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/ DESTINATION GUIDE: Polldubh Crags

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UKC Articles - on 09 Jan 2018
Alicia Hudelson on Flying Dutchman, Severe., 4 kbDave MacLeod waxes lyrical about one of his local haunts: Polldubh crags.

The Polldubh crags in Glen Nevis are an archetype of the hidden gems of British climbing. Although no single crag on the hillside above Lower Falls is a huge multi-pitch wall, each is full of brilliant rock climbing pitches which are so numerous, even a passionate local such as myself has not found my way round all the possibilities. Following the latest round of development since 2000, there is also now a huge variety of established boulder problems to compliment the hundreds of trad climbs.



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Andy Moles - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Worth mentioning that for the mid-E# climber, some of the crags opposite and further up the glen are even better.
Eric9Points - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Every Summer I used to take a nice day off work and head up to Polldubh. Mid week the crag is always quiet and even if you do see other parties they rarely venture above Secretaries Buttress.

I used to start at Pinnacle Ridge and solo a line up each crag I came to, deciding on what to do by how brave I felt. Anything from diff to E1. In a couple of hours or so you can be over a thousand feet above where you started, looking down at beautiful Glen Nevis.

At the end of one solo day I finished high above The Skull. It was a very dry summer and I was sitting down with my back to the crag looking out over a little terrace. There was a dried up pool to my left and I noticed something blue/green lying in it. It turned out to be an old penny. It was very corroded but I took it back to work and cleaned it up with some of the brass cleaning chemicals we used there. It was dated 1902. I wondered whether many years ago it had been dropped by some guy in tweeds, nailed boots and with a hemp rope slung around his shoulders.
pigeonjim on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Bit gutted in UKC have done this but also a bit glad. This is one of the best climbing destinations in the uk. It may look on paper and maybe on first arrival as just another set of small crags but it is not. The climbing is a lot of fun at all grades.
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to pigeonjim:

> Bit gutted in UKC have done this but also a bit glad.

I don't think you'll have much to worry about. The climate in the west of Scotland still means not many people want to risk it for a trip I reckon. A bit of traffic up there will help many of the routes anyway. Good wee video. Looking forward to spring now!

Stuart en Écosse - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to pigeonjim:
> Bit gutted in UKC have done this but also a bit glad.

I'm delighted. If I ever had what could be described as a stamping ground it was Polldubh. I lived in Glencoe for a few years and when the high crags were wet, I was short of a suitable partner or, more likely, when I was missing the necessary psyche to go and stick it out on a Coe classic, I would head to Polldubh and push my grade or enjoy the seemingly endless supply of more amenable routes. I think I've done almost every route there up to E2 and a small number of not much harder routes. It was such a beautiful and mellow place, and I rarely met more than a handful of other parties. The last time I was there was about ten years ago and some of the routes I remembered as being clean were overgrown and mossy from neglect; once spotless cracks with obvious gear placements now requiring excavation. I can't see Polldubh turning into Froggat anytime soon, and a bit more traffic might be good to keep it clean and alive, and it would be miserly in the extreme not to share this gem of a venue with anyone who appreciates 3 star cragging in a 5 star landscape.

And I'll second what Andy Moles said: the Gorge area has some of the very best low-mid E-grade routes anywhere.
Post edited at 22:40
Michael Gordon - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Moles:

> Worth mentioning that for the mid-E# climber, some of the crags opposite and further up the glen are even better.

Yes, I've never been particularly struck on Polldubh (from a pure climbing perspective). Lovely article though.
Andy Moles - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Andy Moles:
> the mid-E# climber

I can't edit no mo', but I should clarify for posterity that I mean middle E grades, not from 'mid' grade up. At least up to E2, Polldubh is where it's at.
Post edited at 07:32
peterp - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Very interesting article. Out of interest, why are the landscape partnership clearing native trees in the glen though?
In reply to UKC Articles:

That video reminds me just how good Scotland is, nice to see a blend of styles too.

Without wanting to wish away the winter, roll on the spring...
Michael Gordon - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to peterp:

As far as I understand it, it's only the likes of some birch which are right up at the foot of crags, both to open up the crags/view and help a bit with the midge situation. It's not a clear fell!
Brendan - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

That's the problem with so much climbing in Scotland - the window between winter damp and midge season is so narrow.

Interesting comments from Dave Mac about some of the bouldering being possible in all seasons, sounds promising.
Martin McKenna - UKC - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Brendan:

You just need a day with a breeze! Been route climbing in January at Steall Hut after a failed winter attempt. Cold but totally doable, the bouldering would have been even more casual.
julesmckim - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article - makes me want to go back. First visit in 2016 was wonderful - how good is Storm? Excellent routes all around. Found a joint on a belay ledge - nice. Midged to death the next day - not nice
Brendan - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin McKenna - UKC:

That's interesting, thanks. Does the sport crag stay pretty dry?
skog on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to UKC Articles:

Polldubh is wonderful, but - the ticks, the ticks. Take precautions when going.

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