FRIDAY NIGHT VID: Stone Kingdom Ep. 3

by Duncan Campbell - UKC Jan/2014
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Dan Varian on Stronghold, 8A, Glen Croe, 115 kb
Dan Varian on Stronghold, 8A, Glen Croe
© Nick Brown (Outcrop Films)

Tonight's Friday Night Video is from episode three in the Stone Kingdom Series from Nick Brown of Outcrop Films, where he followed some of the country's top climbers around the UK. This episode follows Dan Varian around Scotland as he makes a number of very hard first ascents and repeats, including Maratime, 8A+, Cruchan Arete, 8A+ and Stronghold, 8A (UKC News Report).

Nick Brown introduces this episode:

"Originally I wanted Stone Kingdom to focus solely on the development of new areas around the UK. The more I thought about this concept, the more I began to lose confidence in the idea. First ascents are infrequent in the UK, and first ascents that are on stunning looking pieces of rock are very rare. Getting them on camera as a one man band would be next to impossible. I widened my scope to focus the series on climbers who looked for different challenges. Luckily, the first three episodes focused predominantly on Dan and I was able to capture some footage along my original concept.

In the first two episodes, I showed some of Dan Varian’s Northumberland masterpieces. In the third episode we drove north in ‘Van Diesal.’ I’d never been north of the wall and I was excited to see some of the potential for hard bouldering. Dan had showed me pictures of a Bowderstone-esque boulder, but only with two lines; an arête and a rising line which went from one side of the boulder to another. The mission for this trip was to take care of unfinished business on the arête and the stand start to the main line.

Funky sequences on Marratime, 8A+, Arrochar Alps, 123 kb
Funky sequences on Marratime, 8A+, Arrochar Alps
© Nick Brown (Outcrop Films)

We arrived at Loch Goil, if you turn left you’ll end up at the Anvil. We turned right towards Carrick Castle. One side of the Loch is home to a sleepy village and the other, strange out of place holiday homes. We parked near the castle and began Dan’s idea of a short walk in. My little chicken legs found it frightfully hard with a pad, a crane and all my camera gear. The boulder is situated high up in a corrie overlooking Loch Goil. I was blown away by the size and quality of the rock. Dan swiftly climbed two new problems; Cruachan and Marratime Stand. The later has a sit start project, which to climb would involve linking a huge amount of moves. Dan made some great links, but the sit start would require a few more sessions.

It’s unfortunate that the bouldering season in Scotland is so short, as there is world class potential there. If it’s not too cold in the middle of winter, then it’s raining in the spring or there are a biblical amount of midges there in summer. Having said that, for those that have the motivation and want something new and untouched, Scotland is waiting."

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