughly where? 

 kwoods 07 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Glen Nevis probably works best, park at the road end, Wave Buttress, Gorge Crag.

 Doug 07 May 2022
In reply to kwoods:

Or  Creag Dubh  by Newtonmore if travelling up the A9 (see https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/creag_dubh_newtonmore-37/#overview )

 CaelanB 07 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

As others have suggested it depends entirely on the route you take and where you're stopping off. In Scotland though you might consider Dumbarton Rocks, or if you're going up the east/A9 you've got Ratho Quarry, Dunkeld, the multitude of crags just south of Inverness like Duntelchaig.

Scotland is my region of expertise, I'm not sure I could make helpful suggestions if you want to stop in the north of England.

 rogerwebb 07 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

Three main routes for you. The A82 through Glencoe, Fort William then the road to the isles.

A9 to Inverness then turn left down the A82 to Invermorriston then right to join the first route.

A9 to Inverness keep on going to towards Dingwall, turn left, left at Garve, Achnasheen, Strathcarron , Kyle, Skye.

Option 1 has lots of scenery and relatively handy trad climbing East Face Aonach Dubh and Glen Nevis.

Option 2 and 3 both pass Creag Dubh at Newtonmore with must do routes The Hill and Inbred, also Dunkeld with a trad/sport mix and the must do but worrying Rat Race (may have been upgraded).

Option 3 passes the most (very) roadside crag at Moy Rock just after the Dingwall roundabout. All sport. Must do is Little Teaser and any other route on the big flat wall.

Time wise I don't think there is a lot in it unless there are roadworks/outbreaks of motorhomes but the A9 is likely less stress.

I live in Inverness and drive to Skye a lot for work. Normally I go the north route, the last bit of option 3, as I find the whole thing a little less stressful than option 2 where for some reason the driving is more lethal.

Best routes are going to be in the Coe, closely followed by Creag Dubh and Glen Nevis. Most accessible are at Moy. (I have a jaded view of Moy as it's very local to me). Others may have a different view!

Post edited at 17:24
 Mark Bannan 07 May 2022
In reply to Doug:

> Or  Creag Dubh  by Newtonmore if travelling up the A9 ...

My thoughts exactly! No better place if you want to fill your trousers!

1
 Andy Moles 07 May 2022
In reply to rogerwebb:

If you're driving to Skye from England, going via Inverness adds half an hour to your journey compared to the A82 or A96.

Second others' suggestions: Dumby or Glen Nevis up the west route, or Dunkeld or Creag Dubh if going up the A9.

Post edited at 19:12
 rogerwebb 07 May 2022
In reply to Andy Moles:

> If you're driving to Skye from England, going via Inverness adds half an hour to your journey compared to the A82 or A96.

> Second others' suggestions: Dumby or Glen Nevis up the west route, or Dunkeld or Creag Dubh if going up the A9.

I am not convinced.  The A82 is very slow and the A9 is very fast.

For the op if you factor in the walk in for Glencoe or diversion into Glen Nevis the time is quickly racked up.

Mind you west is best. 

If starting from Glasgow I would take the west coast for speed otherwise if going via Edinburgh I think the A9 is quicker. (At least since they got rid of the interminable road works and opened the new dual carriageway after Perth)

Post edited at 19:25
 Andy Moles 07 May 2022
In reply to rogerwebb:

Google Maps doesn't lie (or maybe it does if you get stuck behind a motorhome along Loch Lomond, but...)

It's not a huge difference but from Aviemore I'd go Inverness, from Newtonmore I'd go Spean Bridge.

Post edited at 19:29
1
 alan moore 07 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

I always visited the Etive slabs on the way north. Sunny and close to the road.

 rogerwebb 07 May 2022
In reply to Andy Moles:

Distance v speed and motorhomes...

1
 Mark Bannan 07 May 2022
In reply to CaelanB:

> ... Ratho Quarry, Dunkeld, the multitude of crags just south of Inverness like Duntelchaig.

> Scotland is my region of expertise.

Really? Ratho Quarry is crap compared to the other crags mentioned (your other suggestions included, though!).

 Andy Moles 07 May 2022
In reply to rogerwebb:

I suppose for an infrequent visitor to Scotland it's also a consideration that driving up the west is a lot more scenic.

In reply to rogerwebb:

If you are going up the A9, turning left at Dalwhinnie and then via Spean Bridge is surely far faster than going via Inverness. I always go that way.

 Andy Moles 07 May 2022
In reply to Mark Bannan:

> Really? Ratho Quarry is crap compared to the other crags mentioned (your other suggestions included, though!).

