Altitude 200m a.s.l
Clach Damh From Above © KeithAlexander
This large boulder was developed by Kev Howett in 2003, but has since been reclaimed by the pines (which have grown above it since then), and the atmosphere is quite dark and damp. There is a bolt without a hanger on top of the boulder.
The boulder is large and highball (circa 10m) - but not the biggest in the area - Rob Roy's Putting Stone in Kirkton Glen, and Cottage Boulder on Ben Ledi are both bigger. It has slabby, and overhanging aspects, and the lines are more akin to short solo routes than problems. Some lines may be damp and mossy, as the trees keep it in the shade.
Anglicized to ‘The Stag Stone’, this is possibly the biggest boulder in the Central Highlands. Recently revealed from its conifer grave, this stone has its own gravity and catches the eye if you’re driving south from Strathyre. Perched on the west flanks of the Ben Ledi massif, directly across the narrow waist of Loch Lubnaig, it can be gained by following forestry tracks north along the west bank of the Loch, past the Cabin community for two kilometres. Take a left at a junction and follow the forestry track south, then north along switchbacks to gain height from Loch Lubnaig. Below the pinnacled crags of Ardnandave, the boulder hides itself well – it can be found by taking a fire-break up through a gap in a deer fence for a few hundred yards.
Clach Damh is a huge, clean schist stone, developed by Kev Howett in 2003. The four facets of this boulder are mostly bold committing lines, so a boulder mat is pointless and a steady head is essential. The lines are dramatic and good, such as the flying west arête, ‘The Damh Side’ (V1), which has a technical commitment to a halfway ledge where doubts creep in, but the finish is easy and the descent down the ledged south arête a relief! The east face has an undercut wall along its length, with beefy starts leading to easier but highball climbing on the vertical headwall. The terrifying roofs of the north face thankfully have slabs on their left side, which provide two clean but technical highball grooves. Hard low traverses and ‘jump-off’ problems are also possible for those more comfortable with their mortality.
Buried in its 'conifer grave' once again, Clach Damh cannot be seen from below, and is consequently difficult to find. A bicycle is recommended.
From the Ben Ledi Car Park, follow the cycle track North towards Strathyre. Go past the chalets, then the crags of Creag na Comh-sheilg on the right, then, after the cycle track goes uphill again, you come to a junction. Take the forestry track left uphill, following switchbacks, passing a large burn. A short while after this is a smaller forestry access track cutting steeply up and left. Follow it upwards until a fork branches off right. Clach Damh is hidden in the trees somewhere between the two tracks.
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