New bolt anchors have been placed at the top of the Hawkcraig, one of the best and most popular low grade trad crags in Scotland's Central Belt. For now the identity of the phantom bolter remains a mystery.
The two stainless steel bolts have been installed side by side in rock at the top of the highest point of the crag, at the top-out to several excellent routes including the much-loved classic VS Pain Pillar. The hangers are not in situ. Each bolt extends about 3 inches. They have been messily cemented in place and are of an unusually wide diameter compared with bolts conventionally used by climbers, and look sufficient to hold a force far in excess of any that could be generated by climbing (a case of bolt and braces?). Nearby is the stub of an old bolt that was controversially placed many years ago, its comparatively small size only emphasising the odd nature of the new additions. The effort of installing them must have been considerable, but local residents were unaware of any work being carried out at the top of the crag recently.
Since there are sufficient natural anchors on this sector of the crag for any competent leader to construct a belay the bolts serve no useful function for climbers. It is therefore unclear who the culprits may be, though climbers have in the not too distant past encountered a local youth group leader scouting around here for suitable places to 'abseil'.
The Hawkcraig is not and has never been a sport climbing venue. Regulars are likely to be saddened by the unnecessary damage to this very traditional climbing crag. UKC user A9 says:
'[It shows] no respect for the place whatsoever. They need chopped of course, but how to repair the rock?'
In a (presumably) separate case of vandalism several hundred plastic-wrapped telephone directories were found dumped at the top of the Hawkcraig and along the adjacent Fife Coastal Path today. Some had been scattered down the crag and dozens more littered the beach; a local resident said scores had already been washed out by the tide. Some new fire pits have been burned into the grass at the top of the crag. Fife Council is clearing the litter, but damage to the grass will take a long time to recover. The likely culprits are thought to be teenage drinkers, who council workers believe have been encouraged to access the area immediately above the crag after recent council work to cut back the gorse barrier that used to hinder access.