Yeah, don't go to Ratho Quarry. Don't go to Duntelchaig either (it's better but it's definitely not as good as Upper Cave or Creag Dubh, and it's more out of the way).

In reply to Mark Bannan:

> Really? Ratho Quarry is crap compared to the other crags mentioned (your other suggestions included, though!).

Ratho Quarry is surprisingly good these days with excellent varied trad and sport with a good spread of grades. Certainly beats Moy Rock! Admittedly not the most scenic venue though pleasant enough. Could be a good choice if you want a quick hit and you can't face Creag Death.

Post edited at 20:17
4
 rogerwebb 07 May 2022
In reply to Andy Moles:

> I suppose for an infrequent visitor to Scotland it's also a consideration that driving up the west is a lot more scenic.

Most definitely. I think I may have died of boredom on the A9

 rogerwebb 07 May 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> If you are going up the A9, turning left at Dalwhinnie and then via Spean Bridge is surely far faster than going via Inverness. I always go that way.

You are a central belt resident so are probably correct!

I think I hate the Dalwhinnie Spean bridge road even more than the Loch Ness road though...

 Rick Graham 07 May 2022
In reply to rogerwebb:

As Andy stated earlier google maps directions is very good . However , he's travelling from London , 12 hours via Glencoe to Portree.

Probably got bigger hassles than a motorhome past Loch Lomond or the other way through Callander , theres always some grief on the M6 , the M1 and 42 are often worse.

Carnivore or Slime Wall would be a good stop off , could even be the saving of the trip if Skye is a wash out. Quick doss in midge central / glen etive or is that torridon?

In reply to rogerwebb:

> I think I hate the Dalwhinnie Spean bridge road even more than the Loch Ness road though...

Really? Turning left at Dalwhinnie is where the Friday evening drive to Skye on empty roads starts to lift the spirits! I very rarely drive the Loch Ness road but my memories of it are not good, and you get more A9 beforehand.

Edit: Just home from driving the Dalwhinnie/Spean Bridge Road. It was lovely

Post edited at 20:49
 Mark Bannan 07 May 2022
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Ratho Quarry ... if you want a quick hit and you can't face Creag Death.

Dunchelchaig and Dunkeld offer better options, although the former can be a bit muddy and vegetated.

1
In reply to Mark Bannan:

> Dunchelchaig and Dunkeld offer better options, although the former can be a bit muddy and vegetated.

I think the OP needs to clarify what they mean by a "quick hit"! If just 2 or 3 hours then I am serious that Ratho could be a great option. Even Upper Cave with its great but head-challenging leads might not be the best recommendation. And Glen Nevis might need longer just to get orientated and find suitable stuff. But obviously if "quick hit" means a proper day then Slime Wall it is!

1
 Pina 07 May 2022
In reply to Rick Graham:

The current roadworks on the M8 are a good enough reason to avoid the Loch Lomond road depending on when you pass through. There’s a number of different roadworks making it a total shitshow, that’s before you end up stuck behind slow moving traffic on the A82…

 alan moore 07 May 2022
In reply to Pina:

> The current roadworks on the M8 

...which you miss out when come up the M74 anyway.

 Andy Moles 08 May 2022
In reply to alan moore:

Aye, a few people are making the mistake here of thinking that the fastest route from London to Skye goes near Edinburgh - it doesn't (at least not unless there is a bad accident up the M6/M74).

Assuming 'quick hit' means a few hours and therefore not Slime Wall (which is obviously great if there's been a dry spell), Dumby works very well - it's barely out of the way and there's trad, sport and bouldering to choose from. It doesn't tend to make the best first impression but it is iconic, and actually quite a beautiful spot on a sunny afternoon.

In reply to Paul Sagar:

Sorry all should have made clear we’ll be taking the A82, partly because I think it’s quicker than the A9, mostly because my girlfriend has never done the west coast drive and she needs to see the spectacular-ness, and partly because I’ve done the A9 the last 3 years and it is borrrring. 

Thanks for the suggestions - I’ll sit down with various guidebooks and do some plotting. Glen Nevis currently taking my fancy. 

 Gary Latter 08 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Thanks for the suggestions - I’ll sit down with various guidebooks and do some plotting. Glen Nevis currently taking my fancy. 

Agree, the first sight of the Buachaille when approaching from the south over Rannoch Moor is spectacular - infinitely more aesthetic than the A9 in every way. Dropping down through Glen Coe itself is also fabulous.

Of all the venues mentioned, on a purely aesthetic front, the scenery in Glen Nevis wins hands down. I personally think it is the best crag climbing in Scotland, with routes at every grade, from single pitch to 4 or 5 pitches; at Polldubh lots of crags can easily be combined to give long link ups. Gorge Crag and Wave Buttress are probably the two best crags for a first visit to the glen. Both easily combined. There should be abseil anchors at the top of both crags, so good opportunity to cram in a bunch of routes.

Anyone suggesting the likes of Ratho or Duntelchaig is clearly deranged, or winding you up...

1
In reply to Gary Latter:

Thanks Gary - that all sounds good to me and given that I think you know a thing or two about crag selection in those parts, I’ll very much be taking your advice on this one!

In reply to Gary Latter:

Thanks Gary - that all sounds good to me and given that you know a thing or two about crag selection in those parts, I’ll very much be taking your advice on this one!

In reply to Gary Latter:

> Anyone suggesting the likes of Ratho or Duntelchaig is clearly deranged, or winding you up...

I would only ever try to be helpful and never wind up anyone on here genuinely looking for advice.

I would still maintain that, if a quick hit means two or three hours, then Ratho is a good option (if driving up the east) and that Glen Nevis might not work for that length of time. There is also the weather to take into account; The likes of Dumbarton, Cambusbarron or Ratho could save the day if it is damp/midgy in the hills, so should at least be considered as back-ups.

If Glen Nevis, then agree that Gorge Crag is the best option if time limited.

Post edited at 09:58
 Cog 08 May 2022
In reply to Gary Latter:

There are now 'no parking' signs at every passing place at Polldubh!

In reply to Robert Durran:

Never had any problem finding the crags in Glen Nevis with various guidebooks. But it's takes longer to get up the Glen from Fort William than you think it will, and it's one of the few places I've been midged to a running away extent!

 Gary Latter 08 May 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> Never had any problem finding the crags in Glen Nevis with various guidebooks. But it's takes longer to get up the Glen from Fort William than you think it will, and it's one of the few places I've been midged to a running away extent!

A lot of the tree cover (mainly birches) at Polldubh has been cut back in the last decade or so, resulting in many of the crags now cleaner, quicker drying and more open, hence also considerably less midgey. On a still overcast day, could still be a problem, though not usually too bad in May. Though I guess with global warming, the wee b@%&*rds may be around for longer.

Gorge Crag is very sheltered and in the trees; Wave Buttress much more open and higher up. Anything higher up the hillside at Polldubh usually a better bet than the crags low down.

 peppermill 08 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

All great suggestions but worth bearing in mind we can have a slightly different idea of "Short walk in" for a quick fix up here in Scotland! 

i.e after a decade up here I thought Pavey Ark had a fairly short easy walk in the other weekend. The rest of the (England based) party did not agree!

Personally I'd not recommend Dumby for a one-off stop unless you just want to see the awesome main wall, as amazing as it is. Kind of a place you need to do regularly and beat your head off a route our problem until it goes IMO.

Post edited at 17:54
 Gary Latter 08 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> . Sport or trad is fine, grades up to E2/3 or 7a+ ideal. The shorter the walk in the better (which I realise is not always the way north of the wall!)

> cheers!

Another option are the roadside crags in Glen Coe - Gorge Wall, The Bendy & the Allt Doire Bheith first two are a minute or two from the road, latter less than 10. Bunch of reasonable routes, not as good as the things in Glen Nevis, but useful if short of time.

 Le Sapeur 08 May 2022
In reply to Paul Sagar:

> Sorry all should have made clear we’ll be taking the A82,

May be worth being flexible with your road choices. Glen Nevis gets lots of rain. Even on a dry day it will probably rain. 

2
In reply to TobyA:

> Never had any problem finding the crags in Glen Nevis with various guidebooks.

I have sometimes taken a while to find some of the crags!

> But it's takes longer to get up the Glen from Fort William than you think it will.

Yes, and if the top carpark is full it can then be a faff (I imagine ok midweek in May though).

> ...........and it's one of the few places I've been midged to a running away extent!

Or not even getting out of the car!

Post edited at 21:09
 Andy Moles 09 May 2022
In reply to peppermill:

> All great suggestions but worth bearing in mind we can have a slightly different idea of "Short walk in" for a quick fix up here in Scotland! 

All the low level cragging suggestions given have approach times of 5-15 minutes. Probably 20 if you go up to Wave Buttress. That's not too long even in England and Wales.

 Andy Moles 09 May 2022
In reply to Le Sapeur:

> May be worth being flexible with your road choices. Glen Nevis gets lots of rain. Even on a dry day it will probably rain. 

I'd be less worried about rain on dry days (they do happen, even in Lochaber) and more concerned in late May if it looks cloudy and windless. Glen Nevis is a great option for a stop off, but being flexible with road choice is sensible.


